Monday, June 6, 2011

Little Differences

Given any two countries, there are going to be differences. We notice a lot of differences between France and Canada. These aren't meant to be complaints - just some things we notice.

Many doors here open in. When we first arrived, we kept thinking shops were closed because the doors wouldn't open when we pulled.

When driving, you can pull into a parking spot on either side of the road, rather than having to turn around so that you are facing the right way.

Or you can just park on the sidewalk.

Road signs here point the way to things, telling you what you will get to if you follow a road. This can make it tricky to find things if you aren't used to it. Often, in a rental car, I will have a street address that I'm trying to find. However, the signs that tell you the name of a road are usually quite small and attached to the buildings making them quite hard to see. I usually have to circle a few times, getting closer (I hope) with each pass.

Restaurants are open at meal times - French meal times. 12:00-14:00 and 19:00-whenever. And when the restaurants open for lunch everything else closes for two hours. They take their lunch very seriously.

Our local grocery stores are open 8:30-20:30. And only until lunch time on Sunday. No running out for milk before breakfast or after the kids are asleep.

24 hour time.

Most shops are closed on Sunday.

Public transport is well-used. The tram is never empty and often full.

Cell phones are the preferred way for making arrangements, rather than email. This is a hardship if your level of French includes gestures and grimaces as key components.

There are lots of open squares or plazas. Not so many grassy parks, though.

A lot more people ride bikes, including right downtown. I haven't seen any signs of car/bike tension. Also, I haven't seen any bike trailers for kids to ride in. Instead, people use child-seats that are mounted on the back of the bike.

There's a lot of dog poop. But it gets cleaned up regularly.

Most picnics quite openly involve bottles of wine. If you need wine for your picnic, you can get it at a grocery store, farmer's market, bakery, ...

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