things I love about France

I was pretty negative about France in my last post, so to turn things around, I wanted to do a post about things I love about (my part of) France. I say (my part of) France, because some things are going to depend on where you’re at in France.

1. Cheese

I love French cheese! All of it! The stinkier, the better. I will probably try just about any cheese you put in front of me (well, unless there are insects in it). From Comte to Maroilles to Camembert to Roquefort, I love it. I would be so so sad if I ever had to stop eating it. Or moved back to the US.

2. Public Transportation

Okay, this can also be an annoyance when there’s a strike, or a problem technic, or when I miss the last metro of the night, but in general, I love not being dependent on a car… especially since I don’t have access to a car I can drive. Yes, I only know how to drive an automatic.

3. Affordable Healthcare

It’s nice not having to think twice about going to the doctor. I still only go when necessary, but I don’t have to worry about a visit to the doctor (or dentist or ophthalmologist) breaking the bank. Even if I didn’t have health insurance here, seeing a doctor wouldn’t be the end of the world. And if you knew how much I pay for a 3-month supply of birth control, you’d probably freak. Though it’s supposed to be covered now in the US, right?

4Open Air Markets

I know many cities in the US are starting to have them now, but where I come from, unless you went to Westside Market in Cleveland (which is indoors), there’s nothing resembling a market. I used to go to the market all the time when I was a student in Aix-en-Provence. I don’t go nearly enough here – more out of sheer laziness on Sunday mornings than anything else. I love the fresh fruits and vegetables. And of course, the cheese!

Flower Market in Aix-en-Provence

Flower Market in Aix-en-Provence

5. French cuisine

I’ll be the first to admit that I miss many things I eat back home, but how can you not love Boeuf Bourguignon, crepes, Tartiflette, Raclette, etc.?

6. Apéro

I’m not really a dessert person, but I love salty things! And what better than to pair them with a glass of rosé, a cocktail, or a beer?

7. Café/Bar Terraces

It’s summertime which means the terraces are open and filled with people (when the rain stays away, that is). I love sitting outside people watching while sipping a coffee or a drink. It also means that Elliot can come with us and enjoy the time as well.

8. Good Bread

Unfortunately, where we live, there are no good boulangeries… even if there are two artisan ones right on the square. Their bread basically resembles the mass produced stuff and just isn’t delicious. But when we go down to J’s parents’, there is the best boulangerie I have ever tried in the tiny town next door. They bake their bread in a wood stove. Oh my god, it’s amazing.

9. Cheap Cell Phone Plans

With many operators, for just 20 euros a month (currently about $27), you can have unlimited calls, texts, nternational calls to many destinations including the US, and internet. I can call my mom from anywhere in France and not worry about it costing a fortune! Many internet boxes also offer free calls to foreign destinations.

10. Holidays

While I get super annoyed when things are closed, I do enjoy the massive amount of public holidays.

Of course, there are many more things I love (or hate). These are just the ones that popped immediately into mind.

What about you? What are your favorite things about France?

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11 thoughts on “things I love about France

  1. Things I missed about France:

    1) Cheap magazines at the bureau de tabac (I find magazines much more expensive in Canada–not talking about the imported ones, even the North American version of Marie-Claire or whatever)
    2) Beauty samples (French parfumeries are more generous with samples, for sure)
    3 Pastries, cheese, yogurts and crèmes laitières, quiches, etc.
    4) Some French brands such as Nuxe

    Okay, I sound like a airhead now. Of course, I also miss my family and all 😆

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    • I wouldn’t doubt missing your family 🙂 I miss mine back in the USA as well.

      I prefer the yogurt here in France over that found in the US. I don’t know how it is in Canada, but I feel like it has a whole different texture and taste.

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  2. 2. I love public transportation, too! Luckily my line isn’t affected by the strike going on now or I’d love it less today.
    3. Ditto for healthcare. I’ve had two surgeries in the past three months and even though I had to pay dépassements d’honoraires for the second one, it still was a lot cheaper than it would have been in the US, even with insurance.
    8. There are no good boulangeries in my new town either 😦 This is probably a good thing though because I could eat baguettes for days. And pastries.

    I love (para)pharmacies. So many products. A limited student budget is the only thing keeping me from buying something every time I walk past one. Also, it’s included in apéro kind of, but wine. I never spend more than 6 euros and the wine is still so good! I have no idea how to pick good wine in the US though.

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    • And the strike will continue tomorrow as well! At least I’m no longer taking the train like I was all year.

      Wine, yes, the wine! I tend to drink more beer here in Lille, but I do love the cheap and delicious wine!

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  3. Those all sound good to me too! The strike was perfectly timed for me, smugly sitting at home 😉 Thank goodness, because as I said, the trains have been atrocious enough recently. I’d definitely add good, cheap wine, the proximity to other countries with different cultures and languages (especially since NZ is soooo far from everything), and the thousands of years of history, art and culture in Europe (kind of amazing to go in churches etc. here which had existed for hundreds of years before human beings even got to my country).

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    • Those are good things to add to the list! And I hear you on the history part. In the US, something that is “old” is like 100 years old… maybe 200. It’s so strange.

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  4. I don’t think you were negative in my your last post – you were just being honest about your life. Life in France isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and I like that we bloggers started a sort of series about the reality of living in France.

    Those apéros are dangerous. I love them, but I think they are part of the reason why I have gained weight in France. They last so long and I am so ravenous that I end of eating everything and then overeat during the meal. I wish it was just a little (healthy) something with a drink.

    I’m crazy about eating seafood in France. I also like how it isn’t weird to ride you bike around here (well, not in Bordeaux). There are so many bikes here, I love it.

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    • But that post got me a worried call from my mother!

      My first year in France, I gained a lot of weight. I used to be very overweight but lost most of it at uni, so it’s so easy for me to fall into old habits and put weight back on. I’ve lost the weight I gained back, but I still have to watch it and learn better habits. On the upside, I tend to not eat dessert though I’m not sure if that’s really an excuse to go overboard during apero.

      Bikes are great! I’m just terrified of the cars. I need to go out to the countryside, I think.

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  5. I said goodbye to a French girl yesterday who is returning home after a year-long internship in Seattle. When asked what she’s missed most: (sans hésitation) “Bread!”

    I miss the markets the most, I think – it was a twice-weekly hobby of mine to do the rounds and buy my produce in the center of town, sometimes from quite large vendors, and sometimes from tiny grandmothers with a folding table a handfuls of what they could pluck from their garden!

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