In case you might be planning on emmigrating to France, I thought I should mention a couple of books that I think are essential reading. "TouchÃ©" by Agnes Poirier, is a French woman's take on the British and "Talk to the Snail" by Stephen Clarke, is a British man's take on the French. While neither make any mention of the practicalities and logistics of making the move, they certainly give valuable insight into the cultural differences between us Anglo-Saxons and the 'Romantiques' across the channel, and all the while with amusing aplomb. Both authors are noteworthy too - Poirier lives and works in the UK as a journalist for the Guardian; who's first release of "TouchÃ©" it is said had to be pulped because it was libelous! While Paris-based Clarke, is known for 'self-publishing' his first book "A year in the Merde" - which ended up being a runaway best-seller. With such great writers tackling the subject of cross-channel culture it's a wonder why anyone bothers blogging on such matters...?
The French are notorious for their carparking habits. It seems nowhere is out of bounds, on a pedestrian crossing, on a corner, on the pavement; anywhere in fact - where a space intended to safeguard pedestrians and other road users exists - it seems to also double up as a free parking space. Moreover I have seen pavements used as roads - much to the detriment of many a surprised pedestrian, and I have even seen people argue with the police over their right to park in a cordonned-off space: "You say there's a military parade about to come around the corner? No problem, I'll be back in a minute, I just need to pick up some pastries!" So it seems access to parking space is regarded as much of a constitutional right by the French as their access to bread. Of course illegal parking does carry a risk: spot fines. But if you ask me - eleven euros (â‚¬11) isn't exactly going to deter even the most hard-up Frenchman from parking his wheels wherever he damn well likes.