Five things about working in France

I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, and Mar at Mar on the Run for this week’s Friday Five, which is is a topic of our choice.


I have recently received a lot of positive feedback on my posts around France, and life here, so today I thought I would talk about my experience about work life.

  1. Close to 80% of French women work. There are many day care options and government subsidies that allow them to do so.
  2. For those with an office job, many women work 4 out of 5 days. Because children historically did not go to school on Wednesdays, women would work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, to be at home with their child on hump day. The school system has recently changed, and now there is school on Wednesday morning, but many women still have that day off.
  3. France is known for a ”35 hour work week”. My only comment is… NOT. I have never worked 35 hours, I always work between 40 and 50. To compensate, we have extra days off known as RTT (Reduction du Temps de Travail = Reduction in Working time). Simply put, it is extra vacation days.
  4. In Paris, most people travel 45 minutes to an hour to get to work. I am lucky that I live near my job so without traffic, it is a 10 or 12 minute drive. With traffic ? 25 to 45 minutes….
  5. France is generally a dressy country, and most people dress up except for Fridays. However, no flip flops but nice jeans. Ties for men are quite rare.


Tell me something about your job !

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Comments: 20

  1. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home July 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm Reply

    I just had a conversation with my husband about being salaried vs hourly. I’m salaried for 32 hours/week but I guarantee that I work at least 40 hours/week. I can’t just leave at the end of the day with my job. I have to make sure everything is finished. We can dress up or wear “business casual”. Since I wear a lab coat, I can dress down and still look professional. I do wear comfortable shoes because I’m on my feet all day and yes, I have those foot issues!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Reasons to Love Running in the HeatMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 4:26 pm Reply

      Lab coats solve many of the dress questions and issues I have. So much in France is salaried, very little is hourly….. even if it is on your contract. The US is much stricter about paying the hours you work, if you have that kind of work contrat.

  2. Marcia July 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Is that your office where you sit most of the day? I think I’d be distracted with the “openness”. I do love that the French are more flexible with work hours.
    Marcia recently posted…RocknRoll Chicago Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm Reply

      It is my current office, we are soon changing spaces but yes, it is 100% open space.

  3. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy July 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm Reply

    Very interesting, Karen! Having wednesday off school sounds so strange, but kind of nice, too.

    When I worked outside the home, decades ago, it was at a printing plant, so it was definitely casual. Before that I worked for the government a year, and that was dressy.

    I like dressing up, but it’s also nice to be able to hang out in workout clothes at home, too. 🙂
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…You are not a numberMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm Reply

      I like dressing up but since I tend to spend more on workout clothes than on work clothes now a days, my wardrobe could use a facelift.

  4. Darlene July 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm Reply

    I do miss getting dressed up for work.

    Of course since I am a French wannabe, I knew everyone you posted already.

    Maybe I should look for a job there. LOL
    Darlene recently posted…Friday Five: NYCMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm Reply

      I would love to have some American company !

  5. I like the idea of the extra day off mid week. You look nice in your office clothes 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Tips To Avoid Mosquitoes While Exercising OutdoorsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 23, 2016 at 6:30 am Reply

      Thanks Deborah.

  6. Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC July 22, 2016 at 9:06 pm Reply

    You look so lovely in your work clothes! Have a great weekend!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Five Great Day TripsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 23, 2016 at 6:29 am Reply

      Thanks Courtney, always fun to see people in ”normal” clothes I think.

  7. Coco July 23, 2016 at 1:53 am Reply

    Ooh, is that your office! I do love this insight into your life. I work 55 hours a week with no extra time off — but that’s my problem!

    • Karen - Fit in France July 23, 2016 at 6:29 am Reply

      I used to work that much then decided that living life was more important than work. See my post about pragmatism 🙂

  8. Christina @RunTravelAdventure July 23, 2016 at 2:37 am Reply

    I hear you on the long commute times! I’m new in my office, but there is “nice casual” Fridays (nice jeans, etc), and in the future, the ability to telework once a week. Which is about as close to no-Wednesdays as America gets I think.

    • Karen - Fit in France July 23, 2016 at 6:28 am Reply

      I work internationally so get to work at home one or 2 days a week. Taking calls at home or in an open space… home wins !

  9. Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness July 24, 2016 at 3:45 pm Reply

    Tell me more about when there was no school on Wednesdays. Did the teacher’s still have to attend or did they get the day off too? I definitely think USA should instill a 4 day work week. I always wanted to work at a dentist office because all the offices around here are closed on Fridays….hehe

    • Karen - Fit in France July 25, 2016 at 10:34 am Reply

      Teachers get the day off too.

  10. Elizabeth July 25, 2016 at 4:57 pm Reply

    Very interesting! I suppose the strangest part of my job is that we’re so low-key I could get away with wearing pajamas if I wanted to. We also have beer tastings during afternoon meetings sometimes… but at least we still get our work finished! 😉
    Elizabeth recently posted…Week 6: July 18-24 – Good Times & HeatwavesMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 28, 2016 at 6:38 am Reply

      Ha ha ! That is really low key. No beer tastings here but parties once in a while with alcohol. Luckily they are always at the end of the day !

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