france

France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi-presidential republic located mostly in Western Europe, with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the...

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France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary semi-presidential republic located mostly in Western Europe, with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone .

France is the largest country in Western Europe and the third-largest in Europe as a whole. It possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military, and political influence in Europe and around the world. France has its main ideals expressed in the 18th-century Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. From the 17th to the early 20th century, France built the second-largest colonial empire of the time, ruling large portions of first North America and India and then Northwest and Central Africa; Madagascar; Indochina and southeast China; and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

France is a developed country, possessing the world's fifth-largest and Europe's second-largest economy by nominal GDP. It is also the world's ninth-largest by GDP at purchasing power parity. France is the wealthiest nation in Europe – and the fourth-wealthiest in the world – in aggregate household wealth. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, high public education level, and one of the world's longest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world's "best overall health care" provider by the World Health Organization. It is the most-visited country in the world, receiving 79.5 million foreign tourists annually.

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experiences (6)

have you spent time in france? share your experiences

5

france - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/25/13.

What brought you to france? Where were you before?

I’m originally from the US South, but had been living in NYC for several years. There I had met and married a woman and rarely gave any thought to the fact that she was French. In my youth, like so many young Americans, I harbored fantasies of moving to Europe but by the time we were together I had given up on them. Late twenties, no degree, only trained in one skilled trade, no real second language. Why even go through the trouble?

Then we both lost our jobs due to the recession. Her contract wasn’t renewed and the restaurant where I was working went under. We had enough money to stay in NYC for exactly one month, but if we didn’t both find jobs in that time we’d have to move back to my home state. Then one night the conversation just turned to France, and we said we’d go. From making the decision to getting on the plane was less than a month.

What are the the people of france like? In what ways are they different than people in other countries you've been?

It’s always troublesome to describe the people of an entire nation. It just seems so diverse now that I’m here, and I guess every country is the same in that regard....

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4

france - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 40s

posted by anonymous on 10/08/13.

What brought you to France? Where were you before?

I moved here from Amsterdam, the Netherlands (1 year) and moved there from London, UK (5 years). All told, I left the US back in 2006 and I'm quite happy in Europe.

Describe the city you live in in France.

Originally I lived in Paris for over a year, but I think of it as "filthy elegance". Paris is polluted, expensive, high crime, and lovely. After our flat was burgled, my wife and I decided to pack up and leave. We (we also have a 2 1/2 year old daughter) now live in La Rochelle, a small port town on the Bay of Biscay. It's gorgeous and the vieux port*(old port) has lovely medieval towers guarding the entrance. For the price of our tiny 2-bedroom flat on the outskirts of Paris, we have a huge 3-bedroom flat in the city center.

What are the the people of France like?

The French are lovely. The "snob" stereotype is sad and wrong. One thing which catches some people unaware is that for much of Europe, people are friendly with those they wish to be friends with and they're more formal with others. Thus, for Americans who are really friendly and outgoing, it's a source of confusion that goes both ways. You'll sometimes...

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4

paris, france - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 40s

posted by anonymous on 05/07/14.

How much time have you spent in Paris?

I more or less moved over here in 2007. I spent 2009 working in Amsterdam but the rest of the time has all been spent in Paris, so it's coming up on seven years in Europe.

How old were you when you came to Paris? Where were you before?

I was 44 when I moved over here and I came from the Bay Area. No kids, no property and never been married and I KNOW I never could have done this if I checked the boxes for 1 & 2.

What brought you to Paris? What made you choose Paris over any other place you could've gone?

Good question. A little background first... October 2007, I had just gotten laid off from my Silicon Valley job. I was planning on leaving of my own accord around the first of the year as I was burned out and, more specifically, totally frustrated because there was absolutely no room for advancement nor was there any place to go within my old company. So, rather than leaving on my own, I got a nice severance package. Now I could afford to take a bit of time off to decompress and recharge my batteries a bit.

Initially, I thought I'd go to Australia as it was summer, I have a good friend in Sydney and I thought I would go up to...

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2

france - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/16/13.

I spent roughly one year in France. I arrived April 9th 2012 and returned to the US March 15th, 2013 I was essentially 23 my entire time in France. I turned 23 4 days after arriving in France. What brought me to France was being an Au Pair. What an Au Pair is is sort of like a nanny, but it's not the same. I was more a part of the family than a regular nanny is; I wasn't looked at so much as an employee of a family but rather a part of the family. I helped my host family take care of their 2-year-old son; take him to/pick him up from daycare, occupy him in the afternoons/days off. While I cleaned the house on certain days, that was not my main thing as is for nannies. Prior to this, I was in the United States and had never left the country.

