Being Nosy!

So what is the biggest difference between France and the States? And if you are here full time, what do you miss the most?

I miss bone in rib eye steaks and peanut butter. I can put peanut butter in my suitcase, but not so with a steak. Other than that, I am much more relaxed and happy here.

Jacqueline, what prevents you from buying a dryer? We have one and my Brazilian wife detests seeing the clothes hanging on the line in our neighbor's yard in our supposed upscale neighborhood. She finds it incredible anyone would not have a dryer. They don't cost very much and less than a clothes washer.

Ken, the insanity of the gun laws in the US is one of the reasons I didn't go back after I came to Geneva to work and then retired. Everyday one reads about insane killings, in ones or in groups. The America I left 30 years ago is not the one that exists today. It's far more dangerous. I have a 4th cousin who just became a policeman in Scottsdale, AZ. I hope he survives the job.

I eventually went to the Leader Price and lo and behold, they had NO English muffins. Bummer. a Research Historian, France has a history, which is subject to my specific period in history, namely Ancient and Classical. France is also a democracy, with multi-political parties, which are entertaining to watch, and keep a balance of power. The architecture, food, and wine are tremendous. I love the language, landscape, location within Europe. and I could go on. What attracts me most is the economic, political, and social freedoms that are present. As for what I dislike......those things may be a misunderstanding due to cultural awareness lacking on my part. But I have no overwhelming points that I dislike. Though there may be minor points at times...bureaucracy etc....but that we have everywhere and in many forms, government and corporate.

Hi Jacqueline,

This is what the founders of the U.S.A. had to say about security: "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."

Well, it's obvious that not many people have listened to them and that's why countries like the U.S.A. are turning into police states at a frightening pace. It may be soon that the America you, and we all, liked and loved so much will no longer exist. It's safe to assume that as soon as gated communities have become a necessity it may be wise to forget about the place altogether.

France is gradually going in the same direction and because of the changes I've witnessed since La Douce France tried to become a 'modern country' I've come to dislike and sometimes even hate France.

Yes, you may ask why I'm still here..., well, the local authorities, the surveyor as well as the cadastre had us wait for over 3 years before finishing some work necessary to sell our properties (only adding to my reasons for disliking France). The paperwork now finally done the market has changed a lot and selling land and the house have become much less easy.

Have a nice day!


We've lived in France now for 18 years and don't plan to move out unless we win the Eurolotto. When I travel to other EU countries or even the US I feel like I'm in a foreign country but when I get back to France, I feel like I've come home. Having said that, there are things that can be better in France like customer service. All the ISP's customer service have terrible customer service. At the same time People in the stores are very polite. The police are rude. We were stopped recently for unknown reasons. The cop gave me a breathalyzer test (zero results), checked my license, Carte de Residence, car insurance and Carte Gris and all was in order. He never said why he stopped us nor ever apologized for doing so. He just gruffly said I could go. I think he was unhappy he couldn't find anything wrong. I suppose they have to deal with the dregs of society so that puts them in a bad disposition but they paint everyone with the same brush.

Well, I'm from Seattle and I think they exist there but are pretty unusual. I have heard that they are much more common in other parts of the country so I probably wouldn't want to move there. I really like being able to leisurely walk around, take the public transportation and stuff like that without having to worry about being kidnapped or mugged. :-) For that Japan was THE safest place I've ever lived. Kids took the metro to school every morning and no worries. France is pretty safe too though it depends on the neighborhood.

Hi Victoria,

We have "gated community" all over the country in the US and I think it's good since it gives the "assurance" of extra security from "intruders" - you didn't think so?

Hi Jacqueline,

I see what you're saying and agree 100%. I've never met a country I didn't admire and I love meeting people from all places. However there are places in the world I personally wouldn't really want to live in. My husband and I were once asked to expatriate to a country where they made it clear that we would have to live in a gated community and I just couldn't see it. Since then I've met people who have and they said it was a bit inconvenient but otherwise OK. So perhaps I missed out on an experience I might have enjoyed. :-)

Dedene and Victoria,

I hope we understand each other! I never complained about French people in general. People are people! We can come across with the good, the bad, and ugly ones where ever we go - regardless the city, States, country or religion! France disappoints me because I "imagined" it as a "glamorous and advanced " country and my French husband who's soon to be "EX" painted it even better than what I imagined and he spoke so ill about USA when he lived in the US for 8 years! I never came to France before I moved here in May 2009 so I "gobbled" it up what my husband had been telling me! Now that I am here...I haven't seen ONE thing to be the truth so I am "defensive"!

I miss USA as a country I prefer to live in - NOT because I have "roots" in there! All my life (in Indonesia, USA, England and France), I've been living "alone" that's why dealing with different people with different background (culture)is NOT a problem to stop me from moving forward!

I didn't know I had such strong feelings about USA until I came to France! Either in the USA, England or France, I have always been "on my own" no family, relative or connection with anybody whatsoever - all the people I have met are the people that GOD has put in my path to help me and I have been blessed to have met wonderful French people along the way - even those who work for the government!

