Cambodian Elephants

What Parisians think of tourists...

posted by P


It's turning out to be a promising summer despite a usual drawn out winter. As the sun comes out, Parisians brace for the tourist onslaught. Not that it's anything new for us. We wait patiently pushing pencils in our offices for August to come, where Parisians finally get to go on holidays too.

In the meantime, we welcome tourists to our city. Do we? Tales that Parisians are unwelcoming to tourists are far fetched and inexact. Most Parisians simply don't care. Parisians treat tourists the way they treat each other, with undeserved aggressively and rudeness. It's unlikely that you will be discriminated against. The baker and the waiter at the cafe does not treat us any better than foreigners visiting our city...

Any Parisian knows well that service is bad in Paris, and has always been. Why do you think we flock to Starbucks? Not because it's got better coffee (usually it does), but sometimes we don't want to put up with the garcon (waiter) haughty/blaze/jaded/doesn't care attitude.

So the authorities (in this case the Paris Chamber of Commerce) have decided to take the bull by the horns, and do something about the rudeness of Parisians. Maybe try to teach them a few things about tourists and their expectations? Try a little improved understanding? The result is... well, we let you be the judges.

Since the website of Do you speak touriste (note the "e") is in French, we thought you'd be interested to read about what Parisians working in the tourism sector are supposed to think about you, wherever you are from: Brazil, Britain, China, Japan, the US and so on.

Of course we only translate (unofficially) the juicy bits in the hope that they will make you laugh.



"The Americans expect "full service" (in English). They are straightforward and easy to talk to. The Americans like Paris lit up at night."



"The Brazilians are dreamers and enthusiastic. Paris is poetry. They can easily be tactile."



"The English: between authentic and casual. They like architecture, traditional cuisine and having a good time. The English like to be on a first name basis." (note, the use of the term English, not British)



"The Chinese are mainly here to shop for luxury products. They speak broken English and need additional explanations. A smile and hello in their language will fully satisfy them."



"The Germans need consistency. Paris is a romantic destination. They talk about food. A handshake is common."



"The Japanese are demanding and discreet. Paris is a highly destabilizing environment for Japanese people, they therefore need to be comforted. They do not complain immediately but make criticism once back home."



"Spanish people crave attention and friendliness. Do not hesitate to remind them about time and schedule. They are careful about prices."


Don't worry, most Parisians working with tourists are far more knowledgeable about their clients' customs and culture. Enjoy your stay!

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