But having been away from France for some years, what struck me afresh was the sense of generalised respect in the public realm. When you go into a shop, you say bonjour, and merci au'voir when you leave. When you sit down on a train or get into a lift, likewise you acknowledge the Other. This was emphasised with perfect clarity for me on the train home, as a loud party of Brits got on at Avignon, oblivious to the way they disrupted others' space. I'm inclined to agree with Schofield, the French really are more socially-minded, and there are things we should be thinking about.
I noticed the same thing while in France the week before last.
I find the increasing lack of respect for people's space in British culture a challenge – surely on such a tiny island, the ability to respect others' space is necessary to a well-functioning society?