You know you’ve become a local in rural France when…

Here's how you know you've gone native in rural France, according to a woman who says she has done it herself.

You know you've become a local in rural France when...
Photo: Pierre Andre Leclercq
Jenny Lovett, who runs the blog Renovations of a Derelict House in Brittany, has realized she has gone native in rural France after four years. 
Here's her list of the things that make you realise you have become a local and no longer a guest to the French countryside. 
1. You never make the mistake of going to the post office/shop/bank at lunch time.
2. You're used to everything being shut on a Monday.
3. You make sure you know when all the bank holidays are and never run out of milk on those days.
Photo: Sylvain Naudin
4. You stop noticing that the street lights get turned off and walking home in the pitch black becomes normal.
5. When you are driving in the middle of nowhere and can see for miles around, you still stop the car for three full seconds at a stop sign.
Photo: Pierre Andre Leclercq/WikiCommons
6. You know never to shop in a hurry, as the cashier may just get up and go and chat to another person or start a completely different job before returning to you some time later.
7. Strangers talking to you and being polite becomes normal and expected and you get upset if a stranger does not say hello as they walk past and think there is something wrong.
8. At a restaurant you think “what a cute dog” rather than “why is there a dog in the restaurant?”.
9. At the market you will think “what a big dog” rather than “why is there a big dog tied up next to the butcher's van?”.
10. You no longer get angry when driving through a village and the car in front stops to talk to a person walking past.
Peak hour in Varzy, central France. Photo: AFP
11. You are no longer even surprised when driving through a village and the car in front stops to talk to a person walking past.
12. You think nothing of stopping when driving through a village and talking to a person walking past.
13. At the boulangerie you are given the fresh baguette before they are put on the shelf.
There are of course ways you realize you've gone native anywhere in France, too. 
14. In a supermarket, you join the rush to the front of the queue when a new till opens instead of letting the person in front go first.
15. The sun is shining in spring but you will still be wearing a sweater and scarf as the tourists wander around in shorts and T-shirts.
16. You stop noticing the dog poo on the street.
17. You no longer practice what you are going to say before you go into the shop.
18. You know the difference between a boulangerie and a patisserie.
Photo: LPLT/WikiCommons
19. You can walk around without photographing everything.
20. You learn how to drink in a bar. A tiny glass of wine is normal as is almost filling your glass with a spirit then adding a splash of mixer.
A vineyard in rural France. Photo: Pixabay
21. You stop marvelling at the price of wine in a supermarket.
22. You stop marvelling at the variety of cheese in a supermarket.
23. You stop laughing at Easter eggs, advent calendars and any other holiday confectionery still being sold at full price the month after the holiday.

Jenny Lovett is a British expat living in Brittany in north-west France. Click here to buy her new book “One Way Ticket to Brittany, France”. Click here to read her blog. 


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France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew

France has extended its winter sales period by two weeks after a request from shops struggling with the loss of revenue due to the 6pm curfew.

France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew
Photo: AFP

The winter sales – pushed from their original start date at the beginning of January – had been due to end on Tuesday, February 16th.

However the French finance ministry has announced the extension of the sales period until March 2nd.

The decision “compensates for the impact of the 6pm curfew by allowing customers to spread out their purchases” and comes after a request from retailers, such a spokesman.

Retailers have reported the sales have been much less busy than usual as customers opt to avoid crowded places.

Also impacting on stores is the closure, from January 31st, of shopping centres and department stores more than 20,000 square metres and the 6pm curfew, which has curtailed the usually busy evening shopping period.

Sales in France are strictly regulated and the summer and winter sales take place on dates set by the government.