Since 1998

Lifestyle comparison Australia vs France - What you could be missing in either place

A rare image under the Tropics, this one is genuine, taken in Anse Vata, Nouméa.  But is it possible to be completely happy when you’re not at home.
After nine years of returns between Australia and France and my careful observations that go with them, I can suggest a list of all the little things that you may well enjoy or be missing whenever you are in the other country.  You will be amazed to realise how supplementary both countries are.

Manichean in appearance, this article mainly puts the spotlight on major trends, sometimes clichés, but always in reference to recurring events that I actually came across in my experience.  Obviously there exists a wide spectrum of values ranging from good to mediocre, in Australia like in France, but I will here focus on factory signatures that you should notice during your stay, that may eventually impress your long term memory.

Assertions, comments and jugements made below may be highly politically incorrect to you.  If you are not prepared for freedom of speech, it is still time to move on, left unscathed.

You’re leaving Australia for France

What you may like in France


  • French, like many Europeans, live significantly later than we do in Australia.  This means later meal times, later shop closing times, later training for those who do or play sports, artistic activites, and more living after a day’s work in general.  Cities are therefore more vibrant and full of life than what we have in Australia and there is a lesser feeling of everyone scurrying home to hibernate as soon as we finish work - even in the dead of winter! It is noticeably on weekend mornings that the country is stopping.  Even a busy place like Paris has its biggest avenues almost completely empty of French residents on week-end mornings, a time when you will mostly meet tourists, and them only.
  • French like to socialise and in particular to say“hi” or“goodbye” to virtually everyone who’s in the same building.  It is therefore significantly easier to make friends in France than it is in Australia.  While in Australia neighbours might never socialise, in France neighbours often meet socially.
  • French are traditionnally attached to "solidarité" (help each other).  That doesn’t mean that everyone will help you and vice-versa, but you can expect some basic form of help.  e.g.  if you can’t get a taxi from A to B, just ask people around A if someone could possibly take you to B in their car.  It always worked for me.  By contrast, if you are being attacked on the street, don’t expect anyone to rush to your aid!
  • What’s going to be a slap in the face


  • French administration is notoriously bad - even the French complain endlessly about it.  We are so lucky in Australia that we can walk into a post-office for example, even in Sydney, or any other place to get stuff done and know that we won’t be there for more than 10 min.  Set aside 30-45 min for these tasks in a large French city like Paris or Toulouse, unless you get there five minutes prior to closing.  I should have added“French administration in France” is bad.  Because the French administration overseas, e.g.  in consulates, has never disappointed me.
  • Civil servants who complain.  Not only have they have got job security, usually leave work at a fixed time, and have specific advantages that their predecessors fought for, e.g.  early retirement age in a number of sectors (= the special regimes); but they put themselves on strike at the least insecurity or conflict with their employer; with a massive impact on the public, instead of targeting their employer: the State.
    There is q strong belief that if they annoy the public, it is the State that is really annoyed.  One of the most shocking event of 2018 has been the recurrent SNCF (national railway company) strike, that has been on and off in April, May and is believed to continue over June.  The demands are mainly about not losing the“statut” (legacy advantages acquired in the past) for the new recruits.  When you know that the current employees have a job-for-life guarantee anyway, and that shift pushed by the government will only impact the new recruits, who are still not in the company as I write these lines, you may wonder why the current employees have a problem with that . . .

    Usually, about half of the opinion supports the civil servants and their little requirements, and the other half is really pissed off with their 3-years old’s tantrums.  Where everybody agrees is that French in general like to think than the government is the alpha and the omega of everything, can have an answer to every single hurt; a very paternalist approach.
  • There is an intelligentsia who speaks at length in newspapers, daily and weekly political shows, and quite a number of French show an interest for it.  There is a daily show on France 5 TV channel called "C dans l’air" (it’s in the air) which a majority of its topics are about politics, domestic, European, or International affairs.  The fortnightly TV show "L’Emission Politique" on France 2, lasts a couple of hours, and is followed by a debate with guests from that Parisian Intelligentsia, exchanging, or interrupting each other over what has been heard during the show!
  • Since the aftermaths of the social revolution of May 68 on the streets of Paris, where police violence shocked quite a few, all the subsequent governments have enforced . . . a poorer enforcement of Law! In particular, the police usually receive orders to not harm people, even in the case of hoodlums throwing petrol bombs at them, or wanting to hit them with pavers, or other objects as projectiles, or metal bars for example.  There is a famous example of a police car being burnt down by so-called protesters in May 2016 in a Parisian suburb, with the staff inside who very closely escaped.  On a famous footage available on the Internet, we could see one of the police officers who gets out of his police car, then dodges metal bar strikes, without never attempting to reach to his weapon in order to apply self-defence.  He was thanked by the highest police instances and the minister for that high degree of self-control!
  • Interpersonal relationships and recognised cultural frustrations

