Why Life in France Is Awful, Episode 453

Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Moving to France

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon.


Are you considering a move to France or planning an extended stay in the renowned European country? In this eye-opening episode, we dive into the real reasons why you might—or might not—want to come to France. Are you a data person? Here's a great source of data on what's really going on in France.

  • Do we pay too much in taxes in France? French people definitely think so! We give you the run-down of all the taxes you might have to pay if you live in France. Does that make life in France awful? We think we get our money's worth.
  • And how about French bureaucracy? There's so much of it! And the folks who work in French administration normally don't speak English. Bring your best French when you're going to an administration.
  • It's a fact that we have a lot of strikes in France as well. These strikes can affect your vacation in France if your plan is to zoom around to lots of different places on public transportation.
  • You'll need to learn French if you want to live in France. There's no way around that. It's hard but you can do it if you open your ears and work on being a good parrot.
  • Are French people unfriendly? Is that still a thing? Of all the things that might make life in France awful, this is not one of them.
  • There is a problem with high cost of living, especially in large cities. Prices have gone up a lot in France, but it's not unique to France.
  • We have a lot of traffic jams and it's hard to park in France in urban areas. But we also have a lot of public transportation so people can leave their cars outside of the city.
  • Limited job opportunities in certain sectors. Most visitors never deal with this, but it's not easy to find a job in France generally speaking.
  • Some expats find it difficult to integrate when they move to France. If you choose to live in another country, you need to learn the language and go out of your way to make French friends.
  • Air pollution in large cities can be a problem in France and in Paris particularly. There is a ZFE program getting rolled out (it stands for Zone à Faible Emissions)
  • We have a rigid labor market and strict labor laws. This means that it's harder to get fired but it's also harder to find a new job in France.
  • The slow pace of life in France can frustrate people. Instant gratification is not big in France. In service situations, a sales person is not going to rush through finishing up with one customer just because there are 3 people waiting.
  • Stores and businesses having limited hours of operation. Most stores do not close at lunch time in France any more, but we don't have a push for stores to stay open 24/7 like you do in the US.
  • High unemployment rate, especially for young people. France always has a higher unemployment rate than the US. This is getting better to some extent, but things need to continue to improve.
  • Rising social tensions and political polarization. The people who are the loudest and the most obnoxious get the most cameras pointed at them and their message gets amplified.
  • We have a limited culture of customer service compared to other countries. The customer is not always right in France.
  • Things are getting better when it comes to dog waste on sidewalks, we did a whole episode about this and it is getting better.
  • French language chauvinism is hard to define because of course it's normal to speak French in France. But English is the lingua franca these days and we know it. At least young people who are getting raised on listening to American TV in English know it.

#KeepingItReal, #AuthenticFrenchLife, #LivingInFrance, #FrenchCulture, #ExpatLife, #FrenchTaxes, #TravelFrance, #FrenchBureaucracy, #LifeAbroad, #FrenchChallenges, #MovingToFrance, #FrenchLifestyle


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Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Moving to France