Just before he left Paris after six days of the 'French Experience' that included going up the Eiffel Tower, a trip on the Seine, dinner with Mickey at Disneyland and a lot of traipsing about, Eldest Boy delivered his verdict on France's capital.
a) Mad drivers b) Lots of cigarettes c) Even more chemists
A propos the last, he asked me why there are so many pharmacies. Since I am not about to let an 11-year-old think I do not know everything, I said: "Because the French are hypochondriacs." (I know it is a generalisation, but it is also reasonably true given the amount of mood-altering drugs they take.) He looked pensive. As I said before he is a thoughtful boy. He asked: "But why does having so many chemists make them feel better?" Then he added: "Perhaps they should just stop smoking."
The move to France was only supposed to be for a couple of years, not forever. Then I met The Frenchman. Then I had La Fille. Now there's no way back. But La Fille, to whom a horse is a cheval and a frog is just pond life is still half English. So before the Gallic nation claims her for its own, sprinkles her with garlic, sautés her and swallows her up whole we make regular escapes on the Eurostar. And we have discovered the grass is various shades of green either side of the Channel.