5 reasons France is so backwards compared to its neighbours

Maciamo

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As everyone knows France sucks. It's a horrible country that nobody wants to visit except for 90 million tourists per year. :p And of course people from neighbouring countries know that well and try to avoid setting foot in France if they can help it. For example official statistics show that only 11.6 million of Belgium's 11.3 million people visited France in 2018. :unsure:

Anyway, let's cut to the chase and see why France is so backwards.


  1. While neighbouring countries have adopted electronic ID cards ages ago (2003 in Belgium, 2006 in Spain and the Netherlands, 2009 in Switzerland, 2010 in Germany), France only started timidly introducing the technology in 2021, and probably only because of the Covid pandemic that required citizens to link their ID data to their Covid certificate.
  2. Similarly France is the last European country where cheques are still a thing. I thought that even cash was a thing of the past millenium as I have always paid electronically since I got my first debit card at age 12. We now live in a time when payment are often made by smartphone if not by card. But in France people still insist on using old paper cheques that require you to go to the bank physically to get your money - well, what's left of it after the bank's commission and hoping the cheque doesn't bounce, leaving you with nothing. According to a French news article from 2022 one quarter of French people use cheques at least once a month!
  3. French banks are the only ones in the EU that do not seem to understand the SEPA system (ironically SEPA sounds like sais pas in French, meaning 'don't know') and always insist on asking anyone making a wire transfer from France to provide their RIB (relevé d'identité bancaire), which is the antiquated Basic Bank Account Number, instead of the simpler and more modern IBAN (International Bank Account Number).
  4. When I was a child I was always baffled when going on holiday in France at how hotels or holiday homes only had a few TV channels while practically everyone in Belgium had cable with at least 25 channels (that was in the 1980's and 90s). Turns out that cable TV was quite rare in France back then and people had to rely on TV aerials, which barely worked on mountainous areas (of which France has many, unlike Belgium). Until 1992, France's largest public TV channel was called Antenne 2 (now France 2) in reference to the TV antenna that was required by most household to watch it! I found stats from 2005 showing that even in that pre-Netflix and pre-YouTube age only 10% of French households had cable TV against 87% in Belgium, 85% in the Netherlands, 79% in Switzerland or even 50% in Germany (including East Germany). (NB: the data shows the cable subscriptions per 1000 people, which needs to be multiplied by the average household size in each country to obtain the percentage of households with cable.)
  5. France is the only country in the world where DNA tests are prohibited - with heavy fines and prison sentences for offenders. That's the kind of law one could expect to find in oppressive dictatorships, but actually even the most backward, conservative and bigoted countries do not have such a law against DNA tests. Only France does.
 
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As everyone knows France sucks. It's a horrible country that nobody wants to visit except for 90 million tourists per year. And of course people from neighbouring countries know that well and try to avoid setting foot in France if they can help it. For example official statistics show that only 11.6 million of Belgium's 11.3 million people visited France in 2018. :unsure:

Anyway, let's cut to the chase and see why France is so backwards.


  1. While neighbouring countries have adopted electronic ID cards ages ago (2003 in Belgium, 2006 in Spain and the Netherlands, 2009 in Switzerland, 2010 in Germany), France only started timidly introducing the technology in 2021, and probably only because of the Covid pandemic that required citizens to link their ID data to their Covid certificate.
  2. Similarly France is the last European country where cheques are still a thing. I thought that even cash was a thing of the past millenium as I have always paid electronically since I got my first debit card at age 12. We now live in a time when payment are often made by smartphone if not by card. But in France people still insist on using old paper cheques that require you to go to the bank physically to get your money - well, what's left of it after the bank's commission and hoping the cheque doesn't bounce, leaving you with nothing. According to a French news article from 2022 one quarter of French people use cheques at least once a month!
  3. French banks are the only ones in the EU that do not seem to understand the SEPA system (ironically SEPA sounds like sais pas in French, meaning 'don't know') and always insist on asking anyone making a wire transfer from France to provide their RIB (relevé d'identité bancaire), which is the antiquated Basic Bank Account Number, instead of the simpler and more modern IBAN (International Bank Account Number).
  4. When I was a child I was always baffled when going on holiday in France at how hotels or holiday homes only had a few TV channels while practically everyone in Belgium had cable with at least 25 channels (that was in the 1980's and 90s). Turns out that cable TV was quite rare in France back then and people had to rely on TV aerials, which barely worked on mountainous areas (of which France has many, unlike Belgium). Until 1992, France's largest public TV channel was called Antenne 2 (now France 2) in reference to the TV antenna that was required by most household to watch it! I found stats from 2005 showing that even in that pre-Netflix and pre-YouTube age only 10% of French households had cable TV against 87% in Belgium, 85% in the Netherlands, 79% in Switzerland or even 50% in Germany (including East Germany). (NB: the data shows the cable subscriptions per 1000 people, which needs to be multiplied by the average household size in each country to obtain the percentage of households with cable.)
  5. France is the only country in the world where DNA tests are prohibited - with heavy fines and prison sentences for offenders. That's the kind of law one could expect to find in oppressive dictatorships, but actually even the most backward, conservative and bigoted countries do not have such a law against DNA tests. Only France does.

