One thing I have yet to understand is why so many people say the French are rude. Yes there will always be a person who will say from their experience that it is a dirty and rude country. Especially Paris. I always question them.
Let’s be realistic. Paris is a very big city with lots of people. It also hosts millions of tourists a year. Those images you have of Paris from the movies are just that…. Movies. If you go anywhere with a lot of people or any city, things will not always be freshly cleaned and polished. I still think Paris is much cleaner than other cities like Chicago, Dallas or New York.
Now let’s dive into the rude Parisian stereotype. This city hosts tourists from all over the world every year. How many of those even attempt using the language or understanding the social norms of France or Paris in general? For example, one should always greet the shop keeper when entering the store. They are put off of you don’t. They are just matching energy.
Now let’s say you are a waiter at a restaurant or just a regular person trying to live their life and get through work. If someone comes up to you and immediately starts speaking another language, you would find this rude. While many French do have basic English, it’s really mostly common among the younger crowds. Quite often, as soon as you try French, they will switch to English for you.
While I am pretty good in French, I am not the best. But just for speaking the language or even using it some before they switch to English (which is about 20% of the time), I get amazing service. I have found the majority of people to be really warm and friendly. They get so excited (or relived) by someone attempting their language and customs that they want nothing more than to help. This has resulted in some very good meals, great recommendations on where to go and how to jump in front of the crowds, and some really warm friendships.
Now yes, I have encountered some really rude people. It has only happened maybe twice. Some people are just salty and don’t want to interact with people. Sometimes people have a bad day. That is okay. It happens everywhere you go. It doesn’t mean that the culture and people are not friendly though.
So in the end, even just learning things like how to say hello, thank you and do you speak English… It really will get you far. Learning even some of the basic social customs and politeness quirks will get you even further.
Love and hugs, Kelly