Happy Valentine’s Day! As you know if you’ve read my article “What I wish I knew before dating a Frenchie,” I won’t be doing any hardcore celebrating today with Robin! 🙂 So instead I’m spoiling my scrumptious readers with 2 special articles about things I love keeping in line with the theme of the day. Below are all the reasons I adore France with my favorite YouTube personality, Rosie. If you want to hear our thoughts about the 8 Reasons Dating a Frenchman is the Absolute Best, head over here. Wishing you all the happiest of V-day’s!
1 | FOODIE
The French have a word called a “bon vivant.” I’ll loosely translate this into someone who enjoys the good things in life. What are the “good things” you ask? The French unsurpsingly classify this as someone who appreciates eating and drinking. Lucky for me, I over-appreciate anything from a fancy glass of champagne, to a 1 buck can of beer. And while I always liked eating before, I mean who doesn’t (?), food has taken on a new pleasure in France.
It’s not just the exoctic, new dishes and mouthwatering desserts. It’s the actual time the French take to enjoy a meal that I love so much. A lunch break in France is at least an hour long because who can actually enjoy a meal in 30 minutes. Sure you can physically eat in 30 minutes, but will you enjoy it? Family lunches usually take a minimum of 3 hours because it’s just as important to savour the experience of eating and the company around you as it is to actually eat.
I’m going to be honest, after 9 years, I still can’t find one damn thing to criticize about that.
2 | CHEAP WINE
Because I live up so impressively to the French’s expectations of a “bon vivant,” it shouldn’t be very surprising that I highly appreciate cheap wine in France. A good bottle of wine won’t cost you more than 3 euros at the grocery story and if you’re thinking of getting FAN-CY, you might for the 6 euro bottle. Since 3 euros is generally the average amount of change I find after every load of laundry, a bottle of wine feels practically free to me.
Restaurants are no different. Sure, a bottle of wine is going to set you back more like 18 euros instead of 3 because restaurants have that insane ability to jack up prices, BUT a glass of wine can be as little as 3 euros. The best part is when you glance at the soft drinks and notice a diet coke is 5 euros. Almost DOUBLE the price. That’s when you not only start to understand, but hardcore appreciate the prioirities of the French.
3 | TGV LOVE
The French have a rocky relationship with the high-powered trains called TGV’s. Mainly because SNCF, the company that runs the trains, is well-known for constant break downs, obnoxiously behind schedule trains, selling of overpriced tickets and generally being the unhelpful French we know and love.
I, however, a-dore these dang TGV trains and the absolute freedom it gives me to move anywhere I want at lightening speed. Want to shoot down to the south for the weekend? Grab the TGV. Want to go pick wildflowers in Amsterdam or visit breweries in Belgium? Just grab the TGV. This type of amazeballs public transport just doesn’t exist in the US. While I tend not to overshare my love for SNCF around my favorite grumpster Frenchies, I must admit I get a little twinge of excitement everytime I hop aboard those TGV trains and wisk away for the weekend.
4 | LOCATION
It’s pretty safe to say that visually speaking, France is just a knock out. As an American, we have our share of breathtaking beaches, snow peaked mountains and gorgeous natural parks. No can deny that the beauty of the US is endless. But where France manages to outshine us, is all that history.
It’s easy to find yourself strolling down 800 year old cobblestone streets while you admire a gothic style church built in the 1400’s or stumble upon a 15th century Château nestled in the Loire Valley. France is just so incredibly rich in history and architecture that the entire country is one breathless discovery after another.
I could not write this article without including the holy grail of what every expat obsesses over in France. V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.
The US has no laws to enforce minimum time off by companies. The average US employee has around 2 weeks. In France, people don’t live to work, they work to live. This is really evident in the minimum 5 weeks of vacation a year.
Now this doesn’t include public holidays like Labor Day or Christmas. France has around 8 days a year on top of that. And while the minimum time off is 5 weeks, the average time off is actually 6.5 weeks. Yup 33 days off a year. Only teachers dream of that luxury in the US. As an expat, this is straight gold nuggets thrown our way. Not only do we have enough time off to go home for long periods or multiple times per year, but we also still have the time to explore and discover new places. Do I hear jackpot anyone?
6 | JOB SECURITY
Vacation isn’t the only great thing about having an actual job in France. The other highlight is badass job security. Contrary to what people make think about France, it’s not impossible to lay off or fire people here. I know this from experience.
However, it’s r-e-e-eally expensive for companies to send you packing. Plus, even if they can scrounge together the cash to send you walkin, if you’re getting laid off and not fired, the goverment pays you 100% of your salary for a full year while you look for a new job. Yes you read that correctly. A year. HELLO socialism!
7 | EXOTIC FACTOR
And finally, to finish on a hilarious note, France has majorily turned up my level of “cool.” As a blond hair, blue eyed, American girl from the midwest, my backstory wasn’t exactly interesting to my peers growing up. I was just like everyone else. I’m in no way lacking self confidence, I think i’m pretty awesome ;), but i’m not exactly exotic to other Americans.
Coming to France has turned me into this “exotic” foreigner. Just by mumbling a quick bonjour in my thick accent sets me apart from the majority of people in the room. Being “the” foreigner instantly gives me this aura that I would never have living in the States. And let’s be serious, it’s not at all deserved, but it’s pretty fun to be interesting without having to do anything. It makes me feel like part of the Kardashian family. Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kate, Kendall and Kylie. 😉