Posted by: Marco | December 16, 2010

Poop and (rarely) Scoop

or Reflections on life in France

Here’s a list of things we like and don’t like about living in France.

How small can they get?

Thumbs up:


  • Visiting the baker every morning for fresh bread
  • Sitting down in a café to enjoy a great coffee (or delicious hot chocolate)
  • No stop signs or traffic lights
  • Pain au chocolat (or other viennoiseries)
  • Lots of traffic circles
  • The mid-day break for a decent and unhurried lunch
  • No S.U.V.s on the roads
  • Nutella…
  • Crèpes with Nutella
  • Sablés au chocolat (short bread cookies with Nutella…YUM)
  • Baguette with Nutella
  • Inexpensive wine and cheese
  • Courteous people everywhere («Au revoir monsieur/dame»)
  • Cyclists everywhere
  • Open air markets where you can do ALL your shopping before breakfast
  • Vibrant downtowns & pedestrian areas

    How big can they get?

  • No Walmart (or big box malls)
  • Clean streets and well maintained roads
  • Campgrounds in almost every town
  • Lots of cool tiny cars
  • Old French cars (Citroën 2CV, Renault 4, etc.)
  • French ice cream (glaces)
  • Food from Alsace (tarte flambée, moutarde douce, Kugelhopf, …)
  • Dogs allowed in the shops and busses
  • Fantastic driving roads: twisty, turny, narrow…fun!
  • Inexpensive local transport networks
  • Mail delivery on Saturdays

Thumbs down:

  • Dog owners who don’t scoop their dog’s poop!
  • Crazy amount of traffic… despite the traffic circles
  • Impossible parking

    How close can they get?

  • That mid-day break when you need something done
  • Suicidal scooter riders
  • Scooter noise and exhaust
  • Small or individual packaging (1.5L of milk, max)
  • The occasional surly post office worker
  • S.F.R. – the French telecommunication company. It has the worst customer service we have ever encountered. «Épouvantable!!»
  • No decent peanut butter
  • Obligatory men’s speedo wearing at public pools
  • Smokers, lots of them (luckily not indoors!)
  • Strikes (fuel, train, etc.)
  • Phone based customer service (SFR, Darty, FNAC,…)
  • Really smelly cheese (Munster and other unpasteurized soft cheeses)
  • $2.40 for a three-sip espresso in Paris!
  • the cost of fuel (at least $1.66 per litre of diesel)

The Thumbs Up list is much longer than the Thumbs Down list…and with good reason. This is a beautiful country, with lots of tradition, regional pride, friendly folks, and a deep love of the good things in life.
We love it.

Carpe annum,



  1. I notice your reflections didn’t include thoughts about the weather. We’re hearing here about the awful weather all over Europe. How is it in Menton?

    • Weather’s great here. Up north, things look grim. Here on the Cote d’Azur it’s lovely. Raining today, but what can you do? It can’t be sunny everyday.
      We kind of miss the snow at Christmas but 12C and sunny is ok, too.
      Merry Christmas!

  2. Hello everyone! This is Olivia. I wish that I could come over, but that isin’t posible at the moment. Haha! I was looking at your pictures, it looks like you are having alot of fun! I just saw something on the computer that says Poop and (rarely) Scoop! For chritmas I am visiting my Aunt, my Uncle and my baby cousin Oscar! They have a dog named Booger and I got him a puppy shirt that says “ipoop uscoop”! For Xmas I got a ipod nano and a snowboard. I am going to try it out as soon as we get back to Perth. I am very exited because there is internet!

    See you in a few months,

  3. Now I am at my Grampa’s. That is why I am commenting again! I hope that I will be allowed to play games on the internet after this, since that I rarely get to. I am very glad that there is internet so I can type this. My cousin Oscar isn’t very happy at the moment . Are you having much fun? Have you really stood on a mountain that is higher than the clouds? If you did then WOW! If you did then how did you get up there?


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