Friday, February 18, 2022 | Written by Claire
- Long Coat Cliché
Long coats are all the trend in France, especially since it’s cold and windy during the winter. In turn, to shield from the harsh cold while keeping stylish, almost all French people own a long coat, whether it be a trench or a puffer. When coming to France for the first time, it might be difficult to fit in, but as far as I’ve seen, if you wear a big, wool trench coat and walk around looking like you know what you’re doing, no one will think twice.
2. Sunday Stall
Most shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays in observance of the Holy Day. Only a few convenience stores open for several hours in the morning to early afternoon. In smaller French cities, this tradition is implemented more often than bigger cities such as Paris, especially restaurants in tourist areas.
3. Baguettes and Quiches Galore
Bakeries in Metz are famous for their fresh baguettes and quiches, which boast a variety of flavors such as fromage, salmon, and even spinach. Baguettes can be filled with various toppings such as ham, pesto, and tomatoes. When served fresh off the oven, the crispy melt of the cheese with the savory flavors blends in a delicious, mouth-watering mix of French authentic cuisine. While Paul’s is probably the nearest bakery to GTL, there are many others in Metz downtown that are the key to delicious baguettes and quiches.
4. Grocery Store Rendezvous
Sometimes when visiting the grocery store, just navigating the cheese and sausage section is a whole journey in and of itself. Finding what you want given the massive variety can be challenging, but it has its perks. The best cheese I’ve found so far is Comte, which is one of the most produced cheeses in France. But as far as sausages go, it’s best to widen your taste preference just to try some new flavors. Other than the things they have at the grocery store, the shopping culture is also slightly different. The French do not refrigerate their eggs and milk, so they can’t be found in the refrigerated aisles. Additionally, as the French government doesn’t allow the sale of packaged goods in bulk, shoppers are allowed to break open packages and take individual items. For example, if you see a pack of 6 milk jugs, you can break open the package and buy a singular milk jug.
This might be obvious, but it is nice to have some French under your belt before coming to France. While it’s not impossible to get around, in smaller cities, many people can understand English but, its best to communicate in French. In big tourist-oriented areas, English is usually an option, but in Metz or any other small French city, hearing English is rare. Even the train stations and grocery stores, all announcements and signs are said and written all in French. So, taking a French class is a great idea.
6. Pocket Thefts
Getting pick pocketed in France is nothing of a rare occurrence. While Metz is relatively safer, traveling to Paris to catch train or flight connections can entail more caution than you would normally enforce. Out of the many GTL students that traverse Paris on the weekend, many have had their phones stolen or wallets snatched right under their noses. Pick pocket thieves use highly skilled and subtle tricks to allure your attention elsewhere. While you are intrigued by a dropped key ring or a peculiar scene on the streets, pick pocketer’s use these exact times to their advantage, so be careful and stay alert!