Any concerns for Americans in Paris?

Jan 4th, 2002, 04:07 AM
  #1  
George
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Any concerns for Americans in Paris?

My family and I are planning to spend a couple of nights in Paris later this month as a side trip to our vacation in London. My wife noticed a recent post to this board that seems to have been removed. It indicated a few bad anti-American experiences on recent trips to Paris. Does anyone have any comments either way? We've been before so it's not an essential trip and we'll be traveling with our two young children so we'd like to be cautious. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 04:25 AM
  #2  
c
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My thinking is that there will always be someone with a negative about something It was a long time before I would visit France,due to the years of stories about rudeness/bad attitudes-that were passed around..often passed on by people who had never even been to France!
Now I go to Paris every year,sometimes if I am lucky,twice a year...I have never once had any bad experience..the one and only time on my travels that I was treated rudely,it was by clerk at the American Express office across the street from Harrods in London..the only thing I would caution you about is exposing the children to all those chocolates and glaces that the Parisians do so well Where are you thinking of staying? How old are the children? I really would not worry,it is as safe and wonderful as London(if not more).
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 05:34 AM
  #3  
George
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Thanks for your response c. Our kids are almost 8 and 4 and we are staying in the 6th. We have been to Paris twice before and have even taken our daughter and had wonderful experiences. The anti-american sentiment we have heard rumor of is due to our policies in Afganistan. One woman described being treated with hostiliy, even being spit at. We are looking for anyone who has been to Paris recently/has first hand knowledge of the situation. Thanks.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 05:44 AM
  #4  
c
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That story shocked me, having never met anyone now or in the past with a similar experience.Although I guess the same thing can happen here in the US when traveling outside of the cities and perhaps dealing with someone who has his own ideas about things.(And we really do not know exactly what transpired)..I do know that friends of mine are going to and from Paris all of this past month and into the Spring, some taking children, and there has been no hint of bad behaviour on the French side..If I would ever caution regarding anything at this time, perhaps the Latin Quarter/Arab neighborhoods would be best avoided..but in the 6th, and the usual haunts I think you are all fine...
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 05:51 AM
  #5  
Janice
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I was just in Paris (and rural France) in October, and people were wonderful. If anything, I found everyone to be even more considerate and thoughtful than usual. While I couldn't promise to you absolutely nothing will happen, I think it's not likely. Go for it!
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 05:55 AM
  #6  
Leone
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Do heed C's advice ... right on the mark. I left Paris Tuesday ... what a wonderful city, and I always felt safe. We were all over the 5th-6th-7th, plus right bank, and the 16th ... never a hint of problems. Oh, yes, there was one thing ... on the ATM on Blvd. St. Michel near Cluny-La Sorbonne Metro stop - some wit had scrawled "F****** USA" just below the card slot. We had to laugh as our cashed spewed forth ... the best revenge, as always, is living well. Go to Paris and have a ball!! The wit probably got stiffed by the rat at French Disney. Ciao, L
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 09:26 AM
  #7  
Gina
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We were in Paris and Strasbourg December 15-26. Another great trip. People like always wonderful and helpful. I would go back today but have to wait until April before our next visit to Paris. Have a great time and before you go try to learn some basic phrases in French.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #8  
ryan
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Paris is a great city. There are some rude people, but that is true of any major city, I think.

I know I'll be bashed for the following but I think it is fair, given the current political situation, to ask about security because France does have a large Muslim community. That is not be culturally insensitive, just factual. The al qaeda suspect arrested in the U.S. aftr 9/11, is French. There was an extremist plot to plant a bomb near the U.S. embassy in Paris.

