Living in France is certainly idyllic in many ways, but village life also has its dark sides, especially when you’re living in one of the ‘most depressed areas’ of France.
The first thing you notice is that everyone has a dog. Sometimes more than one dog. They are usually black, lean and mangy. Having a dog is not a bad thing in itself, but living in a village is not conducive to dog exercise. These houses don’t have gardens so the streets are the dogs’ playground.
The result of this is that you may round a corner only to be confronted by three dogs off the leash, running at full tilt. The owners are likely to smile genially and remark that the dogs are just playing and isn’t it lovely to see them run.
More likely an outcome is the layers of fresh and freeze dried dung you will encounter, first in warm, fragrant piles, then in shoe-smeared encrusted streaks at every step, down every narrow village street.
What I find mysterious is why the locals are driven to erect polite notices requesting humans not pee on the side of the road, but are happy to allow dogs to defecate wherever they choose. In this case, some of the worst offenders live in plain sight of the Mairie.