Nine Differences between Canada and France

  1. Bicycle tires in France have different valves, complex yet ingenious little things that screw out (to inflate) and back in (to seal). Perhaps this style is more widespread than I know, but this is my first encounter.
  2. Car radios are smart. There’s a switch you can flip that will keep the same radio station (or network) tuned, even if you’re traveling a long distance and the actual frequency changes several times.
  3. Escalators are on the other side. Which is to say the “up” is on the left, not the right as it is in Canada. And vice versa.
  4. Milk for tea is served hot. And it also appears to be something of a novelty to order milk with tea at all, as when I order, as instructed by my phrase book, thé au lait I’m often greeted with a quizical (in French) “you mean you’d like some tea, with a little pitcher of milk on the side?”
  5. Aluminum is still in vogue. I couldn’t figure out with the space-age light material that various spoons were made of until Catherine told me it was aluminum. There are also three standard spoon sizes, with an intermediate size betwen our “tea” and “table” spoons.
  6. Credit cards have PIN numbers. Whenever we pay by credit card there is confusion because we don’t have a smart chip in our cards, and need to actually sign the slip rather than typing in a PIN number. I assume this means the French system is an amalgam of our “Interac” and credit card systems, but I’m not sure. Oddly, when paying road tolls on the autoroutes I’ve been able to just slide my card in the slot, and it comes back to me immediately and the gate opens with no “we’re checking to make sure you have enough money” wait. I wonder if they’ve just decided to eat any charges that might arise in return for smoother flowing traffic at the toll plazas.
  7. Milk is sold in “last forever” sterilized packages. Try as we might we’ve not been able to find milk in the “fresh” form that we’re used to at home. Grocery stores have entire aisles where milk is sold in Tetrapak or similar containers, sterilized and sealed and with no need of refrigeration until opened.
  8. Everyone says “bonjour.” Really. Well, perhaps not in the big cities, but here in Aniane everyone we meet, from child to adult, plasterer to businessperson, strange and familiar, says “bonjour” or “bon soir” to us (and to each other) on the street. It’s very endearing.
  9. The country has an excellent tagline. In the annals of three-word phrases, you gotta say that Liberte Egalite Fraternite is a pretty good one. And it appears on every public building, school and piece of official documentation we’ve seen. Canada needs branding like this.
Liberte Egalite Fraternite


John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on May 5, 2005 - 18:53 Permalink

Peace, order and good government

Daniel's picture
Daniel on May 6, 2005 - 00:22 Permalink

Peter, the bicycle valves you witnessed are called Presta valves and come on most decent bikes sold in Canada. The larger variety you’re familiar with (sans little closing screw thingy) are called Schrader valves and are common in Canada on bargain brand and older bikes.

kirsten's picture
kirsten on March 30, 2006 - 17:43 Permalink

well that is very nuts
but cool i am educated
now jsut cuz of you!

jhkhklj's picture
jhkhklj on April 27, 2006 - 19:54 Permalink

duhhh ahhhhhh

Bobby's picture
Bobby on January 7, 2020 - 17:12 Permalink

Oh boy

Lili pukesaw's picture
Lili pukesaw on April 21, 2009 - 00:40 Permalink

Yo! Thanks man this is helping me with my PRO-JECT!!! which is due tommorow… I better get started!!! Soon!! AH! I’ll do it tommorow morning… Maybe… I’ll just wing the presentation! It’s just skool!! Right?!?!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous on April 27, 2009 - 01:08 Permalink

Freedom, equality and brotherhood. Doesn’t get much catchier than that! XD

wizarro's picture
wizarro on February 12, 2010 - 00:36 Permalink

Among other things not mentionned about France:

-When you turn the water on, you pay for every drop as it comes out. If you forget to close the faucet properly, you can wind up with a heafty water bill…

 — If you want to rent an appartment, you often have to give multiple garanties and even find a garantor to make sure you can afford the appartment.

 — In restaurants in France, you often have 2 prices the “take out” price if you don’t eat in the restaurant and “eat in”. It goes to say that if you eat in the restaurant, you’ll pay more than if you bring it elsewhere..and the tip is included in the price automatically no matter how good or bad the service was.

 — Living in France is very expensive. In Canada you get Cadbury cream eggs..about a buck or France they are a euro or so.. the money has more value but the prices are higher.

 — In Canada, when you work, your boss has more rights than the france this is reversed because employees have syndicates and acquired rights. You have contracts like “CDD”( temporary time contract) or “CDI” (Indefinite contract). If you get a CDI contract, you are in like flin..your boss can’t just fire you for any old reason unlike Canada where they can threaten you with “restructuration” to eliminate you among other things. To get rid of an employee in a CDI contract, the company has to proove beyond a doubt that the employee has been flagarantly incompetent somehow. Furthermore, if in this case you can proove that your employer has fired you for no reason, you can get compensation..

 — The medical system in France is much better than in can see a doctor in a matter of hours instead of a matter of months..but France’s health system is starting to colapse..

 — French mentalities are very tricky..they are often not as open minded as canadians on many subjects. They also tend to be more concervative, less socially extraverted. They want to identify to themselves culturally therefore, they often don’t accept many cases, they would prefer to keep their country for French people by fear of assimilation..Ignorance is bliss afterall. That’s just like my own home province, Québec( that is in Canada by the way!)

Those are just a few things..I know this because I’ve been living in France for over 2 years now..but I’m moving back to Canada. I miss my family and the amount of freedom you get in Canada is much greater than what you get in France.