Parisians are rude?

Old Dec 8th, 2005, 12:38 AM
  #1  
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Parisians are rude?

My husband and I just got back from our first trip to Paris. I have to admit we were SHOCKED at how pleasant everyone was! We were bracing ourselves to be treated pooly and snubbed by the locals...it was quite the opposite.

When we first arrived a man on the metro offered to switch seats my husband and I could sit together. A woman on our bus (after overhearing us speak English and seeing our DK Eyewitness Paris guide) kindly offered information about the buildings we were driving by and volunteered some tips on finding a good dinner spot. Waiters/shopkeepers all spoke English with us (after our terrible attempts to speak French and read menus with our little French menu guide).

I am not sure if it was because they are happy to have tourists back after the riots or we just got lucky...but I have to say our encounters with Parisians were nothing but pleasant.

Also, I highly recommend the Hilton Champs-Elysee...a great use of those Hilton points we have been saving. It's a super nice hotel in a wonderful location and we were treated like royalty!

I can't wait to go back to Paris...I am in love!
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 12:51 AM
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This is the Paris I have always known! It's a lovely surprise isnt it.

I have yet to find a city in Europe where they even come close to the Parisians for friendliness!!
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 02:47 AM
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I think it really must just depend on who you run into because people were fairly rude and dismissive towards my friend and I when we went there.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 02:59 AM
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There are rude people, busy and preoccupied people, friendly people and reserved people wherever you go. The behaviours and language that signal all these things are different wherever you go; but a smile and a 'please', 'excuse me' or 'thank you' will go a long way in most countries.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 04:24 AM
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This is, I think, the PERFECT example, of people who have heretofore listened, and unfortunately believed, all the demonization of the French which certain quarters in the US feel it necessary to perpetuate (after all, it is MUCH easier to dislike folks if they are demonized first, and frequently)..and then they actually get up and GO there and find out what is REALLY happening.

There are ALWAYS two sides to EVERY so-called pleasant and rude encounter and we never get to hear the other one.

I'm happy you had a good trip and I am willing to bet one of the reasons you were treated as well as you were is because you treated the people you encountered with the respect they deserved.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 04:55 AM
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Since you're now living in Brussels, you have ample opportunities for day trips! When we lived full time in Brussels, I went down to Paris for the day once about every three weeks. It's a snap on the Thalys. Now we're only living here part time, but I still fit in day trips to Paris as much as possible...will be heading down on Wednesday to see the Christmas decorations, have lunch, stroll, and just relax.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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LGBooker, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised as well. We got back from our first trip to Paris about a month ago and did not encounter one rude person. I don't know if I was expecting it or not, but everyone seems to either has or know someone who has a "rude Parisian" story. My in-laws actually seemed shocked when we got back and said the people were actually quite friendly. We were polite and attempted to speak French, and I do believe that went a long way.

Tracy
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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I totally agree! We spent 10 days in Paris in late 2002 and are still baffled at what would seem OVERLY friendly encounters with some Parisians. I'm NOT complaining, but this still baffles us. For insight, let me add that we are two mid-50's ladies who speak French passably but not well.

The first incident was at Le Mediteranee restaurant (upscale). We had two waiters: one older, one young and apparently an apprentice. Lavish service---at times they seemed to be kind of competing. Then, upon presentation of le addition, the young man slipped me a note with his name, phone number, address, and the names of his family members (he lives with his parents). No explanation. Just gave me the information. We were baffled.

Then, a few days later, we were standing in a passage in the metro trying to decipher a map. An elegant elderly woman stopped to help (we spoke in French). As we turned to head toward our train, she stopped me and insisted on writing down her address and phone numbers (both in Paris and Provence!). None of us had a pen handy, but she proceeded to stop passersby until she found someone with a pen. She insisted we call her the next time we would be in France.

The 3rd incident was in Paimpol. A nicely dressed older gentleman, dining alone, struck up a conversation. He showed us photos of his family and their vacation home there in Brittany. He insisted we take his phone/address for future trips.

In NONE of these cases did we solicit these responses in ANY way. Unless I was saying something in my poor French which translated improperly. But I don't think that was it. My friend also speaks French and noticed nothing untowards.

Isn't this the oddest thing?! I sent each of them a postcard of my hometown when we returned. But I would never presume to call them on their generous offers. We've gotten a lot of laughs trying to figure this out. Could they have been angling for an invite to the U.S.? I don't think that's it.

