11 Things that I noticed after living a year and a half in France

It seems that we know everything about France, or almost everything. The Eiffel Tower, the fresh bread, or romantic Provence. However, real life often is different from a tourist trip.

An author of Great.guru, after living a year and a half in France, she decided to share her observations and unexpected facts. Get ready to see this list.


In France there are many problems with housing. Renting an apartment is something very difficult not only for foreigners, but also to the French: an apartment that is ready to be leased out comes to have a long line of people that want to acquire even half an hour after its publication. When you go to see the department, the people come with your resume, a photograph and a portfolio, for which the main factor is not how much you earn to the person, but also it is necessary to drop either the owner of the apartment.

The absolute form of a department consists of a level of nine square meters and a bathroom; on the other hand, such a department will not have a low price. The French laugh at the people who live in France, and perhaps to them an apartment of 20 to 25 metres can seem huge. And having a washing machine at home is already a big luxury.


The base of the power French is the baguette bread. Even my French friend laugh by calling the baguette the “basis of the whole of France”, with mustard, cheese and ham. The French food most classical and popular is a great sandwich with ham and butter, quiche Lorraine or croque-monsieur. Even the French themselves call quiche “pizza French” and is often prepared with products stored in the refrigerator.


For a large number of French gastronomy and the culinary arts, it really means a lot. Sometimes, in the preparation of the dinner of a day, a choice of the right wine or a digestif, the layout of the table, the combination of the color of the dishes and the napkins, it may take more time than the food itself. Enjoy slowly each part of the meal.


The cost of heating in France is quite high. To save money, many French people do not heat their departments or maintained at a temperature of 14 to 15 degrees centigrade. Therefore, as in some countries, even comes to happen that makes more heat in the street within the house itself.


France is the country of the victory of bureaucratic. For the processing of any document is necessary to take 10 different sheets of paper, some copies, original documents, photographs, questionnaires filled in, etc .. sometimes it turns into a vicious circle, when a document is missing, and to get this other one, also another.

Subsequently, gather all the documents, it is necessary to send them by regular mail. During the year and a half that I’ve been in France, I have not been able to get used to visiting the post office a minimum of two times a week. The main thing is to keep absolutely every receipt, questionnaire, or form; you never know when it will be necessary again.


In France there is a complex banking system. There are many banking applications that are uncomfortable, where for a transfer it is necessary know the long number of the account, and the transaction takes a few days. It is not possible to deposit money in cash to your card at an atm: for this it is necessary to present a document that says where you obtained this currency.

The money is frequently removed from the bank card with a few days delay and sometimes the remaining balance after a purchase will get to reflect up to a week after. Many French people don’t know the possibility of making payments with the help of the phones.


The majority of the French plan their holidays up to a year before its beginning, advance purchase tickets, reserve accommodations, as almost all holidays are strictly in August and the dates can’t be changed. In August, almost the entire country is made up of tourists: all the inhabitants are going abroad or out of town and the small towns disappear completely. Therefore, many French seem to be rare my outputs or casual travel.


The French are extremely polite and attentive. It is worth quickly get used to saying “bonjour”, “excusez-moi”, “pardon”, “bonne journée”, “bonne soirée”, “bon courage,” and “au revoir”; we find practically all the time, even up to 100 times a day. And the smile with which the French say these words is really sincere. Yes, and, in general, it is not difficult to smile when in truth you want a good day and good luck.


In France there is only one railway company. Due to the monopoly, the tickets for travel within the country are often too expensive. That’s why, for many French it is easier to buy a ticket and travel to Belgium and take a plane to Portugal, study in different French cities. Some southerners have never visited Paris, and the parisians have not traveled along the Côte d’azur.


In France it is almost impossible to find wines that have been produced in other countries. In the supermarkets there is only a shelf with the imported wines, but usually there are some bottles can be very expensive. Many French people have never tasted Spanish wines and don’t know what is “Chianti”. Therefore, the state supports the wine the French and the internal market. However, in France there are many varieties of grapes in different regions, even in your whole life does not attain to give them all a try.


The French know how to live enjoying every day. There is even the concept of “savoir-vivre” which means “learn to live”. Consists of trifles such as, to take a walk slowly on Sunday morning to a market to buy fresh products and an exhilarating ride through the park, play a game pétanque which is the favorite of all French people, eat some delicious oysters with a glass of white wine to the meal time, drink a cup of coffee on the table in a French café and have a good conversation.

Have you ever gone to France, and lived some of these experiences? What observation has seemed the more unexpected and rare?

Author Maria Troitskaia

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