Proper Meat - are French cows made differently or just French society ?

A week in Southern France and I return to blighty disheartened having been totally and utterly spoilt for choice. We stayed in an unremarkable and not particularly distinguished village, Vias, of 5,000 people which despite 2 supermarkets and a SPAR manages to support; 5 bakeries, 3 butchers, 2 fishmongers, a daily local market and a twice weekly town market (along with 10 hairdressers as apparently French women have their hair done once a week). There is also a daily oyster stall competing with a traiteur  selling Tielle Setoise, the seafood olive oil bread pie originating up the road in the fishing port of Sete.

Every day felt like Christmas day. It started with picking cherries from the tree in the garden for the morning pancake; mix 1 egg with 1 cup each flour and milk, sweeten to taste, add cherries, fry in slightly browned butter/EVO, crisp to a finish under the grill and then slather with fleur de figues jam (the delicate early season figs taken from the tree in the garden (or the neighbour's or the roadside).

Once digested (in the sunshine) with coffee it’s time for a lazy stroll to the (best) bakery to select one of the numerous baguettes; pain, tradition, siecle, ordinaire, compagne, ancienne (look, smell, taste and texture all slightly different) and choose cakes for later in the day (my favourites are the chocolate excess named ‘proposal indecente’ and the millefeuille with Chantilly cream). A conversation to decide on lunch with accompanying wine selection, a wasted afternoon (beach or garden or forced to do something meaningful by lovely wife) and preparations begin for dinner, something simple served with red wine followed by cheese from the affineur de fromage (literally a 'cheese refiner') and then the cakes, so many cakes.
What was so remarkable is how unremarkable this was, everyone eats really, really well all the time. There is a deeper connection to, and understanding of, food. It’s not fuel, its pleasure, its meaningful and inclusive in a non-elitist way. Everyone is a “foodie” because everyone eats and thinks and talks about good food. OK it’s easier to drink well when you’re in in the world’s largest wine producing region and if I was working I couldn’t saunter around in the same manner but I could still visit the butcher, baker, markets etc. 
The butcher in particular was a joy and every visit unearthed a new treasure. I popped in on the first day for some Onglet; soft as butter, tasty as anything and redolent of offal due to it's a position near the kidneys. They didn’t have any until Wednesday so I left with Bavette de flanchet (a skirt steak from the diapragm) and Paleron, a flat-iron steak from under the shoulder. Neither cut is easy to find in the UK, i think we break down our cows differently and mince a lot more of the good stuff. I also had a still warm Pate Lorraine, an aromatic pasty of pork and veal marinated for 24 hours in local white wine which I understood they'd made for 'a bit of fun' and was fresh out of the oven. Over the week I sampled 4 of the 8 or 10 amazing sausages varieties made in-house; Roquefort, herbes de provence, piment d’Espelette and a lambtastic merguez.

All were outstanding, simple to cook, meaty, tasty and easily saw me through to Wednesday when the butcher presented me with a butterflied Onglet as if it were a precious jewel and gave me clear instructions to flash cook only. I pounded in a little rosemary, salt, pepper, dropped it into a smoking pan, flipped after 30 seconds, finished with a hazelnut of butter and a squeeze of lemon and served on a baguette smeared with Dijon and stuffed with EVO fried courgettes & onions.

As to why the French eat so relatively well at home (a lot of their restaurants are rubbish) my opinion is that it's a mix of revolution and a lack of early industrialisation & urbanisation. Ultimately I dont care why I'm just really jealous that in my neck of the woods I cant find Onglet, only know one cheese refiner and dont have cherries (or figs) growing on trees.  

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