All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Integrate! Assimilate! Tailgate!

Claude Gueant, Interior Minister and Dalek substitute, has been addressing the question of immigration....or rather, the conduct expected of immigrants.

Essentially his message is this....if you come to France, you don't bring your old habits with you. You become like the French.

While he was speaking in the context of Muslim immigration, it would be interesting to see the consequences for the British expat colonies out in the sticks were his ideas to be enforced among them.

No more breaking the curfew, for a start. You are to be behind your hermetically closed shutters by 7.00 pm at the latest, so that French villages preserve their traditional character - that of cemeteries with rather large tombs.
This will also fool the Germans if they bring down the Euro and take over Europe again.

You are to open no door except that of a restaurant between noon and 2.00pm, but you may open your shutters the better to see the serving of fressure, andouillette or tete de veau on your plate.

No more of the insubordinate 'jardin anglais', different coloured plants flopping all over the place.
You will plant everything in strictly aligned rows and eradicate any plant not conforming to the norms with herbicide.

Driving behaviour will alter.
You will drive at five kilometres an hour on a narrow road and park directly outside the baker's shop on a roundabout.
Without signalling.
You will tailgate.
You will give the 'coup de poisson' to any foreign registered car.
You will not give any version of the 'V' sign, but will raise one finger instead. The gendarme will arrest you in either case but it will tell in your favour in court that you have used a French method of outrage to a public official.
When you run over a dog on the road you will not seek out the owner to apologise and offer to take the dog to the vet, you will seek out the owner in order to make him pay for the dent in your bumper.

No more 'white vans'. No more 'English shelves'. No more smuggling golden syrup across the border.
You will happily opt for frozen frogs' legs from Thailand, Label Rouge poultry raised in a patch of mud alongside the battery cages and biftek - the latter strictly  from ancient Prim' Holstein cows.

You will learn to speak French.
Do not be discouraged.
In time your knowledge will extend beyond the mastery of the essential everyday phrases

'cons', 'connards', and 'merde'

and achieve fluency

'casse-toi', 'fous-moi le camp'.and 'putain de merde'.

The more you meet with and talk to your French neighbours, the more your vocabulary will be enriched.
Especially if they only speak patois.

You will observe the dress codes....flat cap and Charentaise slippers for the men, salmon pink corsets hidden under flowered crossover pinnies for the women.
No fascinators.
No panama hats.

Adultery will only be committed at the permitted hours...between 5.00 pm and 7.00 pm so that you are home in time for the curfew.
No more of this disorganised activity as and when convenient.
Adultery is a serious matter.

You will recognise the importance of sport in the life of the nation.
You will sing La Marseillaise in French at the start of the match, not the English version starting with
' A Frenchman went into the lavatory...'
You will support 'les Bleus'....whether it's rugby, football, tennis ...or twirling.
And remember...French teams do not play dirty...they merely anticipate their retaliation.

Your children will attend French schools where they will learn the skills to enable them to make their way in France.
They will quickly become adept at learning by rote, ticking boxes and carrying several kilos of books around every day which will fit them for the sort of jobs generally open to immigrants....stacking boxes in the chicken abattoir.

It may seem terribly complicated, but when it comes down to it all you really have to do to successfully integrate is to remember one phrase.....

French is best.
Sod the rest.


  1. Having read your blog(s) for some time now the idea of becoming like the French - as a virtue - has me in hysterics.

  2. Steve, so I can cancel the beret and the baguette, then?

  3. Oh Fly, if it wasn't so horribly true, I'd laugh,


  4. So my homeschooling my kids in France is a 'No No' then, correct? Dying to try and pull off the 'parking in front of the boulangerie directly on the round about' stint. I have previously been of the type that learnt the French version of how to raise a finger at the perpertrator ;-)

  5. Fly, it's a good thing they made "Little England" when they did' :-) If you're right the next series will look very different....

  6. After almost 30 years in California, French husband is perplexed that they haven't yet learned to speak his language. (Gallic shrug shoulders and expel air from puffed out cheeks in disgust). Local police have been known to come up with a French speaking (Canadian) officer when husband is caught driving like a Frenchman. We have to pay his fines in Dollars though.

  7. SP, well,France is the land of liberty so one car laugh or long as one observes the norms for said activities.

    Ange, home schooling...I don't know, but it's probably subversive.
    The parking for the bakery was a feature of the last place I lived in France bu it wasn't unique.
    Just don't try the bras d'honneur...

    Perpetua, I'm sure it won't involve the Brits...until the U.K. refuses to bail out France...

    Englsh Rider, they do seem to export their culture with them...

  8. Hilarious! I'd add the obligatory aubergine hair colour for women of a certain age and no exterior signs of wealth unless you have the French breeding to back it up...

  9. Sarah, yes, I'd forgotten the hairdressers...

    Rosie, just for fun!

  10. I have learnt from a neighbour that connasse is the feminine version of connard.

    I expect that to come in very handy.

  11. Been away catching up - forgive short comments.

    Not sure I ever want to be French

  12. Mark in Mayenne, yes, there will certainly be an appropriate occasion...and referring to someone as a gonzesse isn't too complimentary, either.

    Mark, no.. I think that only starry eyed foreigners who think that France is all Paris fashion, croissants and the Eiffel tower would want to be French.

  13. :-) I'm certainly not queueing 'le passport' anytime soon. Could I add the requirement to wear carpet slippers for anyone over the age of 45?

  14. Niall and Antoinette, and the dressing gown until after ten o'clock?

  15. Oh crikey, I was toying with the idea of applying for French nationality recently, after reading this I doubt I'll bother!

    Beautifully written as always Fly.

  16. PigletinFrance, don't let me put you off...or is it the salmon pink corset and carpet slippers which have influenced your change of heart?
    Hope the sight is improving.

  17. Ref: Bird Sense. The book is due to be published in February and there is a website about it already.

    Tim Birkhead has written other books that are worth looking at too.

  18. Mark, thank you! It will make a wonderful present for him.

  19. Also funny you mention driving, because here, tailgating and "queue de poisson" are national sports on Motorways. Bad parking also seems to be an enjoyable activity.
    Not to mention road rage and dangerous driving on country lanes.
    When I arrived in the UK, I had this idealised image of "civilised" British drivers in my head compared to the French. Well, after a few years of practice, it turns out it's a myth.

  20. Raphael Mour, but I'm writing about France...not the U.K.
    All I can say is that there is often a stereotype about other countries...and it always falls to dust in the light of experience!

  21. I know you are writing about France. Doesn't mean we can't put a few things into perspective, does it?

  22. Many things you single out and characterise as "French" are in fact widespread amongst human beings regardless of nationality.
    That kind of perspective.

  23. Raphael Moura....and thus as seen in France.
    Do lighten up.

  24. I'm fine thanks. Bit of a misunderstanding here. Anyway, never mind.

  25. getrealfrance, yes. I see from your blog that you take France as it is