How has your life changed in France

Hello everyone,

Has your life changed since you moved to France? If so, in what way?

Tell us more about all the changes in your life regarding your family, job, or friends. What about your frame of mind? How would you define your mood?

Leisure activities improve our health and social interactions. How much time do you dedicate to leisure activities and networking nowadays?

Would you say that your standard of living has improved in France? What income differences have you noticed?

On a scale of 0 to 10, tell us how much your expatriation to France has transformed your life (0 = no change, 10 = dramatic change).

We look forward to hearing from you!


Wish I never set foot in the place.
Ruined financially, physically and mentally.

It's a lot like India, except the Indians are more honest and cheerful.
Metier = Caste.

If you are reading this and you are not already retired,
Seriously think before investing anything of yourself in France, especially rural France.

Oh goodness - that sounds awful, why are you so dejected ? (Not to pry of course).  Hope life gets better but would love to hear your thoughts.

The list is so long it's not worth it.
but here's a few;

You will be judged on all things superficial.

If you are a professional with experience, forget it, even if you get a good job you will be "put in the cupboard" Jealousy reins in the French workplace and certainly, Do not share your ideas.   

If you need emergency medical help, get the person in a car and take them as fast as possible to Emergency. Do not wait for SAMU, In rural France waiting will result in death of a loved one.

If you think you are in a loving relationship with a French person, double check.
If you have a child with that person, double check the livret familial that you are even in it.
Before a judgement is made in court, you have the right to see, travel and leave with your child if you consider it in the best interests of the child. Do not rely on legal or police advice if you a foreigner.
Always remember that a lawyer in France is working for himself, not for you.

I came to France by accident. I had no idea life would be so dull.
As my French became fluent, I found that (Most, not all) French people have nothing to say and lack curiosity, imagination and open-mindedness.

I am in rural France, I'm sure it's different in larger cities but I have no choice.

I have travelled widely and lived in University towns in the US and NZ.

I know my view is twisted, but I expected more from the land of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality.

Oh boy, some days I wish I had never made the move.

I've become so much more of an hermit. The place I'm living is much much smaller than the home I grew up in and left. I feel constrained most of the time. I don't have a yard anymore so I rarely go outside. I have no friends or family here so I talk to no one. I tried befriending neighbors but they watch me like I don't belong and one woman grabbed her children and hurried away.

I came from an island where I was the majority and now I'm trying the minority. I'm used to laid back easy life and can't to a fast paced party life that drains me of everything. I suppose I'm still adjusting but I can't do this party to 5am thing.

I received an email from this forum about this topic. Well, I have since left France. Like someone said here, I was a hermit.  In my 20 years there, I had not a single French friend. In my opinion, French women are not so friendly and are jealous of anything. The day when my French in-laws found out that my children went abroad to further their studies, it was the day they stopped talking to us, because of jealousy.

At work, you are not really accepted. There is also this jealousy again. Salaries are lower than some other countries.

Getting a good job is difficult...many people get theirs through somebody.

The people love gossiping......even making up stories about neighbours. My neighbour refused to return our greetings but she could make up stories about us to the  baker, LOL!!!!

Narrow-minded mentality.....many don't travel outside France but "look down" upon "foreigners".

BAC Oral well you do, many complain that it depends on your "face"...if you look Caucasian, you don't have to worry so much....even a French girl who could not speak English scored 18 and an Asian-looking girl who could speak English well, scored 12.

In very good universities, marks are depressed for everybody so it is quite challenging if you want to apply to universities abroad. However, universities outside Paris are more realistic in that you can score 18/20 if you do well.

Shopping outside Paris is relatively cheaper than my country.

Cultivate friendships with your countrymen, join in your country' s club if you want.

So in order to survive, since you cannot change the culture, one has to be strong, rely on your own, cultivate your hobbies, go out and enjoy yourself like going to the museums, dining on the boat cruising down River Seine, etc. France does have many touristic sites to offer....

Hi Priscilla,

I would not say that France has changed my life for the better.  It has been very stressful here and mostly every place I have to go to for something official or otherwise all have been unhelpful and discourteous.

I am still looking for an apartment which is a huge ordeal.

I am looking forward to a chance to occur sooner than later.

Good topic!!!

We sold the house in the UK and with the proceeds bought a dutch barge in Holland in 2007. We've lived aboard now for 10 years and in France for nine of those years. Now we have decided to sell the barge and buy a place in (probably) Brittany or pays de la Loire, and grow vegetables and keep bees! The boat, by the way is on "Voici mon bien" website, and is for sale at 125000 euros. How was France for the last nine years? Absolutely fine! Adjustments had to be made, obviously. We had to change from an english mind set. Once that's done, it's a great place to live. It's tranquil, less stress, the plonk is great, less expensive, and friends of ours (who also had a boat and now live in Brittany), say that they couldn't possibly go back to live in the UK. I'd agree with that. Each time I go back I find it harder to relate to things there. The french are friendly--more so than the Brits. They have the time to always say "Bonjour! You'll find this out if you have a dog and go for walks. We know all the local dog walkers.I'd recommmend it.

Wow...none of these experiences Aar positive...

