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Old 12-12-2007, 04:55 PM   #21
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I don't think you can accurately judge "friendliness" by how easy it is to get directions from a stranger with whom you have no common language. Many of us live in touristy areas, but how often do we help out strangers on the street? Hey, they might be pickpockets or muggers; better to keep your head down and keep walking, n' est-ce-pas?

ha
Sounding like a real American here. I've traveled extensively and the most dangerous place in the world bar none are large American cities. Don't worry, not too many Europeans are looking to mug you. Their quality of life ensures they don't need to. Outside of North America, people are extremely friendly and hospitable; they will give you the shirt off their backs so I can see how an American, not used to that, will be suspicious.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:58 PM   #22
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The only places you might encounter a bit of flack for being American is in the larger cities near universities,there are Canadian travel kits if you are worried about anti American sentiment,they usually consist of a few Canadian flag shoulder patches.
Usually the attitude you give is the one you get back.. Good trip eh!
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:11 AM   #23
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We went to France in the fall 2005. We had no problem with the French, either in Paris or in Normandy. I can speak enough French to get me in trouble, but most could speak English. If they insulted me, I didn't notice it or couldn't understand it. Great place, and I'd go back.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:51 AM   #24
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I travel internationally on a regular basis and go to France at least once a year. I often go to Paris but have been to both the North / South and Central areas also. I truly enjoy the French culture which is diffrent than ours (which I enjoy too!). I had about 5-6 years of French in Middle School and High School so I can fumble through short conversations but as many before in this thread say most people in the cities will speak English to you. I honestly have not felt that the people were any more rude thatn I have experienced elsewhere (including here in the US) Just about everywhere I go a smile and humility goes a long way. Enjoy the diffrences and try to bring back some of the great things we can learn from others.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:45 AM   #25
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I don't think you can accurately judge "friendliness" by how easy it is to get directions from a stranger with whom you have no common language. Many of us live in touristy areas, but how often do we help out strangers on the street? Hey, they might be pickpockets or muggers; better to keep your head down and keep walking, n' est-ce-pas?

ha
Ha ha... are you a New Yorker? ... just asking.
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:40 AM   #26
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Even in NYC people will help you with directions. Heck, we would even carry you there -- if you would just get to the point and ask your question.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:55 PM   #27
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I have only been to France twice, most recently this pat summer (and only briefly at that). My experiences have always been pleasant.

When in Paris a number of years ago, it struck me that Frenchmen were very much like Americans -- a bit haughty and assuming that every other culture is in some perhaps immeasurable way a bit inferior. Not sure I agree with my perception even, but I think it explains the conflict between the two peoples -- i.e., we're attitudinally so much alike.
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:13 AM   #28
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The Italians in Rome did not seem interested in helping us spend our money. .. we were ignored in stores in Rome.
and I am ignored at the local hardware store.

I think it is less the language one speaks than it is the Italians' imperfect ideas about marketing. They can seem either over-aggressive or practically lobotomized. It may also have to do with who is serving you; an owner or a member of their family will likely fall all over themselves (unless they are one of the children dragooned into the biz against their will, which I think is hardware-store-lady's problem).. while an employee gets paid no matter what (I don't think working on commission is all that widespread), so no skin off their nose if you walk out empty-handed.

I've only spent a few days in France, but I noticed a big-city/countryside rudeness difference others have mentioned; that's probably a factor everywhere. But my sister and I traveling together in Sicily did get a very chilly reception in Siracusa. I got the feeling they still keep the women there locked up, as I hardly saw any on the street (1990 or so).

And on my travels I've found the most arrogant/loud/clueless are frequently Germans.. but the American lady throwing dollar bills at a British bus driver and loudly demanding (like he was deaf or might not speak English) "do you take MONEY? You know.. MOONNNNEEEYYY?!?!?!?" took the cake. She gets my lifetime award so far.
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:46 PM   #29
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The service that you usually receive in restaurants and stores in the U.S. is of a much higher quality than here in Canada. I believe that the reason for this might be that on the whole Americans are somewhat less tolerant of sloppy effort, are more tightly wound and demanding and will speak up when not pleased. Faced with poor service we Canadians will mostly not say anything, shrug off the poor service but still leave a tip and hope for better next time, or just simply not go back.

When DW and I were in the Dominican Republic, we were at a hotel that was according to staff about 20% Canadian, 50% U.S., and 30% asst. Europeans.

There was a line up at the tour desk and once my wife and I got to the front of the line the lady spoke with us for about 10 seconds and then said "you're Canadian aren't you". My response "Ummm, ya how do you know?" She said that she can usually tell just by the way that people approach her desk. Probably a little game she plays with herself. She said that the Americans tend to crowd the desk and are more intense and direct with what they want, and Canadians would stand a step back and were more at ease.

It makes sense that she would notice such a subtle difference since the people that we encountered in the DR were about as laid back as you can get without forgetting to breathe.
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Old 12-26-2007, 12:11 AM   #30
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...and Canadians would stand a step back and were more at ease.
In most of asia leaving any space between one's self and the desk/counter is an open invitation for others to jump in front of you
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:58 AM   #31
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In most of asia leaving any space between one's self and the desk/counter is an open invitation for others to jump in front of you
Same in Latin America. Get the hell to the front of the line, without looking directly at anyone or acting challenging is the play.

