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on 30 March 2016
Hilarious and really informative. I found the description of different approaches to healthcare and education fascinating. After living in France for a while I realised I was not aware of all the social rules and how they are different to those in the UK. When people are rude it's sometimes hard to know why.

Then I followed Lucy's advice about French waiters and speaking to them very respectfully (not in a friendly, casual way as we do in the UK) and asking their advice on wine. I also made sure to greet shopkeepers on arrival inside the shop, not at the till and use titles. This just revolutionised the quality of service I then received in France.

I told a French acquaintance her story about being at a dinner party that turned into a sex party and he started shouting at me quite aggressively telling me the author was a liar and this could never have happened.

I would recommend this book to any foreigner living in France as I did because it will improve your quality of life. I don't think French people like it because they don't like hearing criticism of France even if, as in this book, it is balanced with a lot of positive and neutral differences.
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on 6 October 2012
This is an account of living in France (chiefly Paris) by someone initially taken there by love. Warning - one or two spoilers.
It moves from some fairly personal passages to other, more sweeping, debates about the nature of France and the French. As others have mentioned there are hundreds, probably thousands, of books written by British people who have moved to France. Many are frankly rather tedious; page after page of how wonderful it all is, and how funny the French are. This book is a bit different.
The author does at least try to understand her new neighbours and acquaintances; helped by the fact that she married a Frenchman, which at least meant she had to integrate to some degree. Although the marriage did not last, she remained in France, and tries to explain why.
The differences between French and British culture are examined, and although you may not always agree with the conclusions, they normally make you think.
Overall, an interesting read; it can only be a personal account, but does not pretend to be anything else.
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on 29 July 2015
For some, this is perhaps an entertainingly rambling tale via the author's very personal retelling of an emotional period of her life.
For me, it was written well enough to be an easy read, but all in all a bit sad, simplified & judgemental.
Depends what you are looking for, but I would not recommend this as a purchase for those looking for guidance into either a move to France or an appreciation of current French culture.
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on 28 August 2014
I cannot but echo all the other positive reviews the book has received. It is now slightly out of date, with heaps of references to the Sarkozy regime, and the main body of the book is very Paris-centric. Nevertheless, it is highly engaging, highly informative and a great read.
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on 7 July 2016
Very well written. Furthermore Wadham has a deep understanding of a woman's role within French culture. There are so many amusing and thoughtful insights. Loved this book and will return to France with enthusiasm.
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on 29 August 2016
better than some others
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on 20 June 2017
I loved it. Just moved to France and the author has shown me the subtleties of French life!
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on 26 November 2015
Gave us a good idea of what to expect when we retired to France. They are very different from the Anglo Saxons.
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on 9 January 2016
Good read
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on 27 August 2015
Not just a "pop" insight into French culture. Much more insightful and good potted histories along the way. An enjoyable read.
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