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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to get a general picture of life in France. There are also some points that I am interested in, listed below.

My family and I are living in Mallorca but are looking for a change. To be honest, the bureaucracy is just too much to accept any more.

What I would like to ask you all is:

How have you been effected by the European crisis.

What is your opinion on the lifestyle when living in France.

What is your opinion on things like building permissions etc.

What is your opinion on tax's

Etc, etc.

Basically a general idea of how life is for you and your family. What makes life in France great and what (If anything) makes it terrible.

Anything that you feel could be helpful please.

Thank you for reading this and for your replies (Hopefully many)
 

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If bureaucracy bothers you, I'm not sure France is the place to be. They love paperwork.

As for the crisis, I live in Toulouse, and we're not feeling it at all here. The city is still growing, they're building like crazy, the shopping district is bustling every Saturday afternoon, and housing prices are going up and up. But I think that has a lot to do with Airbus and the aeronautics industry in general. I've heard that the crisis is being felt much more dramatically in the North though I don't have any first-hand experience.
 

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To be honest, although I don't know about bureaucracy in Mallorca, I suspect you would find it little different here - the French LERRRRRRV their paperwork, and to negotiate it all you need to be fairly au fait in the language and hugely humble, patient and tolerant.

We still live here - after 10 years - 'cos France appeals to us for the lifestyle, the quality of life (even without water for 5 weeks), the cost of living & that it is a truly democratic republic compared to, for example, Britain (which imho is a far too liberal republican monarchy/nanny state, if that's not too much of an oxymoron, with a nod to democracy), and French taxes, purportedly "high", are far lower than we would be paying in the UK.

In case you hadn't noticed, the whole world is in economic crisis, and, at such times, bureaucracy tends to increase - just as with a household budget you become less "laissez faire" when you have less to throw around - and it behoves us all to play the game, harsh tho' the rules may be; be grateful we're not living in Greece, or, indeed, many of the "troubled" countries in the world.

My concern is that a new government might make it harder for all us expats to stay here (already hard enough since the harsh drop in exchange rate £:Euro) despite the EU - France notoriously cocks a snook at what it doesn't like re EU rulings, for which I also admire/applaud them.

I think, if you consider hard, you would find the UK equally bureaucratic for its indigenous population, the difference being that we are - nominally - fluent in English.

Just grit your teeth, grin & bear it; there are undoubtedly worse places you could be.

H
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If bureaucracy bothers you, I'm not sure France is the place to be. They love paperwork.

As for the crisis, I live in Toulouse, and we're not feeling it at all here. The city is still growing, they're building like crazy, the shopping district is bustling every Saturday afternoon, and housing prices are going up and up. But I think that has a lot to do with Airbus and the aeronautics industry in general. I've heard that the crisis is being felt much more dramatically in the North though I don't have any first-hand experience.
It would be the south for us. My partner has a relative in Marseille and studied in a French school (although she is Greek), so we could have some advantages there.

Thanks for the information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To be honest, although I don't know about bureaucracy in Mallorca, I suspect you would find it little different here - the French LERRRRRRV their paperwork, and to negotiate it all you need to be fairly au fait in the language and hugely humble, patient and tolerant.

We still live here - after 10 years - 'cos France appeals to us for the lifestyle, the quality of life (even without water for 5 weeks), the cost of living & that it is a truly democratic republic compared to, for example, Britain (which imho is a far too liberal republican monarchy/nanny state, if that's not too much of an oxymoron, with a nod to democracy), and French taxes, purportedly "high", are far lower than we would be paying in the UK.

In case you hadn't noticed, the whole world is in economic crisis, and, at such times, bureaucracy tends to increase - just as with a household budget you become less "laissez faire" when you have less to throw around - and it behoves us all to play the game, harsh tho' the rules may be; be grateful we're not living in Greece, or, indeed, many of the "troubled" countries in the world.

My concern is that a new government might make it harder for all us expats to stay here (already hard enough since the harsh drop in exchange rate £:Euro) despite the EU - France notoriously cocks a snook at what it doesn't like re EU rulings, for which I also admire/applaud them.

I think, if you consider hard, you would find the UK equally bureaucratic for its indigenous population, the difference being that we are - nominally - fluent in English.

Just grit your teeth, grin & bear it; there are undoubtedly worse places you could be.

H
Many thanks for your pointers.

I am guessing that "The best of all evils" could be a phrase I am thinking of now. It will be interesting to see other opinions also as I guess, like here, not everyone thinks the same.

Appreciate your comments. Thanks.
 

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Many thanks for your pointers.

I am guessing that "The best of all evils" could be a phrase I am thinking of now. It will be interesting to see other opinions also as I guess, like here, not everyone thinks the same.

Appreciate your comments. Thanks.
yw

H

PS since the world as we know it is due to end on 23 December this year, it's hardly worth the effort of making the move is it? :D
 
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Many thanks for your pointers.

I am guessing that "The best of all evils" could be a phrase I am thinking of now. It will be interesting to see other opinions also as I guess, like here, not everyone thinks the same.

Appreciate your comments. Thanks.
Not everyone's opinion will be the same about many things. But everyone will agree the bureaucracy is quite serious! ;) If that's what's getting you down, I'm not sure you'll be happier in France or any of the "Napoleonic" countries really.

Maybe you'd be happier in Australia, UK, US or Canada.

