French in Paris..advice needed!

May 20th, 2007, 09:23 AM
  #41  
nbujic
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"My experience has been that French people are very friendly and helpful if you present yourself in a respectful manner".
Ditto.
Mind you, on a resent visit Liguria we found that very few Italians spoke English. My minimal knowlege of Italian was very helpful ( especially for asking directions and communicating with taxi drivers)
 
May 20th, 2007, 09:24 AM
  #42  
nbujic
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"My experience has been that French people are very friendly and helpful if you present yourself in a respectful manner".
Ditto.
Mind you, on a resent visit Liguria we found that very few Italians spoke English ( this was in small towns). My minimal knowledge of Italian was very helpful ( especially for asking directions and communicating with taxi drivers).
 
May 27th, 2007, 08:24 AM
  #43  
 
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This bit about the Parisenes being reserved and polite is a load of crock. I was traveling through De Gaulle airport en route to Budapest (I wasn't even stepping into Paris). I misplaced my wallet, passport etc. I tried to speak to the cops in the airport who wouldn't speak to me cause I wouldn't speak French! This in the international transit terminal!! After having the American Counsul eventually help me out, I found out that a British Airways steward had found my stuff and placed it in the lost+found. The cops were told of this, but they refused to tell me cause I didn't speak their sodding language. Personally, I think they are miffed cause the Brits beat them in being better pillagers of the world. Most Paris natives speak English, but the only English word they volunteer to speak is 'HELP'. That's after they say 'surrender'.
traveller1234 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #44  
 
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If you are lost, or need help, and if you are polite, people you approach are generally very helpful and friendly. I do NOT know if this applies to officials, though. But in all cases, you have to be polite IN THE FRENCH WAY, and here's how you do it:
First you say: "Excusez-moi monsieur or madame "(as the case may be.)
"BONJOUR."
"Desole(e), mais..." (pronounced "DAY-zo-LAY, may...." )It means, Sorry, but...
"Je ne parle pas francais " or "Parlez-vous anglais?"
At this point, you can usually name a place or a street, point to a map, or ask for the nearest subway stop" Ou est le metro?(pronounced: "OOH EH")le metro?"
BUT NEVER forget the S'IL VOUS PLAIT and the MERCI or MERCI BEAUCOUP.
Jess
Jess215 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 09:13 AM
  #45  
 
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You don't have to be polite in any special way. As long as you try to be nice and you are sincere, that will work … and that's anywhere, not just in Paris.

French cops will speak to you in English if they can, and if you aren't too boorish. Many of them don't speak English, though. How many French-speaking police officers are there at Heathrow?
AnthonyGA is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 09:47 AM
  #46  
 
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If you say Hello, or Good Morning, etc., in English that's OK but YOu HAVE to GREET the person. Or they WILL think you are rude. I once addressed a train info. guy, - w/o a Bonjour, as I was in distress and late and knew it was his JOB to tell me which track to go to. And he said, smiling: You forgot to say Bonjour. In fact, if you see someone for the second time in a day, they will eaven ray RE-Bonjour! I am not making this up!
Jess
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May 27th, 2007, 10:03 AM
  #47  
 
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I was in the International terminal INSIDE the airport. I didn't need to spew out any french pleasantaries. It is particularly stupid to suggest that I wasn't polite. In a civilized country, such officials would have had their hide handed to them for not doing their job. It wasn't just the cops, it was most of the airport officials. However, there was one airport worker who noticed my plight and spoke to me in fluent English and apologized for 'his countrymen'. He let me use his cell phone to call the US consulate and I am embarassed to say that in my distress I didn't remember to ask him his name. The only class act in what seems to be a nation of over-perfumed, post-colonial, pillaging, intellectually phoney louts. Almost all the other passengers in the terminal also noticed that the officials weren't being helpful. I only found out that my stuff was in the lost+found much later, although I had filled in an official inquiry. The whole ordeal cost me over $650 and excerbated my stress-related health condition. It could have been all sorted out if the airport officials had told me that my stuff had been found. The folks at the lost+found were themselves shocked that I hadn't been informed. They claimed that they had informed all the concerned authorities including the cops. Having traveled the world, and often to some of the most economically disadvantaged parts, I have been the object of extreme kindness and generosity. The frogs, however, will always be the object of my scorn and disdain.
traveller1234 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 10:30 AM
  #48  
 
