What's up with Paris Cafe Society

Old Jan 4th, 2006, 03:09 AM
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What's up with Paris Cafe Society

I went to France for the first time this summer with my 18-year-old daughter. The purpose of the trip was to visit my sister who lives in rural Normandy. We spent the last three nights of our trip in Paris. I wonder if the seasoned travelers who frequent this site could enlighten me about our dining experiences. All three nights we ate in cafes. The first night we ate in a place owned and run by Italians. The food was good and the service was excellent and friendly. Our dining neighbors however were unpleasant to say the least: a man and two women who appeared to be in their late 30s or early 40s. The man spoke audibly making comments that with my limited French seemed to be about us. Both women would then screech with laughter and look at us. This went on until they left. The restaurant staff and other patrons seemed embarrassed by them. The owner made quite a fuss over us when they were gone. We went to the same place the following night because the food was so good, but opted to eat outside to avoid a repeat experience. On our last night we arrived at a different café quite late after an evening tour. We were ignored by the waiter while he served people who came in after us. This happens in many places world-wide and didn’t particularly bother me. A group of 6 people (also late 30s early 40s) however began taunting us. The men’s very loud conversation was sprinkled with comments such as “vulgar Americans” and the like followed again by screeches of laughter from the women. After about 15 minutes of this I was glaring at their table and they carefully avoided eye contact while they kept up their game of American baiting. My daughter with five years of French picked up most of what they were saying as they blasted Americans everything about us.

My question to experience travelers, especially those who love Paris is…is this a form of entertainment for Parisians? These cafes were in areas that must be frequented often by tourists. If we are so offensive, why frequent them? Could it be purely coincidence that it happened twice in three nights? I’d like to say that I enjoyed all of my trip except these experiences.
Emptynester is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 03:16 AM
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Troll, troll, troll yer boat, gently down the stream.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 03:22 AM
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since this is your very first post here, i suggest that you search for existing threads on this has been discussed at great length here (without constructive outcomes).
walkinaround is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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Oh Gretchen quiet down.
BjorkChop is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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In my experience it is not a "form of entertainment" for anyone, anywhere, Paris included.

My question is HOW did they KNOW where you are from or did you stand out as "Americans" (whatever that means) THAT much they could tell some way????
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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"These cafes were in areas that must be frequented often by tourists. If we are so offensive, why frequent them?"

You know people other than tourists actually live in touristic areas - so they obviously go to the local cafe or bar. I lived in Saint Germain des Pres for a year and it was almost impossible to go somewhere to eat or drink that was not touristic.

This of course does not excuse the behaviour of the French - but really sometimes it is annoying when you are paying so much rent for an apartment in an area such as this and you can't even get a seat for a glass of wine sometimes.

I'm sure the New Yorkers for example get frustrated with us stupid Europeans taking up space in their local cafe's sometimes as well.
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