Last Updated: September 29, 2021
Life and Living in France
France is a country in Western Europe famous for its wine, art, and architecture. The culture and history of France have so far intrigued people from all over the world making it a popular tourist destination for both travelers and international students. Their vested interest in international affairs has made them popular for their economy, geography, language, and whatnot. This makes it an ideal location for people with a fascination for painting, literature, and music to even settle in the country.
This country also has a predominant history in influencing fields like philosophy, cinema, fashion, media, sports, etc. that lets people explore their field of interest upon arrival. Individuals will not find the cuisine or the local lifestyle lacking in any aspect due to the external influences that shaped the culture of France to be what it is today. There will also be no shortage in the number of historical destinations or festivals people can visit during their visit or stay. Though the country falls on the expensive side considering living expenses, it is often considered a worthwhile investment since the experience the country provides cannot be recreated anywhere else in the world.
Languages in France
The language that is most commonly used in France is French which is considered to be one of the most romantic languages in the world. French is also the official language in the country with a history of literature that has inspired the creation of classics all over the world. The script used to write the language is Latin and the language has an estimated speaking population of 274 million people in the world.
Unlike other European countries, English is not always enough for candidates who wish to move to France. Since over 90 percent of the population in France speak French, candidates need to have an intermediate level of language proficiency in French.
Cost of Things in France
The cost of things is dependent upon the store where the purchase is made or the place where the student is staying. Depending on the lifestyle of the person, they will be able to purchase things from supermarket chains out of the town they reside in or at a local grocery place. Purchasing from a local grocery store often allows people to find the freshest products owing to the focus on agriculture in their economy.
Accommodation and Utility Expenses
The price for renting apartments in the country often includes not just the rent but also maintenance and other facilities that the space might require. The facilities offered in the country include cleaning, water, elevator charges, etc. which implies that once the rate is fixed, the person will not have to worry about the extra expenses staying in the country will incur. The rent changes from city to city but for a city like Paris, the average rent for a 1BHK is between € 1,000 to € 3,000. Though this is the standard rate, if one is to search thoroughly, they will be able to get apartments for as cheap as € 800.
The electricity charges for a month in summer and spring will be around € 40 and € 90 during winters. The living expense in the country will be inclusive of utility expenses like electricity, gas, and internet.
The cost of groceries depends upon the store the person is purchasing from. The basic amount that a person will have to spend on groceries, including wine, has been estimated to be around €500. The popular supermarket chains in the country include Carrefour, Intermarche, and Leclerc. But unlike other countries, it is often more feasible for people to purchase grocery items from local grocery stores that are cheaper when compared to supermarket chains. Other popular grocery places include Super U, Auchan, Monoprix, Lidl, and Aldi. People who wish to purchase things that are exclusive to France will be able to go to places like M&S Food, Biocoop, and NatureO.
The price for basic grocery items is as follows-
- Milk- € 1 per L
- Ground Coffee- € 2.8 for 250 gm
- Apples- € 1.65 per kg
- Olive Oil- € 6 per L
- Potatoes- € 1.75 per 2.5 kg
- Cheese- € 10-30 per kg
The official currency of France is Euro whose currency symbol is €. This is the currency used in 18 countries within Europe making it easy for travelers who plan to go around Europe without having to change the currency now and then. The denominations of euro coins include 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents. The denominations of the banknotes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The currency conversion to $ would be at a rate of €1 being $1.16.
Things to do in France
France, being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, contains a lot of activities that people can do during their stay or visit. Most of the activities would include visiting historical sites or attending cultural and artistic events that can reflect the culture and tradition of the country.
Places to Visit in France
Every city in France is worth visiting for a tourist due to the historical and cultural importance every place in France holds. But even then, there are places that one has to visit at least once in their lifetime. These cities are-
- Paris- This is the capital city of France and contains various historical and cultural monuments that are on the list of travelers from all over the world. This city is home to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay, The Centre Pompidou, Palace of Versailles, etc. People who visit this city will also be able to go on a Seine boat trip, bike in Bois de Boulogne, go to the summer beaches, and spend time in the famous cafes the place has.
