I have been compiling a list mentally since I've moved to France regarding the differences and the things I must ABSOLUTELY avoid or DO while living in France. It's sad, because many Americans who come overseas disregard it, and assume that Lyon is an extension of the States (it is most definitely NOT). I can't count the countless times my French friends look disgustingly at Americans behaving rude or 'oddly' because they simply don't know how to behave differently.
-Understand the difference between TU and VOUS
-Get used to putting your bread on the table, not on your plate
-Get some basic French phrases in your pocket
-Get ready to gain 10 lbs
-Compliment the host/hostess when invited to dinner
-Bring a GIFT when invited to dinner
-Learn how to use your knife and fork, 90 percent of French people use BOTH during dinner
-Finish your entire plate at dinner, there are no doggy bags
-Ask market vendors for what you would like
-Sauce your plate- mean sop up every piece with your bread. A finished plate is a compliment. Unfinished means you didn't like it that much.
-Ask French women if they shave
-Be ignorant when someone proposes you try something new (i.e. forest mushrooms, Roquefort cheese)
-Assume everyone speaks english, because they don't
-Leave a tip, it makes you stick out as THE TOURIST
-Curse in French around people you don't know
-Ask for butter for your bread
-Ask for a 'Doggy Bag' at a restaurant
-Touch the produce at a market, unless the vendor says you can (they give you a basket and tell you to go at it)
-Make a face when someone mentions 'escargots', 'tripes', or 'pieds de cochons'. They think the same thing about Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Potato Casserole with marshmallows.
-Serve yourself wine, the host/hostess serves this.
And yes, I made lots of mistakes.. it's only human.