Monday, 10 June 2013

Joie de Vivre Lost?

Searching for some French joie de vivre? Apparently so are the French according to Claudia Senick, a professor at the Paris School of Economics and the University Paris-Sorbonne. In a land renowned for its rich culture, refinement, wine and food, that also manages to provide its citizens with free education and healthcare, a 35 hour work week and a retirement of 60, it appears that all is not well......

“It has now become common knowledge that the French are much less happy and optimistic than their standard of living would predict,” says Senik, "...there seems to be something about life in France that makes people more anxious and less cheery than those in other places". 

Foreigners who manage to turn their dream of pottering around in their own quintessential French maison or chateau into a reality, are not immune from this French malaise. The longer expats live in France, apparently the more miserable they become too. 

Predictably, Senick’s research findings have been  inflammatory, sparking much debate.  Despite the statistics, omnipresent gloom hasn’t been our experience in France. One of the  reasons we instantly fell in love with this country was because of the warmth, good humour and generosity of the French. 

On a perfect Provençal summer’s morning - the air thick with the drumming of cicadas, we chanced upon this group of antique dealers who were having a jolly time, oblivious to their national malaise. After agreeing to us taking their photograph, they beckoned us to join their train……. There was a lot of French joie de vivre to be had on this day………

Senik’s data has been interpreted differently by Orion Jones. Jones suggests "It may be the language of happiness that eludes the French rather than the underlying condition. Unhappiness, after all, often implies the desire for change—in circumstances, or even in oneself—and so dissatisfaction with life despite its material benefits suggests a kind of idealism—of intellectual vision of possibilities beyond the actual..."  

So have the French lost their joie de vivre?  I’ll let you be the judge...........


French Girl in Seattle said...

Love these guys Elizabeth! :-) Then again, they live in the sun year round. They have no reason to be gloomy... unlike Parisians who are surrounded by grey skies! The French are notorious complainers. They are also very prompt at criticizing, not just others but themselves too. They can be an anxiety-filled lot. It's always been that way.

The French can also rally up faster than most when good food or wine is served and friends show up at their door.

I hope they stay that way for a long time. :-)

Veronique (French GIrl in Seattle)

Chicatanyage said...

My experience is that the French have a penchant for complaining. It seems to be a national "pas temps" . I don't always take this to be a sign of malaise more just a habit they have. Maybe they are more inclined to be perfectionists.

Chicatanyage said...

My experience of the French is that they love to complain. It seems to be a national "pas temps". I do not take this to be a sign of malaise more a habit. Maybe they are more perfectionists.

French said...

The French will always be pessimistic about the economy etc, but their sense of truly living is something that can never be repressed!

Karen Albert said...

I cannot say as I have not had the experience (yet!!) however I know many friends who love it there and have homes there!

Art by Karena
Giveaway from Splendid Sass.

weekend et coup de brosse said...

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Je suis artiste peintre, photographe amateur; je me suis inscrite pour suivre tes publications!
Je t'invite à me rendre visite sur mes blogs et voir mon travail, merci beaucoup et bonne journée!

HI, I discover your blog that I like very much! wonderful work, adventures and very beautiful photographs.
I am french amateur photographer; I was registered to follow your publications
Do not hesitate to visit my blogs and see my work, thank you, have a nice day! Cath.