2934 strange things in france
Strange things in France. Photo: OneTravel

1. Kisses as a greeting

In France, it is common to kiss cheeks when you greet a friend or family members. Although every region has its own rules, there are some general facts you should know. If you are a woman, you kiss friends, family members and sometimes acquaintances. As a man you do not kiss someone of the same sex unless they are family members. The double kiss is most common. To avoid unwanted nose bumps and lip locks, start on the right side, according to European Business.

2. Formal greetings

When you meet someone new, you have to say “Hello, madam/sir” (Bonjour Madame/Monsieur) and shake hands. Saying “Hi” (Salut) to strangers is impolite. You only say “Hi” when you see friends and family members. When saying goodbye, it is common to shake hands again. Even in an office, coworkers shake hands or kiss each other’s cheeks.

3. Hours of Operation

Store hours in France are frustrating. Most establishments are not open 7 days a week and often close early in the evening. Likewise don’t expect to go shopping, banking, or errand running around lunch time because a locked door will greet you. The French take their breaks very seriously. Fifteen minutes before closing means not getting inside.

Luckily some French stores have started extending their hours of operation, especially around touristy areas. Many Americans don’t shop at Walmart at 3AM but it’s comforting to know we have the liberty to do so. We take this for granted, as said by French Crazy.

4. Driving

Driving in France is different: laughably high fuel prices, narrow city streets and manual transmissions will make you lament every single moment of operating a vehicle here. There are roundabouts everywhere, which is strange at first. There is also a weird desire for every hatchback vehicle on the market.

5. Cheese for dessert

The meal structure in France follows the order of starter, main course and cheese (and dessert.) Even the former French president Charles de Gaulle said, “It’s difficult to rule a nation with 265 cheeses.” Today, there more than 1,000 different types of French cheese, and the French love to eat it after the main course and sometimes as dessert instead of something sweet.

6. Bureaucracy keeps you waiting

It is said that the French love paperwork and that there is much more bureaucracy in France than in other European country. They have almost twice as many civil servants as Germany and three times as many as Japan. If you want to sign any contract, you will be asked to provide numerous copies of your passport, bank statements, birth certificate and much more.

7. Two-hour lunch breaks

Having a long and proper lunch break featuring a three-course meal with your colleagues or even friends is common. Lunch is a very important meal and takes place between 12 and 2 pm. Between these two hours, most people are not working, there is no school during this time, and many shops are closed.

France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. It might be time to brush up on your French language skills, because France is the place to be, according to the latest tourism figures. A whopping 89.3 million people visited the country in 2018, making it the most visited destination in the world. The country’s capital, Paris, is also the third most visited city in the world, behind Bangkok and London. Time to get packing!, according to Expatica.
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