France is famous for its beautiful language, cities and landscapes, traditional cuisine and terrasse culture. But for newcomers to the country, what else stands out as being the most helpful or pleasant aspect of life here?
We asked members of the Connexion team what they think works well in France. Here are some of their suggestions.
Our colleague believes that waiting times for operations and to see specialists in France are generally better than in most countries, although this of course depends on the area and service in question.
She also thinks it commendable that all residents have a right to healthcare, and that people on low incomes get their treatment 100% – or nearly 100% – covered as a result of the complémentaire santé solidaire.
“If not, you may want a mutuelle [top-up insurance], but workplaces have to help finance one plus the premiums are just set by age, not pre-existing conditions and past claims, so can be quite affordable,” she added.
She also believes that the Doctolib appointment booking platform is useful for finding healthcare professionals and services close to your home.
Our team likes the fact that in France, you often still get your own personal advisor, who you can ask to carry out simple tasks or for help on a query.
You can also arrange to meet them face to face.
Croissants and pâtisserie
French pâtisserie has spread across the world and it is possible to pick up a croissant in many countries.
However, it is difficult to beat a real French pain au chocolat or mille-feuille, bought from a boulangerie with a pristine display of sweet and savoury treats waiting to be tasted.
The Connexion team likes the fact that major French cities have their own dedicated transport systems, with trams and bus services making it easier to get from A to B.
Paris, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes and Toulouse all have their own metro systems while in the UK, for example, only London, Newcastle and Glasgow have any such service.
Films, literature and Arte
From a newcomers’ perspective, it is clear that France invests in its film industry, which is respected around the world.
One Connexion journalist also observed that “plenty of space is given on French TV and radio to literature, and the Pass Culture for teenagers is a great idea.”
The Pass Culture gives 15 to 18-year-olds a certain amount of money enabling them to access a range of cultural venues around the country. They can use their pass to gain entry to theatres, museums, film showings, musical lessons etc.
15-year-olds are given €20 for the year, while 16 and 17-year-olds are given €30. 18-year-olds are given €300 in credit, to use over two years, the website states.
You can find out more about the Pass Culture here.
France has over three times the number of independent bookshops that exist, for example, in the UK, at 3,500.
This is largely because of the 1981 Loi Lang, which protects independent bookshops by banning discounts of more than 5% on books.
This means that large retailers such as Amazon and Fnac cannot undercut smaller businesses.
The Arte TV channel (a cultural joint project between France and Germany) is admired for its variety and quality of subjects. You can also find thousands of documentaries, films, series, concerts and magazine shows to watch for free at its site (there is an English option).
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