I've been to Paris on a business trip and didn't find the French particularly rude. I think it's more that they are very proud of their culture and language. I think some of them still have the 'traditional' antipathy towards the English, similar to the Dutch/Swiss against the Germans.
Like I heard from an Irish guy here: He was lost in the countryside somewhere in Central France so he stopped his car and asked a man who was walking along the street where for directions. The French guy pointed towards the direction the Irish guy came and told him to continue along that road and then turn left. After that, the French guy asked where the Irish guy was from, so he said 'Ireland'. And the French guy goes: "Ah, well, in that case, you're heading the right direction, just continue the way you were coming and then turn right."
But I think they tend to be quite direct, they show you if they don't like you and they show you if they do.
But I do agree with the previous posts, being polite brings you anywhere, not just in France. Learn a few phrases in French and use them. They will probably laugh at you, but at least you're making the effort.
Just my 2 cents...
I don't think the french are rude per se - obviously i get the butt end of it being a brit and my experience clearly doesn't match everyone else's but I'm sure that some of the french from outside of paris consider the parisians to be haughtier than average. Hey, its all sweeping generalisation though innit?
I wondered where that reputation of the French for rudeness came from. This thread brings interesting answers
As for myself, I have spent a lot of time making photos in Paris, generally in areas full of tourists. Some of them, guessing that a person lugging around 10 pounds of photo gear including a huge tripod was probably indigenous, dared to ask me directions or to snap of photo of them (typically incluging the Eiffel Tower in the view). I like to be helpful and always tried to do my best for them, even if it is not always easy (backlit shots of the Eiffel Tower do not always look great).
YOu can't avoid rude people, as you can avoid a traffic light, really. I have been in Paris 3 times, and I have found all kinds of people, rude one, cool ones, indiferent ones... You just can't know who is going to be rude to you. Just enjoy your trip, and if someone is not nice to you, just don't even bother to understand the person.
That can happen to you in Paris, or anywhere else!!!!!
When I lived in Paris (for a semester), my friend had this great saying, "Paris is a great city. If only it would have less Parisians..." We laughed, but all knodded in agreement.
Truth is, like every one has said thus far, Paris is just another large city. I live in NY now, and I'll be damned if New Yorkers are any nicer. The problem with Paris is that so many tourists come there, that the Parisians are sick of it. When I see tourists in NY, stopping in the middle of the street, as if they are the only ones on the sidewalk, or at the top of the subway stairs when I'm trying to get home from work, I get pretty pissed off, too.
So just don't do anything stupid that would single you out as an obvious tourist - be respectful, quiet, considerate and aware of your surroundings, and you won't experience the wrath.
I had experienced some anti-American sentiment (and that was BEFORE the war in Iraq), but I refuse to say that I am Canadian. It sickens me that we have to hide our identities just to be accepted.
Most importantly, Paris is an amazing city - there is no other like it. So don't think about it too much, and enjoy yourself!
hey. im living n paris right now. umm some of then can be horribly rude to you if you are speaking english. but only in certain places. the fat old bakery lady is always a cow to me and so is the lady at the bank. and when i am out with my friend who is american she always seems to be spit on or yelled at. but this is prob cuz she is loud and obnoxious and has nothing to do with the fact she is american. on the other hand they can be really lovely. In the touristy places especially. At the posh night clubs they can be very stuck up (the bouncers) but this is like all nice clubs. (make sure u dress tippt top if u go) If you attempt to speak french even if its real bad they still appreciate that a lot. My mom came here and we were out in the days in the popular spots and she was really suprised because she thought they were so lovely. I guess it just depends on where you go and when. at restuarants you will find that there not overly HEY HOW ARE YOU.... kind of thing because generally no one tips here and they work for their wage. i really love it here and the people, you just have to know when to be quiet and not parade about. oh i just read u are going in june... could be to late for this post but dammit i wrote it so i am going to post it. GO ENGLAND!!!
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 15, 2006 12:33 AM by chelsi ]
I apologise in advance but this is just an asinine question.
I have to agree here; are you really asking us to confirm a generalisation over 60 million people? Like the Canadians, the French are really all separate individuals, you know... I can't believe there's even people who seriously respond to this thread :-)
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 15, 2006 12:37 AM by bentivogli ]
A very interesting read.
Here's my 2 cents
1. Don't say you're Canadian. We Canadians don't like it... and you might get caught at your own game if you meet one or if the French person you speak to has been here and starts asking you details (I've heard this happen before!)
2. If you're staying at the same place the whole time, you get a lot of local flavor by visiting the same cafe in the morning for your croissant and cafe au lait (roughly: muffin and coffee). DO TIP. They're not used to it and they will appreciate it, even if they find you quirky for doing so. I have gotten way better service every time I went back because I tipped once or twice at the beginning.
3. What everyone else said: be polite etc. Put yourself in their shoes... you're running home from work and someone shoves a map or a camera in your face and starts speaking a foreign language. Common sense dictates you would not be amused. If you need directions or need someone to take a picture of you (which has happened to me for about 10 rolls of film!!!), look at the people. If they look like they're in a rush, carrying 18 packages or whatever, find someone else.
Hope you have fun!
I don't speak french, although I can understand and read and I know only a few words. I went to Paris alone 4 years ago, I was surprised to find almost everywhere very kind people. Some examples: a girl saw me looking at the map, and asked me if I need a hand to find a location; Paris underground has many stairs, and I was carrying an heavy baggage, people helped me to lift it, and in any case I asked help, they did it spontaneously.
I was surprised because usually in big cities is not easy to find kindness. In Milan f.e. I was ill and I felt down, lying in the ground close to the underground station for at least 10 minutes...anybody stop to help me.
the only rude person I met in Paris was in a market, where I saw a mouse running on the floor. I noticed the clerk about it (in english, I didn't remember the french word raton for mouse) and he pretended to do not understand me, answering "we don't sell computers". Someone translated for him, and he did nothing anyway. In that case I though that you can find stupid people all over the world.
anyway, I'll be in Germany and France in 15 days for my vacations..Alsace and maybe Lorraine.When I'll come back I'll resume my experience!
I didnt find them to be rude at all. Actually the exact opposite. If you are a dumb tourist who speaks loudly and expects everyone to have perfect Enlgish then yes, people will probably be rude to you, but they will do that anywhere in the world. If you are friendly and polite and learn just a little french then people will generally be polite back. A smile always helps