Sunday 19 February 2017

Vive La France

Pat Fitzpatrick

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot
Vanessa Paradis
Thierry Henry
French wine, even the bad stuff, has long been a hit on this side of Europe
Watch out for hipsters putting "terroir" on the label of their products

As Julia Molony talks about her life in a Gallic rural idyll , our reporter takes a look at some of the other gems that country has to offer

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1 Paris

The difference between Paris and London? There may well be seven million people in Paris saying: "I'm having a terrible day, mate. It's just one thing after another, innit?" But, thanks to the language barrier, we can't understand them. All we see is a drop-dead-gorgeous city, full of drop-dead-gorgeous people having a three-hour lunch. "Bloody Frogs, mate; you wouldn't catch me living over there, innit." That's one of the main attractions, mate; now shut up and drive me to the Eurostar, tout suite.

2 Le Sexy

What do Vanessa Paradis, Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve have in common? Je ne sais quoi. (Ah go on, have a guess anyway, says you, making a right eejit of yourself in front of everyone.) Let's face it, there is something irresistibly sexy about any French person in a movie or on TV. Just ask the woman in that Kerrygold ad from way back when, who told the French guy, Andre, that he could put a bit of butter on her spuds. It was the first time we heard it called that.

3 Terroir

Terroir means different things to different people. In France, it refers to the local soil, environment, the climate and even the culture that goes into making a great wine or cheese. Here in Ireland, terroir is the word hipsters put on the label so they can charge you €8.50 for a jar of their artisan relish. Actually, if you look at the receipt, that price includes €3.50 for letting you look at their sexy tattoos. Hipsters. They are a terroir for the old fleecing.

4 The Language

French is such a sexy language. Take Thierry Henry. (Not literally, ladies - don't be losing the run of yourselves there, now.) In English, his name would be boring old Terry. In French, it means 'I definitely would'. That's why the infamous hand-ball incident in Paris back in 2009 was different for women and men. Irish blokes were furious at the way he used his hand. Irish women closed their eyes and said, "Oh lads, I wish I was the ball." Filthy and treasonous, that's what it was.

5 The wine

It becomes clear when you order the table wine at a restaurant in France. The French government clearly employs an army of wine-tasters who spend their days saying either, "This is good, keep it", or, "This is shit, send it to Paddy". You see, research shows that large numbers of Irish people will drink cod-liver-oil-flavoured toilet cleaner as long as it says 'Made in France' on the bottle. Or, failing that, '€5.99'. No one said we were fussy.

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