Do French people dislike Americans?

Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:21 AM
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Do French people dislike Americans?

I would love to travel to France, but my husband is against the idea. He has heard from multiple sources that french people do not like americans and are rude to them. It seems like such a beautiful country and I want to go! Has anyone had negative experiences when they were over there? Thanks!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:32 AM
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No.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:33 AM
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Though I suspect your husband's attitude will make it look as if they are.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:36 AM
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I have been a member of this forum since July 1993 (used 3 different names throughout the years)-- possibly one of the oldest members to date. I used to see this question posted and discussed more frequently in the past. In a synopsis, if I was to answer in general terms the answer is that absolutely NOT, the vast majority of the French people that I have come across after 7-8 visits to various parts of France have been very pleasant and not one instance of rude behavior. God honest truth. Go to France, if you don't you will be missing out on one of the most beautiful, interesting countries on the Globe.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:47 AM
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No the people of France do not hate those of America.

Sometimes busy waiters with too much or too little education may not observe all the usual attitudes you may be used to but does not mean they hate Americans.

Unless, of course, you are your husband are bankers, when, of course, all bets are off.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:52 AM
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Aboslutely not - thats like asking if all Americans hate the French. Complete over-generalisation.

If you are polite and respectful of them and their culture they will treat you the same as I am sure you and your husband would treat a visitor to the US.

If you are obnoxious and rude (and definitely not saying you or any other american are) then you will be treated as such as I am sure you would treat a visitor in the US being rude and obnoxious.

You do need to be mindful of the differences in culture however - service is not the same friendly service you get in America as it just isnt done that way in France generally. You have to request the check and can be ignored for long periods if you dont ask for something. You dont get ice in your drinks generally. So as long as you are aware of what you might run into and not consider these things rude then you should be absolutely fine!

Enjoy France!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:53 AM
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We were there last month and the people were friendly and very nice.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:54 AM
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What the French dislike are loud obnoxious tourists, not restricted to Americans. More and more French speak passable English and are quite willing to be friendly and helpful.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:55 AM
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NO. As Viajero says, this used to be as regular a question as restaurant in Paris.
With regard to waiters, we've had a big dose of attitude from time to time--have had it in the US also.
It is courteous to try to speak a few words of French, observe THEIR custom of saying hello and goodbye and thank you upon leaving a shop (as I do in the US!).
Manners make you nice to know. France is a wonderful place with nice people.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:13 AM
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Now that the basic fact has been established (though doubtless someone will come on the thread to allege French xenophobia) perhaps the discussion could focus on "What I need to know about France & the French in order to have a pleasant holiday"

You've had good advice about cultural differences. They are subtle and they are important. The French are scrupulously polite, IME. Politeness expresses itself differently: through reserve, formality, deference... in short, through "correctness". Not the American style at all.

That may make them seem cold or brusque. As a people, they are not.

They can also be scathing in response to what they see as rudeness in others.

I've never experienced the intense hostility or the menace of violence I sometimes observe as a visitor to the US. But I've been told off, in no uncertain terms and in a tone of high dudgeon. I generally deserved it.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:32 AM
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We have been to France 8 times and have traveled all over the country. I do not recall a single instance of rudeness and certainly have had no indication that the French "hate" Americans. To the contrary, if you treat them with respect, they are quite friendly for the most part. It is nice to greet them when you enter a store - (Bonjour, Madame). They prefer to help you rather than have you pick up the merchandise. Restaurants do not rush diners in and out to turn tables - the table is yours until you are ready to leave so you normally have to specifically request the check, etc.

I do find myself a little baffled by tedgales characterization of Americans as intensely hostile and violent. As an American I haven't experienced either.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:52 AM
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I have had many extremely pleasant interactions with French people in Paris and in provincial France, with never a hint that anybody disliked Americans.

I think some of the perceptions of rudeness among the French come from misunderstandings of the fundamental differences between our rules of courtesy and theirs.

I have sometimes had conversations with French people about the differences in manners between US culture and French culture, and they have always been surprised that things that are second nature to them are not second nature to us. Saying bonjour and au revoir upon entering and leaving a shop fall into that category. In fact, saying bonjour before engaging in any conversation seems to fall into the same category. It seems to appear rude to many French people if you just embark on a conversation without a preliminary greeting.

