Paris is many things to many people. Tourists consider it one of the most popular cities on earth. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Latin Quarter and other sights make visiting Paris a chance to see some the best attractions the world has to offer. However, many travelers (and, indeed, the French outside of Paris) consider the Parisians to be haughty, impolite and cold.
We have found difficult people around the world and do not think that there are more of them in Paris than elsewhere. However, Parisians are matter of fact, reserved and choose not to participate in small talk. In addition, when they think you have made a bad decision, they are likely to tell you. However, they do not discriminate against travelers; they will tell anyone when they have made a bad decision.
Once, when coming from Orly Airport to the city, we took the Airport Transport Bus to its station in Paris and planned to take a cab to our hotel from that location. When the cab driver eyed our bags, he raised his voice and seemed to be berating me. It took me a second to translate and realize that he was telling me that I had wasted my money on the bus, since I had to buy two tickets and now a cab fare and that I could have traveled from Orly to the hotel by cab for less. He was right and I was not offended at his response, since I had learned something.
Some travelers feel differently about the Parisians and there is an excellent article on the topic of “service” in Paris published by the BBC.
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