  • Albeit mostly advantageous, as outlined earlier, one trait is highly complicated with French people, is jealousy, particularly over money.  So many of them have a real issue with dealing with someone who is, or may be, richer than them.  There will be doubts about the legal source of this wealth or high income, and half of them, at least out of the population who votes, will start to suggest the famous redistribution, implying that the riches should give back to the working class with lower revenues than them a substantial amount of the money they made.
  • Jealousy over money is so widespread that it has infiltrated families of all classes, even down to the first circle, and has broken up innumerable family links and couples.  It is very common that siblings tear themselves apart, sometimes literally, over inheritance issues.
  • I have heard a number of people saying that they were waiting for the death of their parents so they could finally inherit from such and such asset, usually real estate, even insignificant, with the hope of living less of a hardship.
  • If you try to pick words from random conversations around you on the street, you will quickly get to the conclusion that statistically, the top three more frequent words that come up are: buy, money and euro.   You may also have the feeling that the riches are the most interesting people to talk to, as you can finally start to talk about other things than money, since money is not so much of an issue.
  • Communication

  • The French talk a lot and like to interrupt each other during a conversation.   This is especially difficult to swallow as an Australian as we typically speak in turn.   French, and other Europeans, are often mistakenly believed to be arguing while in fact they may be just having a regular conversation.  Takes some getting used to, if you can indeed get used to this at all!
  • Don’t hold your breath after sending an email to a business or an administration.  It’s often as if you had never done it, i.e.  don’t expect any answer.  Just assume they read it, at best.
  • Contrarily to Australia, getting off a bus in France does not forcibly lead the leaving passenger to issue a thank you, goodbye to the driver, like in Australia.  If you try one, the driver will actually be the most surprised.  Don’t always expect a nod or an answer in the same way, so surprised he, or she, will be.
  • Accessibility

  • Terrible, Almost non-existent, down-right APPALLING! Need I say more? Probably not . . . but I will! Don’t get me wrong, for the average traveller getting around France and pretty much all of its cities, it is absolutely brilliant.  The public transport systems in all major cities are fantastic and one would never need to even consider having or hiring a car.  The same goes for the rail networks linking the cities - the TGV, TER, and Corail trains are high-speed, efficient, comfortable, and very affordable.
    The downfall comes for those of us travelling with infants, those in wheelchairs, and likely the elderly.
    My experience lies as a pregnant mother with an infant in a pram.  Getting around Paris and navigating the hundreds of stairs in the metro is a feat in itself.  While there are some lifts and escalators available in some of the metros, these are few and far between and are not throughout the station.  For example . . . Nation metro is absolutely huge.  There is lift access to the platform for line RER A, however should you need to take the metro lines 1, 2, 6, or 9, then you will have to navigate hundreds of stairs, heavy infant in hand, pram in the other hand, not to mention any bags you may also have!
    This is typical throughout the metro network.  It is unfortunate, as Paris is one of the most amazing cities in Europe with so many things and sights to experience, but the enjoyment of it is shadowed by the difficulty of getting around with a pram.
  • What you may laugh at in France


  • Kerbside free-range chicks, aka Prostitutes, are legal in France.  What’s not legal is Pimping (aka proxenetism).  Because everyone knows that the former can coexist without the latter, in today’s ever violent society where the girls will want security and protection, even if it costs, in many regards.
  • Housing

