French welcome for tourists

Jul 5th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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French welcome for tourists


I recently found this article on traveller's opinions and experiences in France:

The original study can be found here:

I was wondering if people who have recently travelled in France could share the experience they had with the French, and if they felt welcome.

Many thanks!
Mary2206 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Even my French in-laws say the French can be rather cool or even rude to each other so do not expect folks to say 'hi' to strangers passing them on the street - some folks interpret this as rudeness but it is just a national character trait. I have never felt in umpteen visits to France that I was not welcome or for that matter welcome.

It's just the French being French IMO - same to us as to other French.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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France is a big country, and people's response to visitors will vary according to different local factors. In some parts of the country, it might be more enthusiastic, or just curious, because not many foreign visitors go there. In others, it may be grumpier if people feel overwhelmed by visitors. In big cities, there is likely to be a certain indifference, since everyone has their own business to be preoccupied with: being a visitor doesn't give you special status, even - or perhaps especially - in places with a large tourist trade.

I don't feel unwelcome in France; I live in a big world city with people from all over, and we generally get along, but we don't expect everyone we meet to treat us as their new best friend - and French people (certainly Parisians) are much the same, only more so. They expect a degree of formality, as indicating mutual respect (hence, never just walk up to someone and start with your immediate personal concern of a question, and particularly not if you're not going to converse in French): but that, to them, is politeness, which comes before friendliness.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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Yes to what Patrick says - and here if you go to NYC Americans always say how rude and cool New Yokers are - to me it is endemic with a big city that sees tons of tourists. Yet here in the mid-west foreigners tell me folks are so very very friendly - but these same folks tell me New Yokers were rude to them.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Our first interaction with the French was in Nice on 9/11---yes, I do mean THE 9/11. We were overwhelmed by the compassion and courtesy of the French people there and in the days following when we were in Paris.

Since then we have returned to Paris & other parts of France on a regular basis in Sept. We have always felt welcome and have been treated with kind respect.

We have been to the tourist areas of other countries and sometimes were treated with annoyance, but never in France.

The French are very polite people. If you treat them in the same way with respect, it will come back to you.

Just one traveler's opinion.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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The French are very polite people. If you treat them in the same way with respect, it will come back to you.>

so so true IME of 50 or so trips to France - one problem some of my French friends and in-laws have with Americans is that some are too loud - and bark out things like "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH without even saying anything polite thing like "Excusez-moi monsieur (or madame)" first - learn some few words of French to start a question and the French IME will then treat you very politely - but just bark perhaps not.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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I imagine that, on my first trip to France in 1976, I was the former....and, of course, they were rude (or so I thought).

Now, 35 years later, they seem quite cordial. Funny how a whole nation has changed for the better. Of course, my hair has greyed somewhat in the interim.
tomboy is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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I have always had good experiences with the French. There is an occasional brusque waiter but still not rude. They have a different way of interacting than Americans do, but they are not rude. If you are polite and courteous, you will have no problems at all.
denisea is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Never thought the French were rude. I think my hometown is a lot ruder to tourists. The French are quiet and polite, thus don't like loud/brash or being forced to do anything (like speak English to a foreigner who makes no attempt to speak the language of the foreign country they are visiting). In Italy last week, I've seen people sit down in restaurants, complain when menus aren't in their own native language and then walk out! It all depends on how both sides choose to interact
starofthesea is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Interesting first post. By any chance are you flogging the study site? If you are doing research, it is better to open and up front about it.
janisj is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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I have only ever had one person be rude to me in paris - and either he was a grouch or having a really bad day - since he was rude to other diners too.

However, it is true that, in general, the French are somewhat more formal than americans - and we may regard their normal behavior as cold - while they think our normal behavior is overfamiliar. We each need to know what to expect - and since it;s their country - travelers need to adapt - by greeting people when they enter a store or restaurant and starting a conversation with good morning or evening or excuse me, do you speak english. Also many americans tend to speak quite loudly - and this should be toned down - or we can sound like kids using their "outdoor" voices.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Same post from a first-timer on TA today, also; her name there is "Laura". Hmmmmmm.
grandmere is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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I've been to France only once, perhaps because I thought the people would be rude.

However,I have been uniformly treated well in France, except for one waiter in Paris who thought I should be drinking wine. (I'm a non-drinker.) He really was pushy.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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These types of "surveys,"or "polls," or whatever you want to call them, are IMO, useless and absurd.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 06:51 PM
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StCirq: I couldn't agree more. And even if a survey were "accurate" and showed an unfriendly reception, I would take that as a challenge: "I will kill them with kindness".

Has Mr. Hollande's tax plan caused pain in the Dordogne?
weber6560 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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We've made 3 trips - primarily to Paris - in the last 6 years and been treated very well. Only one waiter who chided us for not ordering wine with lunch. Our favorite experience was with a security man in a train station during the several day strike in October 2010. Many trains weren't running, but we wanted to take the train to Fontainebleau. We were having trouble purchasing our tickets, since the ticket windows for those trains were closed, our credit cards wouldn't work in the ticket machines, and we didn't have the correct cash for the machines. This lovely man went so far out of his way to help us that it really made our day.
vanne is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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I haven't been to the Dordogne, weber, since Hollande was eleccted, so can't really say, but I'll probably be back there before the end of the summer and will scope out the latest with the neighbors. We don't have a lot of French natives in that top tax category in the Dordogne, though, except maybe the guy who owns the Intgermarchés, the Bricomarchés, and Les Milandes. He might be experiencing some pain.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 08:56 PM
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I didn't bother to read the links/studies.. they are silly. I find it offensive that some people want everything to be the same as at home and are offended when its not. The french are more formal and more polite then many other nationalities.. they do not grin and chatter away to strangers as easily,, and the waiter is not " hi I'm Bob your waiter" gushy,,thank goodness.. I prefer the professional service in France to overly familiar servers in other places.. case in point, when my mother died I had to shop for a black dress. the shopgirl in my city was really frigging annoyingly perky and chatty,, how ya doing,, where are you going, etc,, I did NOT want to interact with her at all, but she seemed oblivious to my body language and didn't pick up on my short answers.. and I was not interested in telling her anything.
My french(including Parisiene)relatives are warm kind people,,and they are not rude or cold at all, but sorry, yes, they are more reserved with strangers,, get over yourselves,,not everyone feels the need to be your buddies..
justineparis is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 01:27 AM
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What if you move there, should one learn the language?
Shadow is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 02:31 AM
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Why, if you moved there, would you even contemplate doing so if you didn't speak the language?

Unless you're a Trappist monk, what possible point is there moving somewhere you can't communicate with anyone?
flanneruk is offline  

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