New habits from living in France?

As I make my final preparations for moving back to the UK, I realise that over the last eight years some of my habits have changed as a result of being here.

The one that really stands out is the fact that I NEVER throw any paperwork away as you never know when a 'fonctionnaire' will decide that they need to see THAT bit of paper before they can do anything else.

Have you noticed any new habits?


Actually Brian, we better not admit drinking "gnat's p1ss" tea otherwise we might be "labelled" again - real men don't eat quiche (drink weak tea)...!

As for the coffee/acqua sporca, nothing like a good ristretto ;-)

Snap, but then I have only drunk green or white tea for years and have at least two year's worth bought for crumbs over trips to Viet Nam. We drink espresso (one cup nowadays) and no coffee shop in the UK, Mac or anywhere else can do it for me. Italian restaurants of course, but too many of them cater for the British taste as well.

not really a new habit, more of a change - I can no longer drink strong tea! went to the UK a couple of weeks ago, we only go for a week once every couple of years, and realised my taste buds have changed over the years. My OH could never stomach British tea and now I'm the same. Only good thing is that we bought some tea bags back as they're so much cheaper over there and we only need one teabag for two cups of tea making the saving even greater ;-)

The trip reminded me just how bad and expensive coffee is in the UK, especially all the american chains selling massive mugs of dirty water - beurk !

I have a french husband who I met in England and he lived with me for a while. Since we`ve moved to France we have mixed up the traditions and the things we like about both countries.

I eat more bread with meals, cheese before my dessert, no gravy but sauces instead, enjoying l`apero, wine with meals, small cups of coffee, hate carpets now, prefer shutters to curtains, prefer the peace and quiet, planning my shopping for the week as there is no shop down the road, the french tradition of kissing and shaking hands, no plastic bags at the supermarket so keep recycling the same ones, and like you keep loads of paperwork!

Still I prefer my cup of tea in the morning with my egg and bacon. My husband also likes the egg and bacon but not the tea! He now drinks more instant coffee and like me misses the English beer. He also likes my English settee, especially when watching tv, whereas the french sit round the table to watch the tv!

I like eye-level mini traffic lights too and tiled or wooden floors - will probably have to buy a hoover when I go back!!

Glad it's not just me - personal observations as a language assistant in primary schools, as a parent and as an English language trainer who's frequently had to help adult trainees (40 - 50 year old business people) overcome traumas from the time they were taught English in secondary school!!

Thanks Nick, that's very kind of you. I'll stick around if I think I can be of assistance to others.

And thanks again for your kindness when my daughter and I went to Paris for Japan Expo - we had a fabulous time and couldn't have done it without you!!

And another :

- La bise, and shaking hands. I really missed this when I went to Germany for 18 months.

Oh my goodness! I go to work for the day and come back to an inbox full of messages!! Glad you're enjoying the topic, obviously provided food for thought.

With regard to both the UK and France, they both have their positive and negative attributes. My choice to go back to the UK is a very personal one and, having decided twelve months ago, giving my major client ten months' notice, I'd say my mind is pretty much made up ;-)

I have experienced both absolutely wonderful and absolutely dire times in France - a reflection on my life, not a question of geography.

Thanks for the good wishes, they are much appreciated. I wish you all well, in France, in the UK or wherever you choose to live.

thanks Angela for this Answer, it was exactely what I wanted to tell Carolyn. You like France ? good for you, but would be better if you keep you thougt about uk for yourself! This horrible UK its what made you what you are now. by the way I am not birtish but I love UK

Using my maiden name! It is even on my supermarket loyalty card. Also eating habits - dessert/cheese order and green salad with the cheese. I still mis-use the word salad - it is not a lovely plate of fresh items but just the greenery!

- Writing names with the surname in UPPERCASE, like Ian SMITH. Makes things much clearer when you have people with names like Laurent DAVID.

- Looking for the mini traffic-lights at eye level. I like these.

- Driving with regard to more or less the speed limit but above all the road conditions. In the UK I can't do this anymore since there are so many cameras that I am paranoid about speed.

- Buying fresh bread shortly before eating it.

- Having lunch in a restaurant now and again without breaking the bank.

- Having all floors tiled or wood. Virtually no carpets. Maybe this isn't really a habit.

- Not trying to do anything much between 12 and 2.

- Not trying to do anything much in July and August.

Plus nice desserts to clean the palate, I hope. Off to eat lunch now.

Always eat cheese before dessert now - much more civilised.

Agree with both of you, Nick and Zoe. When we were back on the Rock for youngest's wedding, my first port of call was to our former local for that fry-up - but couldn't finish it. Same for Henry - he pushed stuff around the plate, and eventually ate some toast and the fried egg. Speaking of that stomach clock, look at the time! Our neighbour has just dropped by with a present of some tomatoes - yum.

ps I should add that I was brought up in France and went to school here so I'm not your typical Brit. I have also lived here on a permanent basis for nearly 20 years but now choose to divide my time between France and Britain because both countries have a lot to offer.

Agree there, Nick abvout the stomach being French. I used to love a fry up, in the beginning, when I visited my country of birth, but, today, I actually don't think I could stomach one.

Half eleven every morning, my stomach leads me to the lunch table, whether I'm working or not, and again at half six (hotel staff all eat together, and at fixed times around here) Oh, and the glass of wine with a meal,never would have back on the Rock, and if I did drink with dinner, it'd end in a piss up.

We habitually carry bags. Big blue IKEA bags and others that are durable bought from shops. Since the Uk was mentioned, I suppose they put up prices to pay for the bags? It all comes out the same in the wash. We even refuse the clear small bags they put fresh, oily/greasy or wet things in because we keep bags separate for them, the exception naturally being meat and fish counters. I think that that might be a good habit anywhere.