10 Things That are Different in France/Nice

Here are 10 things that are different in France, or at least my part of France. You probably wouldn’t notice them if you were just here on vacation but when you start to spend more time…

10 Things That are Different in France/Nice

  1. Everything in France starts with “bonjour” and ends with “merci, au revoir, bonne journée” (in that order). At first it seems strange to be wishing the bus driver a good day, but you get accustomed to it and it’s all very civilized.
  2. Considering how the French are known for food, no expat understands the total lack of pre-made chicken, beef, or vegetable broth. Chicken and veg are pretty easy to whip up, but beef is another animal (pun intended). Finding a bunch of beef bones, roasting them (and a lot of ovens here are pretty small) and then boiling them for broth is a pretty big endeavor. And finding a freezer big enough to hold more than a small container is hard. So, a proper onion soup, or even just a nice risotto, requires some serious advanced planning.
  3. But it’s not like there aren’t any convenience items in the stores. Picard, the frozen food mecca, is testament to that. The joke is that I’ll pop in to buy a big bag of frozen sliced onions for the soup that I’ve made my own broth for.
  4. I’m always scratching my head at the number of regular, 2-slice toasters in everyone’s apartments. Remember, France is the land of the baguette. And I’m not slicing off any digits in an attempt to get a baguette to fit into one of them.
  5. Restaurant menus aren’t large, 3-5 starters, same for main courses. And they really don’t change–the vegetables might vary with the seasons, but that’s about it. If their fish or meat order doesn’t get delivered, you might be down to only 1 or 2 main courses.
  6. Speaking of main courses…they’re “plats” here and the “entrée” is the appetizer. Confusing, right?
  7. Paperwork and lots of it. If you don’t exactly spend your first year here doing it, you will be spending a lot of time chasing after it. And what you need to resubmit probably isn’t the same for both members of a family.
  8. One of my personal favorites…documents sent from the French government to our address requesting proof of our address? Which is because…
  9. Your electric bill is the best/only proof of residency. Beats bank accounts, cell phone bills, etc. The logic behind it is that while you might flee leaving behind bank accounts and cell phones, you’d certainly cancel your electric bill. Maybe there’s something they know that we don’t.
  10. Spending an hour in a store with only 1 person in it. Pharmacies and butcher shops are the worst for this. First, the state of both the customer and salesperson’s health and finally the weather have to be established. When those 2 subjects are exhausted, if no one has any kids or grandkids (fat chance) you can get on to the actual order. Which will lead to a detailed explanation of how the product is to be used. Then it’s packaged and paid for. Finally, the “bonjour” is directed at you and it’s your turn.




8 thoughts on “10 Things That are Different in France/Nice”

  1. One notable difference in Nice, France, compared to other regions, is its unique blend of Mediterranean and French cultures. This fusion is evident in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and way of life. The vibrant colors of the Mediterranean Sea and the warm climate contribute to a relaxed atmosphere, while French influences are seen in the language, culinary traditions, and refined lifestyle.

  2. Fun to read and interesting!!! I certainly hope your exposure to sunshine is greater in Nice than Boston!

  3. Funny but shame on you ! You’re in a different country and moved to live a different lifestyle so there you have it. When “foreigners “ come
    To the USA and complain I wonder why they bothered coming. Just accept and enjoy !

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