1. People walking their dogs on the street without a leash. The dog somehow knows to follow their owner. At first, it’s alarming to see a seemingly stray dog all by itself; then you realize their owner is farther up the road.
2. Fuel pumps on the side of the road for people to put gas in their car. Not a gas station; cars can just pull over on a busy urban street and pump gas.
3. You have to push a button on the wall adjacent to a door in order to open it. The door will only unlock if you push the button first. There’s nothing more embarrassing than trying to open a door in Paris if you don’t know this simple rule!
4. In some grocery stores, in order to leave after you’ve finished shopping, you have to scan a barcode on your receipt to unlock the exit door.
5. There’s nobody at the grocery store whose job it is to bag your groceries. You have to do that yourself.
6. Sales tax is already included in the price of every item at every establishment. It is not added on at the end. So the price you see on a menu for an entrée is the total price you’ll end up paying.
7. It is NOT customary to tip waiters at a restaurant. This always feels weird after the waiter brings you the check and watches as you put down your card/cash.
8. The first floor of a building is always 0 on the elevator, not 1. And the elevators are extremely tiny! Most only fit a maximum of two people comfortably.
9. During the summer months, especially August, many businesses are closed because people go on vacation. Not just small “mom and pop” stores, but bigger establishments too.
10. Most restaurants are not open between lunch and dinner; they may close around 2 pm and open back up again at 7 pm. So if you’re hungry between these hours, you have few options…fortunately McDonald’s is always open if you’re craving a Big Mac!