Myth: The French hardly ever work and go on strike all the time
Reality: The 35 hour work week is true for some, but according to French government statistics, in 2010, 50% of full time workers put in for overtime. Also, if you are a chef, a fromager, own a bakery, work in tourism, etc., you are working way more than 35 hours a week!
The Myth: All French women are perfectly groomed, elegant, thin and dress like haute couture fashion models
The Reality: No, no, no and no. I think the fact that these fuzzy sweaters even exist proves my point
The Myth: Everyone takes a leisurly, 2 hour lunch
The Reality: Fast food is very popular here and after the US, France is the second largest market for McDonald's
The Myth: The French are rude
The Reality: This is simply not true
The Myth: The bureaucracy is frustrating and seems to never, ever end
The Reality: Yeah, this one is true
The Myth: French people are very careful with their alcohol and rarely drink to excess
The Reality: I've seen my fair share of French people tossing back glasses of pastis, wine and Calvados at local cafés, well before noon
The Myth: Every day is spent sipping Champagne and eating macarons
The Reality: Every day is spent sipping rosé and eating cheese (ha!)
I've said it before and I'll say it again...life in France is simply that, life.
The garbage still has to be taken out and the taxes still need to get paid. I know the myth sells a lot better than the reality, but I've always tried to keep it real around here.
The reality is that some days are full of incredible art, leisurely afternoons at the café, delicious cheese, long Sunday lunches and great wine. And some days you end up in the emergency room, almost get run over by a bus and spend hours on the telephone dealing with incompetent bureaucrats. C'est la vie.
As our 14th anniversary of moving here quickly approaches, I can honestly say that the good far outweighs the bad. And I wouldn't change this life in France for anything!