Or so one would gather from a crash course in French literature and cinema.
The one word- bourgeois- says it all. We don't have an English equivalent.
I just watched Chabrol's Les Noces Rouges. God, but these people are dim; they commit two unnecessary murders because they can't imagine moving out of the ugly little town that accords them status.
We English have a different attitude. Cranford, Middlemarch, Barchester are well-loved places; quite lively really; no-one is stifled by them the way Emma Bovary is stifled.
I put it down to France being such a big country. English towns are all squashed up close together; escape is easier. French towns are cut off from one another by miles and miles of prairie.
Physical isolation breeds cultural isolation.
No English town is as deaf and blind to London as any French town is deaf and blind to Paris.