Expat Living and Real EstateLiving in ProvencePaula Kane

Provencal Rituals Rediscovering the Cultural Norms

By Paula Kane

I am a big fan of ritual. Simple or complex, I believe they are good for keeping us grounded in something bigger than ourselves. I have mini rituals I do every day, but when I get to France, I crash right into a whole different set of them.

When arriving in a different country, there is, as expected, a different culture. As such, there is, of course, a different set of rituals. Every year when I return, I have to re-educate myself, so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb. One of the most obvious differences is the increased level of general formality. You just don’t barge into a shop and demand what you want. You must say hello to the shopkeeper and all the other patrons waiting in line for their baguette.

Continue reading here to discover other Provencal rituals and cultural norms in this contributor blog post by A Table en Provence.

Other Expat Living Tips From Provence

Ashely shares her “Hamburger shame” in a post. I ate at a hamburger restaurant in Avignon a few weeks ago. They only sell hamburgers at le Potard, quite delicious ones actually. I was at a table of English speakers, all Europeans except for one American and my Canadian self. When my delicious hamburger arrived, I daintily cut it in half and proceeded to pick it up with my hands.

Caroline confirmed that her dreams of living in Provence as a part-time expat can come true. However, if you are thinking of buying real estate in France there are some important terms you need to know immobilier (real estate agency), Compte de Vente (preliminary contract of sale), notaire (legal specialist).

Author Deborah Lawrenson is almost bilingual she shared the following. You can enjoy being in Provence – all the sights and sounds and tastes – without speaking French. But if you want to understand the region and make friends, it is essential. You also need a reasonable grasp of the language if you’re going to buy, renovate and look after a house here. The locals are very encouraging to foreigners attempting to speak French – they are not, as many will tell you, Parisians with their reputation of being haughty about linguistic mistakes. It works both ways, though. Be prepared to grapple with the heavy Provenҫal accent that can seem impenetrable on occasion!

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Paula Kane

Paula Kane

From a background in advertising and design, Paula Kane has forged a career that combines her love of good food and wine with her expertise in marketing to produce highly successful culinary events across Canada. Paula first travelled to France 20 years ago and has been returning ever since. She received a scholarship from the James Beard Foundation to attend Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, from which she was graduated in 2009. She has completed the International Sommelier Guild Wine Fundamentals and recently, the Hautes Etudes du Goût program in gastronomy from which she was awarded a Masters degree from the University of Reims in Champagne, France. For the past ten years, Paula has spent part of her year in the Vaucluse where she cycles, cooks, drinks wine, explores and shares her discoveries with others on her website A Table en Provence. Recently she launched an online magazine —Olive + Sweetpea— dedicated to all things she is passionate about: food, wine, travel, home and women trailblazers.

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