It remains a mystery...and a good story...unless someone here has a better insight.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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I have only had one person ever be truly rude to me in Paris and that person was not Parisian. I, too, had heard before visiting Paris that most Parisians are rude, yet I found the opposite to be true.

I think that when visiting any country it is usually a matter of how we, as visitors, approach people and situations that often determine the reactions of others. My hunch is that the people who told me that Parisians are rude might have been rude to begin with themselves.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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JeanneB- I had a similar isolated
experience here in Brussels.

A lady heard me order a beer at a pub (I was waiting for my husband to get off work so I was alone) and guessed that I was American. She chatted with me for a minute and when I said goodbye and found a table she followed me and sat down with me. She wanted to hear all about living in the US and said that if we got a new president (ha!) she would visit me. She wrote down her name and number and told me to stay with her next time we were in Brussels (before she understood that we actually live in Brussels now).

BTike- do you find good deals on Thylas? We rode it down there but had an expensive rate (due to originally booking on a Belgian holiday weekend and then swapping the tix for another)
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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"This is, I think, the PERFECT example, of people who have heretofore listened, and unfortunately believed, all the demonization of the French which certain quarters in the US feel it necessary to perpetuate"

The residents of Paris have really demonized themselves. Even other frenchmen think far too many of them are rude. It was sort of a little joke when we went other places in France and the conversation came around to how visitors often got treated in Paris.

Glad to see you were the exception to the rule.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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>This is the Paris I have always known! It's a lovely surprise isnt it.<

Yes it is a lovely surprise, very much different from the Paris I knew in the 70's when the people seemed to make it a point to be rude to tourists.

I think that it was in the late 80's when the attitude changed.

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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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When someone says people were often rude to them I'd think they probably did something to cause it. Sure there are rude people in Paris. But most will be friendly, or if not exactly friendly, at least civil and professional.

If one continually runs into rude people, did you greet shopkeepers when you walked in, or pick up/paw merchandise, or talk very loud to try to make yourselves understood (why <b>does</b> that happen anyway)

one or two rude experiences - OK, could happen anywhere. But <i>people were fairly rude and dismissive towards my friend and I</i>?.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:53 AM
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Most people I know who say that Parisians are rude are the type that expect the effusive, back-slapping &quot;How 'ya doin&quot; type greeting, which I think is considered very disingenuous and phoney by Parisians, and most Europeans. Parisisans' lives to come to a halt because there are tourists in town - there are 23 million more of them after you leave.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Just to stir the pot: I wonder (if indeed there has been a significant change in attitudes and behaviour among French people) whether it might have something to do with more prosperity (more opportunities to travel abroad themselves) and/or more job security and time to be more relaxed..? Something to be said for the 35 hour week, perhaps.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:01 AM
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I found everyone surprisingly pleasant this last trip... I was trying to speak French... of course their English was much better than my French... The people in the hotel (Relais Hotel Vieux Paris) I stayed at were incredible! They really went out of their way to make me feel at home.

Even the waiters in the sidewalk cafes and restaurants were nice to talk to.

JB
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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I had the same misconceptions, LGB, until I too visited France. I've rarely experienced rudeness anywhere in France (except for a waiter in Paris, who, it should be noted, appeared to be unpleasant to everyone). I'd agree with Intrepid that you and your husband probably treated people politely and so you were treated politely in return. Plus, attempting to speak the language is always a good thing.

I'm glad you had a good trip.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Re the Thalys, I usually get a Mezzo+ ticket in first class...it runs about 123 euros. The Smilys ticket is the cheapest, around 49 euros return but they're second class only and sell out much farther in advance (my days trips were always more spontaneous...planned usually no more than a week ahead). The Thalys web site does offer some cheap rates on last minute specials but the times offered usually don't work for me.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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Our Paris experience was pleasant also, although I didn't expect rudeness. However, people had told my husband he would 'hate' France as the people were rude. (These were people who had never been to France!)
Two examples: we met an older nicely dressed woman walking her Westie along the Seine. She stopped and talked at length and made suggestions of sites to see in the Loire Valley.
We were taking pictures of Notre Dame from the bridge when a gentleman with a briefcase and obviously on his way to work, stopped and offered to take our picture together.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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&quot;...all that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own...&quot;
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