  • If you decide to rent and go on a property hunt and apartment inspections, just know that unless your aim is to live away from a city, you’ll most probably will have to look for an apartment rather than a house.  Proper houses are rare and very expensive within the cities.
    Apartments usually don’t have as many built-ins as places in Australia.  Also, kitchens are often not furnished, as if they had never finished them.  Online sites that help you to find a place don’t publicise many details about places.  You’ll just learn the number of rooms, the surface in square meters and the fact there’s a lift and a car park or not.  If you’re lucky you might get a picture of the place, maybe two or three.  Certainly not 10 or 12.
  • You’ll quickly realise that entities who lease places, whether they be agencies “agence immo”) or individuals, will likely ask you for as many credentials as you would need to apply for a home loan.  They want to see your tax returns from two years back, they want to know how much you earn now and if this income will continue on.  They will probably also ask you for a guarantor, like a family member who lives in France or a company.  As if you just couldn’t live by yourself at 50 for example, with no parents or boss around, like when you work from home.
    The security deposit will probably be equivalent to two months rent, and you’ll have to pay an upfront fee for the agency equivalent to a month of rent without the facilities.
    If you want to rent on the French Riviera, you’ll realise that approaching an owner directly is not forcibly cheaper.  They pull the prices up as they’ll tell you that they’re not asking for any fee.  Do the math to see what offer is best for you, based on how long you want to rent for.
  • Law protects more tenants than landlords, even those who stop paying their rents.  As a result, as a counter measure, tenants tend to ask always more guarantees before you can sign a lease.  In September 2013, the country reached a ridiculous situation where the Minister for Housing (Ms Cécile Duflot) suggested to create to state fund aimed at paying the landlords who stopped getting their rents paid by their tenants.  A nonsense for any Australian and their dog, who obviously will not understand why it’s not rather the Police who should intervene to kick the bad tenant out of the house.  Conclusion: in France, the State now protects non-paying tenants and pays unlucky landlords, with an unclear limitation in time. We are getting to a hypocritical situation, where homeless people can’t rent due to lack of resources, therefore have no fundamental access to a roof, whereas people of already have a roof, but lack resources, are protected from being homeless.  It is a pure paradoxical situation, where the only explanation lies in the "you put your foot in the door, you’re safe" rule.
  • At work

  • There’s a good half of French who think that being well-off is bad.  By the way, this is the same half who’s only dreaming of one thing: be rich . . .   Their relationship with richer people than them are difficult.   They often lead to abrupt and abusive conversations with the people they spend the longest time with, i.e.  their colleagues.  This is why I am talking about this topic under“At work”.
  • At work, they will get jealous as soon as they learn that you are coming from Australia.  They will get super-jealous if not only you are coming from Australia, but you dare being French yourself, so basically, one of theirs.  Finally, they will get hyper-jealous if you are what I call a double-expat; in the sense that you are a French who expatriated to Australia on a permanent basis, and, in the course of your life over there, you decided to go (as opposed to come back) to France to spend a few months or years.  In this latter situation, be ready to go through really nasty remarks that originate from all the fantasies that your supposedly ideal life generates in their dreaming minds.  Don’t you try to quote anecdotes from Australia, even the most naive or genuine ones you really would like to share, like "you would never see that in Australia, because . . . ".  If you try, you will get a "oh well, if Australia is so perfect, why did you leave?".  But it is ok for them to tell their friends or colleagues anecdotes about their latest trip to Thailand where they ate grilled palm tree larvae.  No one would risk a "well if you had that much fun in Thailand why did you come back?"
  • Office workers can’t help chatting as soon as their manager steps out of the office, like we used to do in Primary or Junior High School when the teacher would walk out to get chalk . . . The older readers remember chalk . . . .
  • Whatever time you start work at, this is your finishing time that matters.  So don’t bother coming too early . . .
  • You will sometimes hear at the national 8pm news that the latest study showed that French are one of the hardest working peoples in the world.  Of course! What a BS.  What a propaganda.  Living in France you will realise that just a few weeks after being off on holidays it is already time to be . . . on holidays again.  I think they regularly issue this news in an attempt to lift their mood, therefore boost economy hence household consumption.
    Despite being officially 5 weeks, permanent positions offer at least 9 weeks of paid leave when you add all the leaves, including standard TOIL due to 35hrs pw weeks.  Some categories of civil servant seven get as many as 14 weeks off, and even more for teachers.  A minority seem to work really hard, like twice the standard week, but it is still just the skim.
  • What you may miss from Australia


  • Mangoes! And . . . Weetbix, Vitaweet, Vegemite, and (believe it or not) sliced wholegrain bread - cos sometimes you just want a toasted sandwich!
  • I also found it difficult to get low-fat yoghurt like we have in Australia.  The low-fat yoghurts in France, while extensive in variety, are not thick and creamy like those we have in Australia; the French low-fat yoghurts are quite watery.
  • Environment