The political reality is that there are islamic fundamentalists living in France. More than likely you will be fine. But you shouldn't be naive about the threat.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 10:42 AM
  #9  
L
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Oh, get back into reality!! I go to Paris, there are fundamentalists, I get back to DC, their are fundamentalists. Hell, even my ex was some kind of fundamentalist when she signed on with the primative Baptists. Where do I sign up when I get bored and want to get scared? Ciao, Leone
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 10:56 AM
  #10  
Eli
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Georg: don't want to be sarcastic, but I need to tell you that I've also heard about Americans beeing treated badly in good old USA. Otherwise, why would they be afraid to walk Central Park, any inner-town neighbourhood, etc, at night?
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 12:11 PM
  #11  
Rebecca
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I agree with Janice. I just got back and found the French more polite and friendly towards us then I ever did in the past. In fact, the people were the highlight of the trip-- the opposite was true in years past. There are always going to be hostile people anywhere that you go in the world--even at home. It's a good idea to be cautious wherever and whenever you travel.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 12:41 PM
  #12  
George
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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the input - particularly from those of you who have been in Paris these past few weeks.

And yes, we do realize that that there are unsafe areas and hostile people the world over - we would just rather avoid knowingly exposing our children to them.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 12:49 PM
  #13  
ryan
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As I expected, some of you disagreed with my comments. That's fine and it is understandable.

However, given George's question and his concern for safety, to ignore the issue of rising Islamic fundamentalism in France is to ignore the question he asked. To be flippant about it, as some of you were, given the attacks on 9/11, the AA incident last week, and the bombing plot directed at the U.S. embassy, is in my mind fairly childish.

George raised a legitimate point that deserved being provided with facts. Personally, I would feel comfortable travelling to Europe right now.

Given that he is asking about the safey of his children, it is not my place to make that determination for him if there are issues he should be aware of.

We are not talking about obnoxiuos waiters but a terrorist organization that was known to recruit from disenfranchised muslims throughout the world. To me that is a little more serious than some of you seem to realize.

 
Jan 4th, 2002, 01:16 PM
  #14  
Emily
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C.
You mention Arab neighborhoods. France colonized North Africa and West Africa. These people may be Muslim, but they are not Arab. While there are certainly Arabs in Paris the neighborhood you mention is far more likely to be North African/Muslim.
While it seems like a minor detail it highlights the misunderstanding we have about these cultures.

Ryan,
I’m interested in where you’re got the information about the rising fundamentalism in France. I read Le Monde which strives toward objective reporting (as opposed to Liberation’s leftist coverage and Le Figaro’s conservative coverage). This past fall I read an article in Le Monde article stated France’s Muslim population was more moderate and integrated than in other countries.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 01:26 PM
  #15  
Katherine
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Go to Paris. The first time I went I was apprehensive because of what I heard. I decided that a cool head should prevail. I had a blast! I took a minicourse in French and bought some French tapes. My french was not perfect but by at least attempting you will be respected. Also remember that the French are fairly formal and very much into good manners. If you dont know something ask them and it will delight them. Paris is a big city just like New York. So yes there may be some people who just are not so friendly but they are everywhere. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 01:41 PM
  #16  
c
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Sorry for the error, Emily.You are right,I should have said something more general, as I am aware of the large Algerian community and all..C
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #17  
Olivia
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We stayed in the 5th arr (Latin Quarter) December 20-24 and experienced only friendliness.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 02:03 PM
  #18  
mimi taylor
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Ignore anything negative you hear. Paris is beautiful and wonderful to all who are open, polite and love people and life. Go and give your family a great experience of beauty and exceptional food.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #19  
ryan
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Here are a few links to articles that reference my earlier point.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A3771-2001Nov22

Here is are 2 excerpts from the Washington Post article on 10/22/01:

Most recently, he [French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere] has been investigating an alleged plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris by members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network, an organization that he has been tracking persistently for the past eight years....

At a time when U.S. law enforcement authorities are coming to grips with a problem that has plagued France for much of the last decade. Bruguiere's methods in fighting Islamic terrorism are worth studying, legal experts say, despite sharp differences in the two countries' legal systems.
 
Jan 4th, 2002, 02:32 PM
  #20  
x
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Emily,
In case Fodor's deletes my previous post, do an internet search on the Washington Post for references to Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

I've read similar articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

 

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