I must admit that the last time I saw someone writing a cheque was in France....I associate cheques with my grandma, 40 years ago when she bought a new dress....Using cheques is zero in the Netherlands.

Most people in the Netherlands don't even use cash money any longer, even the homeless newspaper is sold here by cash out ;) That is also a difference with Germany were even in cities like Hamburg in restaurants paying with cash money is still usual. They explained it to me that virtual money is distrusted....(old residu of the money devaluation 1920s?)
 
Well, since being offensive about other countries seems to be permitted, let me just say give me France any time over the Netherlands or Belgium or Germany or any number of other countries.

The issue is whether a place is "civilized", not if it's au courant with all the latest supposedly must have technology. Do I pay my bills online, do all my banking online? Yes, I do. Would I mind going back and writing checks? Absolutely not.

As far as the benefits of having endless numbers of tv channels, most of them are either niche channels in which I have absolutely no interest, or they are so WOKE in casting, theme etc. or so geared to uneducated teenagers or twenty somethings that I find them unwatchable. I have cancelled Netflix. Tried and cancelled Apple, Hulu, and now only watch Amazon or Paramount because they have a big library of older programming.

I'm reading a lot more, and for non-fiction especially, yes, prefer to hold an actual book and make notes in the margins, and bend the corners. Reading should be tactile as well as visual, if possible, imo. Although my house is bursting at the seams, I love every one, and where I go, they go, except, of course, at the end, and then my children, who also love them, will share them. If I enter a house, and I don't see any books anywhere, I know I won't find the owners congenial. Also, I, like the character in a much loved book and film, 84 Charing Cross Road, prefer second-hand books to new ones. I love to read the notes of the prior owners, see what has moved them. It's part of the magic. The English love and understand literature and books as a whole.

The internet has both pluses and minuses, and frankly, the minuses are more numerous and more consequential.
 
As everyone knows France sucks. It's a horrible country that nobody wants to visit except for 90 million tourists per year. And of course people from neighbouring countries know that well and try to avoid setting foot in France if they can help it. For example official statistics show that only 11.6 million of Belgium's 11.3 million people visited France in 2018. :unsure:

Anyway, let's cut to the chase and see why France is so backwards.


