'I've really struggled!' An expat in France shares the 'most difficult thing' about living in the country

Expat / France buildings

An expat discussed her experience in France

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 12/05/2024

- 08:00

A woman who moved to France shared what she struggled with in the country

There are lots of reasons to move to France, from discovering beautiful countryside and immersing in bustling cities to experiencing the culture and history.

A woman who lived there for many years opened up on her experience and shared a word of warning for others thinking of moving.

There are many great things about living in France, expat Helena Woods said on her YouTube channel.

However, she revealed one thing she thinks people should be aware of before they move and that is the attitude of the people.

Cobbled streets in FranceFrance is a popular destination among expatsGETTY

French people are often stereotyped as being rude and, while Helena disagreed with this, she did say she found them difficult to read.

"The thing that is probably the most difficult for me in terms of socialisation and meeting people is the French are not very expressive," the expat explained.

"They don't really share how they are feeling on their face. They are very reserved and they pull it in.

"They are very polite and don't want to bother you. They walk on eggshells in terms of keeping everything to themselves."

The expat shared she understands this is a common trait among French people but she found it difficult when trying to integrate with the people in France.

"The downside of that is that they don't tell you how they feel," she said in her post. "[There isn't] that emotional expression. It's something I've struggled with for the last four years."

Another thing she found different to her life at home was the opening hours of restaurants as she said there is only a short window to get lunch.

She suggested people need to go for lunch between 12pm and 2pm as the restaurants will often shut outside those hours.

Paris FranceExpats moving to France can face a unique set of challenges PEXELS

They will sometimes also close early or not open at all and the expat said there will be no notice given.

Helena continued: "A random thing that I really hate about life in France is inconsistency.

"The French will close their stores, their restaurants - everything - and they won't advertise it.

"The thing that is even more difficult and tricky [about that] is that sometimes those restaurants will close an hour earlier and they won't advertise it."

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