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Friendly Paris

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ontario canada
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163 posts
6 reviews
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Friendly Paris

my daughter and I took our first visit to Paris in May 2014......always heard about unfriendly Parisians so admit I was expecting it......but could not have been more wrong.......never came across anyone unfriendly or unhelpful......actually met 2 people who deserve a big thank you.....1) was getting on Metro to go to airport....a young gentleman saw me struggling with my suitcase on the long stairway and literally took my suitcase and met me at the top......so thoughtful.......2)on the metro train to airport....about half way the train stopped at a station and a woman quickly came up to us (noticing we had suitcases) and said we had to get off here and switch trains to get the airport....it all happened so fast and we quickly got off the train not even sure we needed to....as it turned out we read the route wrong and didn't realize we had to switch......can not thank her enough.........and do hope to return to Paris someday.

Brisbane, Australia
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2,443 posts
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1. Re: Friendly Paris

Ah - the kindness of strangers. It is a beautiful thing. Some would see a risk in accepting offers of assistance, but trusting to instinct has worked for us too - the help up the stairs with luggage, in Paris and London, being but one. And the "get off the train here" advice was a similar experience for us too - as it turns out, in Barcelona, heading for the airport. Mind you, I'd draw the line at the usual risk locations eg at ticket machines and ATMs, of course.

Ft. Lauderdale
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177 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Friendly Paris

Just returned last week and we were treated exceptionally well in every establishment we entered. It was a noticeable change from the indifference somettimes experienced in the past. The people walking on the street were a different matter. If you happen to cross paths on the sidewalk be prepared to move because they won't, not even an inch. I found myself always giving way. One time I was not paying attention andI was hit so hard I thought I'd been hit with a bat. The woman never apologized or slowed down. Getting a seat on a busy metro was another experience. Your proximity to a seat was irrelevant. What mattered was speed. How quickly you moved across the car as someone was getting up determined if that seat belonged to you. You could be standing next to it and have it taken by a someone further away while you waited for the passenger to get up and move away. I eventually gave up trying.

Sydney, Australia
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25,270 posts
60 reviews
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3. Re: Friendly Paris

I am mid 60's and had a very different experience on the Metro. Seats were left vacant for us to take or people stood and vacated seats for us. We always thanked them. The one thing I found strange was that quite young children, maybe 8 or so, were encouraged to sit even if the parent was standing, and they were not encouraged to vacate a seat for elders. It was usually younger adults who accommodated us.

Boston...
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12,883 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: Friendly Paris

Travel girl, the same thing happened to me a few years ago, even after I gave way. A man bumped into me so hard, I almost fell down.

Then another man, a businessman by the looks of him, ran up to the guy who'd bumped into me and gave him such a tongue-lashing! I couldn't follow all the rapid fire French, but the guy looked so ashamed, I almost felt bad for him.

Gotta take the bad with the good, apparently.

Princeton, New...
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502 posts
51 reviews
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5. Re: Friendly Paris

Travelgirl,

I noticed this phenomena in Copenhagen. No one will give way! I ended up avoiding people by zigzagging my way through the Stroget. I didn't notice this in London. Curious to see if we find this in Paris.

Florida
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17,112 posts
10 reviews
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6. Re: Friendly Paris

Yes, you will see it in Paris. I usually am the one to shift over as well. Wondering if one should specifically make determined eye contact, or if one should purposely avoid eye contact, LOL. Game of 'chicken'.

Seattle, Washington
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813 posts
39 reviews
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7. Re: Friendly Paris

Good reason to stay aware of your surroundings and watching where you are going. Everyone I see in downtown Seattle with their heads down texting while they walk would be creamed in Paris.

Bedfordshire...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
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9,367 posts
94 reviews
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8. Re: Friendly Paris

Worst place I have seen for that is Frankfurt a M. New York is also 'unyielding'

Paris, France
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25,245 posts
32 reviews
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9. Re: Friendly Paris

Yet another poll was published the other day (was it by Condé Nast Traveler? I don't remember.) about the most unfriendly cities in the world, and Paris was again "well" placed on the list. I think these polls are ridiculous because people can vote who have never visited a city or who have not been there in 40 years. But they always get enormous media coverage (including in Paris).

It might be more interesting if such polls were confined to people getting off an airplane after having visited a country.

Puget Sound
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908 posts
10 reviews
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10. Re: Friendly Paris

K2 strikes a familiar note with his reference to 40 years ago. Being an American in Paris back then could be quite an unpleasant and oft-angering experience. Visiting again in the late 80's (with my french speaking Belgian relatives) taught me that it was not just Americans or non francophones who were treated shoddily.

But lots of change has occurred since these days-gone-by. I was in Paris for extended periods in both 2005 and 2010 -- quite simply stated, people could not have been nicer. One exception was the reaction of an older local when I tripped over her poodle -- not quite sure what she was saying, but it clearly was outside the boundaries of "nice". Alas.........