Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

The best and worst of life in France

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So, a year ago I left the UK for the sunnier climes of the south of France, specifically Toulouse, nicknamed 'la ville en rose’ (the pink city). Having just returned to England, I wanted to reflect on some of the best and worst of life in France.

The worst: 

  1. Starting off with the negatives, the worst thing of all about France for me were the shop opening hours! It may seem like a small thing, but while shops in the UK are usually open from around 9 am-7 pm, the shops in France were only open for a few hours a day due to shops often taking a four-hour lunch break in the middle of the day! How was I ever meant to get my shopping done?! 
  1. Second on my list, another result of the famously more relaxed attitude of the French, was bureaucracy in France. Getting anything done was basically a nightmare of form-filling and incessant email-sending. Oh and don’t expect a French person to reply to your emails straight away. It could take a good week, or even months …
  1. Lastly, for me, as a language learner, one of the most frustrating things about France was that so many people spoke English! Whilst this is generally a good thing, for me it meant that every time I asked for une table pour deux (a table for two) in my best French, I was met with ‘right this way Madame’ (in a thick French accent of course).

The best:

  1. The food. Now of course everybody raves about the cheese and the pastries in France (which are, truth be told, fantastic), but what I loved most of all was the French style of dining. Whilst UK families often rush down a quick meal in the evening, the French know how to make an event of a meal, often making their way leisurely through three courses!
  1. The social life. Another great thing I found in France was that tickets for places such as cinemas and museums were much cheaper than in the UK. This made a trip to the cinema a very credible night out, for around 6€ or £5 compared to typically around £12 at a UK cinema. Public transport was also remarkably cheap. I was able to have unlimited access to buses, metros and trams for only 10€ or £8 a month in Toulouse. A bargain!
  1. The more relaxed lifestyle. Whilst it had its frustrating elements as I discussed earlier, this was also undoubtedly the best part of French life. Shorter working hours thanks to longer lunch breaks means that whilst people in the UK are rushing out to buy a quick meal at lunchtime, the French are lounging in cafés. The sunshine means that people dine outside more frequently, often with neighbours, and stay out later at bars and restaurants.

So there you have it, life à la française.                                                                             


Have you ever been to France? If so, what did you think of it? How does life there compare to life in your own country?


vocdex's picture
vocdex 11 October, 2016 - 12:38

I haven't been in France , but heard a lot about this beautiful country! I really want to visit Eiffel Tower and make a selfie with my girlfriend . Then i also want to live like an ordinary French person and know how it feels like to be far away from your home!

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cklj's picture
cklj 26 August, 2016 - 09:30

I haven't visited France, but it's on my list. France is a very popular tourist destination and I think that I will visit France in the near future. First I will visit Paris, the French capital and then I would want to really get to know everything about this beautiful country.

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Patri's picture
Patri 9 August, 2016 - 11:30

I've never visited France, but I really want this. I'm from Romania and I can say that our lifestyle varies for every class. Our country was affected by the slump. The are poor people who can afford hardly their food and also, rich people who enjoy trip abroad, luxurious things and extravagant meals.

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Fressher's picture
Fressher 13 June, 2016 - 12:49

I have been to France before. It is an amazing country! It is stylish and as you said the food is amazing. The people in France are mainly all relaxed, barely show any stress. Climate is perfect, not to cold and not to warm. For me, as a Dutch person, in my country there are no mountains. We easily call a small hill a mountain. But in France, the actual mountains are fascinating and the landscape is perfect to photogaph. I have been to "Cote d'Azur", and the see is deep blue which looks very beautiful. I am also going to France this year during vacation I'm currently learning to speak French at school. The language is not too hard but not too easy as well.

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sona's picture
sona 12 June, 2016 - 16:11

No,I have never been before to France,but it is well-known for its sites,and of course its capital city,Paris. France has an impressive culture,unspoiled countryside and fantastic weather. Going to France is my future dream and I hope my dream will soon come true. I also love its cuisine,but I also think it is too small,that is not appropriate for my hunger:)

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suparna2001's picture
suparna2001 10 June, 2016 - 12:41

i haven't been to France even once! But I am learning French a bit from Duolingo website without having any aspiration:)just because I love to learn a foreign language;)

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NatalieH2's picture
NatalieH2 21 June, 2016 - 15:54

That's fantastic! I will have to try the Duolingo website myself :) French is a great language to learn! Though not as good as English of course ;)

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