A row of draft beer spigots line in the bar in a traditional English pub.

Tipping in London

When you first come to another country, it is difficult to know when, who, or how much you should tip the service provider. Certainly here in the United Kingdom there isn’t the strong tipping culture that you get in the United States, where tips are considered part of a service provider’s pay. With this ambiguity in mind, here is a quick guide to tipping in London.

People filling bottles and drinking at a public water fountain in Paris, France.

Life in Paris: Air and Water Quality

Parisians deal daily with high levels of air pollution thanks to a number of factors, a population favoring diesel cars included. In the spring of 2015, Paris briefly topped the world charts for air pollution, putting it above regular offenders such as Delhi and Peking. On the ground, a national pastime of cigarette smoking and lime buildup in water are two issues newcomers face.

Two of Iceland's natural wonders–the midnight sun and waterfalls. Photo © Phyletto/Dreamstime.

Discover Iceland

Scale the heights of soaring mountaintops. Dive into some of the clearest water in the world. Hike the rim of a remote volcano that rises from an Arctic desert. Witness a rainbow materialize over a thundering waterfall. Iceland is a place not just to see, but to experience.

A staircase leads up to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple, which is set against a blue sky.

Religion in London

According to a recent census, the United Kingdom as a whole is a fairly religious place, with believers outnumbering nonbelievers. The dominant religion is Christianity, with the Protestant Church of England the most common, followed by Roman Catholics. Other significant religions include Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Judaism.

A cobblestone street in London, England.

Preserving London’s Past

America is still a very young country by European standards. While many visitors to London may be conscious of the city’s age, they often fail to realize just how much its roads and homes continue to be shaped by the past. I certainly believe that one of London’s most charming aspects is that it does value the past and tries hard to preserve its history.

A pair of Indian men sit on a bench in Southall, London, England.

Ethnicity and Class in London

Americans moving to London may well be a bit shocked by the immense range of cultures, religions, nationalities, and people that you get in a large city like London. That strong American sentiment that “with hard work you can achieve your goals” doesn’t always ring true here; social immobility in the United Kingdom has a long history and to a certain extent can be deeply ingrained, with people from the lower class encountering real obstacles to their climb up the social ladder.

Shops at Alésia in the 14th arrondissement - Paris.

A Paris Expat Experience: Living in the 14th

If you’ve got questions about what life is like in a Paris neighborhood for an expat, the best source to go to are fellow expats with a few years of experience in their new country under their belt. Expert author Aurelia d’Andrea sat down for a chat with Dan Smith, age 62, about his life in the 14th arrondissement.

View of the Seine river through Paris from the Eiffel Tower.

Navigating Paris: Départements, Arrondissements, and More

Metropolitan France, or what the locals refer to as La Métropole, is carved into 22 culturally distinct regions, which are further divided into départements. In the manner of Russian dolls, each department contains arrondissements, cantons, and communes. For the day-to-day practical purposes of the expat, knowing your regions and departments is what matters most.

CCTV cameras adorn an iron stand in France.

Staying Safe in France

It isn’t very likely you’ll become a crime statistic if you live in France, but if you do run into trouble, the police can help with matters as varied as finding a lost animal to giving you directions to helping you when your pocket is picked on the Paris Métro. Here’s who to contact and what you need to know.

Waiting in line at the Bank of London. Photo © Sean O'Neill, licensed Creative Commons 2.0.

Day-to-Day Etiquette in London

While Americans are generally regarded as being forthright and on the loud side, the British are known quite rightly for their steely reserve, as well as their ironic and sarcastic sense of humor. On the whole, you’ll find plenty of day-to-day formality in Britain and the best way to avoid a cultural mishap-and not commit a dreaded ‘jump the queue’ move-is to brush up before you go