68 thoughts on “FRENCH CULTURE SHOCKS | An American’s First Day in France!

  1. Culture Shocks are a highlight of living abroad! Whether you've been abroad for one week or 30 years, feel free to leave your comments below! I love hearing all the things that surprised expats when they first moved to a new country! 🙂

  2. some words in english are over used "terrifying" "aggressive" "shocking"
    the french people travel more than americans they often see different cultures they're not surprised by a different type o shower
    nice video

  3. En France on peut se garer sur certains trottoirs mais il faut toujours laisser assez d’espace pour un fauteuil ou une poussette (ce n’est malheureusement pas souvent respecté). Et je pense que le fait de taper la voiture derrière et celle de devant quand on se gare ou qu’on veut quitter sa place est un truc parisien, je n’ai jamais vu ça et j’espère ne jamais le voir 😂

  4. About the smoking of young people, the school isn't here to correct it. It has to warn the parents if something happen inside. Else and in general when it comes to non adult people, the more you are repressive the more it will create serious problems. Let say you prevent these young people to smoke in front of the school, they won't stop smoking and they'll just go 2 streets further, hide to smoke or skip school. If the parents don't act, and if the school warning aren't enough, hiding the problem won't help at all.

  5. The dinner time was what messed with me the most when I went to Paris. I was fine with the actual fine but because in the US I’m used to eating around 5:30, I was SO hungry by the time restaurants in France opened for dinner.

  6. What I like very much in North America and that I would like to see more often in France, are the large painted wooden houses with the garden in front of the house, without walls and fences to the road.

  7. The cars on the sidewalk thing was funny for me too lol… I was always super paranoid about touching others' cars when driving in the US. .

  8. WOW ne surtout pas faire croire que c'est normal de toucher les voitures des autres en sortant de sa place !! Il n'y a que les parisiens grincheux qui s'autorisent ça mais en province mais dans les grandes villes c'est super mal vu

  9. I realize this is perhaps the least original observation ever, but the most obvious cultural difference to me is always saying “bonjour” in stores, restaurants, etc. and always saying “merci” and “au revoir” (and possibly “bonne journée”) when leaving.

  10. You are spot on with the doggie landmines. I am originally Alsacien and in larger cities like Strasbourg it is always a problem.
    One funny observation from having lived in both countries: In France, if a dog leaves a ‘pile’ in front of someone’s house and its owner doesn’t pick it up, the homeowner will come out and yell.
    In the US, I have seen people set up trail cameras to catch the offender and go out of their way to return the deposit to the dog owner’s porch. I love the American technological approach to encouraging people to be better neighbors.
    I wanted to try a hybrid of both philosophies (paintball) but my wife won’t let me…

  11. We have the shower heads that come off in UK too,pretty normal here.How else would you wash down below if you can't take the shower head off lol. I remember being on the motorway in France,my dad was a driving instructor and had also taken the police driving course.We were zipping along in the fast lane at 80mph,police waved us into the slow lane!

  12. I remember I was visiting a friend (who is French) in Paris and was asking for directions on how to get to her apartment. She told me she was on the second floor and to come up. So I made my way to the "second floor". I knocked on her door and was greeted by a stranger. That was the day I realized that floors are counted differently in the US and France/Europe 😂

  13. Hi! I just came back from Paris yesterday…I was there visiting my boyfriend and his family! These are soo true! I think the one that always gets to me is the eating super late. We were having dinner around 9pm almost every night and one time we went out with his coworkers to have dinner at 10:30pm! Another thing I noticed was constantly sitting down together as a family to eat. Even if it's just to have a snack or to drink a juice, we always sat down with his parents in the dinning room table. The driving as well! Super crazy drivers just switching lanes without signaling. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack 😂

  14. Dog poop is definitely a problem in France, moreso in Paris, but believe it or not I learn to tolerate dog poop (I was going to love but that would be a poor choice of words) after spending some time in Rome where the Romans literally use their streets as a trash bin. They just throw stuff on the streets. That was my major culture shock plus a lot of old people in Italy.

