In the US one hears a lot about French attitudes and rudeness. Personally I haven’t seen it. I’ve been told the people in Southern France are nicer than those in the Northern part. Again I haven’t seen a difference. I’ve also been told it’s the only those who live in Paris that are rude. You know, big city, people in a rush and generally rude. Actually I can spot this more in large American cities than in Paris.
So what’s the deal? Where’s the disconnect? Am I just lucky or could it be our own attitudes coloring what I must call a myth? I’ve found a smile and a ‘merci’ goes a long ways. I try to utilize as much as possible my very (VERY!) limited vocabulary of French words and have found an amazing number of French people that know English. Maybe it’s because I’m trying or possibly they don’t want to hear their language mangled anymore, but for the most part the French have been very kind and gracious.
Take any large American city and ask yourself how often someone will without being asked try to help direct you to where you want to go? When was the last time you saw someone step out of a restaurant to take a cell phone call? Or step in when a con-artist is bugging you. Heck, they even stop for jaywalking pedestrians without complaint.
And now I find myself wondering what foreign visitors have to say about us Americans in the USA. – W
2 thoughts on “About those French People”
Precisely my findings. The myth of rude French comes from rude, arrogant Americans.
I had it explained to me that we “informal” Americans are considered rude when we do not say the niceties of Bon Jour when approaching someone or Au Revoir when we leave a store and particularly irksome is when we neglect to say Merci and si vous plait! French custom is also that serving people are “servants” and therefore not expected to interact with the clientele by smiling and chit chatting. I also found that after saying Bon Jour and groveling a bit, “parlez vous anglais, si vous plais?” usually worked pretty well.