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The French Are Not Rude

Deep Dish

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The French have a reputation for being rude.

In the theatrical play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," written by Steve Martin, there's the funny line, "You can’t just insult somebody out of the blue," to which someone replies, "But I'm French!"

There was a restaurant waiter in Vancouver who claimed he was fired for being French after he was fired for being "aggressive, rude and disrespectful" to customers.

A brother-in-law of mine, who briefly dabbled in trying to learn French before quickly giving up, said his family had rude experiences on vacation to France.

I'm steadily learning French and my first vacation to France will be in the summer of 2025, so I don’t have any direct experience yet of the full French experience, but from the best which I can tell from listening to others, here are the broad explanations.

1. Touristy areas

France is the most visited country in the world (about 200 million tourists a year, with 30 million to Paris). Naturally, the people who live and work in crowded areas are sick of dealing with people and may be short with you.

2. You didn't say “Bonjour”

The French are exceptionally polite, but they have higher standards of politeness. You must say “Bonjour” (or “Bonsoir”) before saying anything to anyone, or you will get a death stare.

You will also get better customer service by at least putting in some effort to speak the language. It doesn’t take long to learn a few basic phrases. There are some Americans who think they don’t need to learn a language when traveling abroad because “Everybody speaks English.”

3. Cultural difference

Americans in particular are known to be warm and instantly friendly. The French are colder at first impression and slower to warm up. From what I understand, the French view your instant friendliness as aggressive and view you with suspicion. The French have friends for life, stay friends with all of their ex-girlfriends, they don’t make small talk with strangers, and are more private, so they may view your instant friendliness as you trying to come at them with some sort of angle.
 

BillyPilgrim

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I've been to Montreal and I didn't find the people particularly rude. The dudes were well dressed, and the women were hot and unafraid of prolonged eye contact.
 

Bokanovsky

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I’ve been to France a couple of times and also to the French-speaking parts of Switzerland and Canada. Can’t say that I found the French to be particularly rude. I think that this reputation may be a product of people traveling to Paris and spending most of their time in touristy areas. Parisians do not accurately represent the French as a whole, just like New Yorkers do not accurately represent Americans.
 

Jesse Pinkman

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The French are far from rude in my experience, they are actually quite sociable and observant. The rudest people in Europe without a shadow of a doubt in my experience have been Italians. Italians make for the worst tourists as well. They are loud, creepy, entitled, and have no consideration of people around them. They will hog up an entire street and not let people pass until you have to tell them to get the heck out of the way. Compared to the Italians, the French are Angels.
 

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Chowdah

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Ha, there were 2 chicks that I approached last night. They ordered 2 Rose’s and agreed to drive my friend and I to the next bar. They backed out at the last minute and expected us to pay for their tab. I left them there.
 

BillyPilgrim

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Ha, there were 2 chicks that I approached last night. They ordered 2 Rose’s and agreed to drive my friend and I to the next bar. They backed out at the last minute and expected us to pay for their tab. I left them there.
This was in France, right?
 

PowerQuest

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Americans in particular are known to be warm and instantly friendly. The French are colder at first impression and slower to warm up.
Its like the Swedes. They are more ice old than the artic weather, and the only thing that can warm them up is loads of vodka and beer.
After that they start to talk more. Otherwise they just talk in few sentences.
 

Rainman4707

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The French have a reputation for being rude.

In the theatrical play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," written by Steve Martin, there's the funny line, "You can’t just insult somebody out of the blue," to which someone replies, "But I'm French!"

There was a restaurant waiter in Vancouver who claimed he was fired for being French after he was fired for being "aggressive, rude and disrespectful" to customers.

A brother-in-law of mine, who briefly dabbled in trying to learn French before quickly giving up, said his family had rude experiences on vacation to France.

I'm steadily learning French and my first vacation to France will be in the summer of 2025, so I don’t have any direct experience yet of the full French experience, but from the best which I can tell from listening to others, here are the broad explanations.

1. Touristy areas

France is the most visited country in the world (about 200 million tourists a year, with 30 million to Paris). Naturally, the people who live and work in crowded areas are sick of dealing with people and may be short with you.

2. You didn't say “Bonjour”

The French are exceptionally polite, but they have higher standards of politeness. You must say “Bonjour” (or “Bonsoir”) before saying anything to anyone, or you will get a death stare.

You will also get better customer service by at least putting in some effort to speak the language. It doesn’t take long to learn a few basic phrases. There are some Americans who think they don’t need to learn a language when traveling abroad because “Everybody speaks English.”

3. Cultural difference

Americans in particular are known to be warm and instantly friendly. The French are colder at first impression and slower to warm up. From what I understand, the French view your instant friendliness as aggressive and view you with suspicion. The French have friends for life, stay friends with all of their ex-girlfriends, they don’t make small talk with strangers, and are more private, so they may view your instant friendliness as you trying to come at them with some sort of angle.
. You didn't say “Bonjour”

The French are exceptionally polite, but they have higher standards of politeness. You must say “Bonjour” (or “Bonsoir”) before saying anything to anyone, or you will get a death stare.


I dont like being told what i can or cannot do, so.....yeah that would'nt go down to well with me!!
 

Dr.Suave

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I met some Paris girls who were super nice. I should have tried to pull but this was many years ago.
 

mikedee

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I've been to Montreal and I didn't find the people particularly rude. The dudes were well dressed, and the women were hot and unafraid of prolonged eye contact.
I'm from Montreal, we speak French but we are not French, we are more laid back and we have a different culture. Please don't compare us with the Frenchhh.

Yes there are nice girls in Montreal but feminism and metoo kill the dating scene, it's a disaster.
 

Chowdah

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Wrapped up my trip to Monaco, the French are quite welcoming as long as you aren’t an assho|e. The women are beautiful and service is way better than in the US without expecting tips. Always start off with ‘Bonjour’ for you foreigners :)

The women are direct and blunt, which makes it a lot easier to filter out low interest.
 
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