5 Unexpected Habits I’ve Picked Up in France

Living in France

Almost six months after I left Canada, I feel like a different person. I knew that I was bound to pick up a French accent but I never expected to pick up these funny and even cliché habits!

#1: I’ve Become a Food Snob!

Gone are the days when I couldn’t pick out a good baguette. Now, not only do I know how to identify the freshest ones, I’m even more picky than my francophone husband Marc! This doesn’t just stop at baguettes though. The high quality desserts and refined French cuisine have trained my taste buds well. Maybe too well. My superior taste buds got me all like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, especially when I’m served subpar food. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when we leave France…

#2: I Wear Less Makeup

I think I FINALLY figured out why French girls have that je ne sais quoi while looking good all the time! French girls are beautiful yet they don’t wear a ton of makeup. Instead, they really pay attention to their posture and exude confidence. I didn’t used to wear a lot of makeup in Canada, but now I wear even less. (Red lipstick is an exception 😉 ) It’s all about holding your head high when walking down the street, even when you’re taking out the trash!

Skincare is another big thing. The French are serious about taking care of their skin – the pharmacies are always packed with people. When I say pharmacies, I really mean beauty stores. Pharmacies here contain mostly beauty products, no snacks or holiday related toys like in North America. I’ll need a separate post on how I’ve changed my skincare routine and all the wonderful products I’ve discovered.

#3: I’ve Become More Polite

I thought I was polite until I started living in Montpellier. In Canada, I say please and thank you all the time, and it’s not considered rude when you go to the store and ask “Excuse me, could you please help me find…”. In France, you should say “Hi” first – whether it’s asking for directions, entering a store to browse, passing by someone taking a stroll, or even when you’re hanging laundry and a stranger passes by. It’s almost like a nice acknowledgement of the other person’s existence. This small gesture makes me feel more human and connected with the world around me. The odd time when someone doesn’t say “Hi” back, I think to myself, “How rude…”

#4: I Eat Dinner At 9pm

South of France is hot. Like mid-30s-feeling-like-40s hot. The sun goes down after 9pm in the summer. Couple that with the fact that most apartments do not have AC (I know right?!), I find myself not hungry in the evening. What used to be 7pm dinner time in Canada is now around 9pm. They say you shouldn’t eat close to bed time, but I don’t think I’ve gained any weight. Though I can’t say the same for Marc (haha!)

#5: I Use Cliché French Expressions

Can you believe I actually say things like “Olala” and “Voilà” on a daily basis? Say Marc makes a mess in the kitchen, I’d put my hands on my hips and start my sentence with “Olala” (or “Olalalala” when he breaks something). As if that’s not French enough, I’ve also picked up the French version of “Oops”, which sounds like “Up” in English. Imagine dropping something and saying “Up” at the same time…that’ll confuse people for sure when I return to Canada…

What did you think? Did any of these habits surprise you? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading et à la prochaine!



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  1. Marilene Caetano says:

    Wow, I can’t believe your journey started 6 months ago already Loved this post, looks like all your new habits are for the better…delicious food only, less makeup, more politeness, sounds good to me 🙂 xo

    • Pourquoi Pas Mary says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Marilene! I’ll definitely need to incorporate some of your recipes when I return to Canada! 😉

  2. Karen says:

    #1 – not surprised
    #2 – as if you need make-up my gorgeous friend! Also I look forward to your next post!
    #3 – It’s the same in Poland and I love it and think we should bring it home
    #4 – So surprising! That you haven’t gained weight. Not from eating late but from all the delicious pastries 😛 I’m envious of your willpower and workout dedication!
    #5 – so cute! How is your patience given you’ve been hanging out with Marc so much? Ha-ha!

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