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Coquelicot Dec 19th, 2019 07:48 AM

French supermarkets seem so civilized to me, giving priority to the elderly, persons “en situation de handicap,” and pregnant women. We’ve noticed there’s not always a dedicated checkout line and that shoppers in the priority category can enter any line and move to the front, and everybody else in line cooperates.

Another thing I like about supermarkets is that cashiers sit down. We’re not used to that in the US. Here the cashiers usually bag your goods, which might be why they have to stand. In France you bag your own.

StCirq Dec 19th, 2019 08:10 AM

We have a dedicated Priorité line in our supermarket. And a dedicated Express line as well. Nobody bags your groceries for you. It's very common, though, for people with big shopping loads at the regular lines to wave on people with less stuff - "Allez-y, Madame/Monsieur," *so that everyone gets taken care of pretty efficiently.

kerouac Dec 20th, 2019 08:39 AM

Hypermarkets always have priority lines, but I was very impressed when I was still taking my mother to stores that in the very crowded Chinese supermarket near my place, one of the African employees would take us to the front of the line when he spotted us; I have no idea if this was store policy or if this was his personal decision. In my extremely mixed neighborhood, I have observed for many years how things work on the bus. The Africans and North Africans (even the teenagers) immediately give up their seats to the elderly or disabled. The Chinese and Indians NEVER do. As for the French, it is 50/50.

cheska15 Dec 20th, 2019 08:42 AM

We have spent the last few days investigating the leasing of a car. We tried to organise this before we left Australia, and couldn’t because we wanted to lease the car in the 2nd half of our trip from February until July. The quotes varied from $5.000 to $8.000 for this amount of time. Apparently this is cheaper than hiring a car due to the tax benefits for the car companies, and available to non Europeans only.

The dilemma started when we read the terms and conditions of the contract. They are very clear that if you stay more than 183 days in France you are not allowed to lease a car. You are required to agree to these conditions, and Peugeot will not lease at all if you have a visa.

As many Aussies take this option we wanted to know how they got around this issue. On the few forums that I am involved in I asked the question. Got lots of people saying yes they did this for six months, then hired again for another six months in their partners name. This was agreed to by the companies in Australia. Without being blunt I did ask specifically how they got around the issue and the answer was ‘ signed up before we left.

Our concerns are that we are not being honest by agreeing to the terms and conditions because we have spent more than 183 days in France. We have concerns that if anything was to happen, insurance companies might find a reason not to pay out because we are on a long stay visitor visa.

As you have to provide your passport for id on delivery of the car I’m not sure if the companies look at the bio data page only or go through the passport Our visa is stapled in the back of our passports. I would love to know if others ignored the terms and conditions and signed anyway, or the companies ignore the issue. However I’m not sure that I can be so blunt as to say ‘ how did you go not telling the truth about how long you were in France for ‘

We have had quotes now for a hire car and the price comes in at around $6.000. So not that much different and maybe peace of mind. The budget for the car was $10,000. We may have been able to buy one for that price but that comes with its own issues.

I would be interested to hear of others experiences of leasing a car.

geetika Dec 21st, 2019 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by kerouac (Post 17032779)
In my extremely mixed neighborhood, I have observed for many years how things work on the bus. The Africans and North Africans (even the teenagers) immediately give up their seats to the elderly or disabled. The Chinese and Indians NEVER do. As for the French, it is 50/50.

kerouac, I am from India and growing up we were always taught to respect our elders. Sadly to say this is no longer the case and youngsters oftentimes behave in a totally unpleasant manner. We were in Turkey some years back and everywhere younger people stood up for me, even though I wasn’t a senior nor incapacitated in any way, it was just a sign of respect for an older person.

cheska15 Dec 22nd, 2019 03:57 AM

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and we decided to walk into town and have a nice lunch. Stopped at Zara on the way and purchased a lovely charcoal coloured long shirt for €25. I love long style tops.

We then went to the restaurant that had been recommended to us, where the Chef decides daily what he will cook, and yesterday’s menu was Pave aux Boeuf. That didn’t appeal so we walked around the corner and came across a lovely place. The downstairs part had vaulted ceilings, and lively lights and looked very elegant.

