Are the French Dynamic?

Are the French Dynamic?

TO move beyond boundaries....

full of energy, new ideas and aspire to change.

Is ambition alive and well in the cities....and no longer lives

in the countryside?

Surely that would depend on how you define "dynamic", in which case, it would be your personal (or a dictionary-bound) take on the matter ?

The majority of dynamic business people I know are looking to move/create their business to what is perceived as a better environment for nurturing their personal dynamism - for example, the US or the UK - where failure to realise one's dreams is not considered an albatros around one's neck for the rest of one's life - these people do not shy away from the implications of such a move.

If you are hoping to achieve the same thing here in France, especially rural France, I suggest you take on board all of the parameters that will constrain your dynamism to the realities of doing business here - you won't be any less dynamic for it, but you will have understood that the "system" does not promote/reward "out-of-the-box" thinking just because it happens to be original.

Just had a good look at the word Bohemain.......

AND certainly is interesting....

Not reflecting my style or character.....

Suggests a flighty person who sets up camp here and there with other flighty

people who playaway the days and sing for their supper.

Having worked all my life, lived in one property for over

30 years AND not born in France I am not Bohemain.

Any Bohemians out there/

But the days of anything goes have gone.

Something has to be good about a place like a café...

Price, atmosphere, decent food or decent wine, a decent


Even in the countryside there must be a provision for


This, of course is far from my original question but it is relevant

factor in the survival of France.....and believe me I want that....

I am very tired of the people who say nothing can get better

because that is not the way forward

Our local bar/ tabac/resto has just been leased to a tenant with a little help from the commune. He has raised the price of a glass of wine by 10c, started selling foodstuffs & changed the name of the place to La Défie. It used to be empty but now appears to be full of the local youth nursing a drink so it would appear that the commune are subsidising a youth centre! Not my sort of place but good luck to the bloke. At least he had the sense not to buy the place before he tried it. If he's still there in a year I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, what ever you do, there are always those who complain! But I think they're probably right - with all the little multi-service/bar/resto etc. you have to really up what you're offering to survive and even then in so many cases the demographics and local geography mean it simply won't pay, even when it's subsidised which more and more now are :-(

But David your rudeness never goes away.

That's the irony of the tobacco industry, Tony - they say they want people to stop smoking but there policies are just driving everyone to buy abroad or contraband! 82% of tobacco sales go straight to the state and with the buraliste getting under 7% you need to flog a hell of a lot of tobacco to make a living, they got a million € out of me last year! La Française des jeux commision is just 5.2% and again the state takes a huge slice so you can add a few hundred thousand there agai. And after all that there are all the run of the mill impôts and charges, oh and TVA, forgot that, both 5,5 and 20%. plus I sell timbres fiscaux and timbres amandes 96% of which goes straight to the trésor public...!

I think that what people are trying to say very politely is that you are a pain in the arse. You pop up from time to time with your meanderings. You try to draw people into your schemes. "Looking for really good cake makers" or whatever but you never seem to produce. Instead of moaning about the lack of dynamism of the local population why don't you just faire vos propres affaires and pipe down. I say this very politely of course. I could say allez gardez vos vaches but I wouldn't. Good to see your dyslexia has almost cleared up.

" Ah by the way my work is intense, and seasonal. " So what is it?

Oh Varo I made no sweeping statement about the French or about you.

Yes I know that teaching is intense and of great value....and I am fully aware

how hard it is to run a shop....done it.

By the way Sir WALTER Raleigh was a courtier and an adventurer who brought

us the potato the almighty potato and tobacco and he was Dynamic.

Berry Gordy brought the Mowtown sound and broke through with racial


The young man who died this week in Uk at the age of 19. From the edge

of life he found strength and courage to raise a huge amount of money

to save the lives of others....this was a dynamic person.

VIvIEN Westwood designed for the Wild at Heart and she broke through

the barriers of traditional chic with her Bohemian styles and to this day

she is a respected designer....SHEis dynamic.

Ah by the way my work is intense, and seasonal.

