Millions of Brits dream of living the French lifestyle because of the bakeries, landmarks – and cheese

By Richard Jenkins
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:24 pm

A study of 2,000 adults discovered four in 10 feel the French way of life seems better than the British, and 24 per cent fantasise about experiencing it.

More than a fifth (21 per cent) would consider moving across the channel, with 15 per cent having a spell living in the country in the past.

Visiting the cafes and coffee shops is the top reason for wanting to live in France, followed by the bakeries, croissants and pastries.

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Other reasons to feature in the top 30 list included visiting the Alps, castles and beaches, as well as immersing themselves in art galleries, eating brioche and learning the language.

A more relaxed lifestyle

It also emerged Brits consider the French lifestyle to be relaxed (44 per cent), cultured (42 per cent) and sociable (39 per cent).

But 42 per cent think France is a ‘foodie country’, with croissants (35 per cent), champagne (27 per cent) and brioche (20 per cent) named the best items to come out of the country.

St Pierre Bakery commissioned the study and created a quiz allowing people to find out how French their lifestyle is.

Founder Paul Baker said: “It’s clear that whatever the British perception of the French lifestyle is, we certainly dream of living it.

“We automatically think of pastries, coffee, wine and cheese, and that’s just the food and drink.”

The study also found 28 per cent of adults have taken inspiration from the French lifestyle, when it comes to their cooking (46 per cent), interest in artwork (43 per cent) and their taste in films and TV (41 per cent).

While a third believe pop culture, including shows like ‘Emily in Paris’, have given them an idea of what living in France would be like.

When it comes to the language, 26 per cent already speak French, while another 14 per cent are currently learning.

And many are already enjoying foods which originated across the channel, with baguettes (44 per cent), brie (29 per cent) and brioche (25 per cent) among the most popular.

Ratatouille (16 per cent) and soufflé (11 per cent) are also top choices, according to the research carried out via OnePoll.

French influence beyond food

It’s not just food Brits have taken inspiration from as they believe 23 per cent of everyday vocabulary originates from France.

Among the words and phrases the nation believe have French origin are cliché (47 per cent), baguette (46 per cent) and chauffeur (45 per cent).

Yet in a list of more than 40 words local to France, five per cent said they didn’t recognise any words as being French.

Paul Baker of St Pierre Bakery added: “Travel has been a challenge for all of us lately and our taste-buds have missed world travel, too. That’s part of why Brits are increasingly seeking out and enjoying new flavours.

“The fact that a quarter of us believe that if we embraced the French lifestyle, we’d be more willing to try new food and drink says it all.

“Great food makes great memories and that’s important wherever you are in the world.

"We are inspired by France and want to help bring a little taste of the French lifestyle to Brits with our authentic brioche, to help make everyday that little bit more magnifique."

The poll was commissioned to celebrate St Pierre’s National Brioche Day which takes place on 14th May.

Top 30 reasons Brits would like to live in France

1.            Visiting cafes/coffee shops

2.            Visiting bakeries

3.            Croissants/pastries

4.            Baguettes

5.            Dining out

6.            Drinking French wine

7.            Visiting France’s landmarks e.g. the Louvre, Pompidou

8.            Eating French cheese

9.            Visiting the French Riviera

10.          Visiting French castles

11.          Visiting France’s beaches

12.          The architecture

13.          Visiting the Alps

14.          The history

15.          Discovering hidden gems

16.          Visiting wineries

17.          Speaking / Learning the French language

18.          Shopping

19.          Brioche bread

20.          Art galleries

21.          Meeting and socialising with locals

22.          Cityscapes

23.          Hearing the French language being spoken

24.          Learning to cook French foods

25.          Visiting Michelin star restaurants

26.          French fashion

27.          Trying new French foods e.g. snails

28.          The public transport system

29.          Skiing

30.          Paris Fashion Week