French hospitality21 Jan 2007
French hospitality #1
I’ve just spent a great weekend with the family in France. A couple from Antwerp has restored a ‘gentilhommière’ (small castle) in Le Thurel (Picardie) as a gite d’etappe and turned it into a pleasant bed-and-breakfast!
Long walks on the beach, excellent food and abundance of wine. Splendid!
French hospitality #2
Returning home was less pleasant, however. After less than a km, we were stopped by two gendarmes on bikes for a presumed ignoring of a ‘stop’ sign. They gleefully treated as a bunch of petits Belges (“I don’t know how it works in Belgium, but in this country we have to obey the law“). They escorted us to the cash machine so that we could take out 90 euros. They might call it ‘upholding the law’ but it sure felt like a highway robbery.
I didn’t even argue. When you put an asshole in a uniform, he becomes an asshole that’s always right, as I’ve learned contesting a fine for honking my horn five years ago (funny detail: it wasn’t me who honked, but good luck trying to prove that).