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For those of you defending the French and their "manners"

For those of you defending the French and their "manners"

May 23rd, 2007, 11:22 AM
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I always smile and say hello to people in passing(neighbours, people in hotels, in shops )...and I'm not american If someone thinks I'm silly...I just haven't noticed. It doesn't hurt to say "good morning" (buenos dias, for me).
kenderina is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 12:28 PM
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I don't think the observation has a thing to do with France or the French. It is about urban dwellers vs. countryside people.
suze is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Suze I think you are probably right.
caroltis is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:02 PM
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I have always found the french to be very very friendly especially the ladies.
brando is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Trapper that is really nice...I hope you do get to return for a visit. I was very impressed with Villefranche. It is a nice size - small enough to walk everywhere but large enough to offer a lot in the way of restaurants, shops and lovely places to stroll. It's very clean and beautiful. We ate dinner outside one of the harborside restaurants one evening and the restaurant next to it had been reserved for a private party. At one point someone on a microphone told everyone to step outside for a special treat...well we were already outside and saw 2 small boats approaching and they stopped. Just then some beautiful classical music began to be played and fireworks were shot from the two boats - the display was spectacular...it resembled the 4th of July ones in our large hometown. Never did find out who the special "birthday person" was who was the recipient of this lovely present. We were just glad we happened to be on hand to experience it as well. Good luck on getting to re-visit Villefranche!!
caroltis is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Oh, and Trapper, if you do return I can highly recommend the Hotel Provencal...be sure and ask for one of the rooms that faces the water. Reasonable rates and includes a very generous, varied breakfast in a beautiful garden and breakfast room. The staff at this hotel couldn't have been more cheerful and helpful. Every one of them that we came into contact with were lovely.
caroltis is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
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One of the things I like is when you enter the dining room nd nearby tables say bonjour or goodbye when you leave
cigalechanta is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 08:18 PM
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I went for a powerwalk of sorts this afternooon in my Alexandria, VA, neighborhood. In the hour or so I was walking I passed at least 5 joggers, 5 walkers, and a bunch of people out on their front porches or lawns as I passed by. I tried a simple experiment with them all: saying hi and/or waving hello and saying hi to the people who weren't close to me on the sidewalk. What a great cultural shock! The joggers, who admittedly were passing me at some speed, tended to pass me and turn around and mumble "hi," but three out of five just turned around and looked at me like I was a nutcase (maybe I am). The walkers, all 5 of them, reacted like I was a lunatic. They recoiled and either pointed their head down so as not to notice me or looked up like they were checking out who was flying over the Pentagon. NOt one said "hi" back. They all looked uncomfortable.
The people who happened to be on their porches or lawns when I walked by were much nicer. I said hello to all of them and they all said hello back except for one guy who was on his cell phone and just kind of motioned a wave to me.
So let's generalize here. The French are rude? Well, clearly people who live in a wealthy neighborhood in suburban Northern VA are a lot more hesitant to make contact with the average human than the average Parisian based on my sloppy simplistic survey.
StCirq is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 09:22 PM
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StCirq, you forgot to mention you were wearing a ski mask and carrying an assault rifle. Small things matter to people.
degas is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 09:26 PM
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Like my dad always says - There are only two kinds of people:

City people.

Country people.

The end.
Worktowander is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 10:39 PM
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fodor's can be a confusing place. sometimes the american europhiles are trying to teach everyone that americans are too friendly and come across as crazy in europe because of their friendliness. they smile too much, talk to strangers too much, etc. this view is often supported by some neurotic brits who see friendliness as a disease and who would rather be skinned alive than have to exchange pleasantries or a smile with someone.

now the lesson is that americans are not friendly but europeans are.

i'm really confused.

would someone please straighten this out as it is vital to determine what is right and who is wrong (obviously we don't want to just accept that people are different).
walkinaround is online now  
May 24th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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I'm laughing at StCirq's "survey."

I've always said that one of the reasons I like the Parisians so much is that they are so much nicer than Washingtonians.
Toupary is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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There are some HUGE misconceptions here.

In our Cotswold idyll, the norm is to greet - monosyllabically, of course (with a bit of practice 'Good Morning' can become a monosyllable, just like 'New York') , or better still with a barely audible grunt - everyone in the streets and on the footpaths. Partly out of politeness: but almost as much to signal clearly to visiting lowlifes "you've been spotted, you realise perfectly well this is Miss Marple territory and if you so much as let your dog pee on that lampost you'll get tarred and feathered".

Problem is, you forget and find yourself smiling - well, etablishing rictoid, momentary, eye contact - after you've got off the train in a shabby part of London.

So don't assume any Londoner looking unEnglishly communicative is proof we've gone all right-brainish and we're closet 'Emotional Intelligence' addicts. He's probably clocking what damage you're about to do to that lampost.
flanneruk is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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StCirq, your survey had me thinking. When I do my power walking in a very popular trail in my city. In the beginning, I tried to hi/nod to the ones in passing. About 50% returned with some knid of gestures. Now, I just look straight. If I keep this up, I might be okay in NYC next month.
georgiegirl is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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Great topic!
I generally find folks in southern France to be friendlier than those in Paris, probably for many of the reasons already cited. But I've also had many nice exchanges in Paris too.

I do remember a tradition from my youth in southern France, which was that if people saw you picnicking, they would very politely wish you "Bon appetit!" I don't know if that was a regional gesture or if all of France observed the custom, but I loved it. I try to return the favor by making the same remark to other picknicers whom I encounter there these days, but I wonder if someone like CoCo might report if it's still as much of a tradition today.

letour is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:08 AM
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Some of the things some people are saying are just silly - people who are from the country are nicer than people from a big city? Perhaps outwardly you mean? Superficially? Saying "hi" denotes niceness? What happens to those lovely rural people when you tell them you're Jewish or homosexual? ShalI I make sweeping generalizations?

We in NYC see people from all over the world - it's a cosmopolitan city. We're used to different languages and accents (not just foreign - all you midwest people with your exaggerated "a" sound as in "cat".)

I found it interesting in the last election that people in the "heartland" or southern part of the U.S. were supposedly hesitant to elect someone from the East, but somehow we in the East are expected to be OK with anyone from the rest of the country (AND WE ARE!!). So who's narrow-minded? Niceness?
kenav is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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kenav - now I am confused....are you relating this to France or just the US?
Are you saying that it is the same in France?
robjame is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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The U.S. Sorry, just venting.
kenav is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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My experience has been that people in country areas are generally friendlier than people in cities. (But note the "generally"). Staying in homestay-style B&Bs as I generally do, I notice the difference. In a city B&B you'll be greeted in a friendly enough way, but I recall country B&Bs where it is common for the host and hostess to sit down with you for tean & scones upon arrival!

I don't say this as a putdown of city people - as someone else suggested, they're possibly more stressed than country people, and - let's face it - they're surrounded by strangers all day, whereas to country people strangers are a bit more of a novelty, an "item of interest".

Puts me in mind of a country lad who came to the city and shared an apartment with us for a while. True to his country ways, he nodded to and greeted everyone as he walked down the city streets - strangers, busdrivers, cabbies, garbage collectors, the lot. That was 40 years ago, and to this day he still has the nickname "Noddy". A real nice guy and good friend, who never lost those country ways!
twoflower is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Wow...never thought there would be quite so many points of view on this subject! I think perhaps most of us are just a little too quick to make generalities. I include myself.
caroltis is offline  

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