Did you ever consider moving or living in France?
I’m an American who lived in France for a while, worked, and rented my own place. Even normal days in France seemed like a vacation to me.
So here are 10 great reasons to consider making the move.
1. The Café Culture
In France, you never waste a sunny day. The French instinctively lounge outside of their favorite café or restaurant for hours. It’s perfectly acceptable and very relaxing.
Oftentimes you’ll have an alcoholic beverage or a coffee and meet with friends. Alternatively you can crack open some reading material and enter a state of bliss.
The café culture helps you realize that life moves slower in France. The mindset even slows down bustling cities like Paris. The afternoon or the evening is when Parisians unwind from work or school.
The best part about France’s cafés? It’s a great excuse to see somebody or get to know another person. I’ve forged many friendships and got know a lot people. I even dated a few French girls and it’s just natural to ask, “tu veux boire un coup ?” Go to the local spot, chat, and have some fun in an informal environment.
2. Work Has its Place
In the United States, many people have this “slave-mentality” when it comes to work. They grab enormous amounts of overtime, commute hours a day, stay late and get little vacation time. It has come to a point where some Americans fear using their time off.
There needs to be a balance between work and play.
I feel the large corporations pulling the strings on our daily life. Top that with America’s consumer mentality – everybody needs that new iPhone, wants the new car, and swallows mounds of debt. In order to fund this lifestyle, you need to work even more. It’s a recipe for disaster.
In France there’s also less pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Outside of having a cool smartphone and presentable clothing, the French people I know rarely emphasize material possessions.
In France, you care about your life and family – not work.
Nobody in France bragged to me that they worked 65 hours last week or 50 hours last week. Do you believe that people do that to me in the U.S.?
The government maintains worker’s rights. Everybody in France gets 30 days of paid vacation. This is unheard of for entry level positions in the U.S. Don’t forget all the national holidays and various other days off. As a result, many take the entire month of August off to go travel.
French establishments close for an hour or two to let workers enjoy their lunch break. Likewise, establishments close on Sunday or Monday to guarantee that workers get at least one full day off. Large stores close early in the evening and it’s rather difficult to find stuff open late into the night.
Some people assume that all this means the French are lazy. Au contraire. The French are productive when they’re at work because they have ample time to relax outside of it.
3. The Travel Opportunities
The United States has a ton of great places to visit. But in France, you’re just hours away from multiple different COUNTRIES and amazingly diverse cities. I travel a lot in general, but in France I had the opportunity to go to Barcelona, London, and Paris all in the span of 2 weeks. The airfare was laughably cheap and I met amazing people during my visit.
After my excursion, I returned to work like nothing happened. It wasn’t even a huge deal to the Frenchies I lived with. Them going to Barcelona was similar to a New Yorker heading down to Philly. The difference being that Barcelona has much nicer beaches than Philly.
If you’re in France, Italy is a possibility and Germany is just in reach. I even considered going to Russia. My buddy traveled to Tunisia when he was living in France. Get creative and GO!
I loved how France had diverse scenery and experienced all 4 seasons.
I hiked, skied, visited caves, and partied on the sprawling beaches of the French Riviera. I took in the beautiful architecture of small towns and large metropolises. I biked across the scenic countrysides.
The United States has amazing scenery too, but France offered it all in a compact package.
5. Universal Healthcare
I work in the healthcare system in the U.S. and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether or not they can afford treatment. Unfortunately, many people are still uninsured or worry about if their insurance can cover XYZ.
The French Healthcare system consistently ranks about the United States. This isn’t because the U.S. lacks great doctors or facilities – it’s because healthcare costs too much and remains a privilege.
The French healthcare system covers 70-100% of your medical costs and up to 65% of your prescriptions. The overall costs that a patient pays is MUCH lower than anything you’re paying the States. This is because everything is heavily subsidized by the government.
