Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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CultureTelling Time

Telling time in France is just like telling time in the military. A twenty-four hour clock is used for just about all scheduling. Trains, buses, or airline schedules for example will, after 12:59, use this format. For example, instead of 1:00 p.m. it would be 13:00. This is also true of appointments, doctors or dentists and so on. If you are not use to telling time this way, it can be confusing, especially if you are being told a time in French - it's like you have to do two translations. I have on more than one occasion misunderstood an appointment and not been where I should be at the right time. Luckily, I usually misunderstand in such a way that I am early. The way I figure out what time it is: if someone tells me I have an appointment at 15:45, I drop the 1 and take 2 off the 5. It works most times, probably the best solution would be to buy a clock that tells military time. Below is twenty-four hours in US and French time. The h stands for heure or hour.

US French US French
12:00 am 00h00 12:00 pm 12h00
1:00 am 1h00 1:00 pm 13h00
2:00 am 2h00 2:00 pm 14h00
3:00 am 3h00 3:00 pm 15h00
4:00 am 4h00 4:00 pm 16h00
5:00 am 5h00 5:00 pm 17h00
6:00 am 6h00 6:00 pm 18h00
7:00 am 7h00 7:00 pm 19h00
8:00 am 8h00 8:00 pm 20h00
9:00 am 9h00 9:00 pm 21h00
10:00 am 10h00 10:00 pm 22h00
11:00 am 11h00 11:00 pm 23h00

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