  15. The dinner time for sure. in norway we have lunch around 11:30 and dinner 4:30/5. So that is a challenge when we visit. :p . Once in a while Ill give into the late dinners. btw, where do you shop for your earrings? <3

  16. I moved to France a couple weeks ago and I can't say anything has truly shocked me yet, partly because of research I've done via the help of your and Rosie's channels. Thanks!! Though I have had fun being surprised by some things. From a summer I spent in the Baltic a few years ago I knew many Europeans don't like to directly pass money hand to hand, so when I slid some coins to a clerk at my local boulangerie she took them and popped them into a coin machine right in front of the register. I hadn't even noticed it! But after that I became aware of them all over the place. Another fun example is the other day when I was buying my fruit and veg at the local market from a stall I frequent, as a farewell I told the clerk "reste sec" in an attempt to give the American farewell of "stay dry!" as it was currently raining. The was some general confusion, but with the recruit of another clerk and a friendly passerby we came to the conclusion that I literally translated pretty decently, but it was just an odd sentiment from the French perspective. Anyway, thanks for your channel! Again, it was very helpful in the year leading up to my move and in general is a joy to watch. Félicitations on your growing family!

  17. I have always had a removable shower nozzle in every place I have lived in the US for over 40 years. Any place that did not have one, I installed one immediately.

  18. well, she should try to drive in italy, she will find french roads way more law respectful…, in italy 2wheels and cars will drive around you and OVER u uif needed, klaxon is mandatory and crossway lights are for decorations 🙂

  19. I just moved to France from the USA exactly one week ago! 😀 I haven't noticed some of these things yet as I'm an hour and a half south of Paris…I wonder how particular each of these are to Paris vs. France as a whole? I'll find out soon enough. 😉 PS-I'm new here and need friends…let me know if you'd be willing to meet up! I'd love to chat about how you moved to France from the USA and how you find it living here permanently. 🙂

  20. les règles n'ont véritablement de sens que si elles sont enfreint de temps en temps et toujours si cela ne lèse ou blesse personne. C'est la base de l'esprit critique. Suivre une règle sans la remettre en question, c'est juste être un suiveur sans esprit critique. Bon après, si tu brises les règles tout le temps, tu deviens un rebelle, c'est un peu la même chose que le suiveur sauf qu'au lieu d'être buter pour suivre les règles, il est buté pour lutter contre.

    C'est un aspect effectivement très français.

    Concernant la conduite, je connais pas un Français provincial qui aime conduire à Paris, on y passe vraiment parce que c'est des fois obligatoire mais c'est juste trop gonflant de conduire là-bas. Alors oui, c'est bien pour entraîner tes réflexes (freiner, esquiver) mais l'attitude des gens fait plus gueuler qu'autre chose. Ca c'est vraiment très parisien.

    Pareil pour le stationnement, c'est vraiment très parisien de "pousser" la voiture de devant et de derrière. ça arrive dans la province aussi mais c'est vraiment ultra rare (sauf si le conducteur est parisien…)

    Pour les crottes de chien… triste constat… mais c'est un fait, une majorité adore avoir des animaux mais quand il faut VRAIMENT s'en occuper, il y a plus personne (surtout sur cet aspect là). Je ne pense pas que ça se solutionnera un jour sauf si les gens prennent genre 90 euros d'amende pour non ramassage de crotte (après 3 ou 4 amendes, ça peut avoir un impact significatif)

  21. Yeah took a couple with us last year to Paris with us and they were shocked by eating so late and for not being able to get ice for their drinks

  22. Et du coup ton amie a fait une dépression (!) ou elle a tout de même aimé certaines choses ?
    Si il y a du positif c'est bien de faire une autre vidéo

