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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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                  Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                  7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                  7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                  Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                  Video Summary

                  Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                  There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                  This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                  Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                  In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                  One Exercise, multiple benefits

                  There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                  By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                  When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                  Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                  In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                  What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                  What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                          5. You’ll improve overall balance

                            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                How to hold a plank position

                                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                  • Prolapse
                                  • After prolapse surgery
                                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                  • Previous childbirth
                                  • Overweight

                                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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