We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Friendly French!

Which Paris hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
1,165 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Friendly French!

Having monitored this forum for several months, I often see questions or comments about whether the French are friendly or are they rude etc. etc.

I've been here about 10 days and EVERYONE, and I mean everyone I've encountered has been kind, helpful, friendly - all that and more. I do speak some French but whenever I start in French, they usually change immediately over to English. I've stopped on the street to check my map and more than once, someone has stopped as well to ask if I need help or directions.

Yesterday I was at Gare St Lazare to check a train schedule. The clerk who communicated in English and French asked me what I thought of the French because 'most foreigners don't like us, they think we are rude and arrongant'. I told him that was not true in my experience, that the French are helpful and kind. And this is a guy who deals with tourists all day long -- how sad that he thinks he is viewed as rude.

Rude waiters -- not in my experience. Yes, the dining experience is different than in the states but I love that I am not rushed out the door so the table can be used by another customer. I've enjoyed my longer solo dinners. And some waiters have totally endeared themselves to me. The other night I had dinner at la Coupole. My camera was on my table and the waiter came over and asked "May I?" I thought he was offering to take my picture. Well no, he walked around the restaurant taking photos of the painted ceiling and the floor tiles, then returned and took a self-portrait of himself and another waiter. That will be one of my best memories from this trip.

I did go see 'How To Be A Parisian In One Hour' the other night. Olivier Giraud of course proposes that the French are truly arrogant. But he over exaggerates the traits of the French so much, that it just become humorous. And being French, I suppose he can poke fun at himself and his fellow countrymen.

Anyway, my point is that if your overall experience with the French is that they are rude, I suggest you look to yourself and see how you are treating them. Of course, there can be the one or two that are having a bad day. That happens anywhere. But to write off an entire country of people is in my opinion, the rudest act of all.

Saratoga Springs, NY
Level Contributor
5,452 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Friendly French!

I have to agree completely. This is an excellent post!

I thought the French people I encountered were helpful, kind and anything but rude.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
18,715 posts
148 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Friendly French!

That's interesting about the waiter :) As to stereotypes, sure Parisians have heard it too, and French people from outside the capital can be critical also...

Bedfordshire...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
Level Contributor
9,239 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Friendly French!

"French people from outside the capital can be critical also..." A masterpiece of understatement, inna!

Bedoin, France
Level Contributor
4,908 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Friendly French!

< "French people from outside the capital can be critical also..." A masterpiece of understatement, inna!>

No kidding. :-)

Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,782 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Friendly French!

< "French people from outside the capital can be critical also..." A masterpiece of understatement, inna!>

"Parisiens-têtes de chiens ; parigots-têtes de veaux" and other lovely stuff has been said about us, lovely parisians ;)

Paris, France
Level Contributor
3,464 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Friendly French!

It was always interesting, when we still had the department-based car number plates in France, when a Parisian ("Parisien, tete de chien, Parigot, tete de veau") was on vacation in my native Alps... Oh, how they suffered, names, gestures and honking-wise on the small mountain rods.

Seems a number of Parisians still owning a car have now gone for a completely different (optional) department mention, which does not bear the same "stigma" as the dreaded "75" (and we are not even talking about a "75" car in Corsica, here...)

PS: Bienvenue had the same "nursery rhyme" in mind :D

Edited: 24 November 2012, 17:41
Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
5,565 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Friendly French!

And yet Parisians are the best drivers in the country. They have to be.

When two lanes of heavy traffic are merging, for example, Parisians wait for each other and take turns entering traffic. People from the provinces don't.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
18,715 posts
148 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Friendly French!

There is worse (in terms of hate), so not quite the "masterpiece" but thank you anyway, Peri.

Edited: 24 November 2012, 17:52
Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,782 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Friendly French!

Quote: " Seems a number of Parisians still owning a car have now gone for a completely different (optional) department mention, which does not bear the same "stigma" as the dreaded "75" (and we are not even talking about a "75" car in Corsica, here...)"

Yes. A way of creating a loud diversion is to ask about the neighbor département (ie Alsace vs Lorraine or Vosges, Normandie vs Bretagne) !

:D

Val-de-Marne, France
Level Contributor
8,621 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Friendly French!

Parisix, as a child my parents' car plate said 94 (which, for those who don't know is just outside Paris but not Paris) and when on vacation people would refer to us as Parisians I remember protesting as a little girl and turning to my parents saying "Why are they calling us Parisians?!!! We're not Parisian!!!" I was sooooo offended, the word alone sounded like an insult :-)