I have heard people say that the French are rude because they refuse to understand our attempts to speak French and answer any comment we make in French by speaking English. In my opinion, what is going on here is that the French people are as eager to practice their English as we are to practice our French. In my experience, an attempt to communicate with me in my own language is a sign of trying to be helpful, even if from my point of view I would rather be speaking to them in my flawed French.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 05:27 AM
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"Sometimes busy waiters with too much or too little education may not observe all the usual attitudes you may be used to but does not mean they hate Americans."

Most French waiters are career waiters who have trained for the job so never say they lack education! Their attitude is different to an American waiter's yes, but that has nothing to do with their education level, it is to do with cultural differences, and respect.

Accept that things will be different in France (or anywhere in Europe for that matter), no ice, no airco, small beds, meals taking hours, service being "slow" (at least by US standards!), food sometimes not what you are used to, and if you can accept all that you will have a wonderful holiday.

Go for it!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 05:48 AM
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What are planning on wearing?
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 05:58 AM
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We spent 8 days in Paris last year, as an add on to a trip to Scandinavia. My husband didn't really think he would like it.

Guess who's heading back for 6 weeks later this year?? He absolutely LOVED it and now we will spend 2 weeks in Paris and the rest of the time exploring southern France.

The suggestions above are all good; common courtesy and good manners go a long way towards feeling welcomed - in France or anywhere for that matter.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 06:12 AM
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We are planning our 9th trip to France this fall. Many people have said the same to us that the French are rude. Our comment is always the same---"When was the last time you were there?" Their answer is the same---"We'll we've never been there, but we've heard that."

Read the common courtesy tips in the above posts and you will be treated kindly.

Of all the places we've been, we feel the most welcome in France----enough said.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 06:15 AM
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Hi rol,

Your DH's friends are at least a decade out of touch.

Not only are the French not anti-American, the government has spent a number of years working on teaching those in trades popular with tourists how to be more welcoming and friendly.

The perception of dislike for Americans comes mostly from those visitors who don't bother to take the time to learn what is expected of guests visiting strangers.

They really do think that it is important for someone to say "bonjour" (or bon soir) prior to doing or saying anything else.

They expect "s'il vous plait" and "merci" as a matter of course.

They think that people who offer to pay in US dollars instead of Euro are dolts.

Despite what your husbands acquaintances might have told him offers of nylons, chocolate and American cigarettes will not be met with approval.

Enjoy France.

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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 06:16 AM
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"french people do not like americans and are rude to them"

I have to say that never in my life have I seen this phenomenon. Not just by Frenchpeople towards Americans, but by anyone anywhere towards visitors from an unpopular country.

Some people in once-occupied Europe, or those former British Empire nations that brainwash their young into believing all their problems are the fault of a nation that stopped governing them 50 years ago or more, often mutter behind their backs at a foreigner from a country they believe has damaged theirs (or, late at night, after a few drinks, tell them what they think). But I've never, ever, seen this turn into rudeness during routine tourist activity.

If rolfene's husband is hearing different, he's socialising with "multiple sources" of restricted social skills. There are lots of reasons an American might choose to regard some French behaviour as rude (Nikki's excellent note lists some of them). Only the truly crass will assume that what they perceive as rudeness reflects someone else's attitudes to his nation.

The experiencer of rudeness might just be wrong (he might think that not being given the bill in a restaurant within 0.3 milliseconds of arriving is "rude"), he might be unaware he's just offended someone (handling fruit at a market stall is ill-mannered in France) or he might just be the kind of obnoxious git who invites rudeness (Parisians suffer boors and fools about as graciously as New Yorkers). Or a gazillion other things.

One true lesson about the husband's "multiple sources" is that many Americans do leave France convinced they're being victimised. In 100% of cases, they would do better to examine why they think that than passing on unfounded explanations for a phenomenon they may well have misunderstood anyway.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 06:47 AM
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<< He has heard from multiple sources that french people do not like americans and are rude to them >>

I've had this said to me as well. Every time I ask the person what towns in France they have been to where they have been treated poorly. Without fail, every single person has then stated that they have never been to France.

Tell your husband to go back to "those people" and ask them where and when the French were rude to them. I guarantee he will receive the same answer as I.

Yes, I have experienced rudeness in France. I have also experienced rudeness in America. And, on occasion, I am rude.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Have been to France (Paris several times, Loire Valley, Provence, Strasbourg and a few other cities) a number of times over a 40 year period; have never been treated rudely or unkindly so far, as a matter of fact, just the opposite most of the time.
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