Now, the French have had some fairly bad press over the years. But our experience has been nothing short of fantastic.

FLASHBACK – OCTOBER 2006 – MONTAGE OF SHOTS

Not only did we meet the world’s most excellent estate agent…

But complete strangers were incredibly polite – greeting you in the street with a “Bonjour Monsieur” “Bonjour Madame” or less obviously “Bonjour Monsieur-dame”…

Or saying “Bonjour” to everyone in a restaurant or café before ordering a drink…

Or being outrageously generous…

Like the time we went into a restaurant just after signing the papers to buy the land in Lalinde. A local couple, Josette and Martin, sat down at the next table. After spending the meal talking to them in our limited-but-improving French, they offered us the use of their own gite in a nearby village completely free of charge. Which we took them up on, as you’ll see.

No doubt, it helps to read the odd book on French cultural differences. Like one that explained how to behave in a café. It goes something like this: Find a café that appeals to you and sit at a table. Face the street, so you can watch the world go by as you enjoy your coffee. And do not try to catch the eye of the waiter. They know you are there and may be offended if you think otherwise. When ordering, use “Monsieur” after your “S’il vous plait”s and “Merci”s for politeness and… that’s it.

If you didn’t know this “rule”, walking into a café, sitting down with your back to the place and ignoring the waiter might seem rude. But it’s quite the opposite.

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