Good luck with your next chapter! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not everyone's opinion will be the same about many things. But everyone will agree the bureaucracy is quite serious! ;) If that's what's getting you down, I'm not sure you'll be happier in France or any of the "Napoleonic" countries really.

Maybe you'd be happier in Australia, UK, US or Canada.

Good luck with your next chapter! :)
Thanks Mia,
Noooooooooooo, never going back to the UK and the US or Canada are a little too adventurous for us. We are well suited to the Mediterranean life, just need to decide where our best options lie.

Thanks anyway.
 

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Thanks Mia,
Noooooooooooo, never going back to the UK and the US or Canada are a little too adventurous for us. We are well suited to the Mediterranean life, just need to decide where our best options lie.

Thanks anyway.
I've observed that people who grew up on the common law system tend to have a difficult time adjusting to the the other system. If you grew up with the "continental" system, it's just something you get on with.

Maybe you just need to learn to accept it. Certainly a bit of Zen meditation never hurt anyone! :D ;)

I don't know Med France very well, so I can't comment on that part of the country. Good luck with your decision! :)
 
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I've lived in France for a year on and off now - but really spent almost 2 years in France already. I've been up and down the country several times, I speak little French but I love this country. The diversity, culture, food, landscapes, everything is impossible to find all in one place in any other country. France has a lot to offer, but like everywhere else there are problems too. Like everyone mentioned bureaucracy - this has not affected me yet, it takes a bit longer to do things, costs a bit more, is a bit frustrating but who cares... it's not such a big deal. Certainly there are less regulations and less control in France than countries like USA and UK which in my opinion have just become far too restrictive and regulated in so many ways that it's impossible to have a normal life in such places. Those are very mechanical society - but France is still real, I guess most of continental Europe is very real. I feel very free in France....I love to drive all over the country - there is no excessive unnecessary policing or harassment, it's a very relaxed laid back country.

French bureaucracy isn't so bad as people make it out to be, they are quite efficient with the paperwork and not too strict really... I don't know how good or bad it is in Spain....but compared to Spain I think France has much more to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've observed that people who grew up on the common law system tend to have a difficult time adjusting to the the other system. If you grew up with the "continental" system, it's just something you get on with.

Maybe you just need to learn to accept it. Certainly a bit of Zen meditation never hurt anyone! :D ;)

I don't know Med France very well, so I can't comment on that part of the country. Good luck with your decision! :)
I grew up in the UK, tired of the way of life and the restrictions, then moved to Spain.

Zen? I find counting money works well.

Thanks for your information
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Moving2France,

Some interesting points. Not all views are the same, as people are not.

The problem with Spain is, there are laws and regulations that the officials don't even know about. One official will tell you one thing and another tells you something else. I am tired of never knowing where I stand, with officialdom.

This only appears to be a problem when you try to do everything right. I know many who have not registered for things, not followed the law and still complained that the country is not making a living for them.

Thanks
 

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Thanks Moving2France,

Some interesting points. Not all views are the same, as people are not.

The problem with Spain is, there are laws and regulations that the officials don't even know about. One official will tell you one thing and another tells you something else. I am tired of never knowing where I stand, with officialdom.

This only appears to be a problem when you try to do everything right. I know many who have not registered for things, not followed the law and still complained that the country is not making a living for them.

Thanks
I live in 'Med France' and have had exactly the same experiences with beaurocracy here as you have had in Spain. I have been told countless times conflicting information by different people in different departments, and it has taken months for the simplest things to be achieved. That said, I was prepared for that when I came over here and it hasn't bothered me too much. You just have realise NOTHING happens down here fast or with any urgency, and there is nothing you can do to speed the process along.
 
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Maybe this is the case in rural France but in Paris I have not faced this problem at all. I think generally French are very organized, and Paris is a well managed well organized city - even if it is a bit slow if you look you can find all kinds of good level services at a reasonable cost. Most French bureaucrats take their job very very seriously. I've lived in the US and UK too - and there are other kinds of frustrations in those countries - too much regulations and control over people's lives.. in the US, I used to set aside $2000 a year in traffic fines and tickets over useless things. Once I remember I was pulled over driving my car in New Jersey...I stopped the car and in front of the officer I took my seatbelt off to reach for the glove compartment and get the registration papers out - and he gave me a ticket for speeding and another ticket for not wearing a seat belt - I tried to argue with him about removing the belt in front of him and he threatened to arrest me. UK police is even worse - at least in France the police doesn't unnecessarily harass you like this to make an extra buck here or there - in UK and USA - the traffic police get a commission on the number of tickets they issue so they have a quota to reach every month. So far in France I drive normally and never got a ticket for any reason.

Sometimes in France getting things done easily may be due to a language barrier - at least in Paris now there are 24 hour services for all kinds of daily issues.

Can you give examples of what problems you faced in Spain with bureaucracy more specifically for what sort of issues rather than just no one knowing how to help you.


Thanks Moving2France,

Some interesting points. Not all views are the same, as people are not.

The problem with Spain is, there are laws and regulations that the officials don't even know about. One official will tell you one thing and another tells you something else. I am tired of never knowing where I stand, with officialdom.

This only appears to be a problem when you try to do everything right. I know many who have not registered for things, not followed the law and still complained that the country is not making a living for them.

Thanks
 

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The bit about uk traffic police having a quota is complete nonsense.

I find the police in France ( which ones you may ask as there are so many) completely useless. I have needed them several times In line with my work, and a couple of times at home (house was burgled and car broken into) and to be quite honest regretted contacting them at all.
 
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