  • Beaches - Australian beaches are renowned for being amongst the most beautiful in the world.  Having said that if you’ve chosen to locate yourself on the Riviera, then the Mediterranean is even better than most Aussie beaches (yes, that’s a matter of opinion and I absolutely won’t apologise for it!).
  • Weather - there is nothing on earth like the year-round sunshine of Australia.   A fact of our continent we all too often take for granted.
  • Sport

  • At the swimming pool, doing your laps in one go without disruption is practically impossible.  There are no speed lanes, and anyone can swim at any speed in any lane.  As a result it is a real mess.  You can even find kids using the lap pool as a leisure pool.  Your training can easily become a psychological challenge on top of a physical one.
  • So called Olympic pools have only got their length (50 m) Olympic.  Absolutely not their depth (should be 3 m everywhere).
    Their opening hours are limited, especially on the week-end.  Quite a few are closed down for renovation for extended period of time, such as 1 year or more.  You also have to leave the pool well before the theoretical closing time.  At the Adelaide Aquatic Centre in Marion, you can swim until 9:59pm when it closes at 10:00pm.
    No wonder why Australians win the swimming tally contest.
  • You’re leaving France for Australia

    What you may like in Australia


  • A good K.P.  mango (Kensington Pride).  Slightly acid but sweet.
  • A sandwich press toasted Lebanese bread with a thin layer of Kraft“Crunchy” peanut butter under a second layer of Bonne Maman cherry jam (can be found!)
  • Rockmelon and Watermelon.  Rockmelon’s taste has improved a lot in the past fifteen years, especially in QLD.  One may have to let it ripe for a couple of days at room temperature before consumption.
  • Peaches from ALDI; it is important to mention the chain name, as ALDI tends to display fruit that are ripe, ready to consume, which is always a favourable feature to many regards.
  • Scone bread is a healthy alternative to pain brioché.   Not as tasty, but a layer of Crunchy peanut butter topped with a jam layer will make it really appealing.
  • Brioche products are now found in major supermarkets.  They are imported from France, but they offer a relatively healthy component for breakfast.  Try the brioche marbrée for example, or the little“chinois” with sultanas or chocolate chips.  Convenient to take everywhere, for sport or snackes, as they are individually wrapped.
  • Kangaroo meat has been upgraded from basic food to superfood over the first 15 years of the noughties, as the importance of body and health improved.  It is surprisingly expensive compared to another popular red meat: beef, although the production of the former, as in growing, is mostly CO2 free, since kangaroos are naturally bred amoung themselves in their biotope, without human intervention.  Also, patties are obviously softer, but also much cheaper than their steak counterparts.  It offers a convenient alternative to steaks, as they cook more easily, without leaving that distinctive grilled bit at the bottom of the pan (due to the quasi absence of fat).  Kids may like them for their tenderness, absence of gamy taste whereas the traditional steaks can be leather hard to chew.


