Let Paris’ unique people inspire you. Paris has long been a haven for artists, musicians and thinkers, and this atmosphere has created a culture distinct to Paris alone. The stereotype about Parisians being rude, snobby and so on is simply not true.
Don’t be fooled by this myth. The truth is far more interesting.
Our encounters with the French have been anything but negative, and if you found the Parisians to be this way, I would question what you may have done to get such a response…
So you are in Paris and you don’t speak French. (I only know what I learned at school, which isn’t much, but I try!) You make your request in English and the Frenchman says “je ne comprends pas” and throws his arms in the air. Do you consider this rude? When he comes to our country he does not expect us to understand his French.
With my limited French I was tested tous les jours (everyday). The French are very patient with me as I try, asking for “un baguette” and deux pain au raisin s’il vous plais” at the Boulanger, and the fact that they speak back to me in English only makes me laugh. I found that smiling and speaking a little of their language even if it’s only “bonjour” and “merci” is appreciated and easy to do.
If you are visiting a major city, like Paris or Nice, you can probably muddle through the place with no knowledge of French. The French people, however, consider it rude to address them in English. You should at least learn some basics to simply avoid appearing inconsiderate. If you visit rural areas or even smaller cities, learning at least some French is crucial.
People watching is a favourite activity of ours, especially while sitting in a typical French café at a table on the sidewalk sipping a wine or a coffee. There persists a myth that Parisians are snobby, unfriendly and rude. However, we found this far from the truth and encountered many kind, helpful and friendly Parisians.
On several occasions when studying the map in the metro we are greeted with offers of assistance from delightful locals asking if we need help. They happily talk in English to us, which is very kind of them and a wonderful help!
Watching people going about their daily life and seeing their interactions with each other teaches us a lot about their casual and stress-free way of life.
There are few inhibitions regarding affection or sex; it’s pretty common to see Parisians greeting one another with a kiss on each cheek. One can appreciate their love of life, and their demonstrative way of showing warm affection for one another.
Perhaps Parisians are considered unfriendly because they appear less casual and more reserved than other Westerners. The fact that most Parisians dress impeccably or with pizzazz can encourage the idea that they are unapproachable (to the t-shirt cargo pant clad sandal shod tourist perhaps!). And it’s true; the city simply oozes fashion.
Paris is the uncontested fashion centre of the world. Parisians place the highest value on fashion and fine dining. Money is spent more readily on the latest fashions or on gourmet cuisine than anything else. Parisians also have a love for the performing arts including theatre, ballet, opera, and film. In recent years, Jazz music has caught on in a big way.
However, this love of the finer things in life, classical arts, love of culture and an exciting dress sense does not mean that Parisians think they are above anyone, why not simply appreciate their vibrancy, flair and love of life.
Paris for me is a seductive and magnetic destination where I just love to hang out!