Con permiso,...butt...butt... butt.

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Old 12-26-2007, 02:12 PM   #32
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In Italy it's not a line so much as a rugby scrum.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:58 PM   #33
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I was there in 1993. I went to Paris and Nice and a few other places. It was part of a round the world trip I did for one year. Any way the French were lovely people. I had no problems with them, although I heard plenty otherwise (even from other Frenchmen). France is a great place. But when I travel I try to be humble. Unfortunately I ran into a lot of ugly americanos while traveling. It is embarrassing to say the least!
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Old 12-27-2007, 08:06 PM   #34
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I was in paris on 9-11 and had nothing but good exp in that country. I am a bit miffed at the usa with us going into any country that the shrub things threatend my daddy.
We have an arrogant pres. and he is trying to govern by the bible. It does not work. We need a new path. One that trys to fix all the bad will that our current addmin. has done.
If it would not be away from family and I would have to sell everything I own, I would love to live in france. It is a wonderful country. and the health care is nationalized. Europe has grown up and we are still in the sand box.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:07 PM   #35
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If it would not be away from family and I would have to sell everything I own, I would love to live in france. It is a wonderful country. and the health care is nationalized.
Why not take your family with you? Don't you want the best for them?
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move to france
Old 12-28-2007, 07:31 AM   #36
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move to france

Is that a left handed way of trying to say USA love it or leave it, I will buy your ticket out, or one of the other lines people say when you show any dissagrement with the polocys of this country?
If not sorry, but you should see that this country one that I love is going down a bad road.
We have a tendancy to name things like the patriot act as if it would be against the constitution to question it. and it is one of the single most civil liberty stripping devices that has ever been signed into law. Under the guise of fighting terror we are giving up our freedom with the catch fraze we need to protect our freedom while they are taking it away.
Those who think with their emotion or religion are more scary to me than people who fly into buildings. I personaly think that bush has done more to destroy this country than all the nine eleven hijackers combined.
This man with his bible in hand and brain in limbo has started a crusade and destroyed this countrys reputation across the world. he backed a tyrant in pakistan one that just killed his opisition, he has went back to the polocys of the seventys where we do evil to "prevent evil" When did we stop wearing white hats, when did we stop being the good guys. I think under nixion we lost much of our goodness.
Bush makes getting a BJ in the oval office look like an easter egg roll
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:50 PM   #37
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Is that a left handed way of trying to say USA love it or leave it,
?? It was a way of asking a question. That's all. You say you would dearly love to live in France. I wondered if there is not some way you could arrange to live there and have your family with you. The way you put your post made it sound like that was not even a possibility that had occurred to you.

Lot's of things are possible when you put your mind to it, especially when it is something you dearly desire.

If you expected to talk politics, a thread on travel in France is not exactly the place to look, is it?
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:21 PM   #38
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Robert, it was you who started this post bringing up an entire country's "attitude".

Have you booked a flight to Paris? Are you planning a visit? You didn't say.

The "attitude" of a country is made up of the single "attitudes" of the people in it, as well as its official face. Your experience of those "attitudes" depends on who you run into. People across the pond may think Americans have an "attitude" and be either welcoming or defensive based on that.

Given your own "attitude" I would say book the flight and you might find out you are pleasantly surprised with your reception in France. I'll be looking forward to a trip report! You've already decided the image of the "American abroad" is "a lot of bunk". Go find out! .. but you will enjoy it more if you can leave preconceptions about both the French and the Americans at home. We're all just people and have a lot more in common than we do differences. If you go with the right "attitude" you will have a lot of fun and lots to laugh about over the antics of the French, the antics of the other tourists and the antics of the Americans.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:51 PM   #39
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Have you booked a flight to Paris? Are you planning a visit? <u>You didn't say.
I originally started this thread when I saw info that France seemed to be rated number 1 in the world for national medical system, and as well as for consumer value of medical treatment.That spurred me to think "France may be the place to go for medical treatment." Unless, I thought, the old stereotype of the French having something of an "attitude" toward Americans was in fact still true.Not being in need of any medical treatment currently, no, I have not planned any visits to France.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:10 AM   #40
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When they talk about "#1 medical system" that's based on the aggregate anyway, of nationwide spending and nationalized care. [The popularity, problems and benefits of these systems compared with the US have been exhaustively gone into elsewhere and I do not want to further that discussion here.]

As for "consumer value" I know some people will go a long way for a bargain.. but do consider the expenses of a flight, to say nothing of other logistical complications if you are traveling while sick. French lessons would also come in handy, with a special focus on medical jargon. (I'd hate to be sick and not know what people were doing to me or why, and not be able to discuss options coherently.) If you have a procedure that requires any followup, you will have to pay for interim meals and lodging. Combined with the weak dollar the whole affair would be unlikely to be any great "deal".

If you want info on French health care and insurance, I found this, but cannot vouch for any of it:
Health Insurance in France & French Health Care by FrenchEntree.com
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