Impressions

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Jun 13th, 2007, 02:01 PM
  #1
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Impressions

Just got back from spending 10 days in London & Paris with a quick one day trip to Brussels for a good measure.

Stayed at Mariott Maida Vale in London for 98 pounds a night. I can strongly recommend this hotel. The rooms were decent size, the restaurant was good and the hotel even has a pool. Close to the Underground station and a short distance to all the attractions. Bus # 16 also goes there.

In Paris I can recommend Sofitel La Grande Arche. Again nice business hotel with good amenities and decent size rooms which is a rarity for Europe. One stop and your at Charles De Gaulle Etoile. The rates were not bad either.

Most people in Paris were rude but the City itself is beautiful. Brussels was also nice for a one day visit.

Beware prices in London. Very very very expensive place. Cab ride from Gatwick was going to be 95 pounds. Thank god for the trains. Get a three or five day subway card. It really saves you money.

Food in London was outrageous because of the horrible exchange rate. However the impressions and memories are forever and worth the cost.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for posting! Would you please share more details about your trip? Restaurants, sights, etc.?

Lee Ann
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Jun 13th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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ANd please explain "rude". I've not encountered it and I've been visiting Paris yearly for over 20 years.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Nevermind, we know 'most' people in Paris are not rude. Reserved, possibly. Inflexible, occasionally. Tourist-weary, understandably. Rude,sometimes maybe but rarely.

Good to hear the hotel comments, though I don't care how nice a hotel is at la Defense, it doesn't 'feel right' out there.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Sight in London: Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, The Tower, tour of London on the double decker and tour of Thames on the boat, Harrods, Picadilly Circus, Madam Thussaud's museum, We Will Rock You musical was great, Fame musical was just ok

Sights in Paris: Louvre, tour of the city, river tour, Mulen Rouge (rip off), Eiffel Tower, Champs de Elyses, Versailles

Waiters were rude. Tend to ignore tourists etc. Service was bad compared to the States but then again I think we are spoiled here by great service.

I recommend these hotels because they were reasonably priced by European standards and had big modern rooms & amenities. I heard too many horror stories about European hotels and was generally satisfied with our selection.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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I've never encountered a rude Parisian, I think they are delightful people,but each to their own.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Waiters in the US hover over you and continually ask if everything is ok. They try to get you in and out as quick as possible. Waiters in France and Italy are different. They assume that when you are ready to order or when you need something, like the check, you will motion to them. They allow you to stay and linger as long as you like. They are not ignoring you, they are allowing you to have your meal in peace.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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I have had a rude waiter...one in three trips to Paris. They do tend to disappear and won't bring your check til you ask for it so if you're getting ready to leave, you have to keep an eye out and signal for them that you're ready for the bill. Last trip our waiter disappeared and I couldn't find him anywhere. We had the bill but he never came to pick it up, so we had cash and paid, left it on the table with the bill. I had places to go and sites to see. When we walked out of the restaurant, he was out on the sidewalk having a smoke and chatting up a cute young lady. I would call him the "disappearing waiter", but I wouldn't call him rude.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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"Most people in Paris were rude"

I've been travelling to Paris several times a year for a bit under half a century. I've never encountered anything other than impeccable manners, except from Mrs F when she's been driving the peripherique and I've been navigating.

Waiters account for a fraction of one percent of the city's population - but let's grant that the poster regards their brand of civilised behaviour as "rude"

What were the other 8 million doing to justify such an offensive description?
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Jun 14th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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"Rude" has definitely taken its place in the pantheon of travel words which includes

small
large
dirty
clean
close
far
charming
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Jun 14th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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If I travel in US or Canada, I think I can identify rude or not.

If I travel to Europe or Africa, I know that I am travelling to a different culture, and that thing won't be th esame as at home. Even if I went to England/Ireland where we share the same language, I cannot/should not assume that it will be "just like home"

So if I were to experience situations where "everyone is rude to me", I would question myself and my behavior, since I might not be picking up on some cultural trait.

That being said, I've no memories of any rude behavior in Paris. I try to pcik up (from here and from experience) how to change my behavior to be more culturally aware.

I'd be interested in hearing some stories of rudeness.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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My daughter spent 6 months in Paris, and when I visited her she explained that it is generally considered rude for the waiter to bring your bill before you ask for it, because that would seem to be rushing you. During my three weeks there, I noticed that this was generally the case; I did need to request the bill. I found the servers to be refreshingly businesslike: able to answer my questions but not otherwise inclined to chat. Also, I enjoyed the tacit understanding that a meal was not something to be rushed through, but savored. When I needed to eat quickly, I bought a sandwich to go at a boulangerie and ate it in the park. Yes, to each his own . . .
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Jun 14th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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London is expensive, but really no-one takes a cab from Gatwick to London. I once had a rude taxi driver (fairly unusual for London), who told us that there was a big problem with the trains, and Gatwick Express wasn't running. But he could take us to Gatwick himself. We said to go to Victoria Station as requested anyway, and checked wether there was a problem; there wasn't, the trains were running as normal.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Ah, well... it's not recommended to describe the French as rude - there are a lot of fans here!

Did you enjoy any good meals? (details)
Did you enjoy the activities you chose? Agree that there are mixed reviews on the value of Moulin Rouge..
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Jun 14th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Here are some specific examples:

1) Cashiers at Gare du Nord refusing to speak English even though she knew English as we found out.
2) Waiters telling a couple to move to a different table in Brussels. The couple got up & left. This would have never hapenned in the States.
3) Taxi drivers not bothering to get out of the cab to help with the bags.
4) Waiter ignoring repeated requests for cup of coffee
5) Cashiers throwing change to you instead of handing it over at a Metro station.

Little things but they can add up. Other than that the trip was wonderful but very expensive thanks to the current exchange rates.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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<<2) Waiters telling a couple to move to a different table in Brussels. The couple got up & left. This would have never hapenned in the States.<<<
And this make you say French are rude ?
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Jun 14th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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So let me get this straight.

"Most people in Paris are rude" because a cashier spoke her own language.

You're a guest in the country and haven't got the common courtesy to speak their language. Or to remember which country Brussels is in?

If that's good manners (or logic) in your country, thank God I don't live there.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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I sort of got the idea where you were coming from w/ the "£95 cab ride" warning. Sort of like warning against walking up the Empire State bldg - yes it can be done but no one w/ any sense would.

So I assumed your references to rude Parisiens was along the same lines and now I see - the rudest person was in Brussels and a French woman refused to speak English to you?? OKaaaay. BTW - did you greet her politely first? If you just confronted her and demanded service -- in English -- I can't really blame her.

Sure there are rude people in France and in London and in your home town. But I have never encountered a rude waiter in Paris - not once. Business like for sure - but rude - nope.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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Anytime people make remarks about Parisians or the French or fill-in-the-blank being rude, I just smile and think, "Oh I must get such great, helpful servicve because I'm so charming and beautiful."

I suggest this to my fellow Fodorites. It'll really make your day.
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Jun 14th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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> 5) Cashiers throwing change to you instead of handing it over at a Metro station.

Since nobody mentioned so far, a techinicality may be but there is a glass shield (with a tiny slit for exchange of money/tickes) between the cashier and the customer at metro ticket counters and it is hard to picture "throwing" or "handing" changes. Or maybe OP found different sort of couters that I don't know.
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