A survey published today concludes that the French are more miserable than ever. In fact they are more miserable now than any time since records began. That’s pretty miserable.
When I moved to France eight years ago with my children I expected them to pick up the spirit of Voltaire, freedom, liberty and equality.
Little did I know that almost by osmosis they would pick up another, more obvious, national trait: the ability to whinge, complain, curse one’s lot and go on strike at every given opportunity.
You might think the average Frenchman has a lot to be chuffed about: the choice of endless sea shores, fabulous skiing, the loveliest city in the world, great food and wine, sunshine and the sexiest First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. Are they happy? Non. They are not. I have never known a nation grumble so much. I can only assume that they are worried that if they smile the tax man will assume they are hiding money and come and investigate them.
Tomorrow I am leaving my grumpy children and going off to renew myself at my new anti-ageing spa retreat. It is May 1st so I will be almost the only person in France “working”. But somehow I can’t see myself grumbling, however tough the downward dog gets…..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008