10 things in France that surprised me

Salut everyone! Everything going well here in the South, we've had a week of strong cold and days are very occupied but I'm loving it! We also welcomed two new foals to this world! <3 I have been in France for again 6 weeks now and I've been here 2 more times for an internship/working - TIME FLIES - and there are some things that I knew but didn't expect in certain contexts but also things that I wasn't aware of and that surprised me. If you are curious read further :)

1. French accents

This one I already figured out when I came to do my placements at the Haras du Coussoul but as I am meeting new

people through the time that I am in France I am noticing more and more accents, and some are really strong! School doesn't prepare you for this.

2. Diner is an important activity in the French house

This is another one that I have figured out already earlier. French tend to enjoy cooking and eating together with family/friends. And this is not really something that surprised me because I believe this is an important one too, I wanted to add it :)

3. French are very considerative about manners


n my experience French generally have better manners than the Dutch, Bonjour, bonsoir, ca va , au revoir, excusez-moi, pardon, bon courage. Maybe this is also a thing of the region but I love it, whenever I am walking to work or just to the supermarket or anything and I meet someone on the street they very nicely say Bonjour. A very nice start of your day and to keep the atmosphere on the streets nice!

4. French live enjoying everyday

For French this is an important thing. It is probably even more important in the French culture than in others, it even has a name, this is called savoir-vivre.

5. Everything takes time

Simple tasks can take here up to hours, days or even weeks. Thinking about walking in the bank and opening a bank account? Forget it, you will have to make an appointment and bring tons of documents with you. Passing by the Gendarmerie at opening hour to make a statement before work starts? Forget it, I had to wait 3! hours!!


Kisses for everyone! French do not particularly shake hands or give cuddles. French give 2 kisses (cheek taps) to say hi or bye, DON'T give a handshake or a hug unless they do it. I actually adore this type of saying Hi, it is so much less distant!


Many people say differently but I think otherwise. I have had the chance to meet locals at some different parts in France and I have been greeted helpful and pleasantly. As of what I have heard is that this 'rude popular culture' is

coming from Paris region. Paris is like any big city a lively and on the go culture, next to that do people not have the patience to help tons of tourists.

8. Finding apartments is hard for foreigners as for native French people

I have now found a very nice room in Aix-en-Provence but it took me quite some time, and a lot of research. While doing my research I saw blogs and forums of how hard it is to find a room or even an apartment in France, this did not typically suspect that before coming to Aix-en-Provence.

9. Paperwork vs. Digital world

One thing that really, really surprised me about France the last few weeks is how they still WRITE everything BY HAND, how much is not digital yet.. I had a little car accident and had to go to the Gendarmerie, and I noticed them doing everything by hand.. My colleague got employees of Aix-en-Provence Ville at her door, who were manually calculating how many people there were living in Aix-en-Provence. In Holland we need to register when we move to a city and deregister when we move away.

10. Checks

French pay a lot with checks. No you are not travelling back to the 90's. In the Netherlands the check is nearly forgotten but in France it is still a normal way of payments.

La Vie Est Belle

xoxo Lisa

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