Are they??? Really??? But, everyone seems to love Paris!!! So, why is it that Parisiens are perceived as being rude?
Like a girl who knows she is hot, or a guy who knows he’s a pretty boy, humbleness sometimes has a tendency to become rudeness. Are the residents of Paris like that? Or is it me seeing things that are not really there?
Parisiens have a reputation indeed, but what that reputation really is depends on who you ask. A Parisien? Or anybody else living in the rest of France?
A survey of 5000 people conducted by Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, all the way back in 2010 revealed the two sides of the same coin:
- Parisiens consider themselves 34% elegant, 25% cultivated, 23% stressed and 15% rude.
- French residents living outside of Paris consider Parisiens 42% pretentious, 12% revelers and 1% funny (ouch!).
Quite a contrast!!!!
So how does this reflect in their city? And how is this felt by visitors when they go to Paris?
Big City Complex
Much like New York and maybe Toronto, Parisiens may have this complex that comes with living in a big city. You know, the one that makes residents of a big city think that life in their country revolves around their city. The one that makes them feel as if if their city is not doing well, the whole country must not be doing well. The one that makes see their city seem as the epicenter of the entire planet (yes New York, I’m also looking at you).
And part of that Big City Complex reflects on how Parisiens treat tourists. Parisiens have an unfortunate poor reputation for politeness, and this reflects on how a tourist is received and perceives their experience. Paris residents expect visitors to act Parisien….in other words, follow the Parisien customs of eating bread with pretty much anything, frown upon anyone eating on the streets, and an overall sense of formality.
And while I agree with adopting local customs when visiting someone else’s house, some of these house rules may be taken to another level in Paris.
While on my first visit to Paris I befriended a local who showed me around the city. While most of the experience was extremely pleasant, I recall sitting down at a café while suddenly a game of pointing out “who is dressed up the worst?” began (to kill boredom I was told).
Parisiens And Tourists
Paris is a gorgeous city, and Parisiens know it. They may even know it all too well.
Like I mentioned before, Parisiens expect visitors to adopt the local ways. But are they taking this to a point that makes them seem somewhat closed-minded to other’s customs?
Yes, you might be frowned upon for not following the local rules. I recall a time when I went inside a local shop and greeted the owner with a hello instead of a bonjour (totally by mistake I swear!)…..he looked at me like I had just been caught stealing something.
Then the government took action.
The Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Regional Tourism Council took action and issued a special tourist guide….for Parisiens.
The guide tries its best to explain the preferences and customs of various nationalities when they visit Paris, so that locals are not taken by surprise by some of their requests, such as “Americans expecting Wifi everywhere”, and “Italians being impatient”.
When it first came out in 2013, the guide was seen as somewhat insulting (click here for a report on the Independent newspaper from back then. It now seems to have been toned down in its online version (click here), which still has some hilarious references to visitors from other countries.
The Possible Source?
But where does this big city inflated complex come from? I certainly didn’t feel it when I was in Lille, or even in neighboring Versailles. But Parisiens were indeed a different type of people…..
And then I thought about all the movies depicting Paris as the most beautiful city in the world.
From Paris with Love
Paris je t’aime
The list is endless….
So, is it possible that after years of positive reinforcement, it all went too far and that it was taken too seriously by Parisiens??? New Yorkers for example are often depicted in movies, and while they also show a big city complex, it is not as snobbish as Parisiens’ (this might be because NY keeps getting destroyed in movies by either natural catastrophes, aliens, godzilla….).
At The End
There are rude people everywhere.
Yes, all over the world.
There are so many cities all over the world where people have tried to scam me, rob me, sell me stolen goods…but never in Paris. The worst that has happened to me in Paris was when I was told that whatever I was speaking was not French (it is Canadian French).
Paris is one of those places I have most enjoyed by visiting its beauty, its sights, its culture, and its history.
Trendy Champs Élysées, amazing Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, beautiful Château de Versailles, all Parisien landmarks (or near Paris, as is the case for the Versailles Castle).
A bike ride through Paris at night is one of the things I enjoyed the most during my stays there, as it allowed me to get to know the city that Parisiens call home.
Would I go back? I most definitely would….and you?
Have you been to Paris? What were your thoughts on Parisiens? How did you feel when dealing with locals? Let us know in the comments section.