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Old 09-18-2007, 11:50 AM   #21
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My experiences in Paris were longer ago (~20 years). No excuse AFAIK for either rudeness or great love. The Italians are different but no better: generally everything is more praiseworthy the closer they get to country/province/hometown/family/mamma, in that order. I think everywhere there's a subset of people all over who travel, in the end, to convince themselves that home = best. They may be wrong or right; I respect their feelings even when I sometimes don't share them. I understand very well how uncomfortable it is, oftentimes, to be in a strange place. If there were a McDonald's near me, I might well find an excuse to go there once a month.

In the meantime, don't fault the folks who aren't going from meeting room A to meeting room B and who don't want to pretend not to be traveling great distances; let them look out the window if they like.

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Old 09-18-2007, 04:58 PM   #22
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I've been to Paris twice. First in 1998 and most recently a few months back. I don't remember any exceptional incidents in 1998. 2007 was just awesome though. Many people were friendly and smiled at us and offered unsolicited help when it was obvious that we didn't know where exactly we were. We stayed at a small Parisian hotel and the staff was very friendly. We were in the southern part of the city where there aren't too many sites so it was more of a residential area. That might have had something to do with it. After we got back, I read an article where the Parisian mayor was in the middle of campaign to encourage Parisians to be friendlier towards tourists.

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Old 09-18-2007, 05:49 PM   #23
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The French have always had a stereotype of "le chauvinisme". My early experiences there made me realize that country people were just as down to earth as everywhere else. Parisians were haughty. This spring in Paris, I felt that the joie de vivre was missing and the pride a little humbled. There has always been an understandable French pride at their country's political and artistic achievements. But as with all great enterprises, after a period of dominance, complacency set in. France's economy has not been doing well in recent years, immigrants are not valued or asssimilated, and France's global importance has declined. Change is needed and the French know it in their hearts. That's why they elected Sarkozy.

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