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Of course it’s always possible! How would you feel if tourists constantly asked you questions in another language?
Just kidding, just kidding. I think it helps if you go with some basic French—even if it’s just “Hello, how are you, I do not speak French, do you speak English/(insert language here)” The fact that you made the effort is always nice, even if in Paris and touristy areas have people who know and come to expect tourists.
I really didn’t know that learn some words could make such a difference! Thanks!
As long as you don’t act like an idiot…the French are pretty warm in general (maybe not as warm as Brazilians ;).
It does help if you speak the language. I do and I had a wonderful time there but many people I’ve spoken to that do not speak the language didn’t have such a nice time. The young folks are all mostly speaking English in the city though and many of them will see encountering you as an opportunity to use their English. The younger folks are more receptive (for lack of a better word) to globalization. But they at the same time are missing some of the true French “joie de vivre” that the older generation has and that I adore so much :) Hope that helps. Anyone that disagrees with me? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’ll remember to look for young people to help me! Hahaha Thank you!
I had no problem with the French being rude with me. Most of the rude people I encountered in Paris were English speaking people at the Louvre (you can identify them by the color of their flyers). In fact, when my wife and I first got off the Metro in a street market, some one from one of the stalls saw us trying to find our bearings, came over and asked us if we needed help and then went out of her way to help us find our street. The biggest problem is that Americans don’t know French customs, were are unintentionally frequently rude to them and they’ll return in kind, like anyone would. Read up on French customs before you go, like always saying “bonjour” when you walk into a shop. At least TRY to speak the language, there were lots of English speaking people there and were happy to speak to me in English once I tried to speak with them in French.
I always try to be as gentle as possible, even in difficult situations, but I really don’t know the French culture, I am intending to visit France to learn it! Thank you!
The truth that I came to find about this world is that there’s good and bad people everywhere.
Sometimes you’re lucky, others you aren’t.
Of course, respecting their language and trying to speak it will go a long way… but that applies to anywhere in this world also.
Although the last French experience I had was mixed.
Tried finding my way around Charles De Gaulle airport and no one helped… even those who are paid to do so. And yes, I said Bonjour and tried to remember as much as I could from the 3 years of French I had.
But the stewardess compensated for that with extreme kindness during the flight. So, like I said, there’s good and bad people everywhere.
I hope to get lucky when go to France. Thank you!
For me and my mother, it is very true! Her and I were in Paris only 4 days. She asked a police officer for directions. Since she was not speaking French, only Spanish and/or English, the cop did not even turn his head to see who the heck was talking….
I hope not to have to go through it…
Sometimes people are rude, but they have their reasons.
Sometimes French people seem unhelpful to English speakers because they’re not confident in their English, and don’t want to feel inferior to someone who has the advantage of being a native speaker. The solution to this is to try to speak French. Let them be the smart, helpful people they want to be. Sometimes they’ll school you on proper French usage. Sometimes they’ll just decide that it’s easier to switch to English and help you get where you’re going.
Some French people (especially Parisians) can get sick of tourists by the end of summer. Visit in the spring if you can, but if not just understand…
It really helps, when traveling, to keep open-minded. You go to see something new, different, and exotic — don’t complain when it’s not the same. For example, meals will take longer than you expect, and trying to hurry up is rude (it’s part of French culture — best to learn to appreciate it).
I wonder how must be for the Parisians cope with tourists invading their city, speaking another language and still come out complaining.
Parisians can get a bit unreceptive if you don’t attempt to speak the language and immediately ask them questions in English. Even if your accent is really bad or if you can only speak basic phrases, they generally appreciate the effort. Most will even respond in English if they can tell that you speak it. So the best thing you could do to avoid the perceived ‘rudeness’ of French people is definitely to make an attempt to speak French.
Also, since prices listed in Paris have taxes included, cashiers generally expect you to pay in exact change. If you don’t, they might ask “Vous n’etes pas de monnaie?” and look annoyed. So, if you can, carry a good amount of coins. I don’t really think either of these things are ‘rude’ because…it’s their country, tourists should play by their rules…but some people do think actions like these are rude.
“they generally appreciate the effort” I’ll try to remember that and not be ashamed of try speak some French. Hahaha
on the bright side :
some people, the younger educated ones, will be delighted to get an occasion to talk to you in english. Look out for them !
If you take some time to go off the beaten tracks, locals will not feel harassed by tourists and will be more open to help or make you experience their culture/food/way of life. As usual, i’ll recommend to avoid champs élysées. Advice of the day, quartier “butte aux cailles”.
Take a travel phrasebook with you. It will help you A LOT.
But I’ll not look stupid looking the phrasebook and trying to communicate?
I don’t think so. Just learn the basics (“Where is place X”, “How much does that cost”, “Thanks”, “Please”…) and you will be just fine.
And if someone gets a bit funny with you then just take it lightly, it’s part of the experience! Have fun!
Hahaha. Aw, thanks! :)
My experience was that when you tried to speak French to the French they were really nice to you. But if you start speaking English right away, they can be a bit rude, yes.
I’ll try to remember this! Thank you!
When traveling, you always risk people being rude. This is especially true if you are not respectful of the culture. Americans too often are loud, self-absorbed, and expect the world to be just like America. The food is different, the lifestyle is different, the language is different, so don’t complain about service, selection, language, hours of operation, etc. Practice expectation management… Do some research. Learning some French words and phrases will also be a great help.
And don’t tell jokes at their expense! Whether they speak it or not, most all French understand English…this is a quick way to get their ire up.
I think it’s hard to realize how loud we are as Americans until we get into another culture! We truly are a loud people.
Yes, we are loud. Our behavior is also interpreted as rude and obnoxious. We don’t recognize it, but then we see their response to our behavior as rude,
I’ll learn something! Thank you!
The way you phrase the question almost makes me think you are being ironic because how on earth could someone not understand that other people could be rude?
Try to speak French as much as possible. Act like you appreciate what you are seeing and that you respect their culture. Get a English (or your native language)- French translation book and use it.
The Parisians have been having to deal with tourists for 100s if not 1000s of years. Tourists are by definition “out of their element” and when you are out of your element, you tend to be pretty ignorant and slow. This can get annoying, so its really no suprise.
Outside of Paris, the people are a little friendlier in general, but not as many know English.
It wasn’t my intention to be ironic… Thanks for the tips!
Assuming you are neither intrusive nor impolite, I do not think you will find your hosting countrymen rude.
Canadians are more effusive and quick to smile, of course, but then again, we have the CN Tower as our ambassador.
French rudeness is a carefully cultivated myth, like the rudeness of New Yorkers or the Loch Ness Monster. You are a guest in their home, so act accordingly. Be courteous, obey the rules, and don’t complain when everything isn’t exactly like it is in your home. A little French goes a long way, provided you pronounce it reasonably well. You will see amazing things, and eat amazing food, whether it’s a bread from a bakery or lobster in a four-star restaurant. Relax and enjoy.
To be honest, I encountered much more rude, snobby behavior in London than I ever did in Paris. Trying to speak their language will definitely help. I never initiated a conversation in English.
Oh, and don’t bother asking a police officer for directions. It’s not their job to help you find your way, and they will respond accordingly.
I’ll try. Thanks!
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