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traveler1234 - Let it be noted that your first post on this forum is to complain and insult and generalize about another country based on your one experience in an airport. Enuff said.
robjame is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 10:50 AM
  #49  
 
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I would not even spend one nano-second seriously considering any post that uses the term "the frogs". That kind of attitude deserves what it gets.
suze is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 10:51 AM
  #50  
 
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In case you still want to learn a little french. I bought learn french in your car cd and it is great. My kids are learning too.
timetraveler1028 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 11:08 AM
  #51  
 
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traveller1234 wrote "I was in the International terminal INSIDE the airport. I didn't need to spew out any french pleasantaries. It is particularly stupid to suggest that I wasn't polite."

Those three sentences persuade me that you were not polite.
Padraig is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 11:18 AM
  #52  
 
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I'm guessing that stress-related health condition of yours is a severe anger management issue...
StCirq is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #53  
 
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An average of 156,000 passengers go through CDG daily and he thinks that the police actually give a foie gras where his wallet is.
robjame is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #54  
 
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Your foie gras up up your ***. Trust a snivelling frog to 1. conclude that I wasn't polite 2. suggest that the cops shouldn't give a hoot about my wallet. Curiously, the only well-mannered french at the airport were the under-class immigrants. It's little wonder that the frogs are the object of derision the world over. Horror stories of Paris visits abound but I'd imagine that's a different website? I'm told Paris is a beautiful city. I'd think that if the city was flushed of its current inhabitants and replaced by a more genteel people, it might actually be worth visiting. Maybe we could send them to Tripoli or Bagdhad, their favorite trading partners of yesteryear.
I don't recall the frogs being particularly polite when they plundered lands in Africa and Asia. Or when they blow up Atolls in the south Pacific.
Have you ever seen a polite french tourist here? Anywhere? Considering that a good bit of Paris lives on tourist cash, you'd think they'd be a little more grateful. And it's time they started learning German, for the next time around we won't be there to save their sorry backsides.
traveller1234 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:26 PM
  #56  
 
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Oh for the "report an inappropropriate post" like on Trip Advisor!!!!
suze is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:26 PM
  #57  
 
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St Cirq - I think we could add to your list:

periods of irritability or anger

constant anxiety

irrational behaviour

lack of concentration


robjame is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:30 PM
  #58  
 
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If you were of being smart enough to read my first posting, you'd notice that it was a general recount of a ghastly experience. The response I received from you lot however was as ridiculous as the incident itself. First, I was accused of being impolite. Then of being insignificant. For the record, the cops were sitting in their office with an open girly magazine watching TV. The first response I received after I said, "excuse me sir" (I'm from the deep south, we address everyone as sir/ma'am or honey) was 'parlez vous francais' followed by a string of guttral gibberish. I know what that means now, but then I was in a state of panic and kept repeating 'I'm sorry?'. I was then tossed a clip-board with a form where I listed what I had lost. All this while the cops sniggered and laughed. I can distinctly remember being called 'XXXX American'; not a bad term in itself, but I can't remember the context of that. This went on for a while, in full view and earshot of a couple of airport workers, one of whom came up to me and apologized for his countrymen. You know the rest. It's unlikely that this guy would have been apologetic and helpful if "I" was being the badly-behaved one. The response I receive from you lot is in perfect line with the generalizations that I made in the airport with the incompetence and boorishness of the officials.
Hence my later postings and my reference to the 'frogs'. Contrast that to how non-English speaking people are treated by the authorities here. One only has to stand in line at the Customs and Immigration line in the US and overhear the "welcome to the US sir/ma'am" in any American airport.
traveller1234 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:36 PM
  #60  
 
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I think the police at the airport are concerned with things like bombs, narcotics, weapons, kidnapping, criminals crossing borders, and what have you.

I don't think the lost-and-found department falls under their jurisdiction.

Did you expect them to use their sniffer dogs to find your wallet?

For free?
Apres_Londee is offline  

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