Living in rural France

November 13, 2014 by
Filed under: France 

Why rural France is so relaxing

We first moved to the Lot department in September 2006 having decided this was a beautiful place to set up our cycling holidays. We previously lived in Exeter in the south west of England where we thought the pace of life was fairly relaxed.

Well even though I have French relatives and have lived and worked in France before, I have never lived in such a rural area like the Lot. Relaxed is not the word, they say mañana is a bit hasty here!

The French here in rural France tend to only work the minimum necessary to enjoy their life – work to live, not live to work. I know some artisans (masons, electricians, plumbers) who are on a particular tax regime that allows no accounts kept and a flat tax rate up to a certain amount. They try to complete most of their work before August and then take the rest of the year off. Some don’t make it by august but still take it off anyway. If you ask for an estimate for work to be started between September and the end of the year they will give you an incredibly high estimate to dissuade you using them. Of course some Brits have asked them to go ahead thus the fueling of high prices for French builders working for expats.

All our local shops close for a two hour lunch, the only exceptions are the very large supermarkets.
This really confuses some of our English speaking cycling guests as they cannot understand why they close. The boulangeries all close for lunch even though they sell sandwiches, quiche etc. You have an idea of what you want for lunch and buy it before they close.

There are a lot of restaurants cafés that have a menu ouvrier (workman’s menu) this is normally a four course meal with wine included for about twelve euros.

Rural France Auberge

4 Courses for 12€ including wine!










So the French in rural France have a two hour break for lunch, only work about thirty five hours a week or have a couple of months off.

They are relaxed because they are not chasing money, they just don’t care or want to increase business if it impinges on their calm lifestyle, and why should they. Look at the south west of France and their health and their lower rate of heart attack despite high fat intake and red wine!

I have to say that we are now as relaxed and calm as the French. On the rare occasions I go back to the UK I am on edge and confused why everyone is in such a rush.

Why rural France is so relaxing


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