  • By historical construction, the Australian society show features that would make it a good candidate to live without a State, as in, without a State government; without being anarchic for that reason.  Anarchy has a derogatory meaning although it also means to live without a State.  In fact, the Community decided naturally and historically to adopt a common goal of living in happiness without forcibly ask the State to bring the elements to this happiness, but rather by working, by means of self-regulation, by having a plan to live in a safe environment, and by intervening within the Community to either blow the whistle on the bad doings of some of its elements or stopping wrongdoers themselves.
    Australians generally do not expect much from politicians for their material and financial needs, or from the possible existence of such or such national fund created by all for the need of some.  There undoubtedly exists a form of self-sufficiency and civil interventionism to tame a number of perturbating persons without having to go down legal avenues, and without having to use self-justice.  Typically, the Community intervenes on wrongdoers, then hands them over to the Police, for the sake of the safety of all.  It is obvious that the Police, despite their visible presence on the streets, cannot possibly be behind each and every man and his dog.
  • At the supermarket, checkout persons are available; they usually take their time to help you and talk to you; they don’t care if the clients behind you are fuming if you’re a bit slow (by the way they’re not fuming).  They take their time to help place items in your bags.  They mostly are smiling and chat easily.
  • Still at the supermarket, friendly and helpful employees are always around.  No need to look for them for ages.  They stop what they’re doing to walk you to that item you can’t find.
  • At that supermarket again (gotta love it), if the payment system is down, you may be asked to walk with your docket to the main desk and pay there.  they’d never ask you that in France.  Everyone would immediately text their friends "Come on, quick! Fill up a trolley at Carrefour it’s free today, just walk away!".
  • No mention of the Global Financial Crisis or the European debt crisis after day 2.  In fact people’s life hasn’t changed much from the so called GFC, so why care?
  • You can leave your SRAM Red groupset carbon frame performance road bike in front of the swimming pool in the evening while you’re in, and guess what, you’ll find it when you come out.  You’ll also find your wheels, seat post, seat and every part, as you left them.  You just have to use one simple lock for that magnificent predictable result.
  • No locally-born first generation North African migrant kid (aka zyvas) who insults you or your wife, or hits on your wife as you walk hand in hand on the street, asking her phone number as if they didn’t see you.   No zyvas who tries (but fails) to urinate on you, like on me in 1999 at Orléans train station as I was coming back from work.   No zyvas who insult you if you’re wearing corporate attire on your way to work, since it’s an exterior sign of wealth; unlike their top brand sport gear they wear on the Champs-Elysées (Sergio T . . . ) ? No zyvas who . . . well, actually no zyvas, period! Is Australia just too far for (most of) them, or too expensive? Surely.  It opens the door to a political point now: why is it that the second generation of North-African ascent kids and the next (BTW, I am one of them, except I chose to be respectful of the Community I live in) is more inclined to be excited and feel ostracised, unrespected, etc, albeit the offsprings of the very same ethnies in Australia go totally unnoticed, stay low profile, and do not burn cars on streets as soon as they feel contradicted or festive*? Would it be the coercion in place in Australia that dissuades them? The carrot and the stick policy?
    *A reference to the record high number of burnt cars on New Year’s night in France.
  • Administration

  • Council services are really efficient.  Not only do Councils feature websites with forms to report any type of issues or make suggestions, but they will also address your enquiries within a few working days only.  They will send Council workers or contractors on-site to verify and possibly action, and in 100% of the cases you will promptly receive a follow-up email.  It is impressive as seen through French eyes (franchise?)
    Examples : pothole repair, faulty streetlights or bikeway sweeping.
  • Corruption is really rare, and sometimes visible efforts are clearly made to not rip-off people! Incroyable! I received a refund cheque because for an overpayment, because I had been 24 hours late into paying a vehicle registration, but the transport authority still refunded me.
  • Sport

  • Not to wonder whether the weather will be fine this week-end for your favourite activity, since it will.
  • To swim in your own lane at the Olympic pool in you come in the last two opening hours.
  • To be allowed to swim until 5 minutes prior to closing.
  • Be able to choose your lane depending on your speed.  Three speeds are available: slow, medium and fast.
  • School

  • Not particular safety measures in schools, since terrorism is not a real threat in Australia, compare to France or other countries.  Gates are not locked during the day, and parents may come and go to bring forgotten items, after the bell has rung, without having to ring the bell to talk to the principal.
  • It is ok to park right next to the gates too.  Unthinkable in France, as it may be a bomb car.
  • What may annoy you in Australia


  • Because of the absence of real light-blocking shutters or curtains, it is never really completely dark once the sun has risen.  It can be challenging if you work at night.  Also, if you have kids they will wake up early, meaning you too.
    It is particularly true in QLD, where the timezone, GMT+10 year-round, is such that it can be light as early as 4:30 am in summer, and still from 7 am during the longest nights.
    Finally, the thermal and phonic insulation suffer from these factors a lot.  The greenhouse effect is higher, even more so that the the ration between the glass areas and the total areas of the walls are really high.  This ratio can reach 80% of some designs, meaning that 80% of the surface of a wall is transparent.
  • Double glazing is not standardly fitted either.  As a consequence, the energy balance sheet is really bad.  No shutters either.  They made these“society choices”, fair enough.  It could be fairer to make some that make break-ins less easy.
  • Petrol vehicle engines can run unjustifiedly on carparks, even when the aircon inside is unnecessary, even in the dark of night, while the glow of the smartphone inside luckily replaces the ceiling light . . .
  • Road users put their lights on well before sunset, generally 45 minutes before, even in summer, even if the sky is clear.  Cyclists are worse, it’s at least 2 h prior to sunset ; some put it at any time.
    I am against lights before sunset.  I think that if everyone follows this habit, it will create generations of road users who will not learn anymore how to open their eyes wide and be wary for danger on the road; therefore not see the danger when it shows up unlit (pedestrian, wildlife).
    After so many years of riding, partially in pitch black, except for my flash light, I can detect koalas (grey on grey background) and kangaroos in near pitch black.   I think eyes get a better training when their owner is not expecting lights to systematically be associated with danger, but rather when one expects permanent danger that may come up at every meter, which I do.
  • If you park your vehicle illegally, you will receive a fine, and rather shortly than late.  Councils employ notoriously zealous contractors to actually go and check if vehicles are park illegally, including where you wouldn’t think you’d be booked, and you will get booked! Example: at a concert venue at the edge of a reserve, you will get booked if you park on the dirt 10 metres before the sign that says "paying carpark ahead.", it is literally tolerance zero.
  • Communication

