1.15.2010

Vacation- Comme les Français


At my resort in Barbados there were people from all over the world- Great Britain, America, Italy, Spain- but you can guess which ones I was singularly interested in... Mais oui, the French. I wanted to find out how they vacation and what differences (if any) they had from the other guests.

There were only two couples from France staying at our hotel (they were not together, in fact one couple was there the first half of the week and the other the second) but these two couples spoke volumes about French culture.

I observed three main things about them with regards to going on holiday: Dress Sense, Buffets and Man-Woman Relationships...


Dress Sense:

Most of the women in the resort (myself included) wore metallic espadrilles (mine are gold- I love them!) and bejeweled cover-ups but the French women carried their understated dress sense through to their resort clothing- a simple purple dress, a floppy hat, ballet flats and sandals- and no make up. C'est tout. I don’t think either option is necessarily better- in fact I think they are both fine- anything goes on holiday. I tend to be more understated in my every day dress sense so when I go abroad to catch some sun I like a flashy sandal or a turquoise colored wrap. The French women seemed completely unfazed by this. Their resort clothing was simple, uncomplicated and body conscious.

Buffets:
Our hotel offered a sumptuous, complimentary breakfast buffet. Every possible breakfast choice was on offer: pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, baked beans, hash browns, bagels and cream cheese. I am terrible when it comes to buffets. I want to try it all (so that I know what’s good, you see). Both French women I observed had a large bowl of fruit, plain yogurt and a cup of coffee every morning... completely ignoring the other tempting options! With one of the women, I kept thinking that the fruit was her “starter” and waited for her to get up and indulge in some pancakes or at least scrambled eggs. But no, that never happened. She simply sat there, completely unfazed by all of the tempting options, enjoying her bowl of fruit and talking passionately with her male companion.

Man-Woman Relationships:

There was one thing about the second French couple at the resort that both my husband and I marveled at: They did not stop talking to each other! Ever! We encountered them first at breakfast (where the French lady was demurely eating her bowl of fruit and I looked guiltily down at my apricot pastry). That morning they talked about everything from politics to cinema to weather to art (meanwhile B and I happily read our respective papers in silence- I the New York Times and him Britain Today). Then later that afternoon, the same couple sat in the sun beds next to us by the pool- where they continued to talk to each other. About what? I’m not sure- at this point I was trying to read my book and have a lazy afternoon swim. Later that day B and I took a long walk up the beach to Sandy Lane and on the way back we encountered the same couple having yet another animated conversation with each other. B turned to me and said, “How do they not run out of things to talk about?!” I, too, was very amused by this. I consider myself to be happily married and have a good healthy relationship with my husband, but this French couple- who loved to talk to each other so much- made me feel like B and I were giving each other the silent treatment!

So there you have it- and I am not surprised with my observations of how the French go on holiday: they stay true to their style- even when abroad, they do not overindulge in food- even at tempting buffets and French men and women seem to honestly enjoy each others' company…


The Sasso pool at the Tamarind Cove Hotel in Barbados is pictured above...

17 comments:

CashmereLibrarian said...

Two comments:

1. Amazing pool and view!
2. I guess the French wouldn't be wearing Lilly Pulitzer, then?!

Michael Rivers said...

Very interesting observations. When I was on a week long cruise last April, I TRIED not to over indulge in the food, but it was so hard. I was on vacation. Why not enjoy the absurd variety of food on display at all times!

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

So interesting that the French couple refrained from indulging in the breakfast bar...when I am on vacation I like to do and eat everything that I don't normally do or eat at home. That includes wearing different clothes. And how nice that they never ran out of conversation! Looks like a beautiful place for a vacation.

Fiona said...

Thanks so much for observing and reporting back! Imagine if the two couples knew their every move was being dissected and discussed. They would probably find it hilarious (I'm very happy you told us about them though!). Sadly, I would not be as chic at the breakfast buffet - it all sounded so deliciou.! The danish pastries are divine at those types of breakfasts and it's hard to eat just one...

Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing your observations. How interesting, especially about eating habits. It's so tempting to try everything and overindulge on vacation. I'm impressed and intrigued by the French couples!

The Coastal Chicster said...

That resort looks absolutely beautiful. Great post. :) I wish I could eat at buffets like the French, too.

M.Lane said...

I would rather eat breakfast with you at the buffet!! What if the next day arrived and they didn't offer a buffet any longer?????

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Cashmere- LOL! No I do not foresee these women in Lilly Pulitzer anytime soon... It is a shame though really- love Lilly ;)

Michael- I have never been on a cruise and I can imagine that the constant buffets would be my Achilles heel!

Lisa- I'm with you- I like to do things I don't normally do when on vacation- hence the bejeweled cover-ups and massive breakfasts... I didn't regret the cover-ups but did regret the breakfasts on occasion :)

Fiona- LOL I know. I always think these poor people would think I'm nuts if they only knew. I can't help it though- French culture fascinates me so much! I have to observe and report!

Rebecca- the French couple that did not stop talking to each other was the most intriguing to me. I'm really not exaggerating- they LOVED talking to each other- it mystified my husband and me :)

Coastal Chicster- Yes! This hotel was so great! I really recommend it- it wasn't cheap but it wasn't nearly as expensive as Sandy Lane of the Coral Reef and it was every bit as fun...

M. Lane- LOL. Thank you! I consider myself to be a rather fun person to eat breakfast with - probably because you wouldn't worry about what you're eating in front of me! I don't think I could ever attack a buffet with as much restraint- that type of thing is either in your blood or it isn't.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Great and fun observations. You are a true writer, Jennifer. Always the onlooker and moticer of life! I admire them for it but I couldn't do the bare face and no breakfast. I love a massive breakfast myself! I remember once in Sweden, the Scribe and I ate so much at the breakfast bar we nearly stayed to lunch. I'm sure the staff were afraid of us! I thought I would explode like that scene Monty Python film! xx

BonjourRomance said...

Interesting observations, the French are rather fascinating to watch. They are, uhhh, unique - but in a good way!
I go for the works at the buffet too. Oh well, that's what the cover-ups are for!
Looks like a lovely time!

BigLittleWolf said...

I read you and I am transported...

And I will say, comme les français, I fully enjoy eating well(and other activities), but typically do not over-indulge on vacation. I find resorts or other vacation spots (wherever) an opportunity to be my best self, which includes a balance of enjoyment and health. (Easier when someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning up!)

Gorgeous picture... oh to get away from winter right now!

lady jicky said...

How do you know they were married and not lovers????? LOL

Tish Jett said...

I love it. This post is so much fun and so, so true. It made me lol, particularly the part about the buffet. Too funny.

Isn't it divine, the non-stop conversations? It does make me wonder however how long they've been together.

Hope you had a wonderful, romantic time. In my opinion and my experience it's not necessary to talk all-the-time.

xo, Tish

Linda said...

I love this post. I understand your passion for understanding the french culture as I too have the same passion. Even though I was raised by a french mother there is still so much mystery for me. There really is so much cultural difference between us and french women and this is not to say one is better than the other. I love reading about the french and have indulged in way to many books on the subject to brag about it! Keep up the good blogging.

Fifi Flowers said...

That looks and sounds FABULOUS!

SignatureScent said...

I was going to say that same thing as Lady Jicky. Perhaps they had so much to talk about not because they were married, but because they were having an affair and were discussing how to leave their wife/husband.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Signature Scent and Lady Jicky- you are probably right! I got the impression that they weren't married- even so- those two talked like no other couple I have ever seen! I would love to know their real story :)

 
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