1. Not feeling guilty about eating white bread.

We’re not talking sliced Wonderbread here. The crunchy-on-the-outside and fluffly-on-the-inside goodness that the guy down the street makes every hour of every day with passion is nothing to feel ashamed about. It’s handmade with simple, healthy ingredients and it tastes so damn good that you can’t even take the 5-minute walk back to your place from the bakery without eating a piece of it.

2. Sitting in a café for hours on end doing nothing.

There aren’t many places in this world where you can order “un café bien serré” and stay the whole afternoon people-watching or reading without spending any more money. Most French cafés also have the particularity to lack wifi, so if you want to u nplug, you know where to go.

3. Getting free dental care.

Some countries may try to make you believe that your teeth are not as important as the rest of your body, but France isn’t one of them. You can get your teeth cleaned and your cavities fixed for nothing as long as you’re covered by the French health system. In case you were wondering: yes, it’s the same when your eyes are concerned.

4. Kouign-Amanns

There’s no way you’ll ever find these Breton buttery treats anywhere out of France and it’s a crying shame.

5. Hitting “le marché” twice a week.

Fresh local vegetables and fruit, cheese, roasted chicken, crêpes, fresh fish, olives, sunglasses, clothes, second-hand books, leather bags, shoes, etc. Nothing beats a French market. Not even the best supplied Whole Foods.

6. France Cuture

Listening to Sonia Kronlund’s “Les Pieds sur terre” on the radio while driving is a privilege only those who have left can really appreciate.

7. Gynecologists

No, a family doctor is not as good when it comes to contraception, pap smears, and checking on weird lumps in your boobs. Gynecologists are “the bombs” of the health system and boy, do we ladies miss them.

8. Getting places without driving.

The SNCF can be quite expensive, but its network is so vast that one can only feel grateful for not taking the car and get stuck in the “bouchons” on their way to their holiday spot this summer.

9. Dressing up for no obvious reason.

Who said you needed to attend a wedding to get your heels out? Put on a nice dress, wear some pretty earrings, and head to the local bar to share a few drinks with your friends.

10. Causette

No female magazine in this world is as witty and blunt as Causette. Ms. and BUST have a lot to work on to achieve this level of brilliance.

11. The supermarkets’ chocolate aisle

Walking into the chocolate aisle of a French supermarket would make anyone with a cacao addiction go bonkers. 1848? Lindt? Côte d’Or? Milka? Dark? Orange zest? Fleur de sel? Puffed rice? I’ll take one of each, thanks!

12. Late summer lunches

When France is all hot and lazy, its people sit outside for hours, eating radishes with large chunks of buttered bread, scooping out sweet cantaloupes with their spoon, and pouring some crème fraîche on top of large bowls of strawberries. Those who don’t call France home any longer will picture this scene and even be able to “smell” the neighbour’s merguez on the BBQ before getting a bad case of nostalgie.

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