  • It has been improving over the past fifteen years, but your mailbox may only host smaller envelopes.  Anything else will stick out and get wet or fall out.
  • Australia chose to make private residential name information.  No mention of names on gates, mailboxes and doorbells.  But this makes it possible to have virtually anything sent anywhere without checking.  Name spoofing scams are therefore made possible.
  • The first all-inclusive Internet, TV and phone offer like the“Freebox” has just appeared (march 2013 with TPG).   As a result it’s still quite expensive and the options are quite limited.  The first unlimited Internet offers have also appeared at around that time, but they are still quite expensive.  You will most likely afford a limited quota for everything Internet and mobile networks (4G).
  • Price of food

    Seafood in particular, but also character or specialty cheeses, even locally made, and most non-mainstream fruit (out of apples / pears / bananas) are really expensive, and the choice in varieties is rather poor compared to the Hexagon (France).
    Past the notorious salmon and prawns, and the golden priced crayfish, there is barely any other seafood available, else than traditional fish.  I am talking about shells and crustaceans here.  In particular, seafood in not cheap at all.

    Same applies for varieties of fruit; in apples, you may find the pink lady, sundowner, red delicious, and Granny Smith, and that’s about it.  In pears, you’ll have a (choice?) of William’s, Beurre Bosc, and Packham’s Any Grand Frais supermarket in France would display at least ten varieties of apples, and obviously red pears.
    Obviously the detractors of this article will go“go to the market” to find some more, except that we have not, maybe they do, time to go to the market, in our busy lives.

    Import / Export

  • Importing the famous old Banania chocolate powder is prohibited, as it contains 0,1% desiccated banana.   It’s a threat for environment; but imported alpacas in the nearby Hills are ok.
  • Sport

  • To get insults, projectiles thrown at, or receive a big cloud of burnt diesel in your face from a ute (a utility vehicle) that passes you, if you are seen training at different times to the majority, or worse, on a Saturday night.
  • To struggle to find an athletic track or stadium.
  • Health and security is rather poor on the shower and foot hygiene fronts at the swimming pool.  No foot pool or compulsory showers, although the latter are recommended by the local rules, but no one has a shower before getting into the pool.   Water may become blurry.
  • Still at the swimming pool, you may have to provide your own springboard or pool buoy, at least in the state aquatic centre of Adelaide.   You can always pretend you forgot yours at lost+found, and pick one from there.
  • To have to get out of bed between 4 and 5 am on the week-end or weekdays if you are part of a collective sport squad like rowing or a cycling peloton.
  • You will see a lot of active walkers, a different way to check and play with their smartphones, that seems right at the first glance, but soon you will realise that walking is reserved to . . . walk! and certainly not to do something a bit more useful for everybody while walking, like going food shopping for instance.  In Australia you don’t really go food shopping by foot; it looks disadvantaged ; using the car is the rule, even for a few kilos of items, and sometimes the same trip time.  But there is no problem whatsoever to walk-for-nothing, walk-to-walk, supposedly to compensate a general lack of exercise in today’s sedentary life.  What a shame to not kill two birds with one stone, but it certainly kills two steps.
  • Work

  • Lunch breaks are short, and you have to provide your own food, and go and buy some if you have enough time to do so.  Making one’s lunchbox means time spent at home to prepare, and wash after work.  Not only there’s no employer contribution for food, but that preparation time is that much time that you take off yours.
  • What may make you smile (or smirk)


    Soda cans, like those well-known brands, have a 37.5 cl capacity in Australia, vs 33 cl in France.  It is 14% more.  This way you can’t possibly avoid these extra calories . . . .

    Diary pot standard weight is 200 g in Australia, vs 125 g in France.  But the 4-packs sell for so much that you anyway want to keep half for later.  So in the end you will only really get 100 g per serving!


