24 Struggles You’ll Only Recognise If You’ve Done a Year Abroad In France

Esther Davies
Online Writer

Only in France...


1. Immediately realising that people weren’t exaggerating when they warned you about how illogical and time-consuming French bureaucracy is.


2. Opening a French bank account only to find out the bank itself is never open.

Because who needs banks to be open on Mondays or lunchtimes or afternoons or weekends, anyway?


3. Always running out of milk on a Sunday and then realising all the shops will be closed.

Except for that one Carrefour in the middle of nowhere that's open for a few indeterminable hours in the morning.


4. Leaving the house on a bank holiday and walking into a scene from I Am Legend.

Jour Férié? More like Jour Fermé.


5. Regretting applying for CAF when you realise just how many forms you need to fill in.

It just really doesn't seem worth it.


6. Begrudging paying anything above 4€ for wine for the rest of your life.

Which doesn’t work once you’re back in the UK because it will taste like you’re drinking paint stripper.


7. Putting on about 20 pounds thanks to never being more than a hundred metres from a good boulangerie.

Plus, if you don’t eat the entire baguette at once, it goes off so 🤗


8. Losing all concentration after having a two hour lunch break.

Especially if wine was involved. Which it usually was. Because France.


9. But then feeling like any break shorter than this is wrong when you’re back in the UK.

What is the rush???


10. Never quite getting used to having to kiss total strangers on both cheeks on a daily basis.

You don't know me that way.


11. And being expected to speak to staff whenever you walk into a shop.

I just want to be left alone, s'il vous plaît.


12. Having to boil water on the stove because your apartment didn’t have a kettle.

And for some unknown reason they’re extremely expensive in France.


13. Realising that you actually can have too many châteaux.

Once you’ve seen one, you’ve basically seen them all.


14. Going to the cinema and not being able to enjoy an English-language film because of French dubbing

You are a thief of joy.


15. Never being able to get that SNCF jingle out of your head.

Here it is again just in case, by some miracle, you’ve forgotten.


16. Spending all your time watching Netflix because, let’s be honest, French TV isn’t the best.

They even have their own Kim Kardashian in the shape of Nabilla Benattia on ‘Les Anges de la télé-réalité.’


17. Living there for several months and still not knowing how to pronounce ‘ail’ and ‘aile’ properly.



18. And feeling like you’ve committed a crime by accidentally mixing up when to vouvoyer or tutoyer.

Does it really matter that much?


19. Not being able to keep up with the sheer amount of bank holidays there are.


20. And the grèves. Let’s not forget those.

You don't have to strike every time you're slightly upset about something, you know.


21. Always forgetting to composter your train tickets.

Why does it even matter? I have a ticket that I paid for, surely that’s the most important thing?!


22. Having to pay an extortionate amount of money for British comfort food.

If you can find it, of course.


23. And having way too much choice when it comes to French cheeses.

And wines. And desserts.


24. But the worst struggle of all is one day having to leave it all behind.

🇫🇷 ❤



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