It is not airy fairy .....certainly not as it is contributing to local taxes [ and personal] and helping

in the stimulation of tourism to the village....adding some extra income for the

local restaurants, tobacs, pharmacies, car hire co and petrol stations.

But I would love to see more.....just a little more.

We will never agree.

BUT we are living in a world where we still have the right to hope.

So what do you do now? You have talked only about the past. What do you do?

I do think that there is an awful lot more going on here, even in the countryside, that you simply aren't aware of, and that you aren't really in touch with the reality of life here for those of us who work here in 'normal' jobs - by which I mean a stable activity which isn't a hobby or a pension top-up - which is perfectly understandable for all sorts of reasons.

I think you should know the French a bit better before making sweeping generalisations about us.

I'm quite happy with my life and like you have done many different jobs but have also done them from the extremes of London to the deep depths of the south west so I'm aware about the enormous differences which are pretty much impossible to overcome when it comes to business creation etc. - One has to be realistic and this thread jumped off the cyberspace page at me because it doesn't seem to be. I can name many friends (french) who have been and still are extremely dynamic such as an EDF cadre who left the lifetime security of his post but now has a chain of 7 célio shops.

Are you really in touch with rural France, I wonder, have you ever watched TF1's yearly campaign (J-P Pernaud 13h00) to help village business survive, they have a website dedicated to village shops etc looking for new owners. There are others too, I've worked with the aveyron tourist office who go as far as having stands at the UK holiday and property shows and an award winning website (translated by yours truly) Then there are all the mairies who do up their local surgey, offer rent free accommodation etc just to keep a doctor in the village. When looking for a business I came across dozens and dozens of such offers but when you look deeper, they're nearly all non-starters and usually taken on by disgruntled parisiens looking for a life-style change, the business closes a year later with loses despite the couple putting in 80 hours + weeks. I've seen the shop opposite go bust, the bar across the square too, and a number of others in the town within the 18 months that I've been in business there (for the record, I no longer teach or translate).

Now, after a nice 55 km ride to cordes sur ciel and back, I need to sit down and get on with my fortnightly tobacco order for first thing tomorrow morning - I hope I'm being dynamic enough (tongue firmly in cheek!)

This is not an evaluation of you or me and never began that way.

I have done a lot in the past....since you ask about what I do....

I am now at an age when I should not be doing anything ....but I do.

IN the past I have worked for a PR company called Rex Publicity in Mayfair,

The Prudential Assurance co in Holborn as a correspondence clerk, managed

a band and eventually became a chef in London initially at Barkers store which became Bibas , then on to

the offices and home of Andre Deutch the publisher.

Cooked for Benie at The Borscht and Cheers....

Was chef at Fingles in Fulham Road and The Last Resort in Kings

Road. ......Operation Julie...there is a story...

Then Naturally which we shared with the 606 ....another long story...

Naturally in All Saints Road ....another story.

A taste of Honey in Kensington Park Road

THE PERFUMED Concervatory where I employed Marco Pierre White

to work with us in the kitchen....another story.

CHINON in Richmond Way just close to Kensington House BBC.

Last in London Fabouche Deli, café, Patiserie.

No I do not see myself as dynamic but I have never been afraid

of hard work and have been delighted to meet many dynamic


Truly dynamic people are people who get on with things in the real world. Dynamic people don't sit about wittering about doing things, they DO them, without depending on other people to get them done.

To use the basic non-physics related meaning of dynamic it is 'to do with energy' - there is absolutely nothing about mundanity or bohemianism or extraneous value-judgments. It is possible to do pretty much anything dynamically.

Some people are dynamic all of the time, some are some of the time, and some aren't particularly, ever.

To get personal, which I haven't yet: while I don't see myself as particularly dynamic it is a term which recurs frequently in all the official and unofficial feed-back I get. I have a great deal of mental and physical energy (in spite of my mundane job ;-) )

Would you describe yourself as dynamic, Barbara? What do you actually do?

A little out of proportion Andrew...I do not compare London with the countryside or suggest that

teachers, accountants and lawyers are mundane people but the work which they do does not excite me at all.

