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Parisian snobbery coming back?

San Diego, CA
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Parisian snobbery coming back?

Four of us just came back from a 5 night sojourn to Paris - we stayed at the Westin Paris Vendome across from the Gardens. Now, all of of have been traveling to Paris (and other parts of France) since the 80's.......and it was in the 80's & 90's when the legendary restaurant snobbery was at its height. However in the late 90's and most of 2000 it almost completely disappeared - but I am here to tell you it is back. Four out of the six restaurants we went to - all highly rated - were very disappointing. Completely ignored - having to sit and wait for 15 to 20 minutes before we finally had to either get up and personally speak to a wait staff or just all of us getting up and leaving. This just does not make business sense. A successful restaurant should encourage their staff to promptly serve their customers and provide excellent service which, in turn, encourages good PR and repeat business. Crazy - and it seems to be unique to Parisians only - not in other parts of France. So, back to the "good old days" again? Hope not.

PARIS
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61. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Er, no...why??

Denver, Colorado
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62. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Seanbee, being from the "R" in the BRIC, I have to say it is sometimes true, there is a very different relationship between servers and the clients. Especially if these clients are the nouveau riche type (or aspirations to one day become one), which are also the ones who travel abroad with extravagant demands...it's our "ugly" stereotype.

I have observed the same in china, and have been told that by native Chinese collegues.

Now, what this has to do with French waiters being rude, I'm not so sure - this is a long maintained stereotype, not just by Americans but also By born and bred Europeans....

PARIS
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63. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Rashteriasha!

Thanks for your honest post!

Always good to back up an opinion...it's' the sweeping statements without back up that are suspect!

Thanks!

Paris, France
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64. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Well, I worked for a Gulf airline for 35 years (not one of the BRICS but really quite similar). I feel that I must have done a pretty good job because I received tips in excess of 1000€ more than once, given by people who looked at me as though I was something disgusting stuck under their shoe.

PARIS
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65. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

And now in Paris?

Montreal
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66. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

So many middle class "R"s are travelling to Paris too now, and they don't have extravagant demands and are slightly afraid of waiters that may be snotty (as they too have heard), or like some of the haughty ones back home :))

Paris, France
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67. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Not everybody from the BRICS is rich or arrogant, but some of their citizens give them a bad reputation. Back when "The Ugly American" was written in 1958, the majority of Americans travelers did not correspond to this moniker, yet clearly enough of them did for the nickname to remain in use all over the planet for decades.

<<And now in Paris?>> Sean, my entire career took place in Paris in the so-called Golden Triangle.

Edited: 01 May 2013, 21:26
Upland, California
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68. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Just returned last week from Paris and I also felt this way. I kinda liked the general atmosphere of the French people, but when I am paying for a particular service, there is that expectation that a service will be rendered at some point.

I mean when a customer calls me while working I've been told that they expect me to be pleasant and in fact that's one of the main reasons they will pay a few extra dollars because not only is our product industry standard but our service is above and worth the extra$$

I was actually dumb enough to wait 25 mins at a Louis Vuitton store for someone to notice me and show me a bag, I was so annoyed with the "salesperson" who just handed me the bag and walked away that I left it there.

For the record, I am Latin American and did notice a slightly different attitude when I spoke spanish as opposed to my native english. However it is hard to gauge those two experiences, especially since many could not really tell if I was American or Spanish.

For what it's worth I accepted and respected that I was in THEIR country and I've never had that "air" of being an American. I do love my country but I'm not gonna shove it down another persons throat ;)

Edited: 01 May 2013, 21:57
Toronto, Canada
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69. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

Oh no, please don’t say that the Parisian rudeness is coming back. Somewhere in this fascinating thread, a couple of people said that it was not historically documented, nor did it exist. It did exist. This was often written about in travel articles etc. It was experienced by me personally. In the mid 90’s I took my mother to Paris for 10 days, originally. We encountered a frugal welcome and outright rudeness. It was so depressing that we stayed for only 3 days. I couldn’t accept how we were treated and because of this, did not return to Paris for 14 years.

Phread, #49 >>>The rude waiter syndrome was common enough knowledge that several years back the City of Paris launched a politeness campaign, trying to teach servers to be decent with their clients.And its not about knowing the social norms. Parisians have the same complaints<<<<.

JD1946: Had I been treated as you were in the almost empty restaurant, I would also have left. Without hesitation. Shameful and unnecessary treatment of you and your party on a special night out.

INNA: Your post #52 with The Review was fabulous!.

Within this thread, I can somewhat understand the relationship of the BRIC issue. If you don’t understand BRIC: (I had to look it up)

>>>BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China…the acronym has come into widespread use as a symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 countries towards the developing world. It is estimated that BRIC countries will overtake G7 economies by 2027.<<< Wikipedia

Those that live in Paris or in the rest of France have a rich source of input on this. Really, in the Paris threads, I appreciate the input of all of the key regulars!

Ie: Kerouac’s comments are excellent and provocative, while still humane and compassionate. When all is said and done, he is the ‘go to person’ for a realistic and creative feel for Paris. Merci, mon ami.

(Seanbee does extremely well for such a young man, (late teens-early 20’s?), a light touch… Thanks, sb)

The happy ending is that when I finally took the trip after a fourteen year absence in 2000, it was absolutely beautiful! Since then, 7 other trips, usually for a month at a time and the last was the month of October, 2011. Superb. No sign of rudeness, not at all.

The Parisians had changed and, to be honest, so had I. Simply, with each visit, I was becoming more sensitive to the nuances of French culture and this subtly changed each small, daily interaction. This then enhanced the overall quality of my visits. Although I didn’t experience the rude situations of the OP, I hope that it is not becoming once again an issue in Paris.

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Nottingham, United...
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70. Re: Parisian snobbery coming back?

I can only speak as I find and I just never have experienced any direct rudeness from any Nationality whichever Country I have visited other than Canada on one occasion. Maybe I have been lucky. I don't know

I first visited Paris in the mid 80's and I had heard all about rude Parisians all round but it didn't deter me. I didn't come across any rude or hostile people at all including waiters. I have been back many times since and I still haven't had a problem.

During my visits I have come across Americans being ignored or ridiculed though more than once. I can't say that I liked it but it wasn't anything that I wished to get involved in.

As for my earlier comment to the OP then he/she misinterpreted what I said to them. It wasn't meant as a criticism of them at all. They just didn't read what I had to say correctly although we are both supposed to speak the same language. Hmmm.