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The Parisian reputation for rudeness is undeserved. In fact, Parisians are sticklers for politesse and exchanging formal greetings is the rule. Informal American-style manners are considered impolite. Beginning an exchange with a simple "Do you speak English?" will get you on the right foot. Learning a few key French words will take you far. Offer a hearty bonjour (bohn-zhoor) when walking into a shop or café and an au revoir (o ruh-vwahr) when leaving, even if nobody seems to be listening (a chorus may reply). When speaking to a woman over age 16, use madame (ma-dam), literally "my lady." For a young woman or girl, use mademoiselle (mad-mwa-zel). A man of any age goes by monsieur (murh-syur). Always say please, s'il vous plaît (seel-voo-play), and thank you, merci (mehr-see).
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