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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 February 18, 2019

                  13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                  13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                  Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                  Why is this so critically important to you?

                  The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                  Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                  1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                  Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                  When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                  • The man facing the judge.
                  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                  These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                  Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                  Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                  2. Accept Your Fear

                  Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                  We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                  And here’s what can be done.

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                  3. Get Some Perspective

                  I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                  And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                  That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                  We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                  So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                  • Are you really at risk?
                  • Will this kill you?
                  • Which leads us on to..
                  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                  4. Hold a Hand

                  As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                  Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                  We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                  Ask yourself:

                  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                  • Could that really happen?
                  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                  By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                  5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                  This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                  Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                  The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                  It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                  For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                  Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                  6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                  I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                  Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                  Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                  Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                  Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                  Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                  7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                  Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                  I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                  It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                  One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                  Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                  It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                  8. Assume the Worse

                  If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                  Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                  And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                  When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                  Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                  9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                  If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                  Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                  Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                  10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                  One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                  11. Go with Fear

                  When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                  I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                  Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                  One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                  However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                  We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                  12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                  And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                  The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                  What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                  13. Own Your Fear

                  Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                  We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                  You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                  More Resources About Fighting Fear

                  Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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