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Quick question for a paper... any help would be great.

Quick question for a paper... any help would be great.

May 4th, 1999, 12:32 PM
  #1  
Susanne
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Quick question for a paper... any help would be great.

Hi. I'm writing a paper on changing attitudes towards the French, specifically Parisians, specifically American and English attitudes. If anyone has any horror stories about experiences with the stereotypical rude Parisian it would really help me out. I know this is sort of an odd request, but I'd really appreciate any and all responses.
Thanks.
 
May 4th, 1999, 12:42 PM
  #2  
Kavey
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Do a search on Paris, Rude, French. There was a thread on this very very recently and you should look through all that was posted there.
 
May 4th, 1999, 12:42 PM
  #3  
Kavey
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Do a search on Paris, Rude, French. There was a thread on this very very recently and you should look through all that was posted there.
 
May 4th, 1999, 12:47 PM
  #4  
Helen
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Oh, please -- not another flame war! Suzanne, you will find a number of threads in the Fodor's archives with just the kind of horror stories you seek. I just can't think of any good topic words for you to seach on. "Concierge" comes to mind. These discussions bring out the worst in this Forum -- we go from descriptions of an encounter with one rude person, to generalizations regarding a whole nationality, which naturally inspires retaliatory smears against the nationality of those who first complained. (These people don't bathe, those women don't shave, those people are ripoff artistes, etc., etc.) I hate when that happens!!!
 
May 4th, 1999, 01:24 PM
  #5  
Lee
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Susanne: I have been to Paris maybe six times and all but my first trip were great.

I was new to Europe and I must have been wearing my "I'm an American!" T-shirt or something like that because my attitude probably wasn't what it could have been.

First off, I stopped at the German-French border and went inside to try and get my passport stamped. Four security guards were playing cards at a table and when I asked about the stamp, they ignored me (twice). I asked a third time and one of them, a woman, got up, escorted me out the door and locked it. I did what any red-blooded American would do and I "flipped them off". This too, they ignored. I just laughed at the scene and walked off.

The next day, I'm under the Eiffel Tower and trying to locate the nearest Metro stop to get back to the hotel and change for dinner. I spot two policemen and approach them, asking (yep, in english) where I could find it. One cop said "are you English?" and I said "no, American", to which he relied "f__k you, American!" and he flipped me off! Wow, talk about paybacks, he must've heard about me at the border!

I was ready to go back to Germany where I was living at the time. As mentioned, I have been back since and it enjoyed it each time. No other episodes quite like that and I must admit, my attitude is much better than it was on my first trip. Being an American doesn't entitle me to any special treatment. I haven't got any other complaints. Hope that helps.
 
May 4th, 1999, 01:36 PM
  #6  
Maira
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Susanne -----what would really help you out would be to solicit honest opinions about the Parisians from people who have been going to Paris throughout the years and if they have notice any change on the Parisians attitude (whatever that may be). To ask for bad experiences is really odd. Do you already have an outcome in mind and need to support it?
 
May 7th, 1999, 08:33 AM
  #7  
daniel lee
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Susanne,

I think that the reason Americans find the Parisians as rude and cold is a dichot--one being the Americans' attitude of travel and the Parisian's adhesion to courtesy and politeness.

Some Americans travel and feel that they deserve the same kind of service they get in America. They might also feel that everybody should speak English. These ideas completely undermine the whole concept of travel--to learn about different cultures and see new things. How can one see new things if he is so close-minded?

And the other thing is that the people of Paris are proud--proud of their beautiful language and of having a society based on courtesy and politeness. I would be, too, if I lived in Paris. To think of a society that thrives more on its people as opposed to commercialism and rat-racing is almost incomprehensible to me, having grown up in the Chicago area. But such is the case with Paris. Arts, culture, and history are so damn alive and electric in the intricate capillaries of shops, churches, museums, and apartments.

I sincerely hope that your paper is not focusing on how rude the Parisians are. Because that would simply feed into the blazing fire of our stereotypes--much of which from people that have never actually been to Paris.

Lee: I cannot imagine why the police officer would flip you off and curse at you. Did you make any attempt to speak French, or did you barrel in there with pure English? And how was YOUR attitude? I'm not blaming you--I just think that if you objectively looked at both sides it would be a little more lucid.

Daniel
 
May 7th, 1999, 08:46 AM
  #8  
cheryl
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If you solicit only "horror stories" for your paper, you will end up with a biased account of attitudes. You will have a "cleaner" paper if you take all experiences and then show "horror stories" as a proportion of all experiences. Not that you asked for our advice on your research, but I don't think any of us here want a few random horror stories to be cited as indicative of American/Parisian relations.
 
May 7th, 1999, 09:34 AM
  #9  
Martha B
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Listen to Maira and Cheryl. Speaking for myself, I haven't seen any change. I met a lot of nice people and a couple of jerks in Paris in 1976, and a lot of nice people and a couple of jerks twenty years later.
 
May 7th, 1999, 09:38 AM
  #10  
andrew
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I'm confused.
Why is it wrong to have a negative impression of Parisians, but OK to say that Americans (presumably all 250 million of them) are driven by commercialism and "rat-racing".

Obviously we should not let sterotypes have too much influence on our impressions of people. But we also should not pretend that those stereotypes don't have a nucleus of truth.

I have visited Paris several times and I hope to return many more. But I'm not going to pretend that politeness is one of the Parisians' strong points.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:19 AM
  #11  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:20 AM
  #12  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:20 AM
  #13  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:20 AM
  #14  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:20 AM
  #15  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:21 AM
  #16  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:21 AM
  #17  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:22 AM
  #18  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:22 AM
  #19  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 10:23 AM
  #20  
Lee
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Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 

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