Pros & Cons of bringing up your kids in France

I’m about to spend some time back in Blighty so I’ve been reflecting on bringing up the kids in France & here are my thoughts:


  • Family Friendly - Most people/places seem to like children & go out of their way to be friendly. Quite a few times people have made little paper models for the children in cafes & our post lady always has a carambar for our eldest

  • Only 4 days at school means lots of time for family time

  • Child Allowances are very generous & tax regime supports large families

  • Slower pace of life means more focus on family time


  • Hardly ever find any decent baby change facilities & don’t even talk about those hole in the floor toilets

  • Baby/Kids stuff is ridiculously expensive

  • Live a long way away from family

    What do you think?

Thanks so much for the reply, Susan, and I am so happy to hear from someone who’s already sent their child off to the frozen north :slight_smile: It’s really encouraging to hear that your son likes it there - my biggest fear is that she will NOT be happy. UQAM is a great school. My daughter is trying for U. of Montreal, Concordia, Trois Rivieres and McGill.

Here is a "pro’ that I discovered only recently when my French/American daughter was applying at universities. (She’s been in the French public school system since nursery school.) It turned out to be relatively easy and there was a lot less paperwork for universities in Canada. All they wanted was the on-line application, a small fee, her French grades (high school) and the status of her bac. That was for the French speaking universities in Quebec. The English-speaking ones also wanted the TOEFL. I was pleasantly surprised and really pleased. I think Canada is a very good choice for her and one their side they seem delighted to welcome French students.

My son is older than yours, he is in 6eme, so we are experiencing our first year of “college”! It is amazing the amount of subjects that the school can fit into a week! To say the least it is keeping all of us very busy!

He is learning a lot, but the subject that I question the most is his foreign language class, Spanish. It is a combination of rote memorization of poems, dialogs and verb conjugations, like a course out of the 1970’s in the US. I have spoken to both the teacher and principal, but since the teachers are hired by the “Education Nationale” there is little to nothing that can/will be done about it…

Hi! I agree with all the pros, and, as an American , I of course have to add the MAIN pro for me: socialized HEALTH CARE. It makes all the difference in the world to know that if someone gets sick it’s not the end of our home ownership…

I can also perhaps address one of the cons mentioned above: in my daughter’s class there is a young boy with a mild form of autism- it was detected early, and there has been an enormous amount of support shown to him and his parents; for example, they are keeping him in the regular class, and he has a special “helper”, a full-time teacher’s assistant, there during the day to help him with his mood swings, his fears, and his attention deficit. I might add that this is a French public school, nothing fancy, and I have also seen the same situation in another class I have visited (for work purposes) outside of Paris in a relatively “poor” district. I hope this means that there is indeed alot of help and services to be had, if one knows how to ask and where to look.

However, as the mother of a precocious, very outgoing and rambunctious 5 year old girl, I have to agree with the fears expressed about a system that generally tries to make square pegs fit into round holes! I have been able to herd some of her energy into dance and drama lessons in extra-curricular activites, which do exist, (Centre d’animation de la Ville de Paris), and whose tarifs are based on how much one earns, so as to remain affordable for everyone.

Best to all!


I agree with all your Pros Victoria, I can’t comment on the Cons yet as mine are too little but I’ll certainly bear them in mind x

Looks to me like the pros outway the cons by a country mile!