”those countries’ citizens get a much better deal on their meds because their federal governments have policies in place to regulate drug prices. And those nations are not alone. Every other country in the developed world has instituted some kind of price control mechanism. Except, of course, the United States.” [emphasis mine]
“…American insurance companies are essentially powerless when it comes to negotiating prices with Big Pharma, just as they are becoming increasingly powerless in controlling the cost of hospital care and physician services. The way insurers continue to make money is not by doing a good job for their customers but by constantly shifting more of the cost of care to those customers.” – [Source]
The French believe that healthcare is a common-sense service that everybody should have access to.
When I was in France, I walked into a hospital and was seen by a doctor in a couple minutes. I got a set of free medication for my symptoms and was given a prescription for more stuff if needed. Meds from the local pharmacy cost me 7 euros compared to hundreds in the States.
Does this not make sense to you?
6. The TGV & Public Transportation
You know what I love about France? You can travel across the entire country quickly, efficiently, and cheaply. Living in France without a vehicle is viable.
Thanks to France’s extensive train network and (usually) great public transportation system. My preference is for the TGV, those high-speed trains that bolts at an average speed 200mph. Meanwhile the regional trains all the little towns and cities. Trains are an important part of daily life; even high Schoolers use them to commute.
While we do have trains in the U.S. I find that they aren’t as popular as in Europe. Americans just fly, take the bus, or drive themselves. In rural Pennsylvania, not owning a car severely hampers anything you can do. The buses here are non-existent.
So if you want to try a car-free lifestyle, France is a great option.
Life in France rotates around eating well, it’s hard to avoid that fact.
Restaurants craft their selection so that moving from your appetizer to your dessert feels like a well-planned journey. Even family meals follow this structure, by using courses the French make your taste buds tingle and force you to appreciate your food.
Not to mention, when I was in France I stepped outside of my comfort-zone and tried many more things.
For instance, I never expected foie gras to be AMAZING. It’s an amazing way to start your feast.
From crêpes and croissants to tartiflette and raclette – France there is a vast array of food. Ever try snails? Tête de veau? Pot au feu? Real Bœuf Bourguignon prepared for six people? Bouillabaisse from the South?
I dare you to go to France and eat more than just McDonald’s. You might be surprised.
8. Affordable Education
In France you can study to become a lawyer, doctor, or even a chemist for next to nothing. Even Americans can benefit from this system.
France has affordable education – which makes it look absurd to pay pay $8,000 – $50,000+ for American universities.
But the ideas of education start at a lower level. A primary school system which encourages social interactions and foreign language skills.
I worked in a French high school, where critical thinking was prioritized over standardized testing. That’s the case with much of France. There are a few tests which mean a lot to students and everything else is to try and help students evolve into functional citizens of the Republic.
I wrote about the entire French school system if you’d like to know more.
9. Love & Friendship
I had considerably more free time when in France (see point #2). But I also managed to go out every weekend, party, have fun, and meet people. Being social was a lot easier in France because French people just seemed to get social interactions better. Hanging out with people in France was more enjoyable, even if we really had nothing to do.
Now, you could argue that I feel this way because the people I met were great! But I experienced this sentiment across different regions of France.
Overall, people in France are generally nice once you get to know them a bit.
And while dating in France seems somewhat similar to the U.S. in terms of meeting people and going on dates; I just had more fun in France. I met some very special people.
10. The French Language
I love France because I can speak tons of French. It’s everywhere!
To use a language that’s not my own, everyday, amazes me. It also makes me some special snowflake while abroad (a title I don’t seek but that I earn anyways).
I find that a lot of Americans don’t care if you’re bilingual. In fact, they see it as a threat to English being the status-quo. In France, you’re hip if you speak English. You get all those English cultural references and your French pals make English one-liners in an attempt to connect with you.
It’s fun to explain stuff in French and manage my daily life in French. You can speak French elsewhere, but this is one good reason to consider France.
Also let me know why you’d like to go to France in the comments below.