  • There’s no système D in general.   If you’re caught using some of it, you’ll get reported before you realise.
  • Since houses are not standard fitted with light-blocking blinds or shutters, it’s never really dark inside your room after sunrise.  It can wear you out, or make you short tempered, especially if you do night shift.  Your kids ay get up earlier because of this, preventing you to sleep more or get ready before waking them up to get them ready.  Especially in the summer.  Finally, thermal and phonic insulation will suffer from this.
  • Pedestrians usually wait for the green man when crossing a road, even when it is clearly deserted, even in the middle of the night.  You may feel a big urge to cross at red, confronting their judging eyes.
  • It is not unusual, nor prone to attract criticism, that bourgeoise women don’t return to work after birth, even if all of her kids are now at school.  It is rather trendy and seen as a sign of success, like in the 60’s, since it means that the“man of the house” makes enough money to sustain the household, and keep his wife happy by allowing her to drive to her favourite café in her white Ranger Rover to enjoy her café with her similar friends, in front a nice cupcake, or go to the nail salon after the morning gym.  Decades of social fight last century for women to have the right to vote and work have left precedence to an accepted new full-time role as a housewife status.
  • In general, inactive people within the age of working, are found among the richest layer in Australia, and the poorer group in France.  One may say "isn’t that better to have less poors?", to which I’d answer“of course it is”.  But, if the riches don’t need to go to work, it is because the prices of goods and services that they sell to be that rich are too high; given the riches are usually tradies, entrepreneurs and investors.  In the end, they probably set these prices so high in their own businesses so they could benefit from it yesterday, part of a big plan to afford not to work today.  Well this, high prices in good and services that is, is not a good news at all, for the rest of us, traditional layers.
  • Australians are not exactly your night people like Europeans can be.  Cities, let alone towns, get deserted at night quite early afterdark, even in summer.  In major cities at night you will mostly find Asiatics, who find themselves like at home, with no locals to bother them, wandering in fully lit up places, exempt of anybody else but them.  I myself find that nighttime is a really good time to run in the City.  You benefit from all the lighting, where the CO2 payload is questionable agree, but you suffer from no traffic pollution and can run along or even on otherwise busy roads, cyclepaths and footpaths.
  • If you’re at home, you don’t need to look at the window to figure out if it has started to rain.  You only need to hear for the cars screeching their wheels.  It is a widespread habit to skid purposedly in curves, in suburbs, as soon as the road starts to get wet.
  • On country roads, locals usually salute you as you pass them on a road, however you are yourself, in a motor vehicle, on a bike, or simply running.  You’ve got to appreciate this sentiment of respect.
  • Sport

  • Supposedly, Australians practice more sport that French, for 1000 people (69% vs.  65% respectively do sport at least once a week).   But in practice, although fundamental endurance sports need running training, we hardly see anyone running; we see even less running clubs or groups, and even less running tracks, and even less running events, like 10 km City to Bay or Blah to Blih 20 km.   In France there are tens of running events every week somewhere, all year round.
    In cycling, it’s common I see only 2 bikes during my 5h training on Sunday, albeit being on the best hill roads of the region.   je croise parfois seulement 2 vélos en 5h sur les routes des meilleurs cols du coin le Dimanche après-midi.  Clearly Evans doesn’t train at home . . .
    Also, presumably 50% of the population has a BMI over 25, i.e.  overweight or worse.  Well, that means that at least 19% (69 minus 50) of the above people who practice a sport weekly don’t do it hard enough then . . .
  • What you may miss from France


  • A good crunchy and crusty baguette, all warm and steamy inside.   It goes "poc-poc", hollow, when tapping the crust with a knuckle.  In fact, since 2014 the two giants Coles and Woolworths have had more complicated breads.  In particular Coles has these individual lozenge 4-packs, that, if you still can’t expect them to be crunchy at buying time, will turn yummy when toasted.
  • Blueberry or hazelnut saucisson (dry sausage).   In fact, any saucisson would do the trick, at your stage.
  • Hot mustard! even the“Maille” French import is a soft version specically made for the Australian market.  I can have, and do have, spoonfuls of it but still can’t get a flinch.  So I developed my own recipe: I add wasabi to it . . .   Check it out!
  • With contribution from Sonia Sabouni.

    created 29 November 2011
    revised 04 May 2019 by
    Would you accept our confidentiality policy? It is about cookies and personal data...