France rates high on happiness in worldwide expat satisfaction survey

Published:  30 Aug at 6 PM
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Viewed from overseas by would-be expats looking for the perfect destination, France may not quite fit the bill, but expats already settled in the country rate their quality of life as more than satisfactory.

According to the latest Expat Insider survey, France’s recent turmoil including the devastating terrorist attacks and poisonous political debates isn’t seriously affecting current expats’ lives. The survey placed the country at 41st in the top expats’ destinations listings, a rise since last year’s result of 47, and its report as a whole mentioned a good number of positives. For its quality of life for expats, France scored well at 15th out of 67 countries, with 78 per cent of respondents citing the food, wine, comfortable travel options and heathcare as reasons to be happy about their situations.

The ease of transportation was a big plus, with 83 per cent appreciating the TVG as well as local networks. Infrastructure in general won praise, and four out of every six expats who took the survey stated French healthcare was very affordable. One of the most telling results as regards expat life in France was the emphasis on ‘joie de vivre’ and its positive effects on the work/life balance. Also praised was the shorter working day, leaving more time to have fun.

Families with both parents working were more than happy about the cheaper cost of childcare compared with their home countries, and education in general received positive reviews. Even so, the fragile French economy was problematic for some respondents, with others citing decreasing salaries, the increasing cost of living and high taxation
as reasons to worry about their future. The French language was a problem for some respondents, as was the lack of immediate rapport with their French neighbours and
work colleagues. Friendliness was rated by only 14 per cent of those surveyed, against a global result of 29 per cent, with many citing closed, close-knit communities as the reason.

A number of those surveyed believe that to integrate fully and enjoy life in France, it’s essential to learn to speak French. The ability to communicate in the local language is important when shopping, dealing with the country’s bureaucracy, visiting doctors or
hospitals and in everyday life situations.
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