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I’m an American who visited Paris for the first time. Here are 8 things I think France does better than the US.

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They really place importance on making the most of their meal times.

France made me reevaluate my work-life balance when it comes to enjoying meals. This was from a day when I ate inside Disneyland Paris’ Super Spur Steakhouse.

Kirsten Acuna/Insider


The first few days I was in France, I was visiting Disneyland Paris for a work trip. I was really confused when we had three hours blocked off for dinner one evening.

I thought someone was going to speak, but it turned out that time was just meant for people to chat, network, and get to know one another. 

I quickly learned that wasn’t a one-time thing. I noticed a lot of time and care was put into every meal experience, from the amount of time we spent eating to the atmosphere of the locations.

A few days into the trip, a Parisian told me it’s not uncommon for coworkers to go out to lunch every day for at least an hour to brainstorm and enjoy each other’s company. I was told that if I go to a restaurant, they’ll let me sit there for as long as I want until I ask for the check.

In the US, I’m so used to taking a quick 30-minute lunch break or reconfiguring my dining schedule to accommodate work events. I never realized I’m not appreciating the things I have around me enough. I’m just running quickly from one thing to the next without allowing myself to also absorb it. 

The French dining experience was a bit of a wake-up call, encouraging me to slow down a bit while also inspiring me to be more present during meals and my time with others.

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