A few years ago I seem to remember that the French were being admonished by their government for not being friendly enough towards tourists. I never believed they could change, but they have. I’ve just returned from a quick trip to the Limousin where at first I had an eerie sense that something wasn’t quite right. Then I realised that it was the smiles and chattiness of people in shops, restaurants or just chance encounters in car parks.
Even when trying to do something which “was not company policy”, i.e. exchange something at Monsieur Bricolage, the woman on the caisse suddenly relented and there was no problem, even trusting me with a precious trolley to go to the car without paying the required deposit on it.
I’m now waiting to discover whether my new-found confidence in French efficiency and helpfulness is justified: I left my glasses in the hire car and have written to Hertz to ask them to confirm they are found, and then to keep them at the desk until my next trip. We shall see.