Popular RTE presenter Mary Kennedy shares her take on France this week with Tootlafrance.ie in the rapid-fire interview
1. What’s your favourite part of France?
I have two favourites: Paris, of course, and the South of France – les Alpes Maritimes, anywhere around Nice, Saint Raphaël , Sainte Maxime, Saint Tropez…
Apart from the fact that all of these places are beautiful, there’s a nostalgia factor as well. My first time in Paris and le Midi was as a student when I was au pair one summer with a wealthy French family who had a summer house in the tiny village of Le Plan-de-la-Tour, not far from Sainte Maxime. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring these places that were magical, colourful in my eyes. So different to Ireland in the seventies.
3. When was the first time you went there?
Early seventies when I was studying French in UCD.
4. When was the last time you went there?
I was in Paris in February and down south last September
5. What’s your favourite French food?I love all food! Among my favourites are Salade Niçoise, anything that includes crabmeat and Coquilles Saint Jacques.
6. How friendly are the locals (out of 10)?
The locals are friendly, polite, helpful. They pass the time of day. That’s all I want or need when I’m in France. I love the civility of greeting everyone if you go into a shop or café. Good manners are nice – set a polite tone.
7. What’s the best thing about France?
The language and the culture. And the weather down south. And the champagne.
8. What’s the worst thing about France?
The fact that it’s a plane journey away
9. Tell me about the first time you went to France…
I went as an au pair while I was studying French in UCD. I was staying with a wealthy family. My eyes were out on stalks at the elegance of my temporary surroundings. I was introduced to many different people during my three months there. All were wealthy movers and shakers. Some were polite, some were friendly and welcoming, some were not.
10. What’s your favourite French word?
It’s a phrase: “On est neuf”. My catch-cry on holidays as my family and I entered any restaurant. I was the spokesperson always and there were nine of us!
11. Who’s your favourite French personality?
I have great difficulty always singling out one favourite anything. Different people have different qualities . Al part of the rich tapestry of life.
12. Is there any truth in the notion that French women/men are particularly attractive?
I think a lot of French men and women are stylish and have good posture which is attractive but my Granny used to have a saying that I find very true: “Handsome is as handsome does!”