At least that’s what the French government and CGT (France’s most powerful and largest union) want you to think. The make up giant has a store on the Champs Elysées which gets a lot of traffic and they want to increase their revenue by increasing working hours to keep the store open later as well as being open on Sundays- currently this is not allowed by French labor laws. This story was covered in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Karine Barzegar. I always encourage students to follow the news of the country they are going to be studying abroad in for at least 6 months prior to leaving to keep on top of current cultural issues. This article shows that major stores are not open on Sunday and students will need to do all shopping Monday- Saturday. The fact that the article talked about CGT means that strikes will probably be occuring if they aren’t already. Keeping abreast of the news is a great way to be prepared culturally which will only help your to transition smoother and quicker to a new way of doing things and thinking.
I came across this great article by Jennifer Bourne, a native French woman living in the USA, about the differences between the way the French and Americans shop. A fascinating and fun article and a must read for all travelers and students going to France. Check it out at How the French shop different from Americans
Did you know that email etiquette isn’t the same in every country even though it is a global form of communication? We all know from personal experiences that sometimes our message can be misinterpreted between 2 English speakers so it is not surprising that miscommunication in email can happen cross culturally.
For example, in the United States it is perfectly acceptable to not even address someone in an email and to immediately go into the purpose of your email. In France this is considered rude. When sending an email in France (no matter if in English or in French- depending upon the situation) you must always greet the person (Bonjour Marie) and ask how they are doing (Comment vas- tu? / Comment allez-vous) before going into the nature of your email.
Let’s take a look at an example email I would send to a French person in France:
Comment vas-tu? J’espère que tout va bien. Pourrais-tu m’aider avec le projet de Prof Maillot? Je suis nulle en science. Merci bcp!
In the above example, I was asking my friend Mary for help with a science project for Professor Maillot’s class as I am no good in science. I started the email with a greeting and asked how she was doing and expressed that I hoped all is well with her.
French language and culture is more formal and it shows in all forms of communication. I would also use this for IM and a little bit for texting.
For more information on how to write emails in French, check out this great website I found called Comme Une Française. It was a 2 minute video about how to use key words/phrases in French email from a native French woman.