I am the first American to visit Paris. Here are 11 things that surprised me the most.

Amazing thumbnails in Paris

I didn’t expect anyone at the Eiffel Tower to ask me if I wanted to buy wine or beer on weekday nights.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

  • I traveled abroad for the first time since I was born in July.

  • From the time I landed, I made a list of all the surprises of being in France.

  • I was surprised that it cost 2 euros to get into the bathroom, but thanked some of the city’s innovations.

It will not darken until after 10 pm (summer).

Louvre Museum near 10 pm in July 2022

It is 9:43 pm in this photo.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

The biggest adjustment for me was learning that the sun wouldn’t set until near 11 pm one night in Paris.

In Los Angeles, I’m used to the sun setting after 8 pm. Currently, the sunset in Paris is 9:34 pm. The extra time of sunlight made me feel safe to go out and explore a little longer, even though it was quite late in the day. I also wanted to adjust my meal schedule.

Parisian told me it was just a summer perk. Winters in France are the exact opposite, with very short days when sunrise begins after 9 am and sets by 4:30 pm. In addition, it rains frequently. This is a significant trade-off.

At Paris (CDG) Airport, there was a parking lot for passengers to drop off, and everyone involved was not stressed.

Airport parking reduces stress when arriving and departing from Paris airports.

This seems easy for a crowded airport in the United States.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

If you’ve had to drive to major airports in New York City or Los Angeles to get someone on or off, you know how tedious it can be to get in and out when you’re trying to stop for a few seconds. Pack or unload the vehicle.

I was shocked to learn that the CDG airport in Paris eradicated all that unnecessary stress.

When my driver dropped me off to go home, he arrived at the ticket office, which offered free parking for up to 10 minutes for unloading.

After that, he was able to pull into the actual parking lot, so I was able to get off comfortably without worrying about the double-parked car ringing.

He couldn’t understand why I was so shocked and happy to be able to easily reach the Air France terminal. This is the way it should be everywhere.

Protective glass to prevent passengers from falling onto the subway tracks feels like it’s easy for us to have in the United States.

The shield prevents anyone from falling onto the railroad tracks in Paris.

The level of protection of some subway stations in Paris is ashamed of New York’s transportation system.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

I’ve lived in New York City for four years, so I’m familiar with the subway system. We also used the train system in New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities.

It’s common to see people jump onto New York trucks, especially if they drop something.

I was surprised to see the wall-mounted protective shield in the basement of the French subway broke up for the first time when the train door opened.

This should be an essential innovation in the United States to save lives. According to the New York PostSince the pandemic, railroad intrusions surged 20% in 2021 and suicide attempts on the subway increased by 50% in the first three months of the year compared to the previous year.

I was also surprised at the French subway ticket It was so small that I easily lost it If you’re not careful.

Also, I was surprised to see some people on the warm subway. With the window openThings you don’t usually see in New York.

There was also a two-story train running underground. In the United States, these are reserved for ground use.

Every traffic light for cyclists and drivers has a very small signal.

Stop the signal in Paris

In addition to the regular traffic lights, there is a small traffic light just below each traffic light.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

One of the first things I noticed after leaving the airport was these small additional traffic lights at all transportation stops.

Motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, scooters and other small cars are just as common as cars in Paris. When I finally started walking around the city, I realized that these little lights were for the many motorcycles that run through the city.

There is no time countdown on the pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian crossing in Paris, France

I didn’t know how much time I had left to walk safely, so I decided to cross the street as soon as the lights changed.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

Since I lived on both the East and West Coasts, I’m used to crosswalks in New York City and Los Angeles and can tell me how long it takes to cross the street.

That wasn’t the case where I went to Paris.

When the pedestrian crossing lights turned on, the lights changed color and I had a little time to cross before the car came towards you.

Americans, especially New York and Los Angeles, can quickly see when they need to cross and don’t think about it twice.

In Paris, I didn’t know if the pedestrian crossing would change in a few seconds, so I had to witness more and notice, so I’m personally grateful.

One of the hotels I stayed in gave me the actual key of an oversized keychain to access my room.

This is the hotel key you received when you arrived at your hotel in Paris.

This is the hotel key you received when you arrived at your hotel in Paris.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

On the first trip, I stayed at the Art of Marvel Hotel in Disneyland Paris and received a key card to access my room.

Later, when I went to Paris and explored, I was confused about receiving the actual key with a huge key chain instead of a key card to open the door. It was like a novel.

The whole thing is too big to fit in most pockets, so I removed the key from the keychain to make it easier to walk around.

Also, don’t forget to manually lock the door with a key before leaving every day. I was used to hotels with keycards and doors locked behind them, so I didn’t really think about it on the first day of my stay. myself.

You have to pay to get into some public toilets.

Paris public toilet

The bathroom looked flashy as the attendees were waiting for me, but I didn’t change to go to the bathroom.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

We’re proud to know where the best public bathrooms in New York City are (check out Bryant Park), so head to the underground public toilet near Notre Dame and pay € 2. I was surprised when I was asked by.

At the time, I didn’t because I hadn’t changed, but I also knew I was desperately not in need of a bathroom. I was surprised to see that there were multiple participants in the bathroom and the service was provided.

The hotel bathroom contained a hygiene bag.

In women's bathrooms, women's hygiene bags were common.

Hygiene bags were common in the bathroom.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

I was shocked that two of the hotels I stayed in provided sanitary bags to dispose of used pads and tampons.

In the United States, there are small trash cans on public toilet stalls, but not yet in American hotel rooms.

These thoughtful touches made me feel like I was seen.

People roam around the Eiffel Tower for sale of wine and beer like water.

Alcohol sold at the Eiffel Tower

When I sit in front of the Eiffel Tower, I’m asked if I want to buy alcohol.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

One of the wildest things I didn’t expect to hear when lying on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower was the sound of people yelling “beer! Wine!”.

Unlike the United States, Paris is perfectly fine as people sit and relax in public with their alcohol. I saw a lot of people gathering with friends and breaking wine to end the day at this tourist destination and along the Seine.

Wine is really cheap in Europe as well. I’ve never seen a bottle over $ 10. Most of them were half the price.

The Eiffel Tower wine seller made me laugh because it felt like a variation of what was happening in America. Every time I went to the Jersey Shore, I witnessed people selling a cooler full of water bottles and ice cream. It’s not alcohol.

The hole at the top of the Starbucks cup was round and small rather than a wide oval.

Paris vs. American Starbucks coffee cup.

Paris vs. American Starbucks coffee cup.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

I wanted to order coffee from a place in Paris abroad, but one day I was waiting to check in at the hotel, so when I needed Wi-Fi and killing time, I made a cave in Starbucks and ordered it. ..

I was amazed at the very small drink holes in the Paris version of the familiar Starbucks cup.

If you ordered food at McDonald’s, you can get a number and bring your food.

McDonald's orders will be handed over in Paris.

The food was so fast that I didn’t have time to take a picture of the number next to the food.Kirsten Acuna / Insider

I had to know what it would be like to step into McDonald’s in Paris. Most of the orders were made on the screen when first entered. When I was eating, I was surprised that I could put the number in front of me and have the employees bring me a meal.

This blew my heart away. In the United States, you usually need to get food from the counter when you’re ready. Usually no one walks to the table.

Another surprise was that Paris offered wedges in addition to regular french fries. I thought the wedges were much better than the string fries we eat in America.

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