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How easy was it to sign onto the French healthcare system? How is it working for you? What are the pros and cons? Would you ever want to get healthcare services back in the USA or in another country?
Lol. As it happens, a few days in France and the bite from the cold has left my wife looking to stay here in Spain. So much for academic analyses. Sorry I can’t be of help.


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I honestly don't think that the critical role that France played in the American revolution (and consequently the role the American revolution played in helping the French revolution get going) is very prominent in the thinking of most US citizens. We've far too much of an American exceptionalist worldview to really acknowledge the fact that, had it not been for France's direct military and economic intervention, independence would not have been gained like it was. That and the woeful state of the US educational system in educating its citizens about its own history.
and if anyone nowadays tried to point that out, they would be accused of indulging in a form of critical race theory even though it's simply a fact that has been buried and is not emphasized in history classes.
 

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Just avoid taking pictures of people when you're in France, as French law now insists that you ask permission first, unless that person is in a situation (e.g. an anti-vax demonstration) that they should reasonably expect to be photographed.
But good old fashioned street photography?
If Cartier-Bresson were alive today he wouldn't be able to take most of the pictures that he was famous for taking.
Does that mean that on a public sidewalk or market a person has en expectation of privacy requiring a snapper to ask? It would seem very difficult to enforce.
 

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I am a retiree at a planning stage of moving from US to France. The main reason for choosing France for retirement is the quality of healthcare. It takes years for advanced medical treatments and equipment developed in Europe to get approved by US FDA. Therefore many advanced treatments are not covered by health insurance, but are only available in US privately as "experimental" and are extremely expensive. Additionally doctors are limited by insurance companies in what they are allowed to do, for example the amount of biopsies they can take from a cancer tumor, as US medical care is a "for profit" type of business. I have first hand experience, as I traveled to France for a treatment in Lyon hospital. Procedure that would cost me $25,000 in USA on outdated equipment with black and white monitor screen, was done for 6,000 euros on the most advanced Siemens equipment and doctor could watch it in color. Additionally MRI cost me 300 Euros, Doctor consultation 60 Euros. These cash prices to a foreigner (no French insurance at all) were less than what a person with health insurance pays in the US as the so called "copay". Having spent several days at the French hospital, I can testify that it is the best in the world, and I have been around. So for anyone with a medical condition, France is a natural first choice.
 

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It depends entirely on what your situation is when you get to France. For a long stay visa for France you must show health insurance cover for your first year (unless you have a job lined up where you'll be enrolled in the French social insurances through your employer).

If you come to live in France it is not a choice. Special Note for Residents in France
It takes a little getting used to, but once you learn how things work, it beats anything available back in the States.

And if you're retired in France from the US and receiving US SS benefits, you are covered by Part A of Medicare and can be covered by Part B if you're willing to pay for it (although why you would, given that you'd have to fly back to the States to receive treatment under Medicare). Being part of the French system means that you are eligible for an EHIC card for any travel you do within the EU - good for "necessary" health care (like accidents or emergencies) in other EU countries.

But over here, you usually have to enroll in the health plan based on which country you are resident in.
Thanks, Bev, for that important link. Clarifying, to say the least.
 

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Seems to me that it starts with a desire for “something different” and that there is more to life than our local neighborhoods. If you’ve been exposed to foreign travel at a young age, it may have triggered the desire for more of it. To move here requires a willingness to embrace the change that comes with it.

The formula seems to be:
  • Expose a child
  • Have an opportunity to travel/move
  • Embrace the differences
  • Have minimal ties that bind you
For us, moving to France was a fuzzy dream as we spent three years sailing a boat up/down East coast and to the Bahamas for winter. We did it as a family and we learned we can deal with all that implies.

We have a great love of Europe - the history, the cultures, the amazing sites and certainly the food! The people have all been wonderful to us, but that is pretty much true in the USA too. We generally haven’t run into “people issues”.

Once we had a vague plan of living in France, we figured out we could do it via sailboat or do it via work. Once I told everyone around me that Europe was our objective, a job in the UK appeared. We did that for two years (loved it too) and then when I told people I had to quit to move to France, another job opened up. Certainly made it easier to make the move. We are here in Brest (last 4 months) and can’t imagine living anywhere else. We bought a home in Le Conquet (just got the keys) and we’re a 3 minute walk to a neighborhood beach. You couldn’t find anything like this in USA in anywhere a liberal person might want to live for the price we paid. Basically about 50% less. We now have the house of our dreams.

Both of us traveled as kids (I lived in Nigeria, boarding school in UK, vacations in Europe/Middle East) and it made a huge impression on me. My siblings, not as much and not to the extent they’d give up their deep roots in California.

