However, one thing that's common to both countries is the numpties who ignore the laws of the road and it was such an individual who caused the crash that resulted in my car and three others being involved in a shunt that was described by the local gendarme as 'le bang bang bang' (much to the amusement of my daughter). I was delighted to see that Franglais is alive and well in central France in spite of the best efforts of L'Académie française. As crashes go it was probably quite a good one: no-one was hurt, the sun was shining, no-one lost their temper and we all walked away to fight another day (although the four cars were left in various states of distress).
So why am I telling you this? Well I'm slightly ashamed to say that when I ticked the 'Car Hire Benefit' box on the proposal form for my car insurance last August, I assumed (probably quite reasonably) it meant that if my car was rendered undriveable, I'd enjoy the benefit of a hire car. Wrong. I should have read the blurb: as I stood at the side of the road in France speaking by mobile phone to esure in Glasgow I was told that I was on my own as far as a hire car was concerned. It's only when you end up in one of these situations that you realise what you really need, and what I really needed was a car to get me back to the UK. All esure will do is repatriate the car to the UK (which still hasn't happened, more than two weeks after the crash) and have the car repaired. The rest is down to me and apparently the 'Car Hire Benefit' only arises if my car is stolen or written off, and not if the car is simply bashed and undriveable. You have been warned.