Greetings dear readers and friends. First of all, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year – plein de belles choses – all kinds of lovely things for 2019 as they say in French. We had a very nice Christmas and New Year in the northeast of France (the Lorraine) – huddling together and eating a lot to keep warm (or was that just me?) in the chilly weather.
And now 2019 is off with a bang. Like many of you, I’m sure the holidays already seem like ages ago as kids go back to school, we go back to work, and our daily lives take shape again.
Since France has been in the news so much lately, it’s hard sometimes to take a step back and think about what’s going on here and what’s shaping everyone’s attitudes and lives at the moment. I thought I’d take a moment to share with you a few trends that are happening in France – some new and some that have been around for quite some time.
-Less is More
The movement Zéro Déchet, literally “zero waste”, is gaining a lot of speed around here. There is an association in Toulon (the nearest large city to us) that meets and holds conferences about how to lower / eliminate waste in our daily lives.
Even though I, and my family, could certainly work on applying this concept to ourselves, it’s a movement that’s getting more and more popular in France.
-Bien dans ses Baskets
Bien dans ses baskets is a French saying which in English means: “To feel comfortable in one’s own skin”. And I’ll tell you, I feel really good in my skin when I’m cruising around town in my tennis shoes – which is what the word “baskets” means in French.
Remember the days when one of the biggest pieces of advice they gave you when travelling to Europe was, “Don’t wear tennis shoes or shorts or you’ll look like a tourist”? Are you with me, Americans? Well, thank goodness those days are long gone. Shorts too, folks!
Mind you, these are not your grandma’s tennis shoes – you gotta get the nice ones – but there are French ladies who wear tennis shoes every day. Heck, some even pair them with dresses and skirts… and I even know of one savvy lady who wears them to work. And she has works for the government. A big deal.
So ladies, pack and wear those tennis shoes with pride!
-Bio C’est Bon
This is far from a new trend, but eating organic “bio” is everywhere in France. A few years ago (meaning like 9 when I first arrived in France), you could only find a few organic products in the supermarket, which were fairly high-priced.
Now, you can go to your local Carrefour, Intermarche, Leclerc, etc. (French supermarkets) and find whole aisles dedicated to organic products – and many at reasonable rates. Some supermarkets even have their own line of organic products, like Carrefour Bio. And there are many smaller markets that are entirely organic, like La Vie Claire.
-Keeping it Local
The concept of eating local is probably as old as the country itself, but it’s getting easier and easier to get your foodstuffs from local producers.
One company in our area, Les Paniers d’ Avoine (The Oat Baskets) will deliver boxes of local fruit and vegetables to your home or office. All the products are organic and cultivated in Provence.
Some farmers have started their own “basket” service and you can pick up your panier directly from the farm or at a pick-up station. Our friends have done this (Nicolas & Marie of raclette fame) and they love the “surprise” of finding out what fruits and veggies they receive in their basket.
-Cheese is always in Fashion
Cheese nevers goes out of style in France and there seem to be more “artisanal” cheese shops popping up in our area. A nice one that we’ve tried, La Granges à Fromages in Le Beausset, has beautiful cheese platters (truffle-infused Brie anyone?) for dinners / parties and also maintain a stand at the Sanary-sur-Mer market on Wednesdays. We got a platter for my husband’s birthday and the best part was seeing the guests faces (ours too) while they tried “new” cheeses they’d never tasted before.
Vive la France & vive le formage!
Bonne journée & bon week-end from Provence!