Figuring out how to live in France has been a challenge that would probably put off most Americans from trying it. The French bureaucracy is a far bigger challenge than we expected. It turns out to be easier to buy a home in France than to get Orange.fr to give us a mobile phone subscription. Probably a mistake to deal with them in the beginning.

As I’ve learned the costs of living in France, I’m just shocked at how cheap it is (the loveliest, flakiest croissant is only 1 euro!). Health care for sure, but other insurance is dirt cheap (car, home) compared to USA. If you’re retired, you have great tax treatment as a USA citizen with funds in USA. Right now, if inflation is exploding in USA but not in France, it just means my Social Security payments will go up, yet I don’t have bigger bills in France. Of course, this might work against me in the future.

We have definitely led a charmed life and Brest/France has surprised us with the friendliness of the people and the beauty of the landscape. As to language, my wife and daughter speak it well enough and I really don’t, but find Google translator an immense help. I will learn too as we have no plans to return to what just seems one sad story after another back “home”.

Sorry for the long ramblings, but conversation struck a chord and we’re new to all of this.
 

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Have to chuckle at your comment about "You can travel in the US for days and little has changed." It really does depend on how long you have been gone and how and when you return - but my first foray overseas was for only 11 months when I went to live in the UK. Plenty had changed just in my part of California by the time I got back - it just depends on what you have reason to notice (or not). But I hear similar comments on how much things have changed from Italian friends who regularly return to Italy for vacations or to see friends and family there.
Oh let me clarify what I meant by that statement in quotes above.
I meant that Americans can travel for days in their own country (by car) and they are still in their own homeland, with their language, their chain stores and restaurants, their currency, their culture...granted going from, say Vermont to Mississippi might warrant some interesting changes but it is NOT like the European who travels a few days by car and is exposed to multiple languages, cultures, food, (and back in "my day" currency - kinda miss that). I think the mere exposure of these differences gives many Europeans less anxiety about going outside their comfort zone, even if it's just for a vacation.
As someone else said above somewhere, that kids being exposed to international travel are more likely to be open-minded as adults, that kind of says what I'm saying. Most American kids are not exposed to this while MANY European kids are.
I think it takes a certain personality to make long term adjustments and the older we start, the harder it is.
As silly as it sounds, right now one thing I miss most is a garbage disposal! LOL!! Sounds so trite but as someone who eats mostly a plant-based diet (another issue that makes my being here long term a tad challenging) and spends a great deal of time in the kitchen doing food prep, I am sorely aware of how inconvenient it is for my "food lifestyle" to live without one (even my husband is finding it annoying). First World Probs. 😅
 

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Just so we don't run into problems with "false advertising" here <g> I'd like to temper a couple remarks. And, I guess, to try to head off a mass migration to France from places unfamiliar with how things are here. Not that you're wrong on any of it - just to clarify the context a bit:

It takes years for advanced medical treatments and equipment developed in Europe to get approved by US FDA. Therefore many advanced treatments are not covered by health insurance, but are only available in US privately as "experimental" and are extremely expensive
This one cuts both ways. There are cures and treatments available in the US (granted, for big bucks) that aren't available here in France, too. Approval for new medications is predicated on a cost/benefit analysis: Does the price differential between the new drug and the currently available treatment reflect the additional benefits of the new drug? And there is always the issue of the "medical deserts" which limit availability of treatment for those who are unable or unwilling to travel great distances for care or treatment.
The French bureaucracy is a far bigger challenge than we expected. It turns out to be easier to buy a home in France than to get Orange.fr to give us a mobile phone subscription.
Yeah, this has been a problem here for a LONG time. Hey, there have to be a few disadvantages to living in Paradise, right? <ggg>
As I’ve learned the costs of living in France, I’m just shocked at how cheap it is (the loveliest, flakiest croissant is only 1 euro!). Health care for sure, but other insurance is dirt cheap (car, home) compared to USA. If you’re retired, you have great tax treatment as a USA citizen with funds in USA. Right now, if inflation is exploding in USA but not in France,
Don't forget, though, that French salaries are generally much lower than in the US, so relatively smaller rises in prices can affect folks at the bottom of the scale pretty seriously. Take a look at the current rises in fuel prices (heating and vehicle). The government here does have more ability to step in to freeze prices or provide modest subsidies without all the partisan wrangling you get in the US. But folks at the lower income levels are having problems at the moment here in France.
 

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As silly as it sounds, right now one thing I miss most is a garbage disposal!
LOL, indeed - that was one of my early concerns on coming to live here. But depending on where you live, the answer to that is usually composting! Some towns actually collect compostable waste for a town-wide or regional compost effort.

