The French attitude
Let's start with the hottest topic on the list: French people!
French people don't have a good reputation. They are rude, abused of themselves, make too much noise and think they own the world and can do anything they want anywhere. Ask Brits what they think about the French and they'll say even cruder things!
The French political system
The left, the centre and the right
Photo credits: https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Archives/Archives-elections/Election-presidentielle-2017/Election-presidentielle-2017-resultats-globaux-du-premier-tour
The French political scene has always been mostly dominated by the left and the right. In the last decade the centre has made its way through it as this polarisation tends to decrease, and Macron, the current president, comes from this trend. Although an election was always played by the left or right, these 2 parties' influence have substancially diminished over the last years, impacted by some political scandals and losing the people's trusts. People are now turning onto smaller parties, such as the La République en marche (centre, led by Emmanuel Macron), the Rassemblement National (far right, led by Marine Le Pen) or La France insoumise (far left, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon).
The different regions in France
France is divided into 18 regions, that are then divided in départements.
Each region has its own specialty.
A few regions still have their own dialect, though all people speak French.
The sacred art of food and eating
Photo credits: Malmaison Hotels - @mal-gallery @Flickr
Everybody knows this: food is sacred in France. This is true!
A meal in France is traditionaly made of an entrée, with bread, a main plate made of meat or fish with a starchy food (potatoes, pasta or rice) and vegetables, then cheese with bread, to finish with a dessert or yaourt.
Transports in France
France has a strong railway system, planes deserve major cities, and smallest trips are usually done by car.
France is a medium size country, and traveling from north to south by car would take about 12 hours. This is why many people would consider taking the train when traveling long distances. Otherwise, traveling by car is by far the prefered method for the French, for trips up to 8 hours. That's because the roads are good, especially on roadways (but it comes with a high price), and with a speed limit of 130 km/h on roadways it is comfortable enough to drive for 5 to 8 hours.
As France is not a very big country in superficy people do not often take the plane to travel from one city to another. But a few do for the longest distances, such as Paris - Nice. This is a personal preference, but most would prefer the train as it does not have the check-in burden that plane has and train stations, located in the center of cities, are way more convenient. But be aware that often a plane ticket will be cheaper than a TGV ticket.
Driving in France
French are globally good drivers and not too crazy. There are now a lot of automatic speed radars on roads, so people are forced to respect speed limits. In the Parisian region, the style is a bit different, more aggressive, and for a mysterious reason they use all lanes on a roadway, instead of driving on the far right lane when they are not passing another car they can stay on the left.
If you travel by car you will most likely need to fill up the tank a few times. Fuel stations are easily found everywhere in France. The biggest ones are Total and Esso, the latest being the cheapest. Supermarkets also have a fuel station, and most French people would go there as they are said to be the cheapest (which is not always true). Supermarkets compete to have the best prices as they use this to bring customers to their stores, so prices can vary greatly every day. The French government has created a site where you can find daily prices for all stations if you want to find the cheapest one : https://www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr/.
Buying groceries and household goods
Photo credits: By philip.denotto - @sandy_phil_denotto @Flickr
Going to a supermarket is almost always only possible by car, although city buses will often take you there. But their location outside of cities make them impossible to reach by foot, and are often too far to go even with a bicycle.
This is why smaller versions called "markets" have started to pop up within cities, such as Carrefour Market, Monoprix, Franprix, etc. These are located within cities, most often in their centers, and propose in their shelves the essential foods and household goods such as toilet paper, soap etc. These markets are appointance markets, meaning people would go there every 2 or 3 days and buy small batches, whereas going to a supermarket would be done only weekly or even every 2 weeks. Markets are a bit more expensive but this is the price to pay to get stuff just beyond the corner.
There are also hard discount stores such as Lidl or Ed and these can be found anywhere in France in middle to big sized cities. These are usually located around the city's borders, but are inside and therefore more accessible than supermarkets. In France, these stores are, maybe mistakenly, thought to be for the poorest people, and middle class people would usually not go there and prefer a supermarket or a local market.
Photo credits: By Département des Yvelines - @29325241461@Flickr
Almost every city in France have a day or two within the week for a farmer's market.
Smoking and drinking
Anywhere in France it is strictly prohibited to smoke in any public place. Even in bars, if you want a cigarette you'll have to go outside in the street.