Acts of Chivalry in Paris

You know what's surprising? In a city where more often than not people are rude, chivalry is not dead. Yes you may be shoved aside in a mad dash for the metro, bumped into on the sidewalk if you're in someone's way, and given looks of judgement. But people still hold doors open for you, offer people their seats on the metro, and help you carry heavy bags. I guess sometimes you need the rain to appreciate the sun. 

Whenever there is an elderly person or someone with visible disabilities, most people give up their spot for them. And if you don't, expect a lot of glares your way. This goes for pregnant women or women with small children, most of the time people will give up their seats for them. But I've even seen it go as far as some men, usually in their forties, give up their seats for women, women like myself that can very easily stand. Now that's chivalry!

Wawel Cathedral, Krakow
But it doesn't stop there. Almost everyone will hold the door open for the person behind them. And I know we do that in the US but people in Paris wait much longer. So long that sometimes I feel like I need to run up the metro stairs so that the person doesn't have to wait too long for me. In the US I feel like the rule is that if the person behind you is far enough away for the door to close and stay closed for a few seconds, then you don't have to close it. In Paris it seems like if there's anyone behind you, no matter how far away, you should hold the door open. Which is why sometimes you need to rush. But I won't complain, I'd rather people be polite and keep the chivalry alive.

But I have to say the best is that people offer to help carry things for you. When I moved to Paris with my giant suitcase, everyone that I crossed in the stairs offered to help carry at least half of the suitcase. People always help women carry strollers up the stairs or bags for old ladies. Someone even offered to help me once when I overstuffed my bags. So even with all the things that drive me crazy about Paris, the chivalry makes up for it. 

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