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12 Reasons Why Living In France Is Awesome

12 Reasons Why Living In France Is Awesome

France is one of the most beautiful and refined countries in Europe. Perfect climate, amazing foods and culture to dive into. If the chance to see the Eiffel Tower every day and experience incredibly delicious wine for just 3 euro/bottle are not enough, here are 12 more reasons that makes living in France so awesome.

1. Work to live, not live to work

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    Whereas the 35 hour work week is more of a myth, than a reality, the French still know how to maintain a proper life/work balance. One of the reasons behind closing the shops and services at 7 pm sharply, is to let employees enjoy dinner with the family back at home (ah, and double wages for overtime). More perks: an hourly lunch, usually paid for by the company as meal coupons to the nearest brasserie. And yes, there’s nothing bad in having a glass of wine with your food and getting back to business afterwards. The French have 30 days of paid vacations, starting to accumulate once they get hired. Plus, they do take vacations seriously and spend all 30 days outside the desk per year, yet are still feeling vacation deprived by the end of the year. And by no means, do not plan to have things do during August! You would be re-directed from one autoresponder to another. Yes, everyone are on vacation, serously soaking the sun somewhere at Northern Corsica. A French law banning employees from checking work emails after 6 pm made a huge fuss over the web. Whereas, it was badly misinterpreted, you should not expect your French partners to be available outside their working schedule. The French are experts in getting disconnected and opt for spending their free time outdoors – hiking, kayaking or simply having a picnic in the countryside. Or, having some quality time with family and friends as it’s one of those simple things in life that make us instantly happier.

    2. Higher education is dirt cheap

    You can get your BA or BS for just €181 (225$) per year and enroll to post-graduate studies for €250 (310$) a year! Engineering schools are a bit more pricey with annual tuition fee of €596 and obtaining a PhD in France will cost you €380 for each year of studies. Private colleges (think law and medical schools) cost more, however are still rather affordable with prices ranging from €3.000 to €10.000 per year. Besides, there’s a ton of scholarships available for foreign students to help you cover up your living expenses.Without splurging, you can have awesome student years in France, spending around 700-800€ per month including everything. Unless aiming for a really competitive field (everything fashion-related), entering a French university is rather simple. You need to be fluent in French (B1-B2 level) and have your official documents transcribed to French and the application form carefully filled in.

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    3. Concentration of art is overwhelming

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       Along with the all famous Mona Lisa, the Louvre stores 34,999 more art works on display, including Egyptian antiques, Islamic Art, loads of sculptures from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, along with a huge jewelry collection of the French nobility. Let’s not forget about d’Orsay museum with over 2000 paintings from later periods! Incredible collection of Impressionist: Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir! Cubists, realists and even post-impressionists presented with Van Gogh. Just on the opposite side of the Sienna at west corner of goregeous Tuileries Gardens, stands Musee l’Orangerie – a spacious gallery hosting even more Renoir and Monet paintings. More into sculpture art? You can spend hours wondering around Musée Rodin gardeners and thinking with The Thinker sculpture just like the main hero of Midnight in Paris. In total there are 169 national art museums in France and a few hundred’s more privately owned galleries and studios. So yeah, it’s hard not become an art geek.

      4. Food quality is regulated more strictly than visas

      AOC (L’appellation d’origine contrôlée) – a special food certification system being around since 1411. It regulates the boundaries where certain goods can be produced and assuring the quality of regional foods. No sparkling wine can be called Champagne unless it comes from the same named province. The French take pride for guaranteeing that all AOC sealed products will hold to a harsh set of strictly outlined standards.All the goods will be produced in a traditional manner with only those ingredients that come from specific producers in designated geographical areas.

      5. Over 350 types of cheese to try

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        Locals claim it’s around a thousand due to slight regional varieties within each cheese type. Soft cheese, firm cheese, mild or blue. Made of unpasteurized cow milk, goat milk or lamb milk. Aged for a few weeks or a few years. Did you know you can be fined for caring Epoisses de Bourgogn cheese unpacked at public transport? Hint: it has an extremely strong odor. Quoting  Charles de Gaulle: “How can you govern a country that makes over 256 kinds of cheese?” Now I seriously, sympathize François Hollande – things got even tougher for him.

        6. And even more divine wines from 17 wine regions

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          France’s wine history dates back to the 6th century BC. I guess they do know what they’re doing! The French gave the world Champagne –  all wines with bubbles, coming from other provinces can only be called sparkling. Burgundy and Bordeaux are particularly famous for the reds. Alsace and the Loire valley produces mighty fine white fines along with Savoy province. Corisican rose and red have unusual bouquet of taste and Jura wines were recently called “The French Most Secret Wine” as they are rather unknown outside the country. And did I mention you can buy a bottle of fine wine at a supermarket starting from 3-4 euros?

