For some, living in the countryside is a dream come true. Escaping the noise and bustle of the city and entering the peace and quiet of the countryside is undeniably beneficial. For a start, there are big, open spaces where you can walk completely surrounded by nature, not an electricity pylon or skyscraper in sight. The air is fresh and clean, unpolluted by cars and factory smog. People tend to know each other better, and there is often a real sense of community in small towns that is rarely found in big cities.
However, for someone who has lived in large towns and cities for my whole life, country life takes quite some adjusting to. Firstly, the pace of life is much, much slower. You have to get used to the town becoming completely dead from about 12:00-2:00pm, when everyone, and I mean everyone, takes a long lunch break. Then again at about 5:00pm–6:00pm, the town completely shuts down for the evening, apart from Saturdays, when the occasional bar may be open for a quick drink. Transport is often a problem as well; if, like me, you don’t have a car, it can be difficult to get around, and even more difficult still to actually leave the town, as more often than not the closest neighbouring town city is miles away!
What’s more, the sense of community that thrives in small towns can sometimes make visitors feel slightly unwelcome. So far, no one has been unfriendly towards me, but the fact that I am clearly foreign in this very small, close-knit community makes people feel ever so slightly uncomfortable around me. Maybe they’re simply curious as to what a young English girl is doing in the middle of rural France!
However, the biggest disadvantage for me is that there are very few people my age. There is a Lycée in the town, so of course, there are teenagers up to about 18 years old. However, as soon as they finish school, they all leave the town for big cities to study or work, which makes it hard for me to find with whom I have things in common, and who I can talk to! Yet, despite all this, I am really enjoying immersing myself into the French culture, and am taking advantage of the beauty, simplicity, and ease of the rural French lifestyle.