What do you think of the food?
My parents had a restaurant and I grew up in the kitchen, eating and loving good food. My passion for French food and wine led me to create A Taste of France Tours, a company specialising in food and wine tours in the south of France. My favourite foods are goat cheese, foie gras and anything chocolate.
What do you think of the shopping in France?
If you are into food, fashion or design, France is a great place to shop! Although you can’t judge a book by its cover when you are shopping in France. Unless you are shopping in a metropolitan area, store fronts can often look old and run down, but once you step inside, you realise it’s a really nice store.
What do you appreciate about living in France?
The quality of life, food and people! I also appreciate the geography of living in France. From where we live, we can drive to the mountains, the beach and other European countries. Another great way to travel in France is by train. I use the rail system as often as possible because it is extremely convenient and accessible.
What do you find most frustrating about living in France?
Getting adjusted to the hours of operation and the lack of public restrooms.
What puzzles you about France and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
What puzzles me the most is the amount of paperwork you have to fill out for every little thing you do. Also, the French do not know how to form a single file line. It’s very frustrating and I have had to learn how to keep people from cutting in front of me. What I miss most are my US friends and family.
How does the quality of life in France compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
France and America are the only countries I have lived in and I must say the quality of life is quite different. I live in a small town, and life here is simpler. When you realise that the pleasures of life do not have to revolve around consumerism, it’s a good feeling. Quality of life to me is being around a table with the people I love and that is what France is all about!
If you could change anything about France, what would it be?
The negativity of some of the French people. I don’t even know if they realise how much they complain, but it can get annoying.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Be patient and curious. Have patience because the French can be reserved around someone they do not know, but once you get to know them, you easily become friends for life. Be curious about learning the French culture and way of life. This can be essential when trying to integrate anywhere in the world.
If you would like to share your perspective about life in France and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorFR@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire on life in France' in the subject line.
This handy guide from Expertise in Labour Mobility includes information on business hierarchy, negotiations, and etiquette.
A listing of organizations in the Paris area that cater primarily to Americans living in France. Updated April 2011.
Our handy guide to the British community in Paris, from cricket clubs to Scottish country dancing lessons to where to find a jar of Marmite.
Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in France, from how to open a bank account to Islamic banking and investments.