Expats who live in France enjoy a jump in their quality of life, a global study revealed this week.
While the study didn’t make pretty reading for France in general, France ranked an impressive fourth out of 45 when it came to quality of life, streets ahead of the US in 26th and the UK in 30th.
In fact, a full 63 percent of expats responded that their quality of life had improved since moving. So what exactly is it about France that makes these expats radiate?
Here’s a taste of the responses collected on The Local’s Facebook page
Better work-life balance
Several said that life in France was “less stressful”, linking this to the importance that French people put on their out-of-work time.
“People work to live and not live to work,” says Australian Leonie Roustan.
And while at work, it’s no surprise that expats find the pace relaxing, with a 35-hour work week and a generous five weeks of vacation on offer at most jobs.
The food (and wine)
Another hot topic was the food – especially the fresh produce.
- Leonard-Peray said the quality of the veggies and fruits was “incredible”, noting that most was labeled as to where they were grown in France.
Of course, the classic French dishes were a big draw too.
“The taste of the wonderfully fresh items in the boulangerie from the croissants to the baguettes is unrivaled in the world. The demand for fresh and tasty food makes France a destination for gourmet lovers,” Leonard-Peray added.
While we’re on the subject of the dinner table, people were quick to praise the selection (and the cheap price) of a good bottle of wine.
The friendly people
Many readers of The Local said that the friendly locals played a key part in their own good quality of life.
UK native Bob McNair, now in Brittany, said: “I am made to feel welcome by total strangers despite being an immigrant and despite my currently very small command of French.”
Sandie Clark added: “I have never felt unwelcome, our neighbors and the local people in general have been so friendly, especially when they see you trying hard to speak their language.”
While those in bigger cities like Paris may argue that it’s a lot harder to make friends with neighbors (let alone meet them), those in the countryside were quick to disagree, it seems.
Property is cheaper
One other key point, presumably for people living outside of Paris, was the relatively cheap price of buying property (and living there).
One reader noted that he had bought “a small home with a modest plot of land in the countryside, for a price that in most UK cities would not buy a lock-up garage”.
Affordable and good health care
Many readers pointed out the good level of health care in France and the impact it can have on lives.
Jim Lovell said: “We are Americans. After moving here in the Var, my husband’s cholesterol levels improved so much, he has been taken off almost all of his medications. And health care is WAAAY more affordable ! We love it here ! I doubt we will ever go back.”
Other points that cropped up included the pleasure of shops being closed on Sundays (a divisive issue, of course), and the generous holiday allowance (generally five weeks a year).
Others pointed to the warm weather, the rich landscapes, the petanque pitches, the history, and that the French people can apparently enjoy the sun without getting sunburnt