5 Crucial Things To Know Before You Move to France

france-paris-towers-1130047-hAs the country with one of the strongest economies in Europe at the moment, France is prime territory for business relations, and if you find yourself relocating to France for your job you may find yourself wondering how you won life’s lottery.  However, adapting to a new life in France is not all fresh baguettes and great wine—as a foreigner, you may have some trouble adapting to a new culture and a new lifestyle.   There are many things it is crucial for you to take into account before you embark on your move.

1.     French attitude towards work: While France is known for its 35-hour work-week, its workers are some of the most productive on the continent.  That being said, the French know the value of leisure as well, and how to thoroughly enjoy their free time.  As you adjust to life in France, you may find yourself bewildered by your coworkers taking two-hour lunch breaks, or for the entire city to shut down in August, when people take their five weeks of vacation.

2.     French formality: The French tend to keep more formal relationships with each other.  They will generally dress up rather than down, and greet people with “bonjour” in social situations.  In fact, it may take you a long time before you make any close friends among locals.  When in doubt, address people using the formal “vous” rather than the informal “tu”.

3.     French eating and drinking habits: French cuisine is some of the most creative and delectable you will ever come across, and savoring good food is very important in French culture.  If invited to dinner at someone’s home, show your appreciation by bringing a small gift, such as flowers or champagne.  Similarly, the French love a glass of good wine and will generally take at least one with a meal, but they rarely engage in binge-drinking.  Smoking, on the other hand, holds a beloved niche in French culture, with an estimated 1/3 of the population smoking regularly.

4.     French attitude towards relationships: The French tend to take a more chivalrous view on the way men treat women—so if a man holds a door or coat for a woman, he is simply being polite, not implying that she can’t do it herself.  That being said, extramarital affairs are more tolerated in French society than they would be in the United States.  And while a couple may remain in a committed relationship for life, they will often choose to just stay living together, as there is less of a cultural obsession with marriage in France than in the United States.

5.     French pride in their language: The French are extremely proud of their language and heritage, and if you don’t demonstrate your eagerness to learn French, you will find your time spent in France to be difficult and isolated.  Even just learning the basics will lead to a greater appreciation of one of the most interesting and refined cultures in the world.  So take a free French level test today, or make an inquiry into starting a French course before you take your big move.