March 15, 2017

Life in France - The Myth vs. The Reality

Fromagerie du Puits Neuf

Myth: The French hardly ever work and go on strike all the time
Reality: The 35 hour work week is true for some, but according to French government statistics, in 2010, 50% of full time workers put in for overtime. Also, if you are a chef, a fromager, own a bakery, work in tourism, etc., you are working way more than 35 hours a week!

When French Fashion Goes Terribly Wrong

The Myth: All French women are perfectly groomed, elegant, thin and dress like haute couture fashion models
The Reality: No, no, no and no. I think the fact that these fuzzy sweaters even exist proves my point

American food. As viewed by KFC in #France.  I'm at a loss for words.

The Myth: Everyone takes a leisurly, 2 hour lunch
The Reality: Fast food is very popular here and after the US, France is the second largest market for McDonald's

Looking Bored

The Myth: The French are rude
The Reality: This is simply not true


The Myth: The bureaucracy is frustrating and seems to never, ever end
The Reality: Yeah, this one is true

Ricard ad. #summerinFrance #pastis #lifeinFrance

The Myth: French people are very careful with their alcohol and rarely drink to excess
The Reality: I've seen my fair share of French people tossing back glasses of pastis, wine and Calvados at local cafés, well before noon

Apéro with a view

The Myth: Every day is spent sipping Champagne and eating macarons
The Reality: Every day is spent sipping rosé and eating cheese (ha!)

Seriously, though.

I've said it before and I'll say it in France is simply that, life.
The garbage still has to be taken out and the taxes still need to get paid. I know the myth sells a lot better than the reality, but I've always tried to keep it real around here.

The reality is that some days are full of incredible art, leisurely afternoons at the café, delicious cheese, long Sunday lunches and great wine. And some days you end up in the emergency room, almost get run over by a bus and spend hours on the telephone dealing with incompetent bureaucrats. C'est la vie.

As our 14th anniversary of moving here quickly approaches, I can honestly say that the good far outweighs the bad. And I wouldn't change this life in France for anything!

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Taste of France said...

Great ones! I wrote yesterday about things I found very different (mostly in a good way) about elementary school in France.

Darina Nykl said...

A lovely and interesting post!

Emm said...

Another truth: France has a very good medical and health care system. I can attest to it, as someone who needed an ER there recently. And everyone was very kind and helpful, even when my minimal French vanished under stress.
Nice list overall! Congratulations on 14 years.

Working Girl said...

Loved this. Shared on my FB page!

Debbi Baron said...

Another myth: the French are arrogant! Eh ben, non! Not more than any other groups of people. What most Americans percieve as arrogance is in reality formality. The French are a lot like cats, whereas Americans tend to be more like dogs.

Congratulations on your anniversay. It is a great place and a nice life here, but you have to make it that and you obviously have.

bonnie poppe said...

I've been in France 7 years now, here's another one: Very few French houses look like the French County Style etc. that appears in glossy US (and French) magazines.
bonnie in provence

Andi Fisher said...

I agree with what Debbi said, a lot of perceived rudeness is more likely formality. I lived next to my neighbors for three years and they still only called me Madam. My mother-in-law has good friends she has known for 40 and they still call each other Madam This or Madam That.

Jennifer Greco said...

Taste of France
Reading your blog makes me miss the south so much!


I agree! The health system here is fantastic. Both my husband and I have experienced the ER and have had surgeries and cannot say enough good things about our experiences (other than the physical pain). :)

Jennifer Greco said...

Working Girl
Thank you for stopping by and thanks for sharing!

Very true! People are more formal and reserved here, which is often mistaken for arrogance.

Good point! All those horrible modern villas on the edge of every village. :-/

Good friends who refer to each other as "Madame?" That is too funny.

David said...

How come you have so few dossiers after 14 years?

Jennifer Greco said...

That is only a fraction of our dossiers! :)

Ron Shapley said...

Are you speaking of Paris, specifically or France in general ?? I'm curious how life is like in rural areas, outside the metro areas..........

Jennifer Greco said...

France in general. We spent 9 years in rural Languedoc, 4 years in a small town in Normandy and are now in Paris, so we've had a chance to see France from many angles. I've written a lot about life outside of Paris, which is here in my archives.