Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Travel in France---French Attitude?
Old 12-10-2007, 10:35 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 831
Travel in France---French Attitude?

OK, the subject of a rumoroured French attitude "against" Americans has come around.

Many years, decades ago, some travel articles spoke of something like an "anti-American" attitude by the French toward American travellers.

What have recent french travellers experienced? Courtesy, friendliness, helpfulness? Or snobbery, unfriendliness, unhelpfulness, outright dislike toward Americans? Or mixed bag, no different than experienced in other countries from a large cross-section of interactions with different natives?
__________________

__________________
Dreams Worth Dreaming are Dreams Worth Planning For. I Spent a Career Planning for Early Retirement.
RetireeRobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-10-2007, 10:55 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,202
I have just limited experience, 2 days in Paris one trip, and a week in Nice on another. I had absolutely no problems. In Nice I had booked a small cheap hotel 3 blocks from the sea, not a touristy place, and when I got there I found out I booked for a day later. The clerk apologized that he had no rooms that night, but called and found a similar place 2 blocks away. I found that it helps not to be rude or demanding, especially when I found out that I was the one who messed up!

The only place in my limited world travel I found somewhat difficult was Spain. The cabby in Madrid was put off that I didn't speak Spanish, and everyone else seemed a bit stiff and reserved towards me. Not hostile, but not friendly and welcoming. But I spent even less time there so it's a bad sampling.
__________________

__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2007, 11:39 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 56
20 years ago Parisians were rude to Americans and anyone else who did not speak French very well. Outside Paris, though, the people were friendly to everyone.

We had the good fortune back then to spend a little time there with some people visiting from Quebec. When this subject came up they told us that French people were extremely rude to them, more so than to us, because though they spoke French natively, for them it is in an primitive or hillbilly-sounding dialect that the Parisians hated even worse than our "no French."

In the past few years, however, American tourists have become rare in France, and now even in Paris people are nice when you ask, "Parley voo Anglaize?" They say, "Of course, how can I help you?" It seems a generation of rude-mannered people have been replaced by nice ones eager to reverse the bad reputation of their elders and revive the interest of Americans in visiting their beautiful and interesting country.
__________________
dt123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2007, 11:59 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,408
I was in Paris in 1991. My sister was in Paris a few weeks ago. In both cases, we tried to speak the language and were nice to people, and they were uniformly nice and helpful in return.

2Cor521
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 02:41 AM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 886
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
In both cases, we tried to speak the language and were nice to people, and they were uniformly nice and helpful in return.
2Cor521
Hit the nail on the head there. Regardless where you travel, try to speak the language no matter how badly you sound and just be nice. Goes a long way towards having a positive experience.
__________________

Trek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 04:12 AM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 898
I spent almost a year there 5 years ago. I agree that a little French goes a long way. I also would recommend not acting like the stereotypical American tourist (e.g. avoid talking loud, wearing shorts at inappropriate places, blurting out directly in English w/o first asking if the person speaks it, etc.). We got on fine, all things considered.
__________________
Money's just something you need in case you don't die tomorrow.
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 04:41 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
The last time I was in France (Canne and Toulon) was about 30 years ago. The best of my recollection, at that young age, was that I met some friendly people. (I was in the military).

DW traveled there in the late 70's. She indicated that some people she encountered we somewhat unhelpful. For example: Need some help with directions... you can't speak French, they can't speak English. They would not endeavor to help you. Small situations like that.

DW's incidents could have been isolated cases. Not sure.


We will find out. We intend to travel around in Western Europe when we ER. I am hoping the Euro/USD rate improves for the greenback by then!


I think American's are envied in many countries because of the result of WWII. I think it is kind of natural. The US wound up being a power center because the Asian and European leading countries were pummeled to dust and nearly ruined. Yep good old green eyed jealousy.

In my opinion, the French Government is full of a bunch of sorry ungrateful Sch3isse K0phs (if you get my meaning). We spilled blood for those jerks twice because of their poor policy and diplomatic handling. And they have repaid us for years with little to no support. All because of their tarnished pride.

Let's face it France was a semi-world power for a short while. The Brits were the real power force.

Sorry for the rant.
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 06:57 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,657
I was in Paris in 2000 and 2003. People were very nice. I did have an aha experience about French rudeness, however. My nephew has lived in Paris for 25 years. His French is almost flawless and because of his dark Italian look and negligible accent Parisians take him for a South American, Spaniard, anything but American. We went to a restaurant where the hostess was a little flippant about the long wait for our reservation. I watched with interest as the two of them bickered, sneering and waving their hands in a classic Gallic fashion. That is when I realized that Parisian rudeness (to the extent it exists) is like New Yorkers' brusk style - it is aimed at everyone - not just Americans.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 09:41 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ronin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,191
I've found the French to be quite pleasant. Try to speak a little French first, and although they will profess to having only a little English, lots of times they are quite conversant and happy to have the opportunity to speak to you in English. Probably the ugly Americans get the cold shoulder, as well they should.
__________________
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
ronin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 12:11 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,898
The French are interesting, very assertive and don't back down in a confrontation. On the plane last summer a French couple who wanted to stand in the aisle so they could be among the first to de-plane refused to go back to their seats and the attendent eventually allowed them to stay in the aisle as long as they sat on the floor. I, a well behaved American, was really surprised by that.

