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I'm going to get clobbered for this, but about Paris...

I'm going to get clobbered for this, but about Paris...

Old May 29th, 2002, 07:31 PM
  #41  
Language
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I'm going to weigh in here under a pseudonym, which I don't ever do, to say that language matters a lot in Paris. I happen to speak pretty fluent French (thanks to a private school education, great teachers, a parent who was fluent, and a dedication on my part for 20+ years).

The French people in Paris - service people that is - don't want to deal with people who speak only English. In their repertoire, such people are looking for special things that the average French café doesn't offer (use your imagination, but figure that this is the Ugly American who wants something for breakfast that's not normally served for breakfast in Paris). They also don't want to deal with you in English because they are afraid they'll get you order wrong, and that's because they're afraid of their own English translation! Give them some slack, please (you're a guest in THEIR country; cut them some slack with YOUR language!)
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 07:58 PM
  #42  
curious
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Margie,
I'm now very curious as to where you stayed while in Paris and maybe some of the place at which you dined. I'm in Paris several times a year and always enjoy it, not too bothered by not meeting friendly people yet in fact always meet more than a few. The point about speaking French is well made, my French is not great but adequate and I know it makes a big difference in how I am treated. Also point about the French not wearing smiley faces is also so true, and makes me laugh to think about it. Sorry about your let-down.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 09:11 PM
  #43  
Sue
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Rita, I tend to be a pessimist, but I find that works well for me. When something turns out bad, I’m not disappointed; when it turns out well, I’m ecstatic! But you have to shed this feeling of responsibility for something because you were forced to plan for it alone; if anyone else is unhappy, it’s their fault for not participating in the planning.

About waiters, Paris is one place where I delight in the waiters—they love to tease—and that’s why I am disappointed in a restaurant where they are stodgy or distant, but it happens. And because it is a big city, things are just more impersonal there—I certainly felt it on my last visit in April, and for that reason truly enjoyed my brief respite in Amboise.

But I’ve almost always enjoyed sojourns in smaller places as opposed to the big cities because of the personal interaction. And I think it’s easier to find jolly people in general in the hinterlands. I told a French traveler on the train once that I was going to Paris. She responded, "But that’s not France." Maybe, Margie, you would enjoy smaller towns when you travel. Or take some daytrips out of the big cities just to get a break.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 09:59 PM
  #44  
I hear you
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The word is ennui, Windel or is it wind bag.

Paris is a beautiful city but it has changed. For the rest of you, if you can't hear what they are saying, you don't get it. Much more anti-Americanism now. Far less during the Clinton years.

Margie, I am sorry this was the trip of a life-time. I will return to Paris again, but not in the immediate future. The present nonchalance towards Americans is not only obvious, but in many instances rather cruel. We would be far better hosts.

Now, Capo....you were saying?
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 10:33 PM
  #45  
Sandrine
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Listen to Paulette she hit it on the nail. Sorry that you had a bad trip this is why Paris is not on my lists anymore. Why pay to be insulted and have a basically boring time when you could be somewhere really fabulous.
Good report I respect your perspective.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 12:29 AM
  #46  
cover
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Traci, I don't think that Sharon and Tracy have the same connotations as they do in your native UK.
Nice Ironic post though.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 03:22 AM
  #47  
BTilke
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Margie, I have been traveling to Paris for decades and have always had a wonderful time, but I'm sorry you didn't. Sometimes it happens.
I didn't read anything from your post that suggests you expected a "Disneyfied" version of Paris.
Yes, some parts of the metro DO smell!!
However, in comparing the French with your London experience, that is just not the French way. Although the British are supposed to be "reserved", I think many of them can be quite theatrical (all those Christmas pantos) and enthusiastic, downright flamboyant, about things they enjoy. The French are more reserved and ironic, especially when dealing with strangers (among friends and family they can be completely the opposite--one outwardly reserved Parisian colleague living in London does a hilarious imitation of drunk nightclubbing British girls).
Hope your next trip--wherever it may be--is more satisfactory.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 05:12 AM
  #48  
danna
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for what it's worth...

I was amazed at how nice everyone was to me in Paris. AFter all, it has to be a pain in the ass to deal with a customer to whom they must speak in a foreign language, or worse, listen to their high-school French.

I had shop keepers make a point of telling me to make myself at home, pick up and try on anything I wanted, etc.

I had a cafe waiter and a group of french 20-somethings help me order "what they were having" and gave me a thumbs-up and a smile when I managed to say a French phrase properly.

I had a delicious, but inexpensive 1/2 bottle of wine recommended to me at Pierre Gagnaire...where I'm sure they are more accustomed to selling larger quantities of much more expensive wine to their guests. With no condescention and English so perfect I thought the sommelier was British until I heard him speaking French to other tables.

The smiling lady who had to open up a case for me to buy a purse at Galleries Lafayette let me speak French to her for the whole transaction and didn't grimace at all

I didn't notice a smell in the metro.

I saw dog poo twice.

The smoke was minimal.

No one was rude. Were there some service people who were disinterested? I'm sure there were, but those aren't the one's you remember.

Life has a lot to do with attitude.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 05:28 AM
  #49  
Ruth
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I do so agree with Danna's post - that was my impression of Paris too (also much less dog poo and smoke than I'd been led to believe - the streets were washed every morning where we were staying).

