France is different. I often joke with the team: “ohhhh les Français sont bizarre”. Here are some weird stories/facts:
- “Culte” means “the Christian church service”. “Secte” means “cult”
- If you’re a guy and don’t want to be picked out as a tourist: don’t wear shorts.
- I grabbed curry on the run and was eating it on the metro in favour of sitting on a bench and missing a train. I got some REALLY weird looks. When I asked a friend why this was, she responded “wow.. eating on the run is really not something the French do. We sit and relax while we eat.” Turns out this is the case even when it means missing a train and waiting an extra half hour.
- People are LESS likely to smile at you while walking past them on the street than people in Ottawa. People are suspicious when you do.
- People are far more likely to offer you a place to sit if you have a baby or are old. Ashley almost always gets a seat regardless of how busy the train is. In Ottawa, I’ve witnessed a good number of old ladies stand while Mr. shirt-and-tie sat looking on as if she didn’t exist.
- Years ago it was common place for the French to take 2 hour lunch breaks. Now, 1 or 1.5 hours are common. However, work hours are often lengthened to compensate. They work 35 hour weeks.
- All kids get EVERY WEDNESDAY OFF from school. I still have yet to figure out how this works with day care and working parents. Kids do have a shorter summer and a longer school day.
- Markets are AMAZING. There is a ton of energy and lots of fresh, inexpensive food to be had. They usually happen once a week in various neighborhoods and towns. They cane literally go for miles. As the day goes on, the deals get better and better as the vendors don’t want to have to lug their food and wares back home.