Hi Jacqueline,

You sound a little like me when we moved back to France after a couple of years in Japan. :-) Took me a while to understand that I really fell in love with the place and I missed my friends, my colleagues, the food, the sheer graciousness of the Japanese and that I needed some time to grieve for what I lost when we came back. Once I got through that, I could love France again.

You may or may not learn to love this country and I think it's perfectly OK if you decide that you don't and you would prefer to be somewhere else. Strangely enough you would be surprised by the number of people I've met who feel out of place and don't really care for the country they came from and have searched the world for a place where they could "feel more at home." Some have found that in France. Some of the French I know have found it in Japan or the United States or other places. Nothing wrong with any of these folks, in my opinion. See how you feel in a year or two would be my counsel. The world is positively chock full of interesting places to go and people to meet - makes my feet tingle just thinking about it :-)

Best of luck to you,



It's too bad you feel the way you do and that you're disappointed by France. But France and the French are how they are, so it's for you to change, not them.

I guess you're going to have to decide whether you belong here or not. But I wish you all the best and much happiness in whatever you decide.

Hi Bob, thank you for the input :)

I have always been a "city gal" who like speed and practicality and living in the US gave me that. I am originally an Indonesian (grew up in the capital) and living in France reminds me back home - backward in many ways. When I first arrived in France I had my tears streaming down my face while hanging the clothes on the clothesline and said to my husband "it was 30 years ago I did this back in Indonesia when I was little and stopped doing it 7 years prior my move to the USA. I didn't like it then and never thought I'd do it again in this time of age much less in FRANCE, a MODERN country" (I lived in the US for 23 years)

Mind you, I am not criticizing those who like to do it "naturally" and and as a "City gal" living in the woods is NOT my ideal way of living. However, if that's what I have to do (doing life backward again) then I shall do, shan't I?

Doesn't mean I don't have the right to say "I miss USA" while continue my daily grinds in France, does it? ;)

Jacqueline, that is a very sad post. I am not sure what to say to make you feel that there is hope.

We live in the woods, and my wife who loves cooking things like Thai curry, makes all her own spices and ingredients. Her kitchen is just how she likes it as I have changed it all around to her requirements.

We dry all of our clothes on the line amongst the pine trees, we don't have a drier as they are not environmentally friendly, but the clothes smell great.

Living in the wilds means that there is no dog mess or any other rubbish here, but there are also no fast food shops or 24 hour supermarkets either.

I am from Los Angeles and the past 9 years before moving to France I lived near Manhattan Beach. I miss everything...and still "struggling" to adapt. I live in an apartment now but had lived in 2 different rental houses in 2 different Dept. None of the rental places is equipped/ ready to "move-in" condition... no kitchen counter/kitchen cupboard, no closets, no mirror in the bathroom. I used to love cooking but now I HATE it cos there's no place to prepare food in the kitchen (no counter top)

I miss good customer service I was accustomed to back in the US. Miss having a toilet in the bathroom or a toilet with sink and mirror so I can "powder my nose", being able to buy OTC meds that we have back home which we can even buy them at 7/11, miss drying my close in the drier and having laundry comes out nice, soft and fluffy, there's no "jasmine" rice that tastes like "jasmine" should be; can't buy "Indonesian spices" except at the Indonesian embassy in Paris and the price is 4 times more expensive...

Everybody smokes and they don't care that I don't smoke so they continue puffing on my face and their babies/children's faces. Cigarette butts and dog poops are everywhere list is very long but in short, I am miserable in France! France TOTALLY disappoints me! :(

I too am from the Seattle area, and although it is very beautiful and I have always loved downtown Seattle - France is now my home, so unless forced I won’t be moving back as there is nothing that I miss I can’t live without (a good caramel macchiato and a tour around the diverse Capitol Hill for example…these things cross my mind on a rare occasion :wink:

I think we just find new things to enjoy!


We moved from Tenafly, New Jersey to Carcassonne in Aude nine years ago. Being 9 miles from Manhattan

We moved to Carcassonne nine years ago from Tenafly, NJ a mere 9 miles from Manhattan. The biggest difference for me was getting used to life in a small town. OK, Carcassonne seems much bigger now but imagine going from “the city that never sleeps” to over-taking tractors for excitement! I am used to the way of life now but what I really miss at times are 24 hour supermarkets, and customer service or “service après vente”. I don’t think it exists here. Let’s not even get into administration and fonctionaires. The thing I miss most is Thanksgiving, a huge week-end for us with our big extended family. The turkey dinners with the works, pumpkin and apple pies, football games and the general atmosphere. Nine years ago during our fist Thanksgiving here, I could not even find a turkey to stuff and had to settle for a duck. :sunglasses:

I’m originally from Seattle and what I really miss is having the ocean nearby (I live in Versailles). We have a summer house in Brittany but it’s a long drive. I was in Casablanca a few weeks ago and I had my taxi driver take me to the beach just so I could watch the waves and smell the salt air.

Oh, and the Seattle coffeehouse scene and bar-hopping in Pioneer Square on a Saturday night :slight_smile: