Parisian Living

Les Parisiens: Rude? Sometimes. But Impolite? Never.

by Paige Bradley Frost
Written By

Paige Bradley Frost

After nearly a decade in Paris, Paige Bradley Frost swapped the Banks of the Seine for the beaches of San Diego, California where she serves as Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Women's Empowerment International. Still, her heart remains with the French capital where she hopes to one day return. View Paige Bradley Frost's Website

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12 comments on “Les Parisiens: Rude? Sometimes. But Impolite? Never.

I visited Paris for the first time at the end of September, and I found the people to be nicer than expected. For the most part, they were pleasant .. and as long as you say ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir’ and make an attempt to speak their language, they were nice. I only had high school French, and I’ve been out of high school for a few decades. My french was clumsy and very limited. Paris is beautiful and can’t wait to go back!

I loved, loved this post! I find myself thinking the same thing living in Paris. You gave great tips and seem to have a good handle on the sometime difficult Parisians!!

I have just landed home to Australia from 5 weeks travelling France including 9days in Paris. I do speak French a bit better than a beginner and I found the French to be extremely helpful, friendly and polite. I knew about politese before going so ahered to those customs and spoke as much French as I could before reverting to english and we had the most amazingly wonderful time over there. Perhaps in Paris they are not quite as smily as in other parts of France but generally we didn’t have any bad experiences. I travelled with two children (8 and 5) and everyone was so lovely and saying how gorgeous they were etc. We have only been home 4 days and we are planning our next trip. My advice to travellers have at least a basic French language and try to speak it first- in Paris you will be given so much more help if you at least atempt it. I got ill in Paris and had to get a Dr to my apartment and everyone involved apologised to me for not having better English!! I am in love ahhhh Paris xxCorrina

This is all SO true. I love this post! I’m from the SD/LA area and I can completely agree with you on this.

Thanks for the wonderful comments. As with so much in life, our experiences in other countries are dictated by our own attitude and perspective. I find that an open mind and sense of humor are always helpful!

My mother is French, and raised my brothers, sister and I with exemplary manners, tact and confidence. While we may seem aloof to those who do not know us very well, it seems better to me to err on the side of formal behaviour on most occasions.

My visits to Paris has always been wonderful, and I found the Parisians very helpful and accommodating.

I live in the U.S. and I’m a citizen, and even I think Americans are ruining customer service. Nowadays, clientele expect over-the-top responsiveness and grandiose displays of friendliness in the most basic of transactions. Efficient service minus an ear to ear grin is seen as being cold or distant. ‘Tis a shame, really.

Very funny. The most polite people I was in contact with in Europe were in Amsterdam. Delightful people.

Perfectly said….I can’t wait to return. I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences in France while many Americano hate their experiences there. But I’m not a quivering violet, and am very interested in our cultural differences. Great entertainment, sometimes. Thanks!

I love this. I have visited Paris a few times and I live in the south (of the United States) night and day.

Actually I am going to write a blog post about this (French vs. Southerners); can I quote your blog post and link to you?

Let me tell you a story of mine. A few years ago I was in Paris at a shop summer sale. I held a skirt in my hand, just to have a look at it. A french “lady” pulled out the skirt from my hands, but she said “Pardon Madame!” :L

I must say that this makes perfect sense. In fact, I live in California now and have for years: the population here can be very rude. they think nothing of piping up with their political views to perfect strangers and asking about all sorts of things best left to discretion. As for smiling, it does not make them any more friendly or sincere. The French have it right.

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