  1. While neighbouring countries have adopted electronic ID cards ages ago (2003 in Belgium, 2006 in Spain and the Netherlands, 2009 in Switzerland, 2010 in Germany), France only started timidly introducing the technology in 2021, and probably only because of the Covid pandemic that required citizens to link their ID data to their Covid certificate.
  2. Similarly France is the last European country where cheques are still a thing. I thought that even cash was a thing of the past millenium as I have always paid electronically since I got my first debit card at age 12. We now live in a time when payment are often made by smartphone if not by card. But in France people still insist on using old paper cheques that require you to go to the bank physically to get your money - well, what's left of it after the bank's commission and hoping the cheque doesn't bounce, leaving you with nothing. According to a French news article from 2022 one quarter of French people use cheques at least once a month!
  3. French banks are the only ones in the EU that do not seem to understand the SEPA system (ironically SEPA sounds like sais pas in French, meaning 'don't know') and always insist on asking anyone making a wire transfer from France to provide their RIB (relevé d'identité bancaire), which is the antiquated Basic Bank Account Number, instead of the simpler and more modern IBAN (International Bank Account Number).
  4. When I was a child I was always baffled when going on holiday in France at how hotels or holiday homes only had a few TV channels while practically everyone in Belgium had cable with at least 25 channels (that was in the 1980's and 90s). Turns out that cable TV was quite rare in France back then and people had to rely on TV aerials, which barely worked on mountainous areas (of which France has many, unlike Belgium). Until 1992, France's largest public TV channel was called Antenne 2 (now France 2) in reference to the TV antenna that was required by most household to watch it! I found stats from 2005 showing that even in that pre-Netflix and pre-YouTube age only 10% of French households had cable TV against 87% in Belgium, 85% in the Netherlands, 79% in Switzerland or even 50% in Germany (including East Germany). (NB: the data shows the cable subscriptions per 1000 people, which needs to be multiplied by the average household size in each country to obtain the percentage of households with cable.)
  5. France is the only country in the world where DNA tests are prohibited - with heavy fines and prison sentences for offenders. That's the kind of law one could expect to find in oppressive dictatorships, but actually even the most backward, conservative and bigoted countries do not have such a law against DNA tests. Only France does.

The French establishment still feels like an Empire, like the avantgarde of humanity and doesn't want to accept innovations from others easily, even if they are superiour to their own way of doing things. That kind of "special French way" shines through on many French issues. Sometimes they do better than other Western countries, a lot of times they do worse. I wouldn't say its all black & white, because not everything the French refuse or don't accept that easily are actually good things from America (most of the time) or other countries (rarely).

The refusal to cooperate with ancient DNA research, population genetic research and private DNA testing in particular is of course a big minus for the whole country. They just don't want to debate race and ethnicity at all, as well as not allowing alternatives to their home grown expensive and inferiour, overregulated DNA testing for legal reasons (paternity etc.) - that's why:

France is the only country in the world where DNA tests are prohibited - with heavy fines and prison sentences for offenders. That's the kind of law one could expect to find in oppressive dictatorships, but actually even the most backward, conservative and bigoted countries do not have such a law against DNA tests. Only France does.

It is particularly annoying for me, because I have a lot of, even if just very distant, genetic relatives in France and they being severely undertested and underrepresented in the data base. Even some haplogroup branch members are from France, and there would be much more with better testing.
 
Well, since being offensive about other countries seems to be permitted, let me just say give me France any time over the Netherlands or Belgium or Germany or any number of other countries.

The issue is whether a place is "civilized", not if it's au courant with all the latest supposedly must have technology. Do I pay my bills online, do all my banking online? Yes, I do. Would I mind going back and writing checks? Absolutely not.

As far as the benefits of having endless numbers of tv channels, most of them are either niche channels in which I have absolutely no interest, or they are so WOKE in casting, theme etc. or so geared to uneducated teenagers or twenty somethings that I find them unwatchable. I have cancelled Netflix. Tried and cancelled Apple, Hulu, and now only watch Amazon or Paramount because they have a big library of older programming.

I'm reading a lot more, and for non-fiction especially, yes, prefer to hold an actual book and make notes in the margins, and bend the corners. Reading should be tactile as well as visual, if possible, imo. Although my house is bursting at the seams, I love every one, and where I go, they go, except, of course, at the end, and then my children, who also love them, will share them. If I enter a house, and I don't see any books anywhere, I know I won't find the owners congenial. Also, I, like the character in a much loved book and film, 84 Charing Cross Road, prefer second-hand books to new ones. I love to read the notes of the prior owners, see what has moved them. It's part of the magic. The English love and understand literature and books as a whole.

The internet has both pluses and minuses, and frankly, the minuses are more numerous and more consequential.

Imo I didn't make a connection between use of the latest technology and civilization (nor did Maciamo). Just if you use it or not....

Nevertheless it still surprises me that in France they still use cheques.....but that is something different if you consider this civilized or not.

To be clear I consider my woman very civilized (she is French of birth ;)
 

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