Things I love about France.

Whilst walking Mimi this late afternoon with the temperature around 28C I was watching the different families and friends enjoying the heat.  It struck me that the blue skies and sunshine make for a very different outlook on life.  As soon as there is a glimpse of sun, people of all ages come together and enjoy incredibly well organised picnics and walks. I am always impressed at the style shown.  There is almost always a tablecloth, picnic hampers, with delicious food, cool bags and lots of games, where competition runs high within different age groups and sexes!  I love the way they find themselves an attractive spot and settle for a period of fun and relaxation.  I am also in awe of the speed in which they are able to pack up and leave in a matter of minutes and rarely leave any litter.

Recently I watched a group of adults enjoying the weather whilst playing three different games in rotation.  The first team were playing ‘Boules,’ the second ‘Molkky’ (a Finnish game with wooden skittles with numbers) and the third had a medium sized triangle with sections and they seemed to be throwing something at it.  I was intrigued by this one, as I have not seen it before and would dearly love to know what it is called and how to play it.  Any ideas please let me know!  I should have gone and asked, but was too timid and convinced myself that it would be rude to interrupt their concentration.  Well it might have!

At the end of term moving towards the school summer holidaysthere is often what is called a “Kermesse.”   This is an outdoor party with lots of games for children and a “refreshment bar” where you can eat and drink and enjoy the atmosphere.  It is often finished off in the evening with music and fireworks.  Recently I was walking near the local celebration when I spotted a very different version of a three-legged race.  Several sets of identical planks of wood each had three types of matching footwear attached.  There was a pair of men’s boots, next some small shoes and finally a pair of average sized shoes all spaced the same distance apart enough for a person to step into them.  The laughter and skill was hilarious as each team had to work out how to walk initially and then race against others.

Another popular event is the “marche gourmande,’ organised by the local community.  It involves a walk around the environment up to a distance of approximately 10k.  There are stopping off points, which is good for the faint hearted or less active. The first is for ‘aperitifs’ consisting of drinks and canapés.  This is known in our family as ‘time for a pair of teeth,’ as uttered by my delightful grandson. The second is for ‘entrees with wine’ and at the finish there is a meal with of course more wine provided by the local vineyards.  Approximately 1000 people were catered for in our local village recently and clearly a good time was had by all.

I really do feel that having a pleasant climate brings families, friends and communities closer together and enables events to occur outside, which is much less stressful than cleaning the house after a massive party!