Le Conducteur - Little white vans
So, you’ve bought your first French country home and need a car. Perhaps you’ve dreamt of a soft top – the shade of the Plane trees dappling the bonnet as you whisk along empty country roads. Maybe even and old DS Citroen, lovingly cared for and whisper quiet. But no – what you really need is a little white van. Ideally, it’ll be a second or third hand Peugeot or Renault with a few dents and an interstellar kilometrage on the clock. A cage for your dogs in the back is an optional extra.
You’ve queued up for hours at the Prefecture to get a new carte grise, and now it’s time to brush up on your driving and parking technique. Stopping in the middle of the road for long conversations with friends who happen to be walking by is essential, regardless of any traffic behind you. Rear view mirrors and indicators are the Devil’s instruments – use of either will ensure an eternity in burning torment. You’ll also need to master the ‘casually abandoned’ look when parking – not nearer than a couple of feet from the kerb and ideally at an angle to it.
Lesson 1 complete, it’s now time to learn French - because everyone will assume you are.