Then again, my husband treats our kitchen sink like it had a garbage disposal - if it washes down the drain (with the little strainer thingee removed) it goes down the drain. We do, however, have a large compost pile that supplies our (also large) garden but then again we have chickens and donkeys who provide the "basic materials" for that so we are abundantly stocked with garden fertilizer.

The comfort zone thing varies by region and by individual. Met one man here who is as nasty as he can be to any Brit or American he meets mainly because his daughter married a Brit and they moved to the UK, thereby depriving him of easy access to his grandchildren, who speak English most of the time even when Mammi et Pappy make the trek to visit them in the UK. Proving once again that "it takes all kinds." <g>
 

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Oh let me clarify what I meant by that statement in quotes above.
I meant that Americans can travel for days in their own country (by car) and they are still in their own homeland, with their language, their chain stores and restaurants, their currency, their culture...granted going from, say Vermont to Mississippi might warrant some interesting changes but it is NOT like the European who travels a few days by car and is exposed to multiple languages, cultures, food, (and back in "my day" currency - kinda miss that). I think the mere exposure of these differences gives many Europeans less anxiety about going outside their comfort zone, even if it's just for a vacation.
As someone else said above somewhere, that kids being exposed to international travel are more likely to be open-minded as adults, that kind of says what I'm saying. Most American kids are not exposed to this while MANY European kids are.
I think it takes a certain personality to make long term adjustments and the older we start, the harder it is.
As silly as it sounds, right now one thing I miss most is a garbage disposal! LOL!! Sounds so trite but as someone who eats mostly a plant-based diet (another issue that makes my being here long term a tad challenging) and spends a great deal of time in the kitchen doing food prep, I am sorely aware of how inconvenient it is for my "food lifestyle" to live without one (even my husband is finding it annoying). First World Probs. 😅
As a vegetarian, (so long as you have a garden), I use that wonderful garbage disposal method, the compost heap. I feed myself, it feeds my garden 😁
 

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Regarding travel as a child and exposure to other cultures, I had none of it. We were too poor to go anywhere on holiday, not even in our own country. I didn't get to go abroad until I went to uni, when I did interrailing for a few months, then I had a year in France for my degree. But being in a foreign environment didn't bother me, I enjoy the differences. I don’t feel I have travelled enough, or experienced enough, so I'd like to do more now that I have the time and money to do so. If you have an open mindset I expect you'll cope.
 

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As a vegetarian, (so long as you have a garden), I use that wonderful garbage disposal method, the compost heap. I feed myself, it feeds my garden 😁
Ah, yes, I do not have a garden or compost option and it is cumbersome to collect all scraps, peelings, seeds, trimmings, etc constantly during food prep and then just to dump them in a plastic bag and make sure they don't go in the sink. Slows me down so much!
How do you find life in France as a vegetarian when eating out or invited to friends for dinner? If you're in or near a large city, I suppose it is a little easier. I've been married to a Frenchman and traveling here (now living here) for over 30 years and I still find it challenging. While I don't eat any "land meat", I still eat some fish/seafood, I prefer to limit it to once a week but find that very challenging when I'm here especially when his family invites us to eat. A meal without an animal protein is very foreign to them unless it's pizza.
For 25 years my father-in-law offered me charcuterie on every single visit! It just never registered.
I am struggling to find the products I am used to to make the meals I make back home. I can't even find black beans! (we are not near a big city) I'd love to find wonton wrappers as well. I was surprised to find the one Thai restaurant in our area did not have a single vegetarian dish on their menu. Back in the US Thai is often our go-to for good meatless meals.
Enfin...there are worse things in life! lol
 

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Regarding travel as a child and exposure to other cultures, I had none of it. We were too poor to go anywhere on holiday, not even in our own country. I didn't get to go abroad until I went to uni, when I did interrailing for a few months, then I had a year in France for my degree. But being in a foreign environment didn't bother me, I enjoy the differences. I don’t feel I have travelled enough, or experienced enough, so I'd like to do more now that I have the time and money to do so. If you have an open mindset I expect you'll cope.
I think there are just some people who have that adventurous spirit in their DNA. I'm one of 8 siblings and I'm astounded at how different we all are despite having the same upbringing. We were not wealthy enough to travel either, but did spend a week or two in the summers traveling to Quebec from WNY to visit family. But that was it save for one trip to New Jersey. My sister and parents have lived in WNY (6 hours from NYC) for almost 60 years and NEVER been to NYC. No interest. Three sisters and one brother have never been out of the country (except for Quebec growing up). The others all traveled a bit for work.
My first time on a plane I was 16, a month out of high school and bought myself a one way ticket to Los Angeles where I stayed for 20 years on my own.
Yep. Sometimes it's just in your DNA.
Carpe diem! :)
 