- Nice- This is a city in the French Riviera that is set on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the foot of the Alps on the other. It has places like Promenade des Anglais, Musee Matisse, Castle of Nice, Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Course Saleya, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, etc. People who visit this city will be able to do Mediterranean diving, go on a day trip to the medieval village in the city, visit the old town, etc. to experience the culture and heritage of the place first-hand.
- Bordeaux- This city is the sixth largest one in France and is famous for the 350 historic monuments it contains along with the best wines they offer. The places people can visit here include Cite du Vin, Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux Cathedral, Musee d’Aquitaine, El Espejo de Agua, etc. They will be able to learn more about wine by taking a wine crash course, visiting the Chateaux, or even exploring the art center at Submarine Base while in this city.
- Alsace- This city is located in Eastern France and has a blend of Germanic and French cultures making it a unique city. The place has its importance associated with the special cuisine they offer including delicacies made of pork like baeckeoffe, choucroute, and sundgau. They hold a biscuit-making festival during Christmas and they are also one of the major wine-producing cities in the country. The city is also known for the beer they produce.
- Marseille- This is the second-largest city in France and is one of the oldest cities in the country. The place has historic sites like Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Old Port of Marseille, Massif des Calanques, Chateau d’lf, Cathedrale La Major, Palais Longchamp, Frioul Archipelago, etc. which are must-visit locations for all tourists. They will be able to go on a drive at Riviere Coastal, explore seafood restaurants in the city, go on a seafront bike ride, or even jog through the urban parks in the city while staying there.
Cuisines to Relish While in France
Due to the historical and cultural influences over the centuries, the cuisine in France is extremely varied from location to location with tourists being able to experience a wide variety of dishes depending on the city they live in. International students who are staying for a considerable amount of time will be able to travel from city to city exploring the food culture of the place. Every city in France has delicacies that are specific only to them and hence there will be no shortage in the number of dishes one can have while living in the country. The most popular cuisines that one must try when in France include Boeuf bourguignon, Lamb navarin, Ratatouille, Steak tartare, Veal stew, Sole meuniere, etc.
Festivals to Attend While in France
France, with its artistic history, has a wide variety of festivals people will be able to attend depending on the city they are in and the time of the year they plan to be in the country. Most of the festivals in the country are focused either on mythology or ancient history making the festival culturally rich and an occasion for people to immerse in the language and culture of the place.
A few of the festivals one has to attend during their stay in France include the Menton Lemon Festival, Berck-Sur-Mer International Kite Festival, Nice Carnival, Festival Medieval de Sedan, Festival d’Avignon, Bastille Day, Tour de France, etc.
Commuting to Places in France
The most popular mode of transportation that people use in France is their cars. Around 68% of people in the country prefer traveling in their vehicles within the country. One other way people prefer traveling if they cannot use their vehicles is to travel using a taxi especially when it comes to people in big cities.
People in France also prefer to take public transportation, though this comes only second to using one’s vehicle for commuting. Individuals who are traveling from city to city or from suburb to the city often prefer using public transport due to the distance they have to cover and the efficiency of the humble bus in the country. Students who would like to see more of the country or do not prefer driving while in the country opt for the railways that connect regional areas.
Entertainment Options for Students in France
Students in France have n number of options when it comes to finding entertainment sources in France. From traveling all over the country to exploring the historic monuments and experiencing the cuisine, candidates will be able to never see enough of the country however long they stay there. France has plenty of festivals that last throughout the year in different parts of the country all of which are associated with the tradition and culture of the place.
France is also home to a lot of opera houses that people can go to along with nightclubs, cabarets, bars, and pubs. There are artsy entertainment options for people with different kinds of interests. France also has a certain love for cinema which implies that students will be able to see movies from different parts of the world being screened there.
Safety Concerns for International Students in France
Being a tourist location since forever, France is one of those places where candidates will be able to see people from different countries blending into the crowd in every city that they choose to live in. The main concerns for students who are moving to the country lie in the location they choose to live in. The country does not have a high crime rate when it comes to international students, but this does not imply that the country is safe all through the day. The cities are mostly crowded in nature and hence also contain a population of addicts, misfits, and delinquents which can make certain localities unsafe at night.
Students are to take precautions they would take in any crowded city before traversing through deserted locations in the country. While the suburbs are considered safe, the city often requires candidates to take cabs from place to place especially at night considering how train stations and metro stations can be isolated.