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Wonderful people of France

My husband and I are flying home tomorrow after spending a month in France. I cannot say enough good things about the French people we have encountered. They have been simply lovely and have on occasion gone out of their way to help us when we needed help. Vive La France!!!

Posted by
90 posts

I agree! We just arrived home after 2 weeks and enjoyed the people in addition to the beautiful sites we saw.

Posted by
516 posts

So glad to hear. Both before I'd ever been to France as well as after, I hear other say, "the French are so rude!" Truth be told, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's almost like they'd be disappointed if they didn't have at least one rude encounter so they wouldn't be able to come back and say the French are rude.

What I've learned is a little goes a long way. I went to Nice last year and upon getting into a taxi at the train station asked the driver to take me to my hotel, in the best French I knew how (which consisted of two words and pointing to a map I had). He asked me if I spoke French and I said no, again, in my mangled French, and this launched a full blown conversation of him telling me that no, I DID speak French and that it sounded great and that I'm doing fine with my French and how great it is that I can speak French or at least try and on and on. The appreciation from his end was very clear and I believe this is something RS has said many times in his books, lectures, etc.

Posted by
8 posts

The French are more formal but they are also so engaging. My wife and I had so much fun meeting new people and talking about France. The French are so proud of their country and rightly so.

Posted by
12103 posts

When I hear that the French are rude or so rude, I wonder why does one say that and how does one know that? Why is it that they are singled out in particular as displaying rude behaviour? What about the Italians, the Germans, or any other nationality in Europe?

Posted by
7173 posts

Well possibly the "bad" French behavior could be linked to the burning tires in the streets and altercations and vandalized cars from the recent protests by French Taxi drivers. It could also be linked to the thousands of stranded tourists every time the French decide to strike over the "issue of the day". Just saying, glad you met nice French people, but just like in the rest of the world there are those "French" who may not be so nice.

Posted by
10264 posts

I've had the same (good) experience with the French people.

Posted by
32 posts

We just came back from a 2-1/2 week trip in Paris, Provence and Côte d'Azur. Other than the crazy drivers in Nice, we have nothing but great memories of how wonderful the French people are and their beautiful country. We kick ourselves for not traveling to France sooner because we believed the undeserved characterization of the French people as rude. We had such a great time, we're already planning our next trip to France next year, this time to the Dordogne and the southern part of the Languedoc-Rouisillon regions.

Posted by
167 posts

That has been my experience as well Mary. And the occasional rude person such as the poor bored girl working the ticket window for the Metro in Paris and the young waiter in Arles that was insulted by our poor pronunciation are now things that we laugh about. Overall my experiences with French people have been very positive. Now the Italians and the Germans...

Posted by
12103 posts

It's probably safe to say that as Americans we all heard those "things" about the French. Forty-fifty years ago I heard of them...the usual ...rude to Americans, arrogant., etc. The next question is how is one to deal with it? Are you going to be deterred from going to a country reputed to display rude behaviour to Americans? In the early 1970s that was the prevalent thing said of the French...strikes, anti-Americanism, (some of it connected to the Vietnam War), rudeness, etc, etc. I made it point on my second trip to Europe that I would be going to France, regardless of the "things" said about the French, or any behaviour attributed them I might encounter. As an American backpacker tourist, I flew from SFO to Paris in the summer of 1973 ....poor TWA which doesn't exist anymore. I've been going back to France and dealing with les français as a tourist ever since.

Posted by
973 posts

This was my third trip to France (1975, 1998 and 2015) which included Paris in the previous 2 trips. I posted this because the French get bashed so often by Americans. In 2005 when we were in Greece, we met a lovely couple from France during the "Freedom fry" to do re: France's refusal to go along with our foreign policy in Iraq and Afganhistan. The couple said to us in perfect English "Please tell the Americans that we are friends." That broke my heart. Every time I have been in France the people have been lovely and kind. This last trip my husband and I couldn't find a wine tasting room in Rheims and asked a lady for directions. She spoke no English and I only speak a little French. She did not give us directions but instead went out of her way and walked us to the wine tasting room. I have so many instances like that to recount that I could write a book. And my travelling companions expeienced the same thing. Learning a little bit of the language and culture in France (bon jour, please, thank you) and a smile makes a huge difference. This applies to any country you visit, of course.

Posted by
42 posts

Our family just came back from Normandy, Brittany and Paris and we were treated warmly in the countryside and the city. We learned some simple key phrases for getting around and ordering food and once our French friends recognized our butchery of their beautiful language, almost all switched over to English (which is very humbling indeed). It is on almost every thread on these boards but follow two simple tenets :
1. Greet your shopkeepers with 'bonjour /bonsoir madame/monsieur' as you enter their store
2. An 'au revoir' as you leave....
Simple but very nice custom and goes a long way. We talked to one shopkeeper in the Marais about it, who was a world traveler, and finds it a friendly way to interact with his customers.

Also, speak in hushed tones in cafes and restaurants. It's true we are a loud bunch. We're fine in bars however!

Posted by
840 posts

A couple years ago I was walking to the Lourdes train station and somehow ended up face down in the street. I'd tripped on the curb, and it happened before I knew it. One of the station workers quickly ran over and a couple stopped their car to see if I was okay. Shaken up and skinned kneed I waved and said "D'accord, D'accord" yet the station employee walked me across the road and parking lot and to a place where I could sit down. People are people. There are lovely folks in every country.