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Subject Topic: France - cultural and custom differences
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Message posted by franbee on 18/9/2017 at 7:14pm
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One of the pleasures of travel abroad is to observe the differences. Some of these are not at all like the Brit ways. For instance, we observe at the motorway services how people have a big coolbox which they get out of the car boot and take to a picnic table to eat lunch. Or they stand near the car eating and drinking. And today we observed many people parking across the bays in the car park. That would never happen in the UK, you,d be fined.

Of course, there is the differences in the provision of toilets that most Brits find unacceptable. The mixed sex sanitaires take a bit of getting used to, and I admit to prefering single sex facilities.
And why do campsites insist on cleaning the facilities at 8.30 in the morning?

Supermarkets can be another problem where you queue at the checkout whilst the customer and operator have a chat.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Ina on 18/9/2017 at 8:09pm
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Yes, seen people put out table and chairs, and have what appears to be an extended lunch. What we've never understood is the fact that there is also a bottle of vin, they all have some, then somebody gets behind the wheel and drives off. I personally would never do that, but as you say, it's France; but I'm afraid I take a dim view of anyone who has a drink and then drives.

Mixed sex sanitaires don't bother me at all. I haven't seen any being cleaned at 8.30; seen them being cleaned at 6.30 and 7.00, and after lunch, but that's just down to particular sites I suppose.

Yep, been in many a queue at a supermarket, where there is a long chat going on. But what I think takes a long time too is the payment by cheque, which still happens in France. Thought a lot of supermarkets would have phased that out by now.

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Ina

Message posted by KeithChesterfield on 18/9/2017 at 8:14pm
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They eat out because in the majority of cases the weather is much better, tables and chairs are provided and there is room to spread out on grassy areas on most French motorway services.
The thought of having a picnic at, for instance Toddington services on the M1, with the stench of urine, the lack of outside seating, diesel engines churning over and lack of space doesn't really appeal - well, it doesn't to me.
Parking to a French person means abandoning the vehicle where ever there's a space and the rest of you can go to ....!
Supermarkets are no difference to other shops in France - the customers never stop chatting with the Staff - but you get used to it - eventually.

Message posted by Opensauce on 18/9/2017 at 9:29pm
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I sometimes think the French try too hard with picnics. Roadside & motorway service picnic areas are usually pretty dirty. Tables covered in birds muck & litter bins overflowing. I find it more comfortable to eat my picnic in my car.

As pointed out customer service in supermarkets is pretty lousy. As are hygene standards. They seem to be run for the benefit of staff not customers.

Say what you want about UK motorway services but the toilets are a 100 times better than at French services.

& they park like t****rs as well.

I'm glad I only go for the good weather. I'd hate to live there.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by clf86ha on 18/9/2017 at 9:34pm
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Heading home last week, we stopped at a french motorway services to make lunch. ...wished i hadnt bothered...a large family in multiple cars pulled in in front of us and the males headed towards the verge side...some started peeing...nothing new i thought, until one squatted and had a poo ....OH My God!!!!
In full view of everyone, in a place where others picnic and all within 50 feet of a large toilet block!!!

Message posted by Francais on 18/9/2017 at 9:58pm
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We have the Waeco CF25 running in the boot of the car, which contains enough provisions for our hour or so lunch stop at one of the autoroute aire's.

We always find a nice picnic table, and spread our vinyl table cover held secure with 4 clamps.

Reading the above posts, kinda confirms that we go native when in France.

No vin for us whilst on the road though, jus d orange is our mid day tipple, along with a few espresso cups, to help keep the driver focused on the job in hand.

Being British of course means we always have to take a break at 3pm for a cuppa, we carry our own tea bags Aldi's finest.

Message posted by Ewen c on 18/9/2017 at 10:05pm
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We like stopping at French lay-bys. They always have picnic tables and we get the grub out and have a wee picnic. It breaks the journey and they are usually in a forest or national park.
I don't mind French supermarkets. The staff have always been nice whenever I have tried my French and the slower pace makes a change and makes me feel I am on holiday.

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I used to be YES.

Now I'm HELL YES!

