I write about 17th century French history, and I've also found it striking how the experience of the 17th century was so radically different in London and Paris. Paris was in magnificent flower while London was being devastated by plague and fire. Religion was a huge factor in both countries, with the "New Religion" (Protestantism) in England and Catholicism in France. Religious-based paranoia ruled the day on both sides of the Channel, however.
On a more specific level, I'd like to point out an excellent post on The Historical Novel Review blog today by one of our members, Anita Davison. It's a creative interview with Helena Woulfe Palmer, the main character in her 17th century novels: Duking Days: Rebellion and Duking Days: Revolution. I relish details of 17th century daily life, and I particularly liked this one:
" ... have you tried cleaning a house by throwing sand and water on hardboard floor, then scrubbing the stuff away again by hand?"