I Have been living both in France and Spain.
I can tell you that here in Spain, people are working much more hours (the spanish "siesta" that makes think that Spain is a lazy country is completly mystified).
But they are far from being as productive. They are so messy and disorganised that they have to work much more for the same productivity.
In the French mentality, sweating is only part of the equation if it gives them time for privacy. Frenchs like good life, bon vivants. They would never understand neither accept
to just being part of the system with very little rewarding like you see in Asia for ex. The economic battle, the values of sacrifice and die at work for the benefit of the 2% leaders
is a shocking idea in the french minds.
The nationranking statistics in the link are hilarious and put Spain before France. I don't know who are those funny people (they might be the same than Moody's Islandia accurate qualifications...) but I can tell you that the standart of living in France is much higher than here in Spain. Not a little higher, much higher. Anyone who has lived in both countries knows it.
They have this sort of elegance even in the technology. I have to say it even if there is a long list of things I don't like in France. When you travel you see it. Spanish people are brute, noisy but friendly. French are not specially friendly,
they are basically elegant. They won't be able to build a crude and brutal capitalism, they will just make it elegant, easy, smooth. They are very good at that.
France is a indeed a socialist mind within a capitalist structure and they kind of deal well with the paradox. Capitalism yes, but...a chic one! Not the jungle law.
Middle class life standart is definatly very high. You live well in France. In general, I think that considering all the parameters and not just numbers, Europe is probably the place where the average standart of life is the highest among the 3 economic giants, USA, Asia and Europe.
I would take the Lauper's song: French just wana have fun... not that wrong.