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Message posted by JuneR101 on 18/9/2017 at 10:11pm
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The parking of cars in caravan spaces in aires just gets my blood boiling especially when there are loads of car parking spaces available anyway. Unable to find parking in two aires for just this reason I arrived at a third to find a French car parked guess where so I let the owner have it in my very best vernacular French and he moved it rather sheepishly.   Grrrrrrrrrrr.....





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Enter your zip code here

Message posted by Berriow on 18/9/2017 at 10:15pm
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I go inside and eat at French service stations. How's that for a cultural difference ?

The best so far was the Aire des Verites on the N7 at Lapallise - truck drivers and Audi drivers all having lunch together, and there was even a help yourself cheese board between main course and puddings.

Message posted by phathamster on 18/9/2017 at 11:27pm
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the parking does make me giggle slightly, could be plenty of spaces but they simply abandon the vehicle haphazardly, highlights being in the middle of a mini roundabout (yes a painted white circle!) and low lights is blocking me in whilst i stopped with a trailer on the back, one politely moved and helped guide me out to be fair.


aires can be a bit hit and miss, i normally pull in have a look and decide if its a good un or a wrong un....

Message posted by SGThomas on 19/9/2017 at 8:52am
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I still like the fact that children and even teenagers, look you in the eye and wish you "Bonjour"

Makes such a change from the surly, phone obsessed things one sees in the UK.

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Stuart
April-July 2018   Somewhere in France
August-October 2018 Somewhere else in France

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by alan29 on 19/9/2017 at 9:25am
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I love the differences.
Its one of the main reasons we go to France.

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Drome May-June 2017
It was superb.

Message posted by Capt Lightning on 19/9/2017 at 9:46am
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I've just returned from our holiday that included a section through N.France and I was pleasantly surprized at how friendly and helpful the locals were. In one restaurant, the manager insisted on driving us back to the campsite because it had started to rain heavily!

As for the unisex loos, this doesn't trouble me. Many years ago when living and working in Germany, I got used to female cleaners coming into the male toilets.

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Two drifters off to see the world.

Finished for the year..
Won't even think about 2018 till after Hogmanay.

Message posted by KeithChesterfield on 19/9/2017 at 10:44am
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And where could you find a similar place to stop in the UK?
https://youtu.be/OKRr6ivfCDg

Message posted by alan29 on 19/9/2017 at 10:50am
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Unisex loos?
Just like at home.

-------------
Drome May-June 2017
It was superb.

Message posted by Nellie72 on 19/9/2017 at 2:04pm
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the first time i encuontered a unisex loo i was taken aback slightly, but if the chap doesnt mind peeing in full view of me whilst i wash my hands, as long as i dont have to wee in front of him, i can live with that.

The toilets at aires are usually disgusting, many times I've walked into the loos, turned tail and gone in the caravan instead :D

However we do sto pfor picnics at both aires and the bigger service stations. I do all the driving and after 2 lots of 2 1/2 hours at the wheel I need a proper rest; a leasurely picnic out in the sunshine is often just the job.

Cars parking in caravan spaces have been known to get a gentle mouthfull in both the UK and in France, but it does depend on how tired I am & many times we've ended up in the lorry parking if there's sufficient room. I'm always surprised just how tiny out outfit looks next to the wagons. We were parked next to a lovely spanish lorry driver on our way south this summer who had just picked himself a huge crop of cherries, he washed them, put them in a bowl and wandered over to us to see if we'd like to share them with him. He didnt speak english or french and i've only a tiny tiny bit of spanish, but it was a nice way to pass the time and was something different than staring at tarmac going past at 60mph for miles on end.

I ADORE french supermarkets, I've always found the staff friendly and very forgiving of my limited vocabulary, but being polite and smiley has always got me the information I was after.

We're off to paris in november for a week with my parents, then next summer we're back to france again, although we're going to do a couple of weeks in Belguim too.

OH & I can't wait to emigrate there, it was our retirement plan, but thanks to brexit it's not looking likely :(



Post last edited on 19/09/2017 14:12:14

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Doing whatever the rice krispies tell me to.


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