Around France

20 Things That Are So Odd In France

When American friends ask, “How’s life in France?” I have to be honest. I find there are some very odd things in France.

Odd Things in France

When you first arrive in France, you might be greeted with unexpected kisses on the cheek. If you think the kiss on the cheek, or  “Bise” greeting, is odd, they’re just being French and friendly! As an ex-pat in France, believe me, there are things you run into daily that are much different from what you’d expect. Here are just a few. 

1: Cemeteries

Cemetery in 
odd things in France

Cemeteries in France are above the ground.

2: Stairs

Narrow spiral staircases are everywhere

Narrow spiral staircases

3: Air conditioning



4: Fashion

"Bobo Chic" is in styleodd things in France


5: Hot chocolate

odd things in France

6: Coliseums 


Arenas from the first century


7: Door locks

DOORodd things in France


8: Manicures and pedicures 

Water-less manicures and pedicures

Water-less manicures and pedicures

9: Toilet paper holders

odd things in France


10: Flushing toilets



11: Washing machines 

Tiny washer and dryer all-in-one

12: Hard Water

faucet head

Faucet head soaking in vinegar to remove calcium that clogs hot water


13: Streets


Narrow streets

Narrow streets like this one in Uzès

14: Coffee

Coffee in tiny cups

Coffee in tiny cups

15: Rooftops

Rooftops in Uzes

Rooftops in Uzès

16: Street Signs

2013-06-24 14.26.22


17: Crepes

2013-06-18 20.09.56


18: Carousels



19: Wine caves

odd things in France


20: Public toilets

odd things in France


 Yes, there are odd things in France.

What might seem odd to outsiders may be a cherished part of the culture and history. I’m learning to appreciate the differences in France. 

That’s why I love it!

odd things in France


Categories: Around France, Blog

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11 replies »

  1. Definitely the washing machine! And, as for air conditioning, we always think of European countries as “first world” until we are there in a heat wave!

    • I’m so ready to have an air conditioner right now. Except it’s lovely cool at night. Guess a little heat wave once in awhile is little to pay for this life! Thanks for your comment, David!

  2. Last time I was in Paris with friends, we came up against the French washer/dryer with instructions in French. We are still laughing about the 6 hour wash because we kept starting over thinking we had done something wrong.

    • So funny, Paula, because I haven’t even tried the dryer component lately. I’ve forgotten how it works! And you’re right, I’ll end up washing the clothes 3-4 times before I get it right! Too bad I can’t read the instructions!

  3. What wonderful pictures! I love the narrow winding streets, but I always wonder what happens if one needs a new refrigerator or sofa delivered!?

    • Such a good question, Barbara. The delivery people were able to bring mine up the narrow staircase because they are pretty small appliances. But I have seen trucks parked along these narrow streets with a delivery man hanging out of a window above and another man hoisting the appliance/furniture up to him on a rope. I think the French invented “determination”.

  4. Dear Déborah

    Love this one too — particularly the photo of the coffee cup. I know exactly where it is, and it’s always a pleasure to see a ‘Bagnols-sur-Cèze’ traffic sign.

    bises et à bientôt



  5. DEBORAH what a great contrast and perhaps that is the reason that I love so much over here. A great way to show France in all its glory and all the interesting things one encounters while traveling and living in France.

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