Their assertiveness and willingness to protest is one reason that their government is so responsive to them. We here in the USA could learn something, I think.
__________________
Zoocat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 12:15 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Not sure where this thread was coming from, but it does reaffirm that stereotypes rarely hold up in face-to-face real-world matters.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 12:33 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 831
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
I also would recommend not acting like the stereotypical American tourist (e.g. avoid talking loud, wearing shorts at inappropriate places, blurting out directly in English w/o first asking if the person speaks it, etc.).
I wonder if this so-called "stereotypical" Amercian tourist is another urban myth? I don't know that Americans disproportionately more than any other nationality "talk loud, wear shorts inappropriately, etc".

I kind of think that is a bunch of bunk. Based on my own observations.
__________________
Dreams Worth Dreaming are Dreams Worth Planning For. I Spent a Career Planning for Early Retirement.
RetireeRobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 01:27 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ronin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,191
Just my stereotypical observation, but the most obnoxious world travellers seem to be the Dutch, by far.
__________________
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
ronin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 03:15 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,387
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronin View Post
Just my stereotypical observation, but the most obnoxious world travellers seem to be the Dutch, by far.
And they are eaier to see, with the young ones being about a head taller than anyhone else.

What do these people eat?

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 09:29 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: No. California
Posts: 1,601
I was in France this spring, and found the French to be very nice and helpful. We did speak a little French which may have helped.

The Italians in Rome did not seem interested in helping us spend our money. Everywhere else in Italy was fine. We did not try to speak Italian...sadly I tried to speak French there. Maybe they didn't like that, because we were ignored in stores in Rome.
__________________
KB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2007, 10:53 PM   #16
Dryer sheet aficionado
Safe Harbour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Greenville
Posts: 29
Robert, In my experience France is a magical country. Get out of Paris, slow down, enjoy life. You need at least 3 weeks to get into the true French existence. Go south through Burgundy, Rhone, Provance and on to the Med. Read first - if you are my age "A Year in Provance" or if you are my age "A Year in the Merde"! Then enjoy. Also learn to say Bonjour Madam and Mercie! You will find the French are lovely people (as are the Italians, Swedes, English, Dutch, etc.) if you take the time.
__________________
Safe Harbour
Safe Harbour is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2007, 03:56 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,304
My experience with the French has always been a pleasurable one. In fact, about 2 years ago on a business trip in Montpellier, my colleague and I decided we would walk back to the hotel after a business banquet. Someone told us it was just 4 or 5 blocks away and gave us (I guess) vague instructions. Well we got lost. After a few 'parlee vou anglize's ' we got closer and closer. Finally we stopped by a Vietnamese restaurant and one of the workers (owners son?) gave us directions for the final leg of our journey ... and then offered to drive us. We respectfully declined. I wish I had gotten a card or menu or something, so I could go back next time and have a meal and thank them for their kindness. Yeah he wasn't French, but he was a France resident, and the others were French. Southern France is on my list of places to revisit.
__________________
Life is GREAT!
megacorp-firee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2007, 04:01 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
Stereotypes can often be a caricature or exaggeration of reality. Generally used to denigrate or categorize a group with a simple negative statement.

However, there is often a fragment of truth to it... albeit exaggerated.


Here is one for you... how can you pick out an American in a foreign country? Look for the white sneakers.

Another funny one that causes Americans a bit of revulsion. We were in Mx (Yucatan) recently at the beach. There were throngs of Europeans there... probably because of the great exchange rate (it had to be dirt cheap). Anyway, You can pick out the American Males... we all wear long baggy swim trucks. The Euros and SA are all wearing their speedos. I will not elaborate further with graphical descriptions... but DW always gets a few chuckles out of it.
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2007, 10:52 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,387
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
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2007, 11:45 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bright eyed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,891
I think Paris syndrome is an interesting phenomena - given the extreme differences in cultures between french and japanese...

Paris syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

i think expectations have a lot to do with it too since a lot of east asians really romanticize paris and are let down...
__________________

__________________
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
bright eyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
French train travels 357mph janeeyre Life after FIRE 17 04-07-2007 12:40 PM
Nigerian scam in French sgeeeee Other topics 2 01-31-2007 05:06 PM
Tour de France scandals. Martha Other topics 20 08-06-2006 03:37 PM
France Surrenders, Again poboy Other topics 6 04-10-2006 03:31 PM
French Doors or Sliding Glass Door? wabmester Other topics 12 01-23-2004 06:28 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:31 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.