'Arrogant' Paris on tourist charm offensive

  1. AFP - 5 minutes ago
    PARIS (AFP) - Paris launched a charm offensive Monday aimed at foreign visitors after a survey showed that while the French capital was the most visited city in the world it was also one of the rudest.
    Mayor Bertrand Delanoe launched the campaign at the Eiffle Tower, hoping to win the hearts and minds of tourists and not just their hard-earned cash.
    Leaflets were handed out proclaiming a "charter for the Parisian and for the visitor" in French and English, whereby the French were asked to be more friendly and visitors were asked to "respect the city."
    Parisians should "take the time to give information to visitors" and "make use of foreign language skills to reply to them in their language," it said.
    Tourists were meanwhile asked to "experience the Parisian lifestyle," "take advantage of (their) stay to try French products" and "respect the city and use public transport."
    The campaign was launched after a Global Market Institute study ranked the French capital as the world's most visited city, ahead of London and Rome.
    When it came to hospitality, however, Paris only made 52nd place on a list of 60 cities.
    Despite that ranking, 97 percent of tourists intend to return to the city, according to a survey carried out by the Paris Tourism Office of 2,837 users of its www.parisinfo.com website.
    Tourism Office chief Paul Roll said the charm campaign aimed to "demolish the stereotype of the arrogant Parisian and to show capital residents how important an activity tourism is for them."
    According to the agency, 20 percent of people working in Paris are directly or indirectly dependant on the tourism industry.
    In 2006, 16.3 million visitors, including 9.7 foreigners, stayed in Paris hotels. By 2020 the number of foreign tourists to the city is expected to climb to 20 million annually, according to Tourism Office figures.

    (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20070709/tod-france-tourism-7f81b96.html)
     
  2. Being a foreigner who lives in Paris as an exchange student I have to admit that in general people are a bit rude when they realise you don't speak french well or whatever. They seem too bored to care, you know?

    I'm sure that many lovely PFers from Paris will step up and say there are many exceptions, and yes, of course there are, but I am talking about everyday services (taxi drivers, at the supermarket, at the bank, etc)

    However Paris is the most beautiful city I could ever imagine and tourists *should* try to experience the lifestyle and culture and not just run off to the one or two most famous hotspots like sheep and then run off to McDonald's, I can understand why Parisians look down on that!
    I hope I'm not offending anyone, but I just see soooo many tourists doing silly things and it is a bit annoying! You know how many people go to the Louvre to take their picture in front of the Mona Lisa but don't even look at it?
     
  3. People in Paris (and France) are not rude, IMO. The attitude that comes out from time to time is a result of cultural misunderstandings. I have seen soooo many rude and obnoxious American tourists there, it is incredible. The French are very polite people and if you understand their etiquette, you won't EVER see anyone behave rudely - but you must respect their customs. Many people don't. Being that Paris is the most visited city in the world, I admire the patience of Parisians.
     
  4. I've been to Paris twice and I didn't notice this. No one was rude to me. Perhaps it's because I'm not your typical "touristy" type. I tried very hard to blend in with the French. Hell, I even started smoking (I quit when I got back ;) ) I think I would be very frustrated if there were always tons of tourists around being disrespectful of my culture. I always used my 'broken' French. I'm in THEIR country. I never once ate at McDonald's. I think the French are just more annoyed with tourists than anything.
     
  5. I enjoyed Paris so much I would love to move there! We didn't experience any rudeness toward us at all. Well, maybe one waiter but he was that way to everyone.
    I learned a few words of French & DH knows enough. People were so gracious that we would even try to speak it.
    I agree Roo, I've witnessed really obnoxious Americans when I've traveled to Europe. (I told DH lets tell people we are Canadians.)
    Almost all of them with kids in tow!
     
  6. Perhaps we shouldn't attack other people's nationality by refering to them as "soooo many rude and obnoxious American tourists". It is fine to express an opinion, but to attack a culture is not what this forum is about. Let's all try and remain mature and respectful, we can agree to disagree, but name calling is uncalled for.
     
  7. I'm AMERICAN, honey and it's a fact. Would you like me to give you examples of the disrespectful behavior I've seen exhibited by my fellow Americans while I've been visiting Paris? :rolleyes:
     
  8. I just cringe when I see these people- and I've traveled to France for many, many years.... I am often mistaken for German, British or Canadian, but never American... a waiter in my favorite bar told me once he didn't think I was American because I tried to speak the language and was not rude... interesting, eh?
     
  9. Not all American tourists are obnoxious and not all French are rude.
     
  10. I am not concerned with what nationality you are, I was merely suggesting that tensions have been running very high on tpf and some sub-forums have been closed due to this and I just wanted to post my reaction to your statement in an attempt to keep the peace. I also am an American and I lived in Paris for 2 years, so I don't need you to give me examples, I am aware of tourist behavior in Paris as well as other metropolitian and urban areas I have lived in. At any rate I don't come here to argue, I was just offering an olive branch.
     
  11. Exactly my point, thank you for reiterating its importance.
     
  12. The subject matter of this thread is the behavior of the French towards tourists. How, pray tell, should we embark on a discussion about this without discussing the behavior of tourists in France? Also, I don't think that whatever drama is happening on other subforums is related to this subforum or topic.
     
  13. Re-read my post and the one by Vegas. Never once did we assert that ALL
    American tourists are rude. We were merely sharing our experiences and observations about some of the people we've seen
    .
     
  14. I am neither American nor French and I would like to point out that when I talk about tourists I've observed here in Paris, I don't only mean Americans.
    And it goes without saying, (I think), that not all people of ANY nationality are rude or obnoxious, that would just be impossible!
    And especially Pfers are mostly worldly, educated and cultured people, so I don't think that the examples used here should personally offend anyone!

    Please let's not turn this in an american vs french culture, this is about tourists in general and how they interact with Parisians.
    :smile:
     

  15. YEah, I agree, it's more of a cultural issue. If you're not polite in the way you're expected to by french etiquette you're not treated any better yourself. When I was i southern france this was very apparant, if you entered a store without saying bonjour you were overlooked arrogantly as it was customary to greet when entering a boutique.

    I don't neccessarily think that american tourists ARE rude, but they are often very loud and outspoken, and that often seems rude when you're in europe (especially northern parts)