Cultural Encounter in France


I took French for seven years of high school and was on my way to becoming fluent. In addition to taking French in high school I traveled to France with the school on an academic trip. It in itself was a true experience, and in addition to learning French, I learned much of French culture. The first day we spent in France we went to a small café in Nice. The café had a place to sit down and order a la carte. So, we all ordered margherite pizza.

At first everything was fine, but being that it was our first day, we were all excited and a little riled up. One girl at our table was a little loud in the restaurant, but being that we were the only ones there, we didn’t see it as a big deal.  However, in French culture, it is rather rude to be loud in a restaurant. So, she received relatively dirty looks from all the staff that worked there. In addition,  she was unaware that in France, people do not take ‘doggy bags’ back to their homes after a meal. The meal is simply over and that is the end. She asked the staff to wrap up her pizza. The staff said that they did not do that in France and took the food away. Then, almost as to mock her, the staff took tin foil and wrapped her pizza in it and threw it on the table. The girl was extremely embarrassed and we all learned a small piece of French culture that day.

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2 Responses to Cultural Encounter in France

  1. Alessandra Rao says:

    Your writing is filled with vivid details, I like that. Those details really helped paint a picture of the scene and it set a tone of discomfort. I could imagine the look on the waiters’ faces while the girl was being rude. It’s interesting to learn about what certain cultures find rude and normal in eating habits. For example, talking loud at a cafe in countries like America, Italy and Mexico is the norm, from what I observed. In a certain country (I forgot which one), it is rude to not finish your entire meal. Thanks for posting. It was a great piece of writing and now I know that if I ever go to France, I definitely wont ask for a doggy bag. Haha.

  2. Professor Bernstein says:

    I especially like the details about the doggy bag –something we all do in America but clearly not something that is welcome globally!

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