Lunch consisted of fish for me served on a bed of mashed peas ( unlike the revolting English mushy peas ) and chopped up vegetables, then the fillet of fish sprinkled with was yummy. My husband had Boeuf bourguignon with pasta that he thought was ok. Then panacotta for me, cheese plate for my husband, three glasses of whine and the bill was €51.

I am in a state of shock today. We walked to the markets as I wanted to have Roast Chicken for a late lunch. It was busier than normal, and the stall that I usually by my chicken from didn’t have any. We found another stall and I picked one that looked about the same size as we normally get and it was tied with a red ribbon. How cute I thought. The gentleman showed me the price on the tag, and it was €48. I said pardon and he showed me the tag again. He then said in English ‘ you want’ I said non. It must have been some sort of special chicken to cost that much.

The cost of seafood is pretty much the same that you pay in Aus at this time of year. I noticed that smoked salmon was €49 a kilo. I only eat it occasionally at home, and would buy the packet rather than fresh. Not sure how that price compares to Aus.

A nice walk home and a great baguette with ham and cheese for lunch. Dinner will be chicken thighs with Philadelphia Cream cheese, and prosciutto from the fast 800 cookbook. We are trying to have more normal low calorie meals a couple of times a week.

Coquelicot Dec 22nd, 2019 05:35 AM

cheska15, since you're in France for the long haul, it makes sense to eat healthfully at least part of the time. Our trips are shorter and I'm aware that once we get home we won't have such great restaurants to go to, so I enjoy affordable fine dining while I can but often wish I didn't have to cram six months of it into one month!

StCirq Dec 22nd, 2019 05:59 AM

cheska, I'd be in shock, too. Those prices seem astronomical to me. I think it's a rip-off when the local chicken rotisserie guy (whose chickens I don't even think are that good) wants 19 euros for one plus some too-greasy potatoes. Our best smoked salmon is 22,99 a kilo. You can buy a little packet of Scottish or Irish or other Atlantic smoked salmon for under 5 euros, and that's enough to last us a week or more with bagels and cream cheese for breakfast or as a snack before dinner. Smoked trout is even less expensive. Maybe it costs more because it has to travel farther? That wouldn't apply to the chickens, though. Really, we couldn't afford to eat well at those prices!

Do your supermarkets have amazing holiday displays? Ours are so tempting I could spend whole days in them just gazing at the offerings. It started off in mid-November with stunning bins full of duck and goose carcasses, but by now the displays are gargantuan and full of the most enticing things - not just French, but Italian and Spanish and other charcuterie and cheeses and wines and Champagnes and chocolates and oh so many yummy things. Of course truffles and walnuts and chestnuts and game reign supreme here in this season, so the array of things stuffed with truffles or nuts or both is astonishing. Wild boar sausage? Yum! Dried figs for poaching stuffed with truffles and walnuts? Yum! Truffled ham? Yum! Chestnut tarts? Yum! Chestnut flan? Yum! Walnut cake soaked in chestnut syrup? Yum! Dark chocolates stuffed with chestnut cream? Oh yeah.

Unfortunately, my DH is one of the 10% of people or so who can't taste truffles, so it's wasted on him. But not me!

The other thing that always catches me surprise right before Christmas is all the houses and stores adorned with little ladders with miniature Santas climbing up them. Do you have them, too? I have been meaning to take some pictures of them, but the weather here has been so foul I'm not inclined to go roaming around with my camera.

Don't worry about the calories. You can diet when you get back home if need be:)

cheska15 Dec 22nd, 2019 06:57 AM

StCirq I love those Santa’s little ladders with miniature Santas climbing up them. we have seen them on the houses n our walks. Once again you have provided excellent advice. I will definitely look for a chestnut tart. Sounds fabulous. At our market I can by thick cream by the ladle and creme Englese already whipped for €2 for two spoons. Enough for us, and I will use that for the trifle I will make for Christmas Day. Have to make enough trifle to have for breakfast on the 26th.

I will have a closer look at the supermarket tomorrow for the Christmas displays.

cheska15 Dec 22nd, 2019 07:03 AM

Coquelicot I know what you mean. I had an alcohol free day on Friday, and another one today. I’m going to try and do another one tomorrow and drink every second day. I’m also planning to have some bread free days. I love the bread here. Especially with butter. Our morning breakfast a couple of times a week has been a baguette with butter and Vegemite. Absolutely fabulous. We do have porridge on other days. The cereals here are so sweet.

