Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rude Thomas

I have read in a lot of blogs about how French rudness being more of a myth, and that you have rude people everywhere...and so on. I will not argue about that last point, but I would like to comment about the case of the French.

I have noticed that most of the foreigners defending the French are people living in France and who discovered the hidden side of France, if I shall say. Yet, I do think they missed a little point, that I am willing to discuss about here.

The main things that I heard about the French all around the world are that they are rude and arrogant. Everyone who really knows the French will definitelly disagree with it. So where does it come from. It can't be a collective hallucination as not only Americans are thinking so....I heard this from a lot of nationalities. So why? Most of the people with such a stereotype have visited France, and when I asked them where they have been, 80-90% replied Paris...AAAAAHH PARIS, BEAUTIFUL PARIS! The city of lights! One of the most beautiful cities I should admit. Could the problem be that simple? Well my answer is.." It explains a lot!!! I, myself, have been about 5 times in Paris, and I have been shocked every single time.

Before anyone starts saying anything, I should mention that I know France, as this is where I was born, where I grew up. I come from what real parisians may call sometimes with some disdain, "la Campagne" (countryside). The South West of France, a city of 100.000 inhabitants (so much for the countryside). Where everyone speaks with a strong accent. Where "une poche" is also a plastic bag. Where the foie gras is not some kind of paté in a can, but a thick slice that you grill. Where the national sport is Rugby and not Soccer. A real French (at least from the South West).

So yes, it is true that I don't reconize myself or anyone I know in the stereotype (we may be blunt and stubborn at times, but always polite). But if you ask me what I think about people in Paris...yes they are rude, yes they are arrogant. I went to Paris either as a tourist or because I had to (everything is centralized in France), and I have never been sent packing as much in my life as when I was in that city. At the airport RCDG, talking to a guy tyding the trolleys, because I got lost: Excuse me , Sir! Could you tell me how to get to the Terminal D! Answer: Hey, why dont you look at the sign, (in that tone that means, dumbass).... Another time, I am looking for a street, and ask this guy who sells newspapers on the Champs Elysees if he can tell me...he tells me he isnt a tourist center. Result, I ask to people who apparently dont know much but still send me in some directions, and end up walking during 1 hour under the rain to discover that the street is not even 50 metres away from that newspaper guy... DIOU BIBAN!!!! I could go on and on and on. So yes I do agree that Americans could try to speak a bit of French when they come visit France ( or any other foreigner), and maybe that could be the cause. Oh wait guess what, I speak French, I am French and they treat me like shit too. Even my own sister became this arrogant, Iknowbetterthanyoubecauseyouarejustalittlecountrysideman bitch (sorry for the ones the word could offend) after she moved to Paris.

So yes this is not how French people really are when you know them, but I won't blame the tourist for thinking that the French are rude or arrogant after a visit. It may be generalizing, but come on...if a french can end up with such prejudices about other french, Imagine a foreigner. (Désolé les parisiens, mais c'est vrai que des fois, vous abusez)

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At March 01, 2006, Blogger jean-michel said...

je suis parisien pur jus: c'est foutu entre nous maintenant alors.
too bad

At March 01, 2006, Blogger Coquette said...

I think it's true about Paris. (When Americans bring up the rude French, my Dad likes to ask, "Well, what if you judged all of America based on what you saw in NYC?")

BUT, there's a way of carrying yourself here, the lack of smiling, the body language, the facial expressions that for one reason or another, reads as arrogant to an American. Just how we Americans read as "fake" when we think we just have a pleasant smile on our faces.

At March 02, 2006, Blogger Antipodeesse said...

I've always been better treated in small French towns than in Paris. Especially by the rugby-mad southerners! My team is the All Blacks!

At March 02, 2006, Blogger Deb said...

My husband would definitely agree with you! He has been in Paris for the past couple of days, and all he has told me is how rude people have been to him when he has asked for directions or assistance. And my husband is a Frenchie as well (from the Lille area).

I think in a way that is kind of similar of how some people view (or maybe used to view before 9/11) New Yorkers. And in the inner cities, people can be a bit harsh and rough around the edges. I was born in NYC and practically my whole family still lives there.

It's all about attitude. People have places and go and things to do. Some just can't be bothered to help or be polite to others.

At March 02, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

My position was (sorry if the bluntness can offend people) that I don't blame people who thinks French are arrogant and rude after visiting Paris (and that doesn't concern only americans, unfortunately).

When you go to the restaurant and the service is really bad, do you remember if the food was good or if the restaurant was pretty? I don't!

At March 02, 2006, Blogger jean-michel said...

i just said that i am from Paris.
so i think you think i am rude: too bad for me!
bye ;-)

At March 04, 2006, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

thomas - great post. I noticed it too and I was able to speak in French but I've got a north american accent. They were rude to me because I wasn't from the area. You'd think people would welcome outsiders to their area because it helps the economy.


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