I am having a positive experience. I am in a small village but there is a lot going on and I have already made friends, some expats and some natives. I do need help with things that require good language skills, like getting the internet wifi provider set up. What a nightmare! lol
& The paperwork can be amazingly involved - 7 pages with photographs to the marie just to paint my white window trim cream-colored, but I find it sort of funny.
I have noticed that it takes me about 2 or three years to integrate into a community. I imagine with the language barrier it may take longer, but I'm working on it!
In my case I bought a small house, so I met the agent who then introduced me to people in town. Before that I stayed in a B&B and became friends with the host and met people that way. I was very lucky because early on I met a group of women who welcomed me into their lives.
I also go to the local cafes and talk to the owners, visit shops and introduce myself. I love it here so much that I think maybe they like my enthusiasm. Sometimes there are people who are not friendly, but there are very few of those experiences. Mostly people are so helpful and gracious.
Sometimes I am lonely and of course it is a challenge here, but being in France has enriched my life.

France has definitely changed my life for the better and for the worse. There are times I am asked by my husband's friends, "Do you like living in France?" My answer is always the same, "It depends on the day. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't."
    What I like:
     The lunch breaks are a lot longer than they are in the States (I usually get somewhere between one to two hours. One job I had gave me two hours and a half!)
   Our wedding in France was almost free. The mairie married us for no fee. U.S. weddings cost as much as a car! Or your rent price if you decide to do it at City Hall.
     Healthcare is a blessing to have here! And there is insurance for everything. In the U.S. I racked up a bill of over $15,000 just for getting hit while riding to work on my bike.
What I don't like:
     Family and friends are very very far away... When I first arrived I made it my mission to make friends by being smiley and saying hello to everyone.... I've long since stopped that. I was getting too many weird looks and half the time I was getting no hello back even though people were staring right at me....
    I do more work here than I ever did in the U.S. The French may work 35 hour work weeks, but they are so much more efficient than most U.S. workers. They get things done. For example, I worked at a biscuit shop and I had a very hard time counting my register. On my first day I had someone briefly show me and then it was up to me to count alone! I had such a hard time and for so long that at the end of the night it would take me two hours to count.... Of my own time. I didnt get paid for the extra time i spent. Several times I have asked for pay for extra hours done and have gotten nothing most of the time.
      Pushing!!!! The French certainly expect you to move out of the way. If not you risk getting an elbow in the side or being pushed. Even men do it. Once I even had bruises. I cannot go a day without being pushed.
    People DON'T queue here. To get on the bus its whoever pushes their way in first.
    Administrations are a nightmare.
    So is customer service. No matter what the customer is always wrong! And it is always your fault.
    I am an expat but still considered an immigrant. To the French, I am in the same category as someone who doesn't pay taxes. Looked down on.
     The French are always right mentality. And you foreigner are ALWAYS wrong.
   There are more things of course...

Well we shall just see how it goes but in all honesty moving to any new area one can find the same. When we moved up here from the South the locals were very standoffish still are the old ones. Despite beign here 30 yeras we are still not regarded as "locals"! In fact we do not have local friends those we know are all incomers, people who moved into the area and not those native to here, my real friends all live hundreds of miles away and that will not change except that we might see them occasionally after the move. We shall continue to stay in touch by phone and computer.

Being isolated is the norm we see our neighbour on an almost weekly basis but that's about it so moving to France and knowing no one will not be much different except hopefully the weather will be better. We have no near neighbours but we intend to have closer neighbours once we move so will at least see people about. As I intend to continue with my interests and hobbies and do so even more than now I expect this will enable me to meet people and if we become friends well all well and good if not that is OK too! Those involved in my interests are unlikely to be so petty as ignore you after all you share the same interest.

Perhaps I am lucky in that it is not many years until retirement beckons and we will manage as we do now on our very small income until I find a way of earning some money. Personally I think that some people just have a difficult time adjusting and fitting in, maybe they expect too much?, we shall as I say just take it as we find it and make to most of the oppertunity.

Regards. Kevin.

Just read your post.
I totally agree!
However, I thought you were too kind.
France is all about taking your income or savings and redistributing it to those who often refuse to work.
I have a friend who says her school cannot find a physics teacher due to low wages. Instead, those people prefer welfare which you and I have to pay.
Sad, but true.

However, I do try to be kind to the French.
After all, they rank as the most mentally depressed country in the world!

If you are still in France, I would like to know you.

most mentally depressed country in the world???

Lot of for and against messages, but, practically if we see every other country is a different county. And.. what you want out of that place, having said that in my experience:
in late 90s when I left to Cyprus, for me it was a pleasant shock and believe me I always say and hum the song "Those were the best days of my life" I was a student doing Masters program from Univ of Wales, the people I met, each and every place I went, Part time Olive Plucking job.. oh my god.., even after 20 years I still remember it. Now..,
In USA came here to do a Software Job.., like everyone.. oh okk I am in land of opportunities bla..bla.. like some one from US told.. everything is expensive, in US one should not fall sick.. thats the untold rule.. else.. you will see a dent in pocket.
My friends are living in Paris working in IT related job, when I asked them do you want to come USA, he say.. man.. I am happy here. Everything is good.
I visited Paris for 3 days, I liked it.
Now I am looking to move to EU mostly to Italy..,
Everyone need to do some sacrifices and some adjustments, it takes time. There is a saying we don't get everything we want in one plate. lol !! :)

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