Slow life, fast fashion, slow parenting, slow tourism, slow food. For some time now, we have been hearing these expressions a lot. We also hear them in France and in English, yes.
They are anglicisms. The "new" words that often come from the United States, we don't translate them, or we use franglais: slow life, fast life, slow tourism. Usually, we tend to use these anglicisms and it is not disturbing.
But that's not the point!
This week in my French conversation group, Ohlala French Coffee, we are just talking about slow life and fast life. This is our topic of conversation. It allows students to practice their French around an interesting and current theme. If you want to join us and discuss this topic with us, and many other topics, join us:
While preparing resources for my students on this topic, I asked myself: do the French live a slow life or a fast life? And I found it interesting to discuss this with you and share my opinion.
First, what is the concept of slow life and fast life?
The fast life is a bit like what our everyday life looks like in the era we live in. The digital era, the era of overconsumption, the era of "I want everything fast".
We are a bit like the white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland. Always late, always in a hurry, always stressed.
We eat fast food, because we have no time. We buy on Amazon, because it's fast and convenient. We hang out on social networks, because we procrastinate in front of all the work to do. You probably know what I mean.
But, unfortunately, this lifestyle is dangerous for us, for our health, for our happiness and also for our planet.
The fast life is the white rabbits 🐰.
And there are the turtles who they realize the problem. They then adopt the slow attitude, the slow life. They enjoy the moment, they pay attention to what they eat, what they consume, they reconnect with nature, they take their time, they enjoy.
As the tortoise says so well to the hare in the fable of Jean de la Fontaine: “Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point”. =There's no point in running, you have to start on time
We have on one side the white rabbits representing the fast life. And the turtles representing the slow life.
And the French? Where do they fit into all this?
Honestly, I don't know! In fact, I feel like saying that the French are a cross between a white rabbit and a turtle.
It's hard to make a generalization, because not all French people are similar. Even if there can be tendencies, it is true.
In fact, I find that the French are divided in two.
On the one hand, the French way of life, as we often imagine it, is a peaceful life under the sun while eating good food. You imagine the French working little and preferring to play petanque with friends. There is some truth to this, but not totally.
There are very hard-working French people who are in a hurry, who don't have time, who don't take the time and who are exhausted.
Geographical location also plays a role. I think that in the countryside, the French will be more adept at slow life or a mixture of slow life and fast life. The French are still big consumers, we can't say that the French are followers of minimalism. They are a minority.
In the countryside, we are more in touch with nature. We are less in a hurry. We find more good local and organic products.
Whereas in the city, we tend to adopt a fast life. City life is more stressful. All the traffic, the pollution, more stores and fast food, we are quickly caught by the fast life in town.
I think that in France, we find these two ways of life with more or less extreme degrees. In the city, we are more likely to find French people who are fast-lifers. In the countryside, the slow life is preferred.
See you soon, for new adventures in French of course! 🇫🇷