This went out on the wires yesterday and I do believe it is a fair resume of two sides of life in France, the real rural France vs. the tourist places that attract more income. Very interesting.
We live in a small hamlet close to a rural village; the commune’s total residency is about 800 people. There are only 3 British couples in the commune. It is in Cantal, Auvergne close to the Puys and the medieval, fortified, tourist village of Salers.
Our village has managed to maintain a post office, two shops, a baker, a butcher and a pub. It is not one of France’s most beautiful (like Salers) but it is quite pretty, peaceful and friendly. The Mairie manages a summer campsite, a stade, a tennis court, a large village park and playground; plus activities such as vide greniers, equestrian events, dances etc. The young people tend to leave for the larger towns in search of work but there’s still a reasonable mix of ages left in the village. There seem to be a lot of plumbers, electricians, carpenters and builders dotted around the commune; but the main “industry” is cattle farming. I think this village is pretty ordinary by French standards - and we love it; having come from a similar sized village in North Yorkshire where all the shops, pub, PO, church etc had shut long ago.
I've used the same article in my discussion National Front - sorry