Sunday, 29 June 2014


I’ve been en France for over two weeks now, and while I don’t feel ready to start sharing any words of wisdom quite yet, I still wanted to share a bit of insight into what it’s like being here for somebody who’s very, very new in the country. It hasn’t exactly been a culture shock; let’s be honest, I’m not jetting off to a third world country. Things here are both different, and the same. In this post I wanted to go over some of the things that struck me first when I moved here. I’m not claiming to be an expert on the matter, and some of these changes may have more to do with moving to a capital city than anything else, but if you know the reason behind any of these little observations, then please feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to hear what you think.


Being a beauty blogger, of course this was the first thing that I noticed when I arrived here. There is a little corner pharmacy just down the road from where I live, and four columns of shelves are taken up by a skincare selection that really puts Boots to shame. I genuinely think that they have a wider selection of Bioderma alone that they do medicine - not that I’m complaining! Skincare is clearly very important to people here.

Zebra crossings

It’s confusing enough working out which way the cars are coming from on junctions when you don’t know the area well, but let’s add that to the fact that France drives on the other side of the road and their lack of concern for zebra crossings. Even the crossings that have traffic lights to help you know when to cross really don’t mean much to Parisian drivers. I watched one particular situation unfurl, where a car attempted to drive through when the zebra crossing was on green as a woman was pushing a pram across. Needless to say that the woman went mad!


Scooters may be reserved for primary school children and self -confessed quirky kids in England, but in Paris it is a genuine means of transport. And I’m not talking about moto scooters. It is not uncommon to see someone hop off the metro on a weekday morning, in business attire, and whip out a fold away scooter, before promptly scooting off on the road, weaving in and out of the traffic.


In England, Sunday is treated like just another day of the weekend. The whole ‘day of rest’ thing seems to have been somewhat abandoned, and I for one don’t really tend to give it much thought. In France, it’s different though. Even being in their biggest city, most things are closed on Sunday and I find myself having to think carefully about anything that may have to be done at the weekend so that I can get it out of the way on a Saturday. I’m sure that some of that is more to do with get accustomed to the world of full-time work.


The metro really deserves a post to itself, but I’ll try to keep it brief. The first thing that I noticed about he metro were the vending machines at most of the stations. I thought that this was a sign of good things to come, but the ‘luxury’ (yes, in my eyes vending machines are luxurious) ended there. There aren’t as many handles to hold in the metro carriages as there are on the tube for those who are standing, which has resulted in Parisians being significantly more skilled at balancing while the metro is on the move. Like the tube, everyone is also packed into carriages like a can of sardines which results in it being very hot. I’ve noticed quite a few women fanning themselves with actual fold-away fans which they keep in their handbags. If only I could pull that off...

I’m certainly still getting used to things here, but I do feel as though I’ve started to settle in now. I’m think that as I become more at ease with life here, there will be plenty more of these little observations. Who knows - maybe I'll even think of something a little more insightful, too?!

What are the big differences that you have noticed between France and the UK?
Is there anything in particular that you would like to hear about my move to France?

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Emma Connor said...

Hope you are having a good time in France! :) xx

Julia said...

Nice post! :) I have never been to France..have a great time :)


Sinéad Danielle ✿ said...

Oh my goodness; so I just stumbled accross your blog through twitter and I'm so excited to read this! I did my semester abroad last year in Normandy, France and I wholeheartedly agree with each and every one of these aspects you've written about (except for the metro obv)!

Skincare was definitely exciting for me, I love that there seems to be a real culture amongst French women to splash out and take care of themselves when it comes to skincare. The everything-being-closed on a Sunday was a real struggle for me too, you really realise how lucky we are here in the UK with Sunday openings! Oh and don't worry - I'm STILL confused about how to cross road in seems drivers have total disregard for pedestrians; crossing or no crossing!

Are you working or studying during your year abroad? I actually got a bit emosh reading this, brought back so many good memories for me! I hope you have the most incredible time, and can't wait to read about more of your adventures! ♥

fabuleuse, toujours ♥

Emily said...

Thank you Emma, it's going really well at the moment :) xx

Emily said...

Thanks Julia! x

Sinead Danielle said...

Aww I'm glad it did :) I was just studying for the 4 months at a business school! Your internship sounds amazing, in what field are you doing it in? Would love to see a post about your intern experience! Xx

Emily said...

Thanks Julia :) x