Parisians vs. French People


Perceptions and Reality: Mixed Up Thanks to One City

I'm starting to understand the bad reputation that people of France get from tourists. And it's all because of the Parisians. I believe that French people can be some of the nicest people and Parisians can be some of the rudest if you're not careful. Here are some things that I've learned so far about the differences between the two. 


People in Paris just don't smile. Maybe it's because of the overpriced rent, the crowded streets, and the stench of the metro. But when you make eye contact with someone in Paris, they just stare at you. But if you make eye contact with someone outside of Paris, you smile. It's expected of you. No wonder why people think that Parisians think they are better than others. They don't smile!

Getting to know you vs. getting out of the way

People outside of Paris want to get to know you, especially if you are foreign. What brought you here? Where are you from? How did finding an apartment go in Paris? So many questions all the time. But in Paris, they don't care about getting to know you, all they want is for you to get out of their way, or walk faster, or to ignore them on the metro.

Making friends

Everyone that has been here a while says that making friends in Paris is one of the hardest things when you don't know anyone in the city. You can't just strike up a conversation in the streets because people won't always respond. It seems that I am only making friends with foreigners since we are all struggling to figure out how to make friends with actual Parisian people. Their closed off attitude just keeps us outside the friend zone.

Helping you 

Asking for directions in Paris is a crap shoot. Try asking someone that isn't rushing, isn't on their phone, and that isn't trying to isolate themselves and maybe, just maybe you will get a nice response. But most of the time they will either ignore you or they will exhale deep breaths and roll their eyes and let you know that they are not pleased but will do it anyway. Ask for directions outside of Paris and sometimes people will even show you the way to get there.

Speaking the language

People in Paris get mad when you don't make an effort to speak the language, which I find understandable. It is polite to at least try to say you don't speak French and go from there. But then when you do speak French they hear your accent and immediately switch to English and act like it's a big deal because you can't speak the language! But I speak French, everyone says fluently, but I don't think I'm quite there. So I don't get this double standard. I start out speaking French without hesitation but with an accent and they immediately switch to English with this attitude. But go outside of Paris and if you make the effort they will be so excited!

Now don't get me wrong, I love Paris. But I do see where people are coming from when they say that they don't like the people. If you learn to navigate around their attitude you will have a great stay. And don't think that if you have a bad experience that all French people are like that. As for any group, it only takes one person to give the group a bad name.

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