The French National Health System

France has an excellent, although expensive, national health system.  If you qualify for healthcare under the national health system, you and your family are entitled to subsidized or (in certain cases) free medical and dental treatment.  Benefits include general and specialist care, hospitalization, laboratory services, medicines, dental care, maternity care, appliances and transportation.  Those who don’t automatically qualify can contribute voluntarily or take out private health insurance. Continue reading “The French National Health System”

Buying a Business Property

ImageExcerpted from “Buying a Home in France”
The procedure for buying business premises is essentially the same as for buying private property in France. This is generally a straightforward process, although there are certain precautions to be taken and regulations to be observed. You can obtain a mortgage of up to 80 per cent on a commercial property, but you must fund the business yourself.Before buying any business property, you must do your homework thoroughly, particularly regarding the history and viability of the business. Continue reading “Buying a Business Property”

Can my kid cope with French schools?

ImageQ: I am moving from the States to Paris in the fall with my 6-year-old son who will attend a French public school. Since he doesn’t speak any French I worry that he’ll be traumatized when he realizes he can neither understand a thing, nor make himself understood. How can I make the transition easier for him? A: Children learn languages faster than their parents. They are far less self-conscious about making mistakes than adults are, and make frequent use of body language that is pretty much similar across cultures. Still, to help the process along, here are a few suggestions. Continue reading “Can my kid cope with French schools?”

Burgundy Summertime Blues

Image Q Every year we spend our vacation “en famille,” with my French husband’s parents at their large “manoir” in Burgundy. Life there is pleasant but highly ritualized – meals at set times in a dark dining room – never outside, lots of “no-no’s” for our children and obligatory mass on Sundays. My husband doesn’t understand why I’m eager to find other solutions for our long vacation. He sees this place as hassle-free, ideal for our kids, a way to connect with his extended family and to save money. He says that his parents would be extremely hurt by our refusal of their hospitality. I’m starting to dread summer vacation already.. Continue reading “Burgundy Summertime Blues”

Reverse culture shock

Q Ten years ago, I met my French husband on a cruise and have been living in Paris almost ever since.  We have a girl 6 and a boy 4.  For the past two years we have been dreaming of living in California, and miraculously, my spouse has found a job in LA so we’re moving there in August. I’m really excited, but friends have been warning me to expect repatriation shock. Do you think this is something to worry about in our case? Continue reading “Reverse culture shock”

A cross-cultural trap?

Image Q While working in Brest, I met a Frenchman. Things deepened over the few months I was there, but when an interesting job opened up at our Paris headquarters and I asked my boyfriend to commit to the relationship despite the distance, he refused… so I broke things off completely, even though he offered to stay friends. Since arriving I’ve been very depressed about the breakup, and wonder if I fell into some kind of cross-cultural trap. Continue reading “A cross-cultural trap?”

French mother-in-law problems

Image Q I have been married to a Frenchman for ten years.  From the get-go, I have had a huge problem with my mother-in-law who was disappointed that her son married a Yankee and has never tried to hide her disdain for me and for my country.  Whatever I do or say comes under her critical scrutiny – how I dress myself and the kids, how I set the table, how I speak French, my choice of au pairs, the children’s schooling… Both my father-in-law and my husband kow-tow to her as I see it, and neither of them steps up to the plate for me.  My relationship with the latter has suffered as a result. I’m at the end of my rope and am hoping for some tips for dealing with her. Continue reading “French mother-in-law problems”

Christmas in France (from archives)

 For several years I have been living with a Frenchman who was previously married and had three children with his wife. Even though his marriage was dead before we became intimate, his children have never accepted the idea of my presence in his life, and he keeps me totally separate from anything to do with them. Although he says he intends to make our relationship permanent once the children change their attitude,  he plans many of his weekends and all of the holidays with them rather than me.So now I am facing yet another Christmas on my own, and despite countless hours spent in tears, reasoning, pleading or threatening, nothing changes. What’s left to do? Continue reading “Christmas in France (from archives)”