Should I Move to France? (28 Questions to Ask Yourself)

Just the other day, I saw a tweet from Jennifer, asking her the question that many of us who live here get from time-to-time, “Should I Move to France?”

Paris rooftops

It’s pretty hard to decide to make such a life-changing move, for many people. Moving to a foreign country isn’t easy, but it does have it’s rewards. So I put together this quiz to help people make that all-important decision…

1. You’re working as a guard in a museum filled with priceless treasures. The alarm in the museum has been broken for two months and thieves have stolen €500 million worth of art. Video monitors showed the entire robbery in progress but as one of the guards on patrol, like the others, you somehow missed the whole thing. Do you…

  • A. Blame the mayor.
  • B. Blame the lock company that installed the crummy padlock which the thieves snipped off the gate, which was the only thing standing between them and one of the most exceptional collections of art in the world.
  • C. Blame the anti-smoking law because you had to go outside to have a cigarette, along with all the other guards at the exact same time, and the people who came up with that law couldn’t possibly expect you to keep an eye on things.

2. You’re in a café and just finished a €2 cup of coffee and you’re ready to pay. You suddenly realize that you only have a €20 note. Even though the waiter has a billfold bulging with euro notes, do you…

  • A. Order nine more coffees because he’ll swear he doesn’t have any change.
  • B. Offer to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the room.
  • C. Unbutton your blouse a few notches and lean over and give ’em a good squeeze when handing the waiter the money.

3. You’re stuck in traffic when you hear an ambulance coming up from behind. Cars start moving off to the side of the road to let the ambulance through. Do you…

  • A. Move your car over to the side of the road, too, so the ambulance can pass and get quickly to the urgent medical emergency they’re going to.
  • B. Grudgingly move your car off to the side because even though the ambulance is racing to take save someone’s life, complaining that you’re going to miss the start Star Academy.
  • C. An opening in the road? What are you, crazy? Allez-y…!

4. You just bought a pricey new pair of trousers. When you get home, you realize the zipper is coming apart. Do you…

  • A. Block off two days on your calendar to exchange the trousers at the store for another pair.
  • B. Take the pants to the local tailor and pay the €32 out of your own pocket to have it fixed.
  • C. Throw them away.

5. You’re visiting Paris and it’s time for dinner, but you’re a kosher, gluten-free vegan on a no-salt, low-fat diet. Do you…

  • A. Go to a restaurant and politely request that your food be served nature, without accompaniments, because of your health condition.
  • B. Go for it, because if you’re going to go, why not do it on a fabulous French meal?
  • C. Spend the night in your hotel room watching CNN, and eat an apple.
les parisiens

6. You’re tired of people walking right into you as if you weren’t even there. Do you…

  • A. Move out of their way, realizing that they likely have far more important things to do than you.
  • B. Aim the pointy baguette that you’re carrying at crotch level as a preemptive warning to get out of the way.
  • C. Belt out a random song from Rent at full-volume so they think you’re nuts, and avoid you.

7. Unfortunately, you’ve managed to get a €100 note in your possession. Do you…

  • A. Cross the city because only the branch of your bank where you opened your account can make change for you.
  • B. Cross the city because only that particular branch where you opened your account can take cash deposits from you. But they’re out of change so you have to deposit it into your account, then withdraw money from the ATM so you have smaller bills. .
  • C. Give it to a beggar on the métro, laughing to yourself as you walk away, because now it’s his problem.

8. You’re at the enormous hardware store, looking for a couple of screws. They don’t have the size you need, so you head for the exit. However the wary guards are already on you, thinking you might have swiped something from the store. Just as you’re about to exit, they stop you. Do you…

  • A. Explain to them that you were just looking, but what you needed wasn’t on the shelf, and they let you go on your way.
  • B. Open your mouth to prepare to be swabbed for a DNA sample.
  • C. Thank God you wore clean underwear because you’re in for a strip search.

9. You’re hopelessly lost in the enormous 5-story underground shopping center at Les Halles. After walking around a few times, trying to find your way out and realizing that you’re about to pass out from the lack of oxygen, do you…

  • A. Feel relieved when you find an information desk, only to find that it’s empty.
  • B. Feel relieved when you find an information desk, only to find that it’s manned by teenage girls who are too busy texting their friends or checking their watches in anticipation of their next cigarette break so they don’t have time to help you out.
  • C. Curl up in a ball in a corner, stick your thumb in your mouth, and whimper that you want your mommy.

10. Can you figure out which one of these isn’t true? Your plumber shows up because you have a problem with your toilet. Does he…

  • A. Offer up a hands-on—or otherwise, demonstration of how to use your new toilet.
  • B. Offer up a recipe and a demonstration for puff pastry.
  • C. Ask what flavors of ice cream you have in your freezer today.
  • D. All of the above.

(Tip: Answer D.)

11. You taste a chocolate that’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten in your life. You have friends coming to visit so you make plans to go to the chocolate shop and get more. Do you…

  • A. Take 3 métros across town, only to find out that they happen to be closed that day for a Fermeture Exceptionelle.
  • B. Kick yourself for not calling before you set out.
  • C. Get to the shop and find out that that’s the only chocolate they don’t have in stock, because they only make them on the third Tuesday of each month, during months that end with a “y”…and only during leap years.

