France is well known for her food, whether buying to prepare at home, or eating out, bargains are always to be had. When buying fresh produce, nothing is nicer than to wander round a small weekly village markets. They always have oodles of local products, usually bio (organic) which would make any culinary expert drool and it leaves the common or garden cook totally spoilt for choice.
Eating out in France is always a pleasurable experience.
You can still get a five course lunch with a bottle of the proprietor's best red or white for between 10 and 12 euros and every mouthful is a delight. There are traditional (and totally erroneous) views of the French held by many English and the word 'boorish' is usually included in them. On the contrary, visitors to this part of the world will be bowled over by the welcome, charm and politeness of the locals.
It's like returning to an age when people had time to stop and talk to each other, whether they were acquainted or not.
People entering a bar or shop will always say a general bonjour to all present.
The lack of crime leaves the local gendarmes with little else to do but patrol the roads and hassle motorists. Having said that, they don't get much joy there either. The roads in France, certainly in this neck of the woods, are empty in comparison to English ones. Driving becomes a pleasure once more, rather than a chore.
You can drive for miles and not see another car, and traffic jams are just unknown to the local populace. On top of that, the French have this charming habit of flashing their lights to oncoming traffic whenever there's a gendarme lurking in the bushes. The result is that cars chug past bleary-eyed, yawning gendarmes at two or three kilometres per hour under the speed limit.
This region of northern France is definitely for anyone looking for a stress free holiday home or holiday. Bargains in wine and food are plentiful, the air is clear and clean and it's a place of peace and tranquillity. It's an area full of charm and restfulness with an abundance of the more peaceful hobbies like pony riding, fishing and wandering through enormous forests and it's only a couple of hours south of the port of Caen.
Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.
In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.
Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.
If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.