General Question

Scrumpulator's avatar

Mr. Sarkozy (France) said french people love Americans (BBC.) Have you ever experianced that while visiting France?

Asked by Scrumpulator (564points) July 25th, 2008

No offense to the French, love the place. When I was there I seemed to get less then courteous treatment when out shopping or eating food, Even if they knew English, it seemed they were reluctant to use it. And only after struggling with the menu for ten minutes, would perfect English come out and explain it, kinda funny if you ask me. It became a game after awhile. Who could get them to speak English faster. LOL. People might respond like this, “well why should you expect them to know your language, while you are there you should speak theirs.” Well in America, Its far more useful to speak Spanish. C’est la vie.That is life.

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17 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I thought the French were regarded as simply disdainful of all foreigners. From that perspective, I’d expect they’d “love” Americans as much as any other nationality.

Heard a funny french joke the other day. Anyone interested?

gailcalled's avatar

I’ve had nothing but a friendly welcome. Perhaps because I speak and understand French pretty well.

jrpowell's avatar

I didn’t have any problems when I was there. But I at least tried to speak French until they broke and told told me they spoke English. I liked all of the people I met. But that was in 1999 and I’m sure things aren’t the same as they were back then.

robmandu's avatar

I have gotten a very warm reception in Canada if I randomly append ”, eh?” to my sentences (but not in Québec).

And paralleling ryan and gail, everyone I’ve met everywhere seem most friendly if they feel you’re making an honest attempt at their language. I’ve even found that they’re willing to meet you “halfway” with a third language (e.g., I might attempt to speak German before English).

jlm11f's avatar

@ rob – i want to hear the joke!!

PupnTaco's avatar

When I was a college student in 1985, I was in driving across France with a group of friends in a VW Westfalia. Deep into the countryside, we stopped for gas and one of our party suggested “get the green stuff – it’s the cheapest.” Well, it sounded good at the time.

15 seconds up the road after filling up the tank, blue smoke started pouring out of the tailpipe and the engine seized. That’s what diesel will do to an unleaded engine.

We sat there for a few minutes discussing what to when five or six English-speaking friendly teenagers literally materialized out of the fields, figured out what we did, and offered to help us push the van into town a couple miles away. They said their friend worked in the local repair shop and could meet us early the next morning to fix the engine. They hung out with us that night, laughing at our choice in wine (Italian) and enjoying our music (Seemone et Garfunkelle, Bobmar Lee).

The next morning, we were back on the road and enjoyed the rest of our trip – and avoided the green stuff.

On the other hand, last summer in Paris, I was scolded by a Middle Eastern ice-cream vendor for pronouncing “vanille” slightly incorrectly.

robmandu's avatar

How many French troops does it take to defend Paris?

jlm11f's avatar

haaaa it’s never been tried :P

La_chica_gomela's avatar

When I was in France, I felt that it depended strongly on the context in which you met the people. Waiters, store clerks, etc, were reluctant to speak English to you even if they knew it, and not terribly welcoming. Store and cafe owners were extremely friendly and made a huge effort to speak English and be helpful. People you met in a personal context were even more friendly. For example, when my uncle introduced us to his friends they would be overly friendly. Even if they didn’t speak English, they would gesture, and ask other people to translate for them so they could talk to us.

I also noticed a lot of English phrases and random words written on T-shirts in stores, which to me indicated that people did think English and ostensibly English-speakers were cool.

ckinyc's avatar

French are nice except the Parisians!!!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I met a lot of nice parisians—that’s a load of b.s. no offense.

St.George's avatar

I lived in France for a year 2005–2006 and everyone was perfectly lovely. I found most people would say they didn’t speak English, for the same reasons we say we don’t speak a foreign language when we actually do: We’re unsure or not confident about our ability to speak it correctly; I don’t think it’s a conspiracy on their part. I spoke a little French and I even said a couple of times that I was American, adding that it wasn’t very popular to be American, and every time, the person would say that it was our government and not the American people that were unpopular. I think it’s vitally important to remember that there are individual Americans who fit the “ugly American” stereotype and individual French that fit the “rude Parisian” stereotype, but those folks don’t represent the cultures as a whole. A stereotype is never true of a whole people. C’est vrai ça.

ckinyc's avatar

I lived in Lyon for a year and been to Paris many times. Just because we had different experiences it doesn’t make my “comment” bs. I just has bad experiences in Paris that is all.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

if you had a bad experience in paris, you should write about that bad experience, and exactly what happened that made it bad, instead of resorting to blanket statements that perpetuate stereotypes. it’s a lot more helpful to the collective if you share the actual experience.
and yes i do think stereotypes are b.s.

janbb's avatar

People certainly loved me in France! :)

Actually, I can’t add much to what Megan said: I agree completely. People I’ve met over there have been very friendly and welcoming. I do speak some French which helps but I’ve found they were more than willing to try to understand and if they did speak English, would often switch to it before I was ready to give up on French. In Paris, some people are a bit more abrupt, but I think that’s any big city rather than the French being anti-American. I also agree that it is our current government that many Europeans object to, and not American people per se.

scrappyblue's avatar

I lived in Tours, France for 3 months in 2001 and the people there liked Americans but were also very critical of our lifestyle and our newly appointed president at the time. They mocked how much we tend to work, our waistlines and how we smile all the time (ok, maybe they were just referring to me). Overall, I felt comfortable but folks were quick to point out how different Americans were. Also, they were always eager to hear American slang just as much as I was eager to speak better French.

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