Metric system

Easy Guide to Celsius and the Metric System for Americans

There are many things about traveling or moving to a new country that take some getting used to. You may need to learn a new language, adapt to different cultural practices, or prepare physically and emotionally for a new climate. The last thing you want to waste time on is frantically googling conversions, all because the US education system has taught you a series of metrics that aren’t used anywhere else in the world. So here’s a little reminder to save you having to go back and forth to your apartment in the morning because you can’t decide whether you need a jacket or not.

Convert temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit

Celsius Fahrenheit
-20 -4
-15 5
-ten 14
-5 23
0 32
5 41
ten 50
15 59
20 68
25 77
30 86
35 95
40 104

As long as you remember that zero is frozen, the rest is easy:

If it’s below 10, a warm coat is your friend.

If it’s above 15, break out the sunscreen.

Anything over 20 means short sleeves and sunny.

When you’re 30, you’ll start to feel thirsty.

If it’s near 35, find a deep pool and dive in.

But sometimes you’re not the only one cooking. For some notes on oven temperatures, use our nifty chart below.

Celsius Fahrenheit Uses
140-150 284-302 Tender meats for slow roasting
165-180 329-356 Baking cakes and cookies
190 374 Roast chicken or meat
200 392 Roast the vegetables
220 428 baking bread
250 482 Get the perfect pizza dough

Convert centimeters, meters and kilometers

Meters are an easy measurement for Americans to visualize, as one meter equals 3.28 feet, or about one yard. While Americans have grown accustomed to keeping six feet apart during lockdown, Europeans have been told to maintain a roughly equivalent distance of two meters.

Kilometers aren’t so daunting either once you realize that a kilometer equals 0.62 miles, or just over half a mile. So if you’re blindly led by your friend to the next bar and he tells you it’s only 2km away, be prepared to walk about a mile, just over 20 minutes. That is, if you don’t get lost.

Measure in centimeters? A piece of cake. One inch is approximately 2.5 centimeters, so 30 cm is approximately equal to one foot. To approximate a thumb, you would use the top knuckle of your thumb to the tip of your thumb. For a centimeter, the width of a pencil will do.

Something you may have a harder time understanding are conversions from square meters to square feet. For this chart, we’ve taken standard Parisian apartment sizes to give you an idea of ​​how much space you’ll need. As a general rule, add an extra zero at the end to get your estimate.

Square meters Square feet Apartment style
ten 108 Studio
20 215 Studio
30 323 Studio
40 430 1 bedroom
50 538 1 bedroom
60 646 1-2 bedrooms
70 753 2 Bedrooms
80 861 2 Bedrooms
90 969 2-3 bedrooms
100 1076 2-3 bedrooms
120 1292 2-3 bedrooms
150 1615 3 rooms
200 2153 3 rooms

Catherine Rickman is a professional writer and Francophile who has lived in Paris, New York and Berlin. She’s currently on a road trip through Europe, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman.