Things that Surprised Me Most in France

Things that Surprised Me Most in France

What’s that smell/doukipudonktan?

During my time in France I went to about 10 different large cities, and the smelliest was Marseille but only because when I went they had just had their Christmas market and all that was left was old soupe a l’oignon and garbage and also because it is right by the sea.  Besides that, France and the French have a bad reputation about their smell and I don’t know why.  Deodorant is much more expensive there but it is readily available, even Axe spray, in case I wanted to remember what my middle school locker room smelled like.  This myth about the French smelling is false, last year actually there was a big scandal because a French family was kicked out of a museum because they smelled so bad.  So either they are really sensitive about their smell or they wanted a good publicity stunt to debunk those myths.

Wait, how much does this bottle of wine cost?

I am no wine connoisseur; I know that I like wine red and preferably in a wine glass so going to the wine capital of the world was a little bit intimidating.  What if wine cost too much? What if I had no idea what the labels meant?  It’s a scary experience I can assure you.  The first time I went to the wine section of the grocery store I was amazed.  The prices were so low I figured there had to be a mistake; this had to be just fancy grape juice or something.  I think the first bottle I bought was 5 Euros which is about 7 or 8 USD.  Make no mistake; it did not taste like what a bottle of the same price would taste in the US.  I was stunned.  Most of the wine I drank was from the Bordeaux region which is one of the best in the world and it was so inexpensive, I figured the prices were low because it was in such abundance and nearby.  Whatever the case is, I was not complaining.

“Petit” dejeuner

A big breakfast full with eggs, bacon and pancakes is something foreign to the French.  In fact, their breakfast is so extremely different.  It may come as no surprise that the French like bread, so why not eat it for breakfast?  Baguettes, Nutella, jams, yogurts, beignets, croissants and many other chocolately, buttery delicious things are for breakfast.  Yet, French people are so thin.  Don’t get me wrong, if I could eat half a baguette smothered in chocolate dipped in coffee every morning, I would but, I would rather not feel the need to nap after breakfast.

School cafeteria options

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.  Getting in line at the University cafeteria and reading the menu, not remembering what lapin meant was a good thing for many foreign students.  I personally would eat anything and I’m no Elmer Fudd looking to kill “wabbits” but some people have troubles eating what they think is a cute little bunny.  I don’t want to get too far away from my point here and that is that the school cafeteria regularly had rabbit as an item on the menu.  Read that again, I didn’t find it weird that people ate rabbit, it is actually quite good, what I found weird is that my student-subsidized lunch at a public university had rabbit on the menu, why not I guess.  And if rabbit isn’t your thing, you can wash it down with a couple of different wines because what kind of French cafeteria wouldn’t have wine for lunch?

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