It's the little things! France/south of France miscellany for those curious about daily life.

As we go about daily life in France, we realize how the little things are different. Not as different as they were 50 years ago - not even as different as 20 years ago. As example, everyone seems to be wearing some version of sneakers! But still. There's more, beyond the fact that the French usually don't need to worry about medical insurance like Americans often need to.

  • It was surprising to us that people drink alcohol quite early! The photo to the left was taken around 10 am. This person had coffee and beer; others drank only wine or beer (but then 2 glasses each!). I recall, from my days working at a flea market in Paris, as a broke student, going to the café to have a café crème, and seeing flea market vendors asking for a "ballon de rouge," i.e. a glass of red wine, around 6-7 am.

  • It's lovely that farmers' markets come to the same spot at least twice a week, if not 6 times a week in some areas. The produce in the middle photo cost 12 Euros at the market in a northern Nice neighborhood. Fruit and vegetables, if not local, often hail from Morocco or Spain, but we even saw grapefruit from... Florida.

  • In France, it's normal to cook rabbit meat. You find rabbit cut and packaged in a regular supermarket (Photo to the left). In the US, you'll only find it at some farmers' markets.

  • Pastries are of course not unique to France. But there is such a variety, and it sure is hard to resist tasting them all! In the middle photo, there is a sweet tart made with Swiss chard! (You can't tell it's Swiss chard when you taste it.) Above the chard tart is a mini egg custard. In the photo to the right, the slice of cake is from a "St. Tropez" - custard enclosed between light brioche; and a classic chocolate éclair.

  • Most people buy their daily bread (literally). French bread is at its best when it's fresh out of the oven.

  • In Europe in general we've seen a lot more people smoking than in the US. Here in Nice it's hard to sit down for a coffee or an apéritif without inhaling secondhand smoke.

  • Let's not forget the presidential election on April 24, 2022! I watched part of a debate between Emmanuel Macron (current president) and Marine Le Pen. Bothe were seated and able to look at each other. Many times, they were interrupting each other and Mr. Macron often propped up his chin on his hand, or slumped... even in our worst debates in the US, we didn't quite have this...

Above: photos from 2019. Top row from Saint-Raphael: pastries, a truffle products shop, and boudin (blood sausage). Lower row: from Nice, a sign and photos from the old city market (Marché aux Fleurs, Cour Saleya).

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