It reads like a screenplay – a successful TV producer who gives up her city life to move to rural France after falling in love with a French guy.
And it was a fairytale ending for author Samantha Brick, because since trying to tie the knot with retired carpenter Pascal, 62, in 2007, she’s embraced life abroad — and says it’s a lot better than Blighty.
Samantha, 52, originally from Birmingham, said: “I’ve lived with her for 15 years, I’m married to a Frenchman and we only speak French in our household.”
“It’s fair to say that I’m totally immersed in the culture and know my Brigitte Macron from my Brigitte Bardot.
“There are only two things I miss about British society – marmite and teabags – because the French really do a lot better.”
Here, Sam reveals six things she thinks our continental cousins got right – and tells us why French men will always triumph over British hunks.
We might as well get the obvious out of the way right away. In France, sex is as natural as breathing.
I’m sick of reading about British women giving up in the bedroom when menopause hits.
French women love their midlife sensuality. Our pharmacies are packed with all sorts of lotions and potions to keep your love life from drying out.
This healthy “let’s do it” attitude towards sex starts in schools. Contraception is openly discussed.
There is no shame in having an active sex life regardless of age.
There is no moral babble about the number of sex partners identified.
Men aren’t labeled as playboys, and women aren’t labeled as the negative equivalent.
French women don’t feel the need to fake the number of lovers they’ve had.
It’s just not a problem when single men and women have multiple sex partners along the way.
You want to enjoy sex to the fullest – how wonderfully refreshing is that?
If you were in France, you went through passport control. I’m pretty sure, as a woman, you’ve had prolonged eye contact with your (usually male) border guard.
From the moment you set foot in France, the flirting begins and the compliments flow.
French worship women as if they were goddesses. Whether it’s the bar waiter or the bank manager, you’re guaranteed to float out of the place feeling like the beautiful girl you actually are.
Enjoy flirting – it’s part of the art of conversation in France.
And just know that most men are more than happy when they make women of all ages feel great.
Two hour lunch break
Recently there was a quiz on French radio about which is worse: picking your nose in public or having lunch at your desk.
Unsurprisingly, the audience and DJs chose the latter.
The French embrace their leisurely two-hour lunches like a long-lost lover.
It is out of the question whether you are present in the home office or in the office and have to do without your (at least) three-course lunch.
I still enjoy watching men and women ordering a meal for one person alone at gas stations, in village bistros or in posh city restaurants.
I did it myself once in a restaurant in Toulouse. The starter was a salad, followed by a light, airy omelette and a crème brûlée.
Needless to say, there was also unlimited baguettes and wine – plus it was less than a tenner.
No dry January – just drink all year round
Binge drinking has no place in French society, and neither does Dry January.
France produces far too much wine, champagne, beer and digestifs like brandy for the love affair with it to go unnoticed.
Advertising everywhere encourages us to consume – but in moderation – and so we do.
Bars don’t sell pints of beer. The huge 250 ml wine glasses are also not on the drinks menu.
There’s simply no place for drinking too much in French bars or at dinner parties.
Everyone treats themselves – but in small amounts so that the drink of their choice can be drunk often.
I walk the supermarket shelves with all my girlfriends to introduce them to the best French beauty brands under £10.
Even celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow feature them on their posh wellness and beauty websites. Think Bourgeois (now available from Superdrug) and L’Oréal.
I also take them to cosmetic stores like Sephora. One of the best things about beauty shopping in France is the culture of try before you buy.
That means I regularly go on vacation with the free cleansing, toning and moisturizing products I’ve been given!
I have to admit that at first I was shocked at how often male and female naked bodies are seen in French society.
From TV shows to magazines to the sheer number of naturist camps, the French are extremely laissez-faire when it comes to flaunting their flesh.
Refreshingly, if you just leave it as is, it’s not shabby at all.
Buttocks and boobs of all shapes and sizes can be seen on beaches and even on TV screens before 9pm.
Come to any French home on a Sunday lunchtime and if there’s a pool party going on, it’s customary to strip and jump in the cool water.
I like to think that appreciating our gloriously imperfect bodies is a healthy attitude.