I put on weight very easily and worked hard before I left to lose 7 kgs. I don’t want to put it back on as my clothes won’t fit.

kerouac Dec 22nd, 2019 08:07 AM

Even though the price of smoked salmon has plummeted (since France is the #1 consumer in the world apparently), I still find it expensive a lot of the time, even though I buy it in supermarkets, but I have found that smoked trout is just as good and considerably cheaper.

And in my Paris neighborhood (poortown, I'll readily admit), a rotisserie chicken costs 4.50 euros. A lot of the people near the river marvel at getting one for "only" 15 euros.

Coquelicot Dec 22nd, 2019 08:12 AM

Cheska, my husband loses weight in France. It's not fair.

cheska15 Dec 22nd, 2019 09:27 AM

Coquelicot my husband doesn’t have a weight problem at all. His idea of trying to lose weight is to not have chocolate for a day. He is very supportive of my attempts. He doesn’t have cholesterol problems either and loves cheese,chips, lollies etc.
I have always said that if we ever got divorced and got a female judge she would be sympathetic to my side because he has never had to diet and I would get the lot. Although after 43 years that’s isn’t going to happen.

kerouac I too am amazed at the cost of a whole rotisserie chicken. At the market I buy two prices of cooked chicken for my lunch and it is €2.50. The traiteur closer to home sells them for €7.50 per price and they sell out by 1.00 pm.

geetika Dec 22nd, 2019 04:54 PM

Oh no cheska, you can’t drink every other day, not in the Christmas/New Year week! Start being “good” after the year end festivities...

A very happy Christmas to all of you, wishing us all many more travelling adventures in 2020 and the years ahead, meilleurs vœux!!!

rhon Dec 22nd, 2019 05:48 PM

It must be a man thing. My husband , P, can eat what he wants and does not put on weight. I, on the other hand, am well padded and ration my treats and struggle to keep not putting on any more. Because we self cater most of the time in France, we still eat fairly healthily, not counting patisserie. We both like our veges and lentils and beans, so still have plenty of them in France. I am afraid we do like our glass of wine, but do have days without any at home, but not so much in France, especially when we are in a wine producing area.

I also have difficulty finding a cereal for breakfasts. A lot have chocolate, and as much as I like chocolate, I would rather have real chocolate. I usually end up with Weetabix. We have croissants a few times, but I would rather save my pastry for a pain au raisin for morning tea.

Have a lovely Christmas.

cheska15 Dec 22nd, 2019 11:58 PM

I haven’t been able to find smoked trout so I will have a good look today as we really love it.

geetika. You are right. No more alcohol free days. I must have been having a brain fade lol.

rhon I am addicted to pain aux raisin. The Boulangerie 500 m away makes the best in Nimes. The women in the shop give me two even if I don’t ask for them. They are very nice women who practice their English when I used my French words.

I discovered the poulet was poulet besse. That is the best chicken and the chickens are white and are protected here. Meat fit for Kings and Queens apparently.

Off to the market now to get the Carre d’agneau for our lunch on Christmas Day. I’m also going to make a trifle. One of the many traditional French desserts at Christmas is a Yule log. They look great but a little to creamy for me.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and I hope the day is everything you want it to be. For the Aussies on here stay safe and cool. The pictures from bushfires are heartbreaking.

kerouac Dec 23rd, 2019 06:42 AM

That would be "poulet de Bresse," no?

CIVB - Comité Interprofessionnel de la Volaille de Bresse

cheska15 Dec 23rd, 2019 07:40 AM

kerouac yes that is it. Have you heard of many French people actually buying it for very special occasions

TDudette Dec 23rd, 2019 08:06 AM

Does anyone remember reading that Julia Child went on a liver cleanse every so often?!

kerouac Dec 23rd, 2019 08:35 AM

Originally Posted by cheska15 (Post 17034036)
kerouac yes that is it. Have you heard of many French people actually buying it for very special occasions

Yes, poulet de Bresse is very famous everywhere in the country. Nevertheless, chicken is an everyday product so not everybody will pay extra for an exceptional chicken. Exceptional moments call for something like duck.

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