posted by in France forum
I am an Indian guy and spend 3-6 months in Paris / South of France every year, seriously thinking of having a permanent base in Paris now.
Things I love about France -
1) The lifestyle...in modern cities like london / NYC - everyone just works works and don't know how to enjoy life anymore. They drink at pubs and bars and behave very badly in a low class manner. But in France - people work and enjoy life the way it should be enjoyed. France definitely has a very "social" culture.
2) The Beauty - there is a lot of beauty in France - Paris is the most architecturally stunning city in the world and the Loire valley, Bretagne, South of France all have their own charm. I love the south especially - what a beautiful way to live... there is nothing so beautiful in England or America at all.
3) The Food - yes I love french food.... and I love the experience of having french food in a proper french restaurant. Contrary to what most people say - I never once encountered any rudeness at all in France, if you speak to french people politely and with a smile - they are usually very nice.
4) French Language - is the sweetest, most beautiful language in the world, I speak a little and am making a lot of effort to learn it fully now.
5) French Cinema, Music - I love most french movies, they are much more meaningful, deep and interesting than all the crap that comes out of Hollywood. As for french music - old french music from the 30s up until 70s and even 80s was very beautiful but now new french music is just a french version of American rap songs. I do not like the new french music but love the old songs especially by edit piaf, mirrielle matheiu, dalida... jacques brel (he was belgian but sang exclusively in french)
Now for things I don't like about France - there is nothing really I HATE but a few that I don't like.
1) French people are always nice to me but they lack knowledge of the world - they can be very myopic and yes even suffer from a bit of French arrogance. They are also very "inflexible" in their work for example if you go to a french restaurant and want to order something on the menu with a bit of a change - then they don't even understand it. French are programmed to follow a set pattern in their work and they cannot vision anything different outside their normal course. A lot of french I spoke to still think India is in the dark ages when in fact India is a booming country now with a lot more going on than anywhere in europe. Louis Vuitton has more stores in India than in all of Europe now but the average french person think India is a very poor and 3rd world country. This is also because most wealthy Indians dont go to France and prefer to go to England instead.
2) The beautiful architecture in France was built during Napolean's time and Haussman's time and mostly over a 100 years ago - in terms of innovation and "keeping up" with the times - France has failed miserably as a country. Nothing in Paris has been rennovated or updated since it was built 40 years ago... even Charles De Gaulle Airport is very poorly maintained and not updated, so is Les Halles and basically most public buildings in paris. French apartments are also very badly maintained overall - it's like the country stopped spending money after 1960 in maintaining and building the cities. Cleanliness is also a major issue in France. I was shocked how filthy the gyms in Paris were - even expensive ones.
3) Lack of easy and efficient services in France - the beauracracy is CRAZY in france, but worse than that try finding a dry cleaner in Paris. In London there are cleaners at every corner who work efficiently and even in India they are very good but in Paris - basic services can be a challenge. People still live the OLD Fashioned way of cleaning their own clothes and ironing and the few cleaners I did go to told me they were too busy for a week to even accept my clothes. Other things such as getting someone to repair your phone or TV or plumbing is a nightmare in Paris and totally overpriced. In the rest of France you will keep waiting for days before a plumber even shows up.
French certainly like to live a very slow pace of life and work as little as possible - but that in itself is a major attraction for people to France - those who want a laid back lifestyle with a lot of beauty around them. But some of the very things that one is attracted to France for - in the end can get discouraging. Either way I still like the country and will always keep visiting.
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