  23. Ton amie est chanceuse que tu aies pu bien lui expliquer les différences US/France dans nos modes de vie 🙂

    Pour ce qui est de sortir d'une place de parking en touchant les pares choc des autres voitures, tu confonds certainement avec les italiens … On ne peut vraiment pas jouer à ça, les pare chocs en fibre éclatent facilement. Avant, oui, les pares choc (métalliques) servaient à parer les chocs ;-p

    Et … si ton médecin te fait toujours des prescriptions longues comme un bras, tu devrais en changer en fait …

  24. At 5:30 I was finishing my last class in high school, and I would get home and hour later (if not more), so having dinner so early just sound unnatural to me … I think our lunch hours are so set in stone because our whole day is already structured, so you have no choice but to eat at those set hours

  25. Sorry to be that person, but medicine* 😛 I agree with all of this as an American in France! Especially with the amount of meds you're prescribed…

  26. Love this one! I agree with all of these except the driving….probably because I'm from CT and we're known for being super aggressive drivers lol. Motorcycles weave in and out all the time there so I'm totally unfazed by it. But the rest, yeah, definitely things I'm still getting used to! I don't know that I'll ever really be used to the shower thing. I think I'll always want the freedom of being able to do n'importe quoi with the shower head. And apparently it's a stereotype that Americans don't know how to shower, and get the walls all wet. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I found something else interesting with the prescriptions. I tried to buy antibiotic ointment recently, like Neosporin, and when I showed it to the pharmacist she got all flustered and was like "You can't get that here, not without a prescription!!" It was like I had contraband with me. So I had my mom bring me some from the U.S. 😉

    My favorite dog poop story is actually my (Parisian) boyfriend's: one day he saw a guy not pick up his dog's handiwork, and like three steps letter he stepped in other poo left by some other dog's owner, slipped, and fell in it. Yes, IN it, like all over his pants. If that's not the definition of karma I don't know what is! 😄

    I have soooo many other culture shocks I've experienced but I don't want to hijack your whole comments section! So I'll end actually with some questions I have for you. You might already have blog posts you can direct me to, or maybe it'll give you ideas for your next video! 😉

    1) Where do you shop for clothes with character? I feel like I'm able to find decent basics at affordable prices, but I have a harder time finding pieces that have some personality, that aren't really expensive.

    2) How do you combat homesickness (if you even still get it after 10 years)? I don't really mean the homesickness of missing people, because I find that video chatting alleviates that pretty well, but more just the homesickness of being in a culture where everything's familiar, easy, and natural? I actually got a taco salad at Indiana the other day because I wanted to eat something that reminded me of home. 🙄

    3) Kind of related to #2 I think: do you feel like your personality is different in French than it is in English? I definitely feel that way about mine. There are so many jokes and offhand comments I would make in English that I don't know how to do in French because they involve such subtleties of language, and even cultural reference points. I mostly speak French with my boyfriend and there's a big part of me I feel like he doesn't even know. Have you experienced that at all? (Sorry, this is kind of a deep one! 😆Not like #1!)

    Thanks! You're so naturally funny and relaxed, that watching your videos makes me feel like I'm home again. 😉 So thanks for that.

  27. Je comprends la majorité des aspects de la France que tu souligne mais je pense que la plupart des exemples que tu as cité sont vrais en grande ville mais dans les campagnes ou dans les plus petites villes les choses sont très différentes .Par exemple toucher une autre voiture en sortant de sa place de parking n'est pas du tout bien vu et celà est considéré comme un accident . Mais sinon très bonne vidéo 😉

  28. Crottes de chiens : c'est la plus grande honte que les français devraient avoir. C'est tout simplement inadmissible. Il devrait y avoir une forte taxe sur les chiens pour dissuader d'en avoir, et il devrait y avoir des contraventions extrêmement élevées pour les flagrants délits de crottes.

