PARISIANS ARE RUDE … NOW IT’S OFFICIAL …

  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve defended the  Parisians when foreign visitors complained to me that the people of Paris are rude. They are not rude to me. Or do I count as one of the rude Parisians? Maybe, but maybe not. However, the Parisians used to be rude to me, but […]

 

pont de la concorde

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve defended the  Parisians when foreign visitors complained to me that the people of Paris are rude.

They are not rude to me.

Or do I count as one of the rude Parisians?

Maybe, but maybe not.

However, the Parisians used to be rude to me, but now no longer and I wonder whether this is because after my years in Paris I look like a Parisian now? Like one of them? Or maybe I sound like them now? Or smell like them: I’m referring to Chanel No. 5 and not garlic.

But yes: they are rude and I am not being rude to say so, because this week the Paris Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Tourism Committee admitted it by handing out a booklet – Do you speak Touriste? – to those who deal with the 29 million and something tourists who come to Paris yearly. (2012 statistic).

This is not the first time that the Paris authorities admit to the rudeness of the Parisians. It happened one summer in the 1990s too when François Mitterrand was our president. Then there was a national outcry at such official rudeness to call the people of Paris rude. This time, however, we find it rather amusing. (Did I just type ‘we’ there?)

In the 6-page booklet a waiter, for example, will learn how to say ‘hi’ in eight languages, like in Chinese, Japanese and Russian as well as the languages of our neighbours: German, Spanish and so on.

The waiter will also learn that Brazilians are friendly; the English like to be called by their first names, the Americans must be put at ease about prices, and the Chinese and Japanese are great shoppers.

The English like to be called by their first names? Well, I never!

Brazilians are friendly? There is much rioting in Brazil right now.

About the Chinese and Japanese being great shoppers is something, I think, that every Parisian who has ever gone by  the Louis Vuitton store on Avenue des Champs-Élysées at 4.30 in the afternoon will know. Take it from me, outside the store doormen make the Chinese and Japanese fall in line and allow them in by the twenties when twenty, laden with heavy shopping bags, have just stepped out. Just like in our museums.

Thirty thousand copies of this booklet have been distributed and as Monsieur Jean-Pierre Blat, Director General of the Regional Tourism Committee, told journalists: “Our aim is to fight against the bad reputation Paris has among tourists.”

My take on this is that it is six of one and half a dozen of another. Tourists can be a pain too and therefore here is my advice to those of you who read this and will this summer be visiting Paris.

(1)  Try to say at least ‘bonjour’ when you walk into a shop, bistro or restaurant.

(2)  Try to say at least ‘merci’ when it’s necessary to thank a Parisian.

(3)  Try to say at least ‘au revoir’ when you leave a shop, bistro or restaurant.

(4)  Smile at the guards in our museums. Those poor blighters sit on those uncomfortably-hard chairs for five hours every day, and no one ever acknowledges their presence.

(5)  Don’t take photos in museums where you see a sign that warns you that taking photos is forbidden. You will just have a guard waving a finger at you, and you will return to your country and call the Parisians rude.

(6)  Don’t speak loudly, not indoors or outdoors. Parisians are not loud people and do not understand that some nations are. (I will not name names.)

(7)  Don’t crowd around on the sidewalk outside a souvenir shop so that the Parisian must step out onto the street in order to pass by.

(8)  Don’t walk into a souvenir shop, touch everything and then walk out again without having even given the man or woman behind the till a nod.

So come on, do your bit and the Parisian will be an altogether friendlier person.

I will end by saying, that it is said that there is just one thing wrong with Paris. The Parisians live there.

Maillol sculptures in Paris's Tuileries Garden

Maillol sculptures in Paris’s Tuileries Garden

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response to “PARISIANS ARE RUDE … NOW IT’S OFFICIAL …”

  1. 1
    Susie Kelly Says:

    Parisians’ fabled rudeness was something we were prepared for when we visited, but strangely enough, we couldn’t find it. We were only there for two days, but with the exception of one old man who went “Shsh” when we entered the basilica of St Denis during Mass and whispered to each other, everybody we met was courteous and helpful. And you could hardly describe shshing as being rude. There’s only one thing for it: we’ll have to come back and try harder. 🙂

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