Top 5 Cultural Differences: France vs. US

Air Conditioning

This first difference can be seen all over Europe, but was especially noticeable when it hit 100 degrees one week when I was in Paris.  Majority of stores and residences do not have air conditioning because of the concern for the environment.  While it can be easy for people to go on about their day without AC, for those who are accustomed to it (like Americans), it can be a bit more challenging.  To survive, keep finding constant ways to be cool and keep hydrated.  The worst of it was not being prepared of being unable to escape the heat!

Speaking the Language

France has the stereotype of being stuck up and rude when it comes to interacting with Americans.  From what I have found, this is only because the French take such pride in their language and want to keep it pure with in their country.  Since I knew some French, I always started out with speaking the language rather than English.  There was a world of difference in the service I got when I spoke English verse when I spoke French.  Even if it is only a few words, they appreciate the fact that you are trying to learn their culture while you are in their country.

Store Hours

In France, it is custom for a business not to be open one day of the week to give workers a day off.  This goes for everything- grocery stores, cafés, even the Louvre, so you can imagine how confused I was when I arrived in Paris on a Sunday and was unable to buy groceries.  I learned this lesson quickly and from then on always checked the store hours of a business before I went to shop there.

Public Bathrooms

Rarely will you find a pubic bathroom any place in Paris, and if you do- it probably won’t be free.  Located on streets near bigger attractions like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame you can find public restrooms that cost usually no more than 1 euro.  But make sure you are ready to wait in line because each time a person uses the bathroom, the toilet does a 20 second self-cleaning process before the next person can use it.My strategy to solving this problem?  Use the bathroom whenever you get the chance- even if you don’t have to go.  Before I ever left a restaurant or my dorm I made sure to go to avoid any emergencies!


After using the Paris metro for 6 weeks, I can say that I will miss it.  Some parts more than others but the quickness and easy use of the metro gave me the ability to get to anywhere I wanted to in Paris.  Everyone uses the metro and bus system in Paris (no one owns cars!!) because of its effortless use and vast majority with in the city.  The metro was built so that there would be a stop with in walking five minutes from each other.  So, if you ever get lost in Paris, just start walking in any direction and eventually you will find a metro stop with a map of where you a

Trains, in general are a very popular in France.  There are probably at least 5 large trains stations within Paris that will take you anywhere you want to go in Europe.  They are very easy to use and navigate and you can hop right on literally five minutes before the train leaves.  The agility and simple use of transportation not just in France but in Europe overall, makes in very easy to travel to new places.


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