Can I be REALLY pedantic for a moment? Waiters are supposed to be DISINTERESTED (ie they should treat everyone with the same professionalism and not have favorites) but they should not be UNINTERESTED (ie they should be genuinely concerned that you have the best possible time in their restaurant). I'm not getting at anyone - it started with the first poster and everyone has just gone right on with it. End of lesson.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 05:36 AM
  #50  
aj
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Just back from our third trip to Paris and fell deeper in love. Yes, Paris can be big, stinky and dirty in places but it is a refreshing change from the small southern US city I live in. I love the change and the big city attitude. So many great things to see and do every minute of the day. Just to set and look at the history of the city is an amazement to me! I don't expect to see the same things I see at home. That is why they call it a vacation!
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 05:49 AM
  #51  
x
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Enough already. Margie isn't worth the effort, and you couldve applied all that to planning your next trip to Paris. I suggest we not use the names Margie and Paris in the same thread. Somebody call the embassy and get her name on the banned list. Anyway, it's a nice spring day in the Tri-State area and I intend to enjoy it. And call my travel agent about our upcoming trip to you know where (Paris).
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 06:13 AM
  #52  
y
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x, and who made you the Margie police? We'll think what we like and post what we like. Enjoy your trip.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 06:13 AM
  #53  
Steve Mueller
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I don't have any strong feelings about Paris one way or the other. I thought it was a nice place, but no better than Munich or a dozen other large European cities that I have visisted.

There is a tendency in this forum to crucify anyone that doesn't describe their European travels as anything less than perfect. This seems to be particularly true when the subject is Paris. Frankly, the notion that someone is a bad tourist or an ugly American simply because they don't fall in love with a place is absurd.

All of this uncritical mindless praise makes me wonder how many of these people have actually been to Europe. For example, I find it difficult to believe that anyone that claims they only saw "dog poo" twice in Paris has really been there.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #54  
danna
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Wow! maybe it was all a dream!

I guess I'll find out when the credit card bill comes.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 06:42 AM
  #55  
x
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Bunch of duds.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 06:58 AM
  #56  
Vic
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Dear Margie,

No blasting from me. I live in Paris, I'm British and believe me you are more than right. I live here because of the hefty salary I receive from my British company and because I enjoy my work, I continue to live here. As well because London is easy access by Eurostar, I'm home twice a month.

Parisians have this behaviour all the time not just to you. I have a country home in Orleans (about 1.30 mins from Paris) and the people are much more welcoming. Next time try and visit other regions to get a different flavour.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #57  
REDRUM
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Yeah, well, some people are just nasty (x called this a “dumb report,” which is in itself shows a ridiculous infatuation with Paree) others can’t read (the original post said the spouse spoke French.)

I think the worst attitude you can present to the I LUV PARIS faction is not that you dislike the place, or even that you hate it. The worst case scenario for them is my opinion, which is that Paris is alright, but I would much rather go to London, Rome, NYC, Berlin, or any number of other places. I’ve had discussions with friends who are gobsmacked when I tell them that I really don’t find Paris to be all that big of a deal. Yes, beautiful architecture, yes, fine art. But, hey, ever been to Rome? London? Vienna?

As far as history, being a European descended American, London’s history is far more relevant than Paris’, in fact a great many of our laws and customs are directly associated with England, more so than any other culture.

And believe me when I say that anyone who claims to have only seen dog droppings twice apparently was only in Paris for a few minutes, they were sight impaired, and/or they were walking along rubber-necking at the big buildings because they sure as Hades weren’t looking at the ground.

There is also considerable truth to the line by one poster concerning anti-American sentiments in Paris. Recently I was eating alone and ordered in English. At a nearby table of Parisians one pointed to me with his fork and muttered to his friend, “another American cowboy.” Screw that. I cant imagine eating in the States or England and, when hearing a French accent, pointing them out as “another cheese eating frog…” rude is rude, folks, why make excuses for it?

Some people love wine, others beer, still others are tea-totalers. So what? I’m due to go to Paris on business in 3 weeks and have hardly given it a thought. Nevertheless, I am excited about my trip next spring to a little place called Cheltenham Spa in England. I’ve never been there and it looks like a great place to relax and soak up a bit of relevant culture. So sue me.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 07:21 AM
  #58  
Eric
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I've been reading all these remarks and when you think about it everyone is right. If you loved Paris, your absolutely right, if you hated Paris your absolutely right.

I like to travel because its different, if it were the same as home why go.

I don't try to act like someone I'm not, believe me your not fooling anyone, everyone knows your an American.

I try to stay under the radar and enjoy the sites.

The Metro does not smell bad, maybe it does and I just don't notice it.

A vacation or adventure or whatever you call it is what you make of it. Going to a different country is not like going to Disney World or Dolly world. Its hard, its fun, its exciting, it scary and thats why I love it.

 
Old May 30th, 2002, 07:21 PM
  #59  
mark
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"...I've waited all my life for this trip..." You probably created some pretty big expectations over the years - not only by your own doing though. I'm always amazed how clean NYC looks in movies or travel magazines. I've never read a book about someone buying a house in Europe and totally regreting it. Cartier Bresson took thousands over snap shots yet we only see the select few. Why do the dishes I cook never - and I mean NEVER - look like the pictures ( and the taste never really matches the receipe ). There is a big gap between reality and our expectation of a place, thing, person, dish, etc. I have seen some really bad plays and no mental gymnastics on my behalf could make it a positive, enjoyable evening. You win some, you lose some. Give Paris another chance - you might feel more situated - comfortable - as you walk around. As I travel more my enjoyment has increased - and it has a lot to do with being at ease about leaving home ( the familiar ).
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 07:22 PM
  #60  
mark
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meant "...took thousands of snap shots..."
 

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