Expat Magazine

French Grandparents

By Sedulia @Sedulia


While I'm sure most grandparents love their grandchildren, French grandparents just seem to see a lot more of them. France is a small country, people don't move much, and most people don't live far from where their parents live. And if they do, there are the long, long summer holidays (many adults have five or six weeks off) to see them. There is also a long tradition of having lunch every Sunday at your grandmother's house, which often makes young American brides of Frenchmen kick. And finally, French people retire early-- by 60, almost all of them. With all this, French children grow up knowing their grandparents, going places with them, just hanging out with them, in a way few American children do any more. The pediatrician's office was always full of grandparents and the doctor told me that he sees almost as many grandparents as parents. It seems very healthy to me. Too many American children see old people as aliens from another planet, but in France, the young and old flirt, banter, jibe at each other and generally are part of each other's life.

An older friend of mine, who has thirteen or fourteen grandchildren, will sometimes end a telephone call with, "Time for me to go grandmerder!"


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