Vie Française | Expat experience
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Pros and Cons of life in France

Amber Froland - 05/07/13 -

I have been in France for six years (originally from America), and recently got my 10-year carte de resident and am feeling on top of the world!  I see my French life as a humorous-yet-ever-so-frustrating adventure.

For example, here are some of my biggest French pet peeves:

  • The ability for the French to pretend that no other person exists on this earth.  They see Point A (where they are at that particular moment) and Point B (where they want to go) and whether or not there is something in between these two points (grocery cart, car, person, kitten), they will plow through it to get to where they are going.  This drives me CRAZY.  It is for this reason that I now do my grocery shopping online and why I hate roundabouts.
  • Men who pee outside.  I don’t care if you ‘gotta go’, man, find a bathroom!  Along the highway, in the bushes in a parking lot and on the sides of buildings are not appropriate places to relieve yourself!!!
  • People who don’t use their blinkers.  Ok, this isn’t a French-only behavior, but 50% of French admit to this!  This makes me want to release my inner Kraken.
  • People who butt (cut) in line at the grocery store, tabac, ANYWHERE.  Just don’t do it!  Impatience kills!!!!!
  • Men and boys who hock loogies (spit) on the ground.  So gross!
  • The dog poooooooooop!
  • Store and post office hours.  Ugh!
  • Litterers.  They drive me absolutely bonkers!  There are even some people who litter NEXT TO garbage cans.  Why do you do this, people?!
  • France does not have Dorritos.
  • Not believing that anything is possible!  “C’est pas possible” is not in my vocabulary, mon pote!
  • C’est pas mon problème”.  I’m gonna make it your problem, buddy.
  • The inexistence of service in any industry.  Don’t expect anybody to go the ‘extra mile’ for you.  They won’t.  It’s not in their blood.
  • They complain about everything.

Amber Froland - 05.07.13 -

But don’t get me wrong, I still love this (sometimes frustrating) country. Some of the things I like best about France are:

  • 95% of all recipes call for crème fraîche.
  • You can chat with coworkers at work and you won’t get yelled at for slacking.
  • Five weeks of paid vacation!  And tons of holidays!
  • There are rarely any commercials during TV shows.
  • Boulangeries for their fresh baguettes and tasty little pastries!
  • Old architecture.  I love seeing châteaux and vestiges of other medieval monuments sitting funnily alongside drug stores, tabacs and other modern-day buildings.  You can see this in most cities.

Amber Froland - 05/07/13 -

  • France is only a few hours’ flight to so many wonderful countries.  Feel like spending the weekend in Rome, Budapest or Athens?  Yeah, I can do that.
  • France is home to three of the most handsome men ever:  Jean Dujardin, Thierry Neuvic and François Vincentelli.  Can you say ooh la la?
  • The language, of course, is beautiful.  I have yet to find another language that comes close.  Accept maybe American!

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  1. Avatar of Judy MacMahon
    Judy MacMahon
    3 years ago

    Don’t hold back Amber! go girl! [of course many of these things apply in other places (even America) but I wont tell if you don’t. Judy

  2. Avatar of Christophe Pical
    3 years ago

    No comment!
    Actually, maybe a few.
    Men peeing outside (on our rental flat, happens most w/e), litterers (never seen worse before), dog poo (same comment), and no insulation (it is better in the UK), no pedestrian crossings (worse than here does not exist).

    More positive, Australia is the friendliest place ever.

  3. Avatar of Julie Gourichon
    Julie Gourichon
    3 years ago

    En tant que française, il y a, moi-même, des choses qui me révoltent. “They complain about everything” est un bon résumé de l’état d’esprit français. Le fait d’aller pisser à l’extérieur. J’ai voyagé principalement en Europe mais la France est le seul pays où j’ai observé ce phénomène. Les français penseraient-ils que ça fait leur charme? They’re wrong ^^. Je pense que la France est un pays, originalement (je sais même pas si ce mot existe), très égocentrique et ethnocentrique. Entre le 17ème et le 19ème siècle, on était un des empires les plus puissants du monde et on pensait que la culture française rayonnait dans le monde entier mais parfois, je me demande si cette époque est réellement révolue? Les français sont très centrés sur eux-mêmes et sont un peu arrogants. Ils sont chauvins et fiers d’être français. C’est une chose d’aimer son pays, c’en est une autre de se croire tout puissant.

    Après tout, la France est à l’image de son président. Toute petite et qui se prend pour le roi du monde.

    Dois-je dire que j’aime le France après ça? Il y a du bon et du mauvais partout. Les baguettes et le pain frais est un des nombreux avantages. La cuisine. Les congés payés. La sécurité sociale. Le système des retraites. Les aides sociales. Et c’est un pays naturellement magnifiques avec ses montagnes et la mer. Ses zones rurales et son histoire.

  4. Avatar of Tracy Hutchinson Wallace
    Tracy Hutchinson Wallace
    3 years ago

    Juste pour donner un peu d’information … malheureusement, il y a au moins un pays en dehors de l’Europe ou quelques hommes et garçons pissent à l’extérieur … le mien. :-(

  5. Avatar of Samantha Verant
    Samantha Verant
    3 years ago

    Hysterical post, Amber. The peeing and the dog poop and the cutting in lines and invading of personal space is so, well, true.

  6. Avatar of Bethany Untied Auchettl
    Bethany Untied Auchettl
    3 years ago

    I enjoyed your article- it made me chuckle (especially the comment about creme fraiche) ! Having spent awhile there myself, I can totally relate to some of these frustrating French behaviors, and could probably add about a thousand to your list. That said, those annoyances only make me love and miss France even more !

  7. Avatar of Amber
    3 years ago

    I’m glad people have enjoyed my article and hope nobody took it as French-bashing!

  8. Avatar of Richard Brooks
    3 years ago

    You just about covered the lot there and I’m with you all the way.

    Two of the main things drilled into me at a young age were not to throw litter on the ground and not to spit.

    I think the litter thing stems from the fact the French employ people to flush the streets and gutters of litter; and the spitting can be a cultural thing – some interpretations say swallowing mucus is unacceptable during Ramadan. If there’s a worse thing than treading in dog poo, it’s sliding through a small puddle of mucus!

  9. Avatar of Cynthia Stewart
    Cynthia Stewart
    3 years ago

    You’ll have to reduce you “con” list by one. There is a tiny grocer in the 17th off of Avenue Carnot (near Champs Elysees Etoile) that you ought to visit. It’s down the street from Le Vin Coeur. They have DORITOS. Enjoy!

  10. Avatar of Ashley Davidson-Fisher
    Ashley Davidson-Fisher
    3 years ago

    I too found Doritos at E.Leclerc supermarket. They even have different flavors!

  11. Avatar of Amber
    3 years ago

    So the Doritos have been hiding on me in plain site this whole time?! I gotta go get some tout de suite!!!