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Revolting Against Age and Discrimination

Screenshot from French Connections on TV for why the french go on strike

I suppose anyone who follows life in France knows that the country is on strike to oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms. What else is new? Isn’t France always on strike for something? It certainly seems that way.

Not long after we moved to Paris, at the end of 1995, the entire country went on strike for about three weeks “paralyzing the country’s transportation infrastructure, and other institutions. The strikes occurred in the context of a larger social movement against the reform agenda led by Prime Minister Alain Juppé, and they constituted the largest social movement in France since May 1968.” (Source)

As a result of those strikes many new organizations sprung up, but many businesses failed, too. I experienced my own personal fallout, rendering me nearly crippled from walking too much in the wrong shoes—that I am still paying for these many years later.

France 24, the national news channel, explored the reasons the French love to take to the streets in a special report by Florence Villeminot titled, “Born to revolt? Why the French go on strike…” She asks, “Is striking typically French? Although French people arguably have striking down to a fine art, on closer inspection, the figures debunk the myth. So why is the stereotype of a nation on strike so hard to shake off? We tell you more in this edition of French Connections.”

I am sure you will enjoy watching it.

Meanwhile, despite that the majority of the French don’t want the reforms to pass, they likely will. Saturday senators passed the reforms by 195 votes to 112, bringing the package another step closer to becoming law. A committee will now hammer out a final draft, which will then be submitted to both the Senate and National Assembly for a final vote. If it passes, the retirement age will increase from the age of 62 to 64. We Americans seem to all have the same opinion: “big deal!”

Performance artist Lulu Lolo and her seat for the elderly

Performance artist Lulu Lolo

For us, 64 is still young enough to be working. The full retirement age in the U.S. is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960 until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67. So, 64-year-olds are “babies!”

The French government is saying that the reforms are absolutely necessary if they want to continue providing retirement benefits. Currently, the E.U. average retirement age stands at 64.3 years for men and 63.5 years for women. In France, the current retirement age is 64.5 years for both men and women, according to the OECD.  This means that France has a slightly higher retirement age than the E.U. average, but it’s still lower than in some other bloc members, such as Germany, where this figure comes out to 65.7 years for both men and women. (Source)

I’m 70 years old and still working with no desire to retire. Why would I want to as long as I love what I do?…so I suspect, all those people who want to retire early just aren’t as lucky as me!


I stopped dead in my tracks when I came upon a poster in the Paris Métro promoting an exhibition of Zanele Muholi’s photographic works at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP).  I’d dreamed of owning at least one of her powerful photos for many years and never made the leap, not necessarily because they are not cheap, but because my walls are pretty much full…and at this age I’m trying to “divest” rather than “invest.”

I sent a photo of the Métro poster to my daughter with a note, “We have to go see it!” She is a well-known photographer in her own right and I was sure she’d enjoy the show when she arrives in Paris in a few weeks, but I couldn’t wait! I ran to the MEP on Saturday afternoon and found the museum packed with visitors doing the same thing.

Poster in the Paris Métro for Zanele Muholi's photographic works at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie

This is the first retrospective in France dedicated to the internationally renowned South African photographer and activist whose work documents and celebrates the Black LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual+) community. It brings together more than 200 photographs and videos created since the early 2000s, as well as numerous archival materials, covering the full breadth of Muholi’s career to date, and honoring one of the most acclaimed artists working today.

Photo from the Zanele Muholi exhibit in Paris

While Muholi defines themself* as a “visual activist,” using the camera as a tool to confront and repair injustice, my personal interest is in the power of her self-portraits coined as “Visual Weapons.” The exhibition has gathered 96 self-portraits reproduced in a book titled Somnyama Ngonyama – Hail the Dark Lioness, in which the South African exposes stereotypes of the representation of Black culture.

Photo from the Zanele Muholi exhibit in Paris

Do me a favor: don’t miss it. It’s on until May 21st. For more information, visit MEP’s website for details.


Shannon, with Bargain Homes Abroad, and I have teamed up to present a webinar Tuesday, March 28th at
7 p.m. CET (France) (10:00 a.m. Pacific/11:00 a.m. Mountain/12:00 noon Central/1:00 p.m. Eastern) all about “Navigating French Real Estate.”

Promotional meme for Adrian Leeds' navigating french real estate presnetiaon with Bargain Homes Abroad

In this one-hour session on Zoom, you’ll get the inside scoop from me about the ins and outs of real estate in France (not just Paris) when there’s no Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Join us as I speak with Shannon and Bargain Homes Abroad about how to navigate the French real estate market to find your dream home. I will cover why you should consider buying in France, the best locations to consider in France, and a walk-through of the French home purchase process. There will be time at the end for a Q&A.

This event will be on Zoom and free to Bargain Homes Abroad Plus members and you, readers of our Nouvellettres®! Click here to register and get more details.


Mark the future dates in your calendar now. They’re FREE and INFORMATIVE. The times are 7 p.m. France CET/CEST, 10 a.m. PST/PDT, 2 p.m. EST/EDT.

Our most recent North American Expat Financial Forum Quarterly Seminar Of 2023 was Wednesday, March 8th, featuring Tax Attorney Jonathan Hadida, Hadida Tax Advisors, on the topic of “US Tax Update and Strategies for Americans Living in France in 2023.” The Zoom session lasted 15 minutes longer than planned in order to answer as many questions as possible.

Tax Attorney Jonathan Hadida, Hadida Tax Advisors

Tax Attorney Jonathan Hadida

Watch the session in its entirety here.

Join us for just one hour every quarter during which the team at Dunhill Financial and the Adrian Leeds Group pinpoint topics that specifically concern North American expatriates living in France. We’ll be discussing real estate and tax issues for North Americans wanting to move to France, or who are already living here.

Dates coming up include:

Q2: Wednesday, June 7th, 2023—TOPIC: Financial Planning & Cost of Living
Q3: Wednesday, September, 20th, 2023 (Subject to change)—TOPIC: Coming soon
Q4: Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 (Subject to change)—TOPIC: Coming soon

For more information, visit our Events page.

Note: Jonathan Hadida will be speaking tomorrow at Après-Midi in Paris! Visit our site for more information.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds by photo artist Steven Arnold, as the "white lioness!"Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian by photo artist Steven Arnold, as the “white lioness!”

P.S. Curious about who will be presenting at next month’s Aprés-Midi? You don’t have to wait until we announce it, you can look into the future right now! Visit our Aprés-Midi page to see who will be there throughout 2023.



  1. Trish Young on March 13, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Oh Adraian. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be self employed, able to take holidays whenever they fancy,
    For all others the ability to retire while you are still young enough to enjoy life is the way to go.
    The other benefit is, it opens up employment opportunities for the upcoming generations.
    It’s a win win situation

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 4, 2023 at 6:53 am

      Holidays whenever they fancy? Being self-employed is often a 7-day a week job, and also working while on holidays. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  2. Elaine McCarthy on March 15, 2023 at 6:22 am

    “White Lioness” by Steven Arnold

  3. Joyce Beelman on March 21, 2023 at 7:25 am

    Hi Adrian, I just read your retirement article. Wonderful! I see you are almost as old as I am. So grateful to for the Nice home-buying conference and south France tour last fall. It got me traveling again after the pandemic and restored my ‘young-at-heart’ spirit. Thank you! Bisous, Joyce

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 4, 2023 at 6:50 am

      Thank you!!

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