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DATING

‘Frenchmen aren’t that great in bed’ – Five French dating myths exploded

France is seen as the home of romance and a place for lovers, but French writer Olivia Sorrel-Dejerine argues that many of these myths do not live up to reality.

'Frenchmen aren't that great in bed' - Five French dating myths exploded
Is France really the country of romance? Photo: Getty Images via AFP

France is often regarded as the country of love and Paris as the most romantic city in the world.

But contrary to what you might think, the French are not all die-hard romantics. Here are five misconceptions about the French, love and sex;

French singer Serge Gainsbourg turns on the Gallic charm. Photo: AFP

1. Frenchmen are exceptional lovers

Frenchmen are often regarded as being passionate, seductive, romantic, sensitive…and exceptional lovers. Icons of seduction such as Serge Gainsbourg or Alain Delon or, more recently, Guillaume Canet and Lucas Bravo have helped to perpetuate the myth of the sexy Frenchie.

Beyond the celebrity world, even ordinary Frenchmen are generally speaking regarded as being charming and as being remarkable lovers. Unfortunately, this is not an absolute truth.

While French boys have many qualities, they are not necessarily the best in bed.

However, things are changing with the conversation in France growing about female pleasure, and it is not only coming from women!

In his essay Au-delà de la pénétration (Beyond penetration) published earlier this year, Martin Page invites us to open up our ideas of sex,  think outside the box and embrace all the different ways in which we can experience intimacy.

The book was so successful, it sold out on the first printing in 2019.

READ ALSO Jealousy and steel balls: My year of dating French men

2. A classic French date includes a candlelit dinner

A romantic restaurant, candles, champagne, and love songs in the background. That’s how you might picture a typical date for the French. Well, sorry to debunk the myth, but this is far from reality.

In fact, dating will mostly happen at a trendy new restaurant, at a popular wine and cheese bar (yes, this is not a cliché, the French truly love going to wine bars!), or at a fashionable cocktail lounge. Nice places are not hard to find in France, even in small cities.

Contrary to the common idea about a standard French “rendez-vous”, dating often happens in a casual, hip place rather than in a high-class restaurant.

 
If you see  a couple snogging in front of the Eiffel Tower, chances are they are tourists. Photo: AFP
 

3. French kissing

When we think of a French couple kissing, the first thing that pops up in our mind is the image of a slow, sensual, passionate kiss, usually happening in the streets. While making out does happen (thank goodness), the French are not big on sexy kisses in public (even before the era of social distancing).

They will typically quickly kiss on the lips to say hi, and maybe cuddle a bit at the movies, but the chances of seeing a  French couple kissing in public are rare.

In reality, the French are quite discreet when it comes to showing signs of love in public places.

4. Frenchwomen are really demanding

Well that might be true, but we’re working on it! Frenchwomen do want a man who is nice, funny and charming (you can find a list of what they are looking for in a lover here).

However, most of them are independent, and more and more don’t believe that they should necessarily be in a couple.

Furthermore, younger French people have a new way of considering love and are not bound to stick to the traditional model of the heterosexual couple. According to a 2019 study led by Tinder, 73 percent of Gen Z’ers [people born after the mid 1990s] said they chose to be single, with women accepting it more than men (51 percent v 37 percent).

5. The French are so romantic they would never date online

Since they are so seductive and romantic, why would they need a dating app?

Turns out, online dating is very common in France. In a 2015 study led by Statista, 37 percent of French people between 18-35 years old declared they thought using a dating app or website was a good thing. Tinder is now competing with more trendy apps such as Happn, Bumble, Hater or Deserve MI that all have a different and amusing way of functioning.

READ ALSO From ONS to JTM: Our guide to online dating in France

So whether you are just playing the field or looking for a French soulmate, at least now you know how it really works.
 
Do you disagree with Olivia? Share your French dating experiences here.

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PROPERTY

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

A new accessibility scheme recently announced by the French government gives grants for home improvements such as installing a stair lift or widening a doorframe to allow wheelchair access - here is how you could benefit.

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

According to a recent survey in France, the vast majority of retired people expressed a desire to stay in their homes long-term, rather than entering a care facility.

While there are several schemes by the French government to provide assistance for renovating homes in order to make them more accessible for elderly people, the newly announced “MaPrimeAdapt” seeks to streamline the process.

When was it announced?

MaPrimeAdapt was part of President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, with plans for it first announced by the president last November.

Most recently, the government aid was earmarked to receive funding in the upcoming 2023 budget, which also hopes to increase the number of nursing home employees, as well as boost public funding for care centres.

The budget is set to allocate €35 million to the National Housing Agency (ANAH) in 2023. In response, the ministry of housing said to Capital France that one of their top priorities is “a single aid for the adaptation of housing to ageing” that would replace several existing government subsidies.

What is the goal of Ma Prime Adapt?

Similar to Ma Prime Renov, this programme hopes to provide additional funding for home refurbishment.

But while Ma Prime Renov focuses on environmentally friendly home adaptations, Ma Prime Adapt aims to make it simpler for older people or those with disabilities to refurbish their homes in order to maintain their autonomy and avoid falls.  

The French government also aims to reduce the number of fatal or disabling falls of people aged 65 by at least 20 percent by 2024, and by 2032, the goal is for at least 680,000 homes to be adapted, particularly those of low-income older people.

Who can benefit?

According to reporting by Le Monde, this aid is not solely reserved for people who already have decreased mobility. 

Instead, it is intended for older people generally. When applying, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are an independent retiree and need (this could be based on income, age, health, etc) to adapt their housing in order to make it more accessible.

The amount of assistance offered will be means-tested based on financial status.

What types of work would qualify?

Some examples of work that might qualify for assistance might be:

  • adapting the bathroom (for example, adding grab bars or enlarging the door)
  • replacing the bathtub with a shower
  • installing a bathtub with a door
  • installing a stair lift
  • adding access ramps to the home

The benefit is not limited to those options – any project that aims to increase home accessibility for a senior could qualify, as long as it is not simply aesthetic-focused.

Can it be combined with Ma Prime Renov?

They have different criteria, but Ma Prime Renov and Ma Prime Adapt can be combined in order to provide maximum support to elderly people wishing to adapt and stay in their homes.

How can I apply?

In order to apply, you will be required to meet the conditions stated above, in addition to being able to demonstrate that the housing in question is at least 15 years old and that the amount of work being done would cost at least €1,500.

Keep in mind that the renovation will need to be carried out by a recognised building company or contractor – specifically one with the label “RGE.”

You will be able  toapply for the Ma Prime Adapt aid via France’s National Housing Agency (ANAH). A dedicated website will be created to facilitate the process, with a launch date TBC. 

On the site, you will submit an application form that includes the estimates of the work planned. According to Le Monde, €5,600 will be the maximum amount of aid to be offered, and the cost of work will be capped at €8,000. However, this information has not yet been published by the National Housing Agency. 

What have the other available schemes been?

Currently, retirees in France can apply for the “Habiter facile” scheme from the ANAH (Agence Nationale de l’Habitat), which also helps to finance work that promotes the ability of elderly people to remain in their homes.

“Bien vieillir chez soi” is a similar aid scheme which is offered by the CNAV (social security).

The elderly and disabled can also benefit from tax credits on accessibility or home adaptation work. 

These will likely be replaced by Ma Prime Adapt, which will combine all benefits into one package.

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