          7. L’heure du goûter makes life sweeter

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             There is that amazing time of the day when you are socially encouraged to grab something sweet. It’s a typical four o’clock snack all kids enjoy after school. But it’s not restricted to kids! Take a break, go at the nearest boulangery to enjoy a cup of cafe au lait with yummy tart au citron.

            8. The more you travel around, the more amazing regional dishes you discover

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              The French cuisine is really diversified and comprised of traditional dishes originating from different regions. Of course, in Paris you can find restaurants and bistors serving rich Alsatian foods or fragrant Provencal dishes. However, is it existing to discover new attractions along with new meals to try? Try buckwheat crêpes with whatever filling you can imagine in Brittany, Piperade and Poulet Basquaise in the French Basque country; Soupe de Poisson à la Rouille in Marseille; Pan Bagat sandwich in Nice and Soupe au Pistou in Provence. When traveling North-East you can not miss making a bite of Coq au Vin and  Boeuf Bourguignon in Burgundy; Flammekueche and Choucroute Garnie in Alsace; Coq au vin jaune and raclette in Franche-Comte and finish with a good slice of Quiche Lorraine in Metz. The good news is, you won’t get any extra pounds after your culinary adventures as the French meals are really well-balanced!

              9. France has extremely diverse scenery to suit all tastes

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                The French Alps are one of the biggest and baddest hiking destinations in Europe with mind blowing views and petite remote villages on emerald plateaus. Ah, and it’s one of the greatest ski destinations too with a few thousand kilometers of scenic trails to master. Beach bums would love soaking the sun anywhere around Cote d’Azur (and secretly craving to meet someone famous). Yes, the warm waters here are of exactly the same turquoise color you see on pictures. Or better, hit on Corsica this summer – secluded beaches and sloppy mountains all in one place. The beaches here are even better then at the French Reverie and I seriously recommend making a detour around the island for the best outdoor experiences! The biggest sand dune in Europe – Dune of Pilat is just 60km away from Bordeaux. Glaciers – yep, there are 7 to be found in France. Love being active on vacations? How about kayaking in Gorges du Tarn or hiking around Gorges du Verdon – arguably, Europe’s most beautiful canyon. Love exploring underground mazes and icy caves – check out Gouffre de Poudrey or Grotte d’Osselle in Jura mounts. More into history? You’d love spending time in the Loire Valley, exploring over 40 gorgeous chateaux and fairy-tale like castles scattered all around the area. Note: there are even more castles in other regions of France. Bottom line: there are more incredible places to visit in France than you can imagine.

                10. You can have all the benefits of a married couple without tying the knot.

                In 1999 the French National Assembly passed Pacte civil de solidarité or simply PACS –  a contractual form of civil union for same-sex or opposite-sex couples to organizing their joint life. What’s so cool about PACS? First of all, it allows the couples pay joint taxes (think less taxes), have inheritance rights, co-own property and have children registered under mother’s/father’s or both names.  Secondly, your foreign partner can receive a residence permit after you get PASCed,. Thirdly, it’s an awesome way to test if are both prepared for spousal life and shared lifelong commitments. If not, well, it’s way easier to get un-PACSed, then to file a divorce.

                11. The government helps you raise kids

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                  A huge number of childcare and pre-schooling services are fully covered by the government. There are special subsidies for in-home childcare and special benefits towards having more than one kid – from extra cash to lower taxes and all sort of major discounts for transportation.  Women are encouraged to take maternity leaves and receive their full salary for 16 weeks. Fathers can also take up to 11 days of paternity leave with no loss of pay. The government also pays you up to € 1 846.15 if you prefer to adopt a child. Basically, as a women you have a tough choice to make: go to work and bring 1.500-2.000 euro monthly income or stay at home, spoil your kids till they get 20 and receive around 1.200 euro for that. Now, ladies, what would you choose? :)

                  12. Healthcare is affordable and efficient

                  The French residence card comes along with carte vitale – your pass into the world of reimbursements medicine, cheap (or free) prescription drugs and free medical checks you can request each other month. Each month a flat rate is taken from your salary and transferred to your health insurance fund, so that you can visit your GP doctor for free. If you get hospitalized, the most significant charge you may be needed to pay is an 18€ per day.

                  Featured photo credit: Paris in winter via shutterstock.com

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                  Elena Prokopets

                  Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                  Last Updated on August 13, 2020

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                  1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                  I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                  Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                  Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                  2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                  The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                  It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                  Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                  In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                  You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                  This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                  The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                  Less Physical, More Psychological

                  Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                  This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                  The First Benefit of Meditation

                  The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                  2. Relaxation of the body

                  Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                  Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                  That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                  When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                  When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                  Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                  Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                  This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                  Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                  Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                  This benefit takes you to the second one.

                  The Second Benefit of Meditation

                  While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                  2. Observance
                  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                  4. Patience

                  Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                  You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                  This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                  1. Energy

                  Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                  2. Observance

                  The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                  3. Peacefulness

                  Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                  4. Patience

                  The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                  The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                  Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                  Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                  The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                  These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                  Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                  Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

                  More on Meditation

                  Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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