Despite the fact that I have been in Nantes for only a few weeks, I have already noticed lots of differences between the French and American cultures! Here are some of ones that interest me the most:
French people finish their food
I’m not sure exactly why Americans don’t do this, but it is a habit that I have noticed in my host family. Every piece of food on a plate get eaten. No exceptions. I didn’t know this when I first arrived and ended up being really full on the first night!
French people don’t talk to each other
This is very typically of the Loire Valley region. If you don’t know someone, you don’t talk to them. No friendly “hello!” on the subway, no making conversation in a store; nothing. It was a bit strange to go from the “Hope hello” culture to the culture in Nantes, but I’m getting used to it. How people meet new people is still somewhat of a mystery to me.
French people don’t have endless closets
French people don’t have 20 different shirts, jeans in every color, and a jacket to match every outfit. They tend to have a few neutral colored clothing that can be paired in many different combinations. What they do have is lots of fashion savvy, which leads me to my next point…
French people always look their best
Everyone, especially the women, is well-dressed and looks like they just stepped off the runway. I have not seen a single person wearing sweatpants. Black, the chicest color, is very prevalent, along with riding boots and scarves. As a fashionista, this is a dream come true for me.
French people don’t snack
There are only three meals in the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Midnight snacks, or even snacking between meals, doesn’t happen. The petit dejeuner, or breakfast, is in fact very petit (example – a slice of bread), while the diner is the biggest meal of the day.
France definitely has a very distinct culture. I’m trying to adapt but still feel a bit like a tourist. I can’t wait for the day when I feel like a vraie francaise!