The city I lived in in France was a "suburb" of about 3k people. I was about 45 mins from the Atlantic Ocean by car, and about 3 hours SW from Paris by train.

I think the people in France are unique by how nice they are. I've never met a more caring group of people than the French (except when they drive...they are some crazy drivers, jesus christ). The French are pretty selfless in that they are always thinking of other people and making...

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2

paris, france - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/30/13.

I moved from my home country to the UK at 18, and to France five years later. I have now been in France for five years. The reason I moved to France, was entirely due to work. My group was re-stationed here, and I had the choice between following or essentially quitting. Until that point I had no great interest in French culture or language, so I was, to put it mildly, unprepared. My job in France was only meant to last for a year or so, but for various reasons I ended up extending my stay a year at a time, never intending to stay for longer, so never putting much effort into "becoming French" (which is a disgrace of course).

I spent most of my time in Paris. Paris is beautiful, probably the most beautiful city I ever visited, for some reason it is equally smelly (what is it with people pissing everywhere!?). Apart from the aesthetics, the most notable thing (I would say) about Paris is its vibrant restaurant culture. It is very common (at least in part due to various government schemes) to eat out both for lunch and dinner. As a result there is a great variety of choices, many of which (but far from all!) are of excellent quality.

As to the people, Parisians are somewhat...

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1

france - 5sizes2small's (f/34/united states) reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by 5sizes2small on 11/17/14.

What brought you to France?

My husband did. I met him online through a website called Gaia Online. We talked for several years and finally met in 2006 when I came to visit him here for 3 months on a traveler's visa. I have since moved here in officially in 2007 and currently still live in the Ile-de-France area.

Describe the city you live in there and your impressions of it.

I live in zone 3 which surrounds the main Paris zip code. Paris is very expensive so it's never been a choice to life there directly. I live north of Paris and have one station on my train before I am in main Paris at the Gare de Nord station anyways. Some might say I can move around quicker than those who live in the south of Paris.

The city I live in is very diverse with people from lost of different countries and cultures. As compared to the US this area is much safer than where I used to live in Kansas.

How does your race, nationality, gender, accent, etc. affect how you are treated or how people react to meeting you in France? Positively? Negatively?

I am a white female with dark features. When I first moved here I felt pressured to dress like the French women I see wherever. I bought new...

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 videos (12)

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demographics

population

65,630,692 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities

languages

French (official) 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

religions

Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 18.7% (male 6,285,130/ female 5,998,821)

15-64: 15-64 years: 63.8% (male 20,954,160/ female 20,937,651)

65+: 65 years and over: 17.5% (male 4,857,441/ female 6,597,489) (2012 est.)

urbanization

85% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

81.46 years

obesity rate

16.9% (2007)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

7/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

France was transitioning from an economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms but is in the midst...

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France was transitioning from an economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms but is in the midst of a euro-zone crisis. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, and has ceded stakes in such leading firms as Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. It maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. France's real GDP contracted 2.6% in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011. The unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to 9.3% in 2010 and 9.1% in 2011. Lower-than-expected growth and increased unemployment have cut government revenues and increased borrowing costs, contributing to a deterioration of France's public finances. The government budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 5.8% of GDP in 2011, while France's public debt rose from 68% of GDP to 86% over the same period. Under President SARKOZY, Paris implemented austerity measures that eliminated tax credits and froze most government spending in an effort to bring the budget deficit under the 3% euro-zone ceiling by 2013 and to highlight France's commitment to fiscal discipline at a time of intense financial market scrutiny of euro-zone debt levels. Socialist Francois HOLLANDE won the May 2012 presidential election, after advocating pro-growth economic policies, as well as measures such as forcing banks to separate their traditional deposit taking and lending activities from more speculative businesses, increasing taxes on bank profits, introducing a new top bracket on income taxes for people earning over €1 million ($1.3 million) a year, and hiring an additional 60,000 civil servants during his five-year term of office.

major industries

machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism

machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism

gdp per capita

$35,100 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

1.7% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 1.8% industry: 18.7% services: 79.5% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

9.2% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

6.2% (2004)

gini index

32.7 (2008) country comparison to the world: 100 32.7 (1995)