12. You’re at the supermarket register, and the cashier has just rung up your goods. However as you’re reaching for your wallet, in a panic, you can’t find it and fear you’ve been pickpocketed. Does she…

  • A. Offer a bit of sympathy for your unfortunate predicament.
  • B. Set aside your groceries for you to do a more complete search of your pants and jacket pockets.
  • C. Start laughing at you.

(Tip: Answer C.)

13. You’re on a bus. Who gets priority seating?

  • A. The man who lost both legs in the war.
  • B. The frail, little old lady who could barely make it on the bus with those heavy bags weighing her down.
  • C. The five year old kid in the Hermès jumpsuit.

14. You move to France with all your worldly possessions, which you’ve shipped by freighter. They arrive…

  • A. Right on schedule.
  • B. A few days late, but they call to let you know, so you can change plans.
  • C. A day before they said they the delivery would arrive, when you have movers scheduled to help, and call from the street saying they’ve just left two rooms of your furniture on the sidewalk outside.

(Tip: Answer C, which I know from personal experience.)

15. You’re in the neighborhood and pass by your favorite candy and chocolate shop to say hi. The proprietress is happy to see you. Does she…

  • A. Have you sample a few new chocolates, including an amazing one filled the crushed bergamot macarons.
  • B. Give you a bag of organic prunes.
  • C. Invite you up to her apartment to see her bedroom.
  • D. All of the above.

(Tip: Answer D.)

16. Under the threat of privatization, La Poste successfully implements new measures, including a guarantee that customers will be out in five minutes, which they make good on. They also modernize a host of their other operations, for the better. Do…

  • A. Your French friends complain about the changes at the post office, even when they respond affirmatively when you ask them if the service and speed are improved.
  • B. You and everyone else become pleased that the country is concerned enough about its citizens to improve one of its most fundamental, universally used services.
  • C. You wonder why the communists stand there and open the door for each visitor in hopes that you’ll buy one of their flyers, which is pretty much antithetical to everything that communism stands for.

17. Which of these activities means that you’ve achieved a certain status in France, and you can say that you actually have completed, so now you finally have the right to say you live here?

  • A. Got your visa at city hall approved.
  • B. Set up an apartment, furnished it, and integrated into French society.
  • C. Switched cable providers.

18. Answer this question: “Is foie gras inhumane?”

  • A. No. It’s been made the same way since Egyptian times so it’s fine to eat.
  • B. No. It’s part of French culinary heritage, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
  • C. No. Because my health food store carries it.

(Tip: Answer C.)

19. What thickness should towels be?

  • A. Thick, soft, and water-absorbent.
  • B. Big enough to get the job done.
  • C. You should be able to read Le Monde through them.

20. Someone has sent you a gift from the states. Unfortunately they forgot to declare it as a gift, so you have to pay taxes on it. Are the taxes…

  • A. Equivalent to the cost of the item.
  • B. More than the cost of the item.
  • C. You don’t know because you look at the bill and you can’t even see straight when you find out there’s actually a tax on the tax, too.

21. By mistake, you open the door and one of those fake chimney sweeps barges into your apartment, saying that “by law”, they have to clean your chimney. Do you…

  • A. Realize you’ve made a big mistake, but let them clean your chimney out, and then your wallet.
  • B. Knee him in the couilles and show him the way out.
  • C. Realize that bad karma is a bitch when you hear him in the courtyard getting ripped a new one by the guardienne of your building.

22. The government is considering a ban on €500 notes. This is being done…

  • A. To make it harder for people to smuggle large sums of money.
  • B. To thwart drug dealers.
  • C. Because even that’s too much money to hand over to a beggar.

23. You’ve decided to make the big move abroad. Since you live in Chicago, you check the consulate branch’s website in Chicago for what requirements you need and note the list of documents you need to provide. Then, on a lark, you check the consulate websites for Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, you find they say that you need completely different things. Do you…

  • A. Assume that there’s obviously a mistake somewhere.
  • B. Call to make sure, since this is for official, important government business and you want to make sure you get it right.
  • C. Scratch your head when they ask, “Well, what city are you from?”, which is akin to someone from Spain moving to America, and a resident of Madrid having to provide completely different documents than someone hailing from Barcelona.

24. You finally move and realize that the apartment you found on the internet is actually a 3 x 9-foot room, an 8th floor walkup, and the bathroom is actually in a hallway which you share with five neighbors, one of who inevitably mistakes your door for his in the middle of the night when he gets up to do his business. Do you…

  • A. Call a locksmith to make sure your door is secure.
  • B. Wear earplugs.
  • C. Let him in. French dudes are hot.

25. How much should it cost to go to the bathroom?

  • A. Free.
  • B. 20 centimes.
  • C. €1-1.5. And if you don’t like it, find a spot outside.

26. Food should be served…

  • A. Using the freshest ingredients, in convivial surroundings.
  • B. Chopped fine, layered in tiny shot glasses.
  • C. On square plates, sprinkled with cumin.

27. What is the most confounding thing about learning French?

  • A. The fourteen verb tenses.
  • B. The fact that you don’t pronounce the last third of words.
  • C. Realizing that the French are just as confused as we are.

28. Who is the most important person in France?

french flag

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