My closest friend in London was a school Head who started as a teacher but I loved

him for the person he was and not for his knowledge.

They are omniscient people by nature and by profession.....teachers...

Andrew you are happy with your seems, so why does my question seem to infuse you

with discord?

Have you let an important aspect of life drift away?
Vero how poetic you are about obscure elements which fill your mind;potato

peelings and yoghurt all performing artistic structures.

Are you saying that Dynamic people are Bohemian and that it is not

possible to make a living at something fairly mundane and be dynamic

at the same time?

Truly dynamic people for me....

Happy to list some of them.

I'm going to chuck in my job & follow my vision & set up a multiplex free-form art-gallery/live theatre workshop in my drawing-room running courses where people will come & knit their own sculptures out of yoghurt & make macramé party dresses out of recycled kitchen-peelings and other people can film them doing it. I shall of course be there to inspire & motivate. I shall charge an extremely reasonable 800 euros per week-end session to include all materials but not meals or lodging (they can camp in my field & you can eat the art, obviously).

Personal because I don't think either of us can figure out why you can't see that demographics and geography mean that rural France is never going to be as dynamic as London or parts of the UK or other parts of France. If you want to find the same dynamics as in London and the home counties then get up to Paris and the IdF and it's there staring you in the face or much nearer to home in Toulouse. On the other hand, back in the UK, get out of London and down to Cornwall and point me to all the dynamic people bursting with ideas and start-ups in Redruth or Camborne (I ran a business in one and lived in the other in the early 90's - hell holes, lovely people, great surfing but economic hell holes).

For the record, I haven't been able to reply sooner because I was at work, being dynamic as was my French OH, and for the record, two of my three French BILs, FIL too. the rest of the family taking Sunday off have been at work all week too. As Véro pointed out - we all have mouths to feed and need to pay the bills year round! And as for my degrees - it'd have been pretty difficult being as dynamic as I was finding teaching work in schools, CCI, IUT and translating for a number of years without them.

That special something...well I think 75 hours a week and producing well over a million euros in revenue for the French state is probably a little boring but perhaps far more effective and concrete than some other, more bohemian, ideas, especially the classics mentioned above in Véro's post.

I don't think we're having a go, we're just being realistic!!!

This has become personal.

As it often does....It is not a suggestion that I am dynamic or that you and Andrew are not.

Or even the quest for survival in France....making a crust.

Perhaps it is easier in London....for instance....where who you may know is more important

than what you have expressed or created.

Perhaps there one can buy their way in to various places, situations?

Life for me is not about food folly it is much more.

BUT none of this about you, me, Andrew it is about reaching for that special something

which IS there for those who want to find it.

Andrew and I both have full-time energy-intensive jobs and families, Barbara, we are both probably quite dynamic enough as it is.

The fact that if a person chooses to live in a rural backwater there aren't a zillion 'dynamic' ways to earn a living is just that, a fact. The French countryside is far from being hopeless - but it is a also far from being dynamic.

Unless of course you just want to be dynamic to amuse yourself and can afford to do things for nothing, in which case make sure you are qualified, registered and insured, buy a 'plane and organise aerial tourism or set up free gastro-events in a mediaeval tent, buy a fleet of quad-bikes and go greenlaning (if landowners let you - I wouldn't), or run painting/ blacksmithing/cooking/weaving courses or whatever. But don't expect to make a proper living out of it.

Or do a useful but not-glam local job & employ people all year round, because that is what most people looking for a job actually want, a proper job.

& re the 'spirit of adventure' I have responsibilities Barbara, 5 of them, which means I need a steady income and a stable life - so I can't go swanning off to the Third World to do work for Médecins sans Frontières as I did in my youth and nor do I wish to. I enjoy doing my present job well and I wouldn't spit on the degrees & competitive exams that enabled me to get it. My job makes a difference to people's lives and it is worth concentrating on. I may decide to do airy-fairy things again when I retire in about 30 years' time but right now they aren't on the radar.