  29. Regarding the handheld shower head that you pull off the wall, I actually just ordered one for my master bathroom (but I ordered a standard American-style one for my guest bathroom). Both Lowe's and Home Depot had maybe 1 out of every 5 shower heads on their websites as the handheld ones, so I think they might be gaining in popularity in the US.

  30. Everything you said is so true. I spent three months in France and encountered pretty much all of these in the first week and they were prevalent throughout my travels around the country. I think you're right that the dog poo left on the sidewalks is due to those selfish few who don't clean up after their dogs. We have a lot of dog owners where I live in the US so wasn't shocked by all the dogs. But here rarely do you see dog poop on sidewalks. We also have had a campaign here about there not being a "poop fairy" that magically cleans up your dog's poo. If I decide to relocate there, I'm thinking of bringing that campaign there. Hopefully, it will help. Also, in Paris just within one week's time, I happened upon three different guys peeing out in the open on the sidewalk/in a corner of a building, etc. Have you encountered that? It was shocking and horrifying and gross. Thanks so much for sharing all of these culture shocks!

  31. I've lived in the south of France for 27+ years and I have never really gotten over the fact that shops are not open on Sundays and there are essentially no 24-shops open.

  32. LOVED this video and had to laugh when you mentioned the bumpers as I thought I had witnessed a hit and run accident when I was in France and saw someone bump into the parked car infront of them 😂 Oh and my hubby and I lived in a cosy little apartment not much bigger than yours for the first year of our daughters life. People back home seemed so shocked by this but we absolutely loved it and have the best memories of that time. I have to comment to how beautiful you look pregnant!!

  33. LOL. But.. The poo and the smoking., Those awful scooters., the shower,,aiaiai ..
    My god, the amount of suffering the poor girl  gone trough in Paris…The Horror.

  34. I spent two weeks in France last year and there were a lot of things that confused me. Please please please explain why (1) there aren’t any wash cloths and why (2) when you order a coke they serve it in a glass with a long ice tea spoon. What is the spoon for?!?!

  35. great video ! about the french kids smoking outside : it is actually illegal in france to smoke inside a school or on the front of a school. also, most people turn 18 in highschool, that's why i think you see a lot of young people smoking outside their highschool, usually in the street 😅 (also, it is illegal for under-18-kids to buy cigarettes, but….)

  36. When I went to America and asked for a while coffee, I was amazed that they did not know what I was talking about. (I am Australian). Coffee with cream, is the way to order white coffee in the USA! I have spent a lot of time in France and I found the French coffee served up in tiny cups a bit of a culture shock. I now ask for an American coffee whenever I eat in a French restaurant. Even with an "American coffee," the size if the cup is small, compared to coffee in Australia or the USA. I had a French restaurant owner joke to me every time he gave me an American coffee by saying. "Here is your "swimming pool" coffee sir!"

  37. God I bet you gave a huge sigh of relief when she f'd off back after all her moan, moan, moaning to where EVERYTHING is big and all the sheepies do what they are told. PS I'm Scottish and hate the French. I never went back after 10 days Paris school trip – the smoking, law breaking, car bashing, rioting, striking, utterly rude, selfish miserable natives and I am 67 now. I count the few days now till Brexit and will celebrate with English champagne, or Spanish or Italian! I wish we never saved their country in WWII. At least the Germans know how to build great cars after the VW plant was reinstated by the Brits.

  38. About housing. I have a friend who moved to the US to get married and they are building a house. She’s shocked how loose rules are in the US compared from EU. Therefore a house in the US can be bigger for the same price, but in the long run it’s probably more expensive as it’s not as well isolated, either walls or windows, so heating costs in winter and air con in summer over time adds up.

  39. In the US they've had removable shower heads, but usually it's as an attachment to the spout of a bathtub only bathroom that you buy separately. You remove the spout and replace it with a spout that has a side hole for which you screw on the hose/shower head. My parents bought one in the 80s. Most stores carry them.

