A night out in France differs a little from one back in the UK largely because everything seems to close so early. After 4 months here, we have adapted and I quite like the fact that you can have a night out, then return to enjoy home before going to bed.
On Friday we headed to the local bar which seems to have become our favourite probably because we were given such a warm welcome on our first visit.
We walked in and the bar was busy but hands were instantly shot out for handshakes from the patron and several customers. I was impressed that despite being a very shy child my daughter handled having her hand shook up and down firmly by a couple of French blokes.
Before we knew it a table had been cleared for us near the fireplace. The bar is small and filled with clutter like vintage cook books, porcelain match holders, guns and bullets and mirrors.
Rules such as the smoking ban and the fact you are not allowed to buy wine to take away with you are worked around. I quite like the French attitude to rules which seems to be to break them at any given opportunity.
I was approached by a man who wanted to know if my little girl was my daughter. Another man approached and kissed me and then my daughter. Once again, she did so well at coping with this. Another man approached and pretty much forced his company on us but that’s OK as we are keen to get to know people and to learn to speak French properly. He estimated it would take us 5 months until we could speak French well.
Whilst my husband was at the loo, the man offered us drinks but wee were supposed to be leaving. He was not impressed with my refusal even when I said it twice so eventually I relented and said my husband would have one but needless to say I ended up with one too and then the landlord bought me one too.
There was a man playing a guitar and singing for a while and then Breton music which we all love was played via a stereo. It is Celtic so reminiscent of Riverdance and walking past Dublin bars.
One of my issues is that I understand more French by quite a margin than my husband. I laugh when people make jokes which gives me away a bit. I remember spending time with Chris’s family the night before Graduation Day and telling him I did not want them to know I could speak French and he told me afterwards everyone could tell because I would giggle when they said something funny.
I really enjoy the lively atmosphere in the bar and the freebies and the refreshments like cheese, biscuits and crisps which just get plonked down in front of you periodically. It feels totally different to a UK pub and in a way that appeals to me particularly the way women and children are so very welcome.
We finally got away with our French acquaintances begging us to stay.
I really can’t envisage us every having a bad night in this bar and it is our local. There is so much to love about France not least that the husband was put out that French men were “being a little forward” when kissing me. Does not hurt to keep him on his toes and reminds me I am a woman after all.