How does life in France differ from the US?


[Sponsored Article] As any American expat will tell you, there are some big differences between life in the US and la vie en France. Of course, both the US and France are diverse countries, with strong cultures and rich traditions that vary from region to region.

However, there exist broader disparities between both nations. Knowing them can help you better cope with culture shock and avoid any embarrassing faux pas.


The most obvious difference between French and American life is the language. While many French people speak excellent English, especially in cities and urban areas, you should certainly try to learn French if you plan to relocate to France.

It will not only make life easier, but it will also show the locals that you really want to fit into your new home. Your new neighbors will no doubt appreciate your attempts to learn French!

It’s quickest to learn a language when you immerse yourself in it, and it’s likely your French will come on in leaps and bounds after you’ve moved. But theres no reason not to start getting ready early!

Social Etiquette

Being aware of the different attitudes and etiquette related to social interactions is crucial. France’s day-to-day interactions are more formal than those in the US. For instance, you should use the formal “vous” rather than the informal “tu” with any new acquaintances, unless they’re much younger or they invite you to be more casual.

Another common practice you’ve probably heard of is cheek kissing, or la bise, as a greeting. This can vary from region to region and depending on the context, so let your French counterpart take the lead.

Work-Life Balance

When you move to France, you may be pleased to find that the French generally have a better work-life balance than many Americans.

In France, people tend to work fewer hours and have more paid time off, while also having a greater respect and reverence for their time away from work. It’s even illegal for your boss to reprimand you if you ignore any calls or emails outside of work hours. If you enjoy working longer hours, you can of course continue to push yourself. But you’ll also have the space to pursue more quality time with your family and friends if you so choose.

Food and Dining

France’s famously long lunches are an example of how French food culture and work-life balance come together. Many French workers take an hour or even two to slowly savor their midday meal away from their desks. In France, eating is not just a time to refuel, but an important social practice and an enjoyable experience. As a result, the French tend to take their time; dinner parties can sometimes last for multiple courses and many hours.

Moving to France? Be Prepared

If you’re relocating to France, it’s good to be prepared so that you know what to expect and you can integrate into your new French life as seamlessly as possible.

Being prepared when it comes to transferring money overseas is beneficial, as you will likely need to do it as part of your move. Maybe you’ll need to send a lump sum to pay for a property, or make regular payments to cover living expenses. No matter why you want to transfer funds, working with the right provider can save you a huge amount of money.

Some banks and currency brokers offer high exchange rates or charge additional fees, meaning you get less money after you make an exchange. Currencies Direct, on the other hand, offers excellent rates and doesn’t charge transfer fees. You can send money on the go 24/7, perfect for ad hoc transfers or emergency situations. Or you can talk to your dedicated account manager to plan a larger transfer for when the currency markets are in your favor.

If you want to find out more about how Currencies Direct could help you save money on your currency transfers, get in touch with them.
Creating an account is fast and free, and there’s no obligation to make a transfer once you’re signed up. Frenchly readers also get an exclusive rate, so don’t forget to mention Frenchly when you’re registering!


Sponsored articles do not belong to the editorial team at Frenchly. They are provided or written at the request of the advertiser, who determines the content. 

A close up of a sign


Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Read more

Always dreamed of a french pied- à-terre? Now is the time to fulfill that dream. Paris has become the new home for thousands. According to INSEE, of roughly 320,000 homes in France that have foreign owners, 126,000 are located in Paris

Frenchly newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Frenchly Newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly stuff.