  40. Nobody bumps into other one's cars, wth are you talkin' about. I'm 39 and never saw that (in Paris or anywhere else). It's illegal, and if that was to happen that would be considered an accident and insurance would get involved. You witnessed what never happens and made it a national thing.

  41. ben ce sont des par chocs, c'est fait pour ça, et c'est aux véhicules dernièrement garé de ne pas ce mettre aussi près de notre Véhicules, ce n'est pas de notre faute si le véhicules de derrière et celui de devant est collé si près du notre.

  42. id love to visit france and do all the touristy stuff, louvre, moulin rouge,.. eifel tower and so on… but when i see the qeues outside of those places,.. ill loose all interest in even thinking about the visit,.. so.. i still havent been able to visit because the tourist masses are just the biggest reason to avoid those places,…

  43. For us Europeans coming to the US is an big culture shock as well. All those fast food restaurants. The shops that are open 24/7 . The big portions restaurants serve. The super big classes with drinks. Breakfast , although it looks a little bit like an English breakfast and the fact you ate potato ships with your bread. Drive through banks and I even saw an drive through grave yard. The cars and the lack off buses and trains and you see almost nobody with an bicycle. Although I heard that starts to change.

  44. Some culture shocks can be explained by the difference between living in any city or in a suburb, small town or countryside. If she would have come from New York to Paris for example the small size apartments, traffic, parking and dog poo would not have been issues. In the USA my biggest shock wasn't in New York, Washington or Chicago but in Grand Rapids. My family there where living in huge houses where they did almost everything by car. And the size of everything and especially humans really shocked me a lot. Especially the number of very obese children was chocking because this is not something you see a lot in Europe. So in my opinion your starting reference point greatly determines what will be a culture shock to someone.

  45. Moving to Portugal many years ago I didn't find many things that shocked me culturally speaking. Perhaps it was because I had been living in Brazil and long before that, in Mexico. As for France, like Spain, the biggest negative was not being able to find supermarkets open on Sunday, although this is apparently changing. In Spain almost nothing is open. Here in Portugal businesses can open on Sunday. Since I live near the border with Spain (Galicia) the Portuguese supermarkets do a good business with the Spanish shoppers who can't buy anything on their side of the line. As for eating times in restaurants here it is more similar to the U.S, with most people having dinner around seven o'clock. Your American friend would really be shocked in Spain where the restaurant kitchen is not even open at seven and it being not uncommon to eat at ten o'clock. One aspect–perhaps not important–that would be hard for me in France and Spain is having most of the films and foreign tv series dubbed. Here in Portugal people prefer subtitiles, and as an English language speaker and teacher, it is definitely a godsend. Our students have very good listening comprehension and lighter accents than the French, Spanish, and Italians.

  46. Cela dit, en France aussi, il arrive que le dîner soit servi à 18h00, mais seulement si on est hospitalisé, et qu'on apprécie les frites encore congelées… Sinon, évidemment, à 20h00, c'est l'apéritif qui débute… et qui parfois, n'en finit pas. Adoncques, nous dînons moins tard que nos camarades espagnols, mais bien après ceux du reste du monde… Voilà !

  47. Hey, interesting and amusing video ! I could relate to most of the culture shocks of your friend… except the motorcycles weaving in and out — that happens in the S.F. Bay Area, too (although to a much lesser degree).

    What part of Paris do you live in, may I ask? We moved to Paris in 2000, and the first few months we always used to end up with "crottins de chien" on our shoes, until we developed the Parisian reflex of avoiding anything small and brown on the sidewalk. However, in the past 10 years the amount of "caca sur les trottoirs" has significantly decreased, not only in my neighborhood (Bastille/Gare de Lyon) but the other places I frequent… le Marais, Odéon, le 17ème (Place Pereire).

  48. I went to Paris for the 3rd time last week, got my wallet stolen at the metro, also noticed that there is no shower curtain at our Airbnb and it smelled like someone smoked inside. lol this video is on point!

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