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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Life Faux Pas



French Country Life Faux Pas (that’s “foe-paws” to my fellow high school dropouts) are not, for me “social errors.” (Tasting the wine before your host being the ultimate no-no.)

Alas, non, pour moi the Faux Pas of French Country Life are the rules, rituals, and traditions in that lifestyle that get up my nose!

True, every country has it’s idiot-syncricies. It’s particular take on logic, reason,efficiency, public service and the “right” way to do things. As I explained in THIS POST.

bicyclegourmet.comWhat to the locals seems as logical as wine with cheese often morphs into what we exotic strangers from the far away lands consider unusual, eccentric, illogical weird, and ocassionally, disgusting.

But, when you plant your tent here permanently, obviously you must, as much as possible, ignore or somehow deflect these French Faux Pas

I can recommend pretending you’re on the set of a Goddard movie (“Fauxpasville?”)and/or enjoying more wine than usual. (Never before/while driving, bien sur.)

And, ridiculing them and their (to us) bizarre ways in print, can get you exiled to the other side of the Mountain. As one Famous Author discovered.

Here then are a few of the Faux Pas of French Country Life through which I am obliged to navigate:


bicyclegourmet.comTrue, no traveller, not even the “wet behind the ears” variety expects to find all the conveniences and comforts of home available 24/7 in the Foreign land of their dreams.(Expect perhaps residents of Palm Springs and Nob Hill)

But, an “o-ring?” – that ever so helpful(and absolutely essential) circle of rubber that seals the inside of stovetop espresso maker – not on the menu! You need to buy a whole new unit.

bicyclegourmet.comBut wait – there’s more – that whole new unit – mimicking the form of the grand classic robust solid Italian espresso that you discovered when Chianti was a pup, is, quelle suprise, no longer robust, solid or Italian.

It now hails from China. Made from a tissue thin metal that is just this side of transparent.


At some point in the pre-history of this cheese chomping Nation, a major genius (unknown, but probably a politician – or a bureaucrat dreaming of becoming one) decided that it would be a great energy saver to have hallway lights in apartment buildings, turn off after a minute or so.

While this probably did save a certain amount of energy then, it was certainly offset by the medical bills of the elderly, who for some reason needed more than a minute to get up to the third floor in their elevator-less building.
(Furniture movers deal with this one every day.)




SO – you won’t be needing those radiators on in your apartment anymore – will you? And if “Spring” is late? Well – hey – that’s what sweaters, blankets and exercise bikes are for.

(Author’s Note: even in the countryside, there are apartments. Usually filled with Seniors.)


One of the greatest of the French Country Life Faux Pas is one you’ll grok instantly. Because it exists in every country. (that would be…uh…like… International?) It exists to confuse, delay, inconvenience, and, of course, enrage. “It” is Bureaucracy. Every country has one. All of us,sadly some more than once, have been ground in the monster’s gears.

Here’s an example of the French variety:
You mail an innocuous document (and aren’t they the best kind?) to the City Hall. A week passes. No return mail. OK – not a big deal. Two weeks. You’re starting to wonder if they have your address. Three weeks. Still no acknowledgement.

OK – it’s not a life and death situation, but still….so you phone the City Hall. They put you through to the correct department. Where nobody knows nuthin’ about your form. Because “Mr. X” would have handled it and he’s (you’re ahead of me already aren’t you?) yes – on vacation!

6 weeks after you sent the form, Mr. X (now suitably relaxed and bronzed we assume)writes (functionaires never ‘phone)to inform you that you filled out the form in Blue ink! When you should have used Black!

But wait – that’s not the kicker. The kicker is – if you hadn’t phoned – he would never have told you!


This example, while not literally a French Country Life Faux Pas, is at least worthy of the “bizarre” label.

There are 60 varieties of potatoes that are illegal to grow in France. One of them is called : “The Clinton.”

And so it glows.


What are ya thinkin’?

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32 Responses to “French Country Life Faux Pas”

  1. todd grubbor says:

    an unexpected , but very welcome post.

  2. victoria major says:

    can always count on you to give us the real lowdown…..thanks!

  3. barry whittner says:

    as you said victoria…the “real lowdown”….even if it’s the one with aggro!

  4. anamaria gonzonlez says:

    This is a big change from your usual posts……but very good and useful.

  5. bailey carstairs says:

    I agree with anamaria……no experience with another country’s way of doing things is ever 100% positive…good info to have.

  6. alan preston says:

    hey – what happened to those rose-colored glasses? (lol!)

  7. jany bond says:

    just when i was beginning to think you were on the payroll of the french tourist board…..this “reality slice!”

  8. carl randle says:

    very imaginitive – the “goddard suggestion” – however, i find your second method of dealing with your “faux pas” more realistic!

  9. zena trestors says:

    hang in there BG!

  10. leslie panell says:

    refreshing to learn your french country life is peppered with the same frustrations the rest of us have….but not as often i hope!

  11. harvey petanski says:

    sounds like in spite of all the good stuff you’re always telling us about..life in france has all the same B.S. as here.

  12. merry andrews says:

    can always count on you for honesty……even if it’s not always warm and fuzzy.

  13. carlson yetner says:

    hey merry…i agree…and you reminded me of an old song(can’t remember the title of course! – lol)..there was a line in there that went…”i hope you will be honest if you can’t always be kind”

  14. sasha quint says:

    what i like most about your posts is that you tell us things we NEVER would have found out otherwise.

  15. lani reimer says:

    I agree with sasha….everyone else that writes about France never gives us the insights we get from DA BG!

  16. osten pederson says:

    as always great information present with humor. classic BG!

  17. stephanie bogus says:

    while it would be wrong to say you’ve shown us the humorous side of french life…….certainly you’ve confirmed that every country has it’s “little adjustments” that foreigners must make.

  18. diane willis says:

    refreshing to learn that life there can be just as frustrating.

  19. parker williams says:

    right diane, just as frustrating……but the flip side is waaay more interesting!

  20. arthur pandit says:

    kudos to DA BG for giving us the flip side parker.

  21. pam wilson says:

    here’s one DA BG missed…..maybe it’s changed now…but when i was a student in france….you had to turn on the hot water before you wanted a shower….

  22. armand hester says:

    pam…it’s called a “paloma.”…..and i think it’s a great energy saving idea…way in adavnce of “green” technologies!

  23. carolyn guenter says:

    i second that armand…..why waste energy constantly having water hot…when you can fire it up in a few minutes (something pam didn’t mention)….whenever you need it?

  24. marty wilderman says:

    good thing you have a sense of humor…yeah?

  25. sam hunnicut says:

    hey marty…sure thing…but you know yourself when this stuff is going down it’s not so funny.

  26. berle winniston says:

    That’s a big “10-4” Sam…….everything in life that’s frustrating only gets funnier the longer time passes……know what I mean?

  27. rhonda pettigrew says:

    this is kinda black humor to say this…but i found the funniest one of these was the black ink story…….so true!!!

  28. darlene scranton says:

    whatever rhonda……but a potatoe named “the clinton” is on the top of my black ha-ha list!

  29. bill wamsley says:

    hey girls…those are all pretty good contenders for the funniest “arrrgh” title….but….as a guy…..the one i can relate to most is the “o ring caper.”

  30. angela martinez says:

    i’m putting “o-rings” on my bg christmas care package!

  31. wanda fishman says:

    Hey Angela….why not a new REAL Italian espresso machine.

  32. gerry riventrop says:

    some of these comments are alsmot as interesting as your post! DA BG really knows how to get people talking.

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