|France, the country the
English love to hate. We are like children of the same family, squabbling
over who is brighter, smarter, better looking, more sophisticated.
Naturally that means we are allowed to be ultra-critical of one another.
And, just like children we
argue pointlessly over irrelevancies, yet when push comes to shove, the
same blood flows through our veins.
Not that they are without
their fair share of follies. Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is a
monument to form over function, hardly surprising from the homeland of Le
Corbusier, the greatest architectural con man of all time.
Probably the most disorienting building ever; just what you need when your flight arrives two hours late and your
baggage is in Reykjavik.
On arriving in Paris, the
first thing to do is to leave. You will be ripped-off, abused and
disappointed, just like with most European capitals. Go to the Loire Valley and be overwhelmed by the
quantity and quality of beautiful chateaux, or the Dordogne, fast becoming
an English colony...escape to the country.
France definitely competes
with Italy for culture density, but is far less pretentious about it and
has the added bonus of being largely devoid of American tourists as soon
as you leave the "big" places. There is nothing quite like
a dawdle through the towns and villages of rural France, stopping for a
drink in a street cafe, or a picnic by the river.