Seconding @jannert , with the caveat of genre. In the genre Memoir, using 3rd would 'diminish' the experience. There might be other genres where 1st person is expected by the reader. Authenticity has nothing to do with the type of voice you're writing in. Use smells, landscape, little details like the type of litter lying in the gutter or the smell of croisants in the morning to ground the reader in the country. Offtopic: I'd caution against being mistrustful of every critiquer like Radrock said. I have never run across someone who gave me bad advice, and usually people who offer to critique have a passing understanding of language. We all appreciate words, so you probably won't run across morons who write only in grunts and farts during a critique. And that's enough said about it.