Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington

Joe woke up particularly grumpy this morning.

Iona came into the kitchen muttering, ‘Il s’est levé du pied gauche.’

I hadn’t heard that saying before. I always find it strange that Iona and Joe often know French sayings before English ones. Whereas we would say, Joe got out of bed on the wrong side, the French say that he got up on his left foot.

Person lying in bed face down -covered by blanket except feet Hey, but what is wrong with getting out of bed left foot first? I am left handed and left footed so I probably get out of bed left foot first (I must check this tomorrow) and I don’t get up grumpy. I try to argue this point with Iona, who mutters that it is just an expression and wanders out the kitchen with a brioche.

Traditionally the French haven’t taken too kindly to left handed people. When translated, ‘gauche’ actually means lacking social grace and sensitivity, or awkward, crude and tactless.

In France it was also believed that witches greet Satan “avec le bras gauche” or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder.

Why such bad press for us lefties?….

Editor Notes

Both my wife and I are left-handed. I have never experienced any form of discrimination because of this – although I would say that my left-handedness is probably noticed slightly more in France than in the UK. My wife is French, so I’ll ask her whether this has been an issue for her.

Editor’s wife Notes:

The answer is no! I was born and brought up in France, in the late 1960’s. By the time I went to school, being left-handed was perfectly accepted and I never suffered from any discrimitation. However, I do know that it was different for the previous generation. For example, they were forced to write with their right-hand (sometimes with their left-hand tied up behind their backs) and were punished if they did otherwise. Nowadays, being left-handed is considered a sign of brightness: left-handed people are supposedly more intelligent than the rest of the population! Also, being a completely left-handed couple seems to have the “wow” factor. A bit odd, but we are not complaining: long live the left-handers!

Please help us!

If you found this useful, please let your friends know by sharing it here...