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Ah, yes, I do not have a garden or compost option and it is cumbersome to collect all scraps, peelings, seeds, trimmings, etc constantly during food prep and then just to dump them in a plastic bag and make sure they don't go in the sink. Slows me down so much!
How do you find life in France as a vegetarian when eating out or invited to friends for dinner? If you're in or near a large city, I suppose it is a little easier. I've been married to a Frenchman and traveling here (now living here) for over 30 years and I still find it challenging. While I don't eat any "land meat", I still eat some fish/seafood, I prefer to limit it to once a week but find that very challenging when I'm here especially when his family invites us to eat. A meal without an animal protein is very foreign to them unless it's pizza.
For 25 years my father-in-law offered me charcuterie on every single visit! It just never registered.
I am struggling to find the products I am used to to make the meals I make back home. I can't even find black beans! (we are not near a big city) I'd love to find wonton wrappers as well. I was surprised to find the one Thai restaurant in our area did not have a single vegetarian dish on their menu. Back in the US Thai is often our go-to for good meatless meals.
Enfin...there are worse things in life! lol
I'm not living in France at present but currently exploring the possibility of moving there. I find holidaying in most European countries can be a challenge when it comes to food, Greece seems about the best. I've been served some terrible slop. 😁

Here in the UK the most accommodating cuisine apart from Indian seems to be Szechuan. Not many of either of those in France I understand! Partly why I do most of my own cooking and would want to have a potager if I move. Lack of ingredients will certainly be a challenge. Regarding wonton wrappers, though, they're easy to make yourself, no special ingredients. I've been working on expanding my knowledge of Indian and Chinese cooking techniques by watching YouTube videos to find out how to do these things properly.

There's always quiche in France, but then there's usually bacon at the bottom of it! 😄
 

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I can't even find black beans! (we are not near a big city) I'd love to find wonton wrappers as well. I
A little surprised at the lack of black beans, but then again you may be looking for a specific variety that isn't generally available here. Probably your best shot is at either a health food store (a "bio" store) or a Leclerc or other large supermarket with a good sized "vrac" (bulk) section as part of their bio foods section. Or in some stores, they have a separate set of shelves for dried foods (nuts and beans, mostly) from Morocco. (Maybe contingent on the local ethnic population.)

Wonton wrappers used to be available frozen in some Chinatown shops (like Freres Teng) in Paris, but nowadays they seem to only carry the rice flour based eggroll ("nem") wrappers. I've got a good Chinese cookbook that has a couple recipes for making your own true eggroll skins (i.e. with eggs) but they are a bit elaborate and time consuming. Basically, you make thin crepes that you don't let brown on the pan - and then those become your eggroll or wonton wrappers. Have not found those ready made (usually frozen) for years now.
 

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A little surprised at the lack of black beans, but then again you may be looking for a specific variety that isn't generally available here. Probably your best shot is at either a health food store (a "bio" store) or a Leclerc or other large supermarket with a good sized "vrac" (bulk) section as part of their bio foods section. Or in some stores, they have a separate set of shelves for dried foods (nuts and beans, mostly) from Morocco. (Maybe contingent on the local ethnic population.)

Wonton wrappers used to be available frozen in some Chinatown shops (like Freres Teng) in Paris, but nowadays they seem to only carry the rice flour based eggroll ("nem") wrappers. I've got a good Chinese cookbook that has a couple recipes for making your own true eggroll skins (i.e. with eggs) but they are a bit elaborate and time consuming. Basically, you make thin crepes that you don't let brown on the pan - and then those become your eggroll or wonton wrappers. Have not found those ready made (usually frozen) for years now.
Well tbh, I haven't looked for dried black beans. At home I just buy organic cans - which are plentiful with numerous brands. Don't really care which brand. I don't have the patience for soaking black beans overnight. Did that once and they still took forever to cook. We have a small bio store here and it had few items I couldn't also find at Carrefour. I did find more tofu selections there but still not what I use at home.
I do check out all the international sections of every store!
I'm missing a wide variety of asian ingredients. I actually use fresh wonton wrappers to make the best fresh ravioli I've ever had in my life (and anyone I've made it for). Regular pasta ravioli is too thick and dense for my taste. Wonton wrappers are a miracle for ravioli. Am looking to impress my French family who cannot comprehend meals without animal protein but am limited between ingredients and equipment.
 
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