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View Full Version : Swiss newspaper accuses French people of being lazy, arrogant and always complaining



Maciamo
31-07-13, 09:21
In February this year, the CEO of the US tyremaker Titan mocked French work ethic (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21526713), saying that French workers only put in three hours a day and he would have to be "stupid" to invest in the country. The French reaction was indignant. At the time Arnaud Montebourg, the French Minister of Industrial Renewal, replied that Mr Taylor's comment showed a "perfect ignorance of what our country is". The problem is that the Swiss are now saying the same, and worse the criticism comes from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, a region that not only knows French culture very well (thanks to the shared language and border) but which is also accustomed to getting a lot of French workers crossing the border to seek better paid jobs in prosperous Switzerland.

The original article (http://www.lematin.ch/suisse/francais-exclus-certains-emplois-suisse/story/19431513), published in La Matin Dimanche, explains that Swiss employers are now increasingly placing job ads with the requirement that the prospective employees be Swiss nationals or residents, or be fluent in German, so as to intentionally prevent French nationals to get the job. This is not a move to protect the Swiss job market from unemployment, which at 2.9% is one of the lowest in the world, but simply because the French are deemed "too lazy", "arrogant", "complain all the time", have a penchant for ringing in sick on Mondays and Fridays, and a "vengeful attitude".

To add salt to the wound, the newspaper quoted a Swiss recruiter who explains that "there's always a problem [with the French]. It's totally different with the Spanish and the Portuguese".

Maciamo
07-08-13, 15:16
I wonder if the reticence of Swiss companies, and particularly banks, to recruit French employees has anything to do with the fact that two of the three biggest trading losses in history were committed by two Frenchmen: Jérôme Kerviel, who lost $ 7 billion at Société Générale in 2008, and Bruno Iksil (known as the London Whale and Voldemort) who lost $6.2 billion at JPMorgan Chase in 2012.

Cambrius (The Red)
07-08-13, 18:20
Some interesting perspectives / POVs. I would assume the large percentage of French in Switzerland originate form the Alpine border areas.

Maciamo
01-10-13, 13:15
The Swiss are decidedly wary of their French neighbours, as another BBC news story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/24329818) explains.


The Swiss army has carried out a training exercise which simulated an attack by France, it has emerged.

The wargame - which took place in August - assumed that an indebted region of France had decided to invade Switzerland to recover stolen assets.

Swiss military officials have stressed that the scenario has nothing to do with a current row between the two countries over tax.

Switzerland has not fought a war for nearly 200 years.

And the last war Switzerland just happened to be against France, when the French Revolutionaries invaded the neutral and peaceful Swiss Confederacy. That's the only time in history that Switzerland was conquered since the country became independent in the late Middle Ages.

martiko
27-02-14, 10:11
And for French customers, they say what the Swiss?

Aberdeen
27-02-14, 15:15
The French are certainly rude and arrogant with tourists. Their waiters are generally not very nice. And if you go into an expensive shop but aren't wearing expensive clothes, they will look you over and tell you to leave. As for whether they're lazy, all I can say is that I saw a lot of local people of working age lounging around the Paris cafes in the middle of the day.

Angela
27-02-14, 20:25
It appears that I may be in the minority here, but I have always had a marvelous time in France, and have never had cause to complain of my treatment there, whether I was traveling with my parents when I was young, or with friends or when studying there, or when traveling on business or with my own family. If, for some reason, it would prove impossible to spend part of my year in Italy, France would be my next, and *only* other choice.

That's not to say there aren't issues there as in any other country, and that I haven't encountered the occasional rudeness, but I give as good as I get...find it quite stimulating to get it off my chest, to be honest. I recall one memorable occasion when a friend of mine asked for train information in English, and the agent pretended not to understand and then showed in his comment to a colleague that he had understood perfectly well. Our mutual performance, in French, and the occasional Italian, drew quite an audience. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/laughing.gif

Of course, perhaps my tolerance for rudeness is high since I spend the majority of my year in New York...http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/grin.png Seriously, what visitors report as rudeness here is, to me, a brusqueness and directness that is partly a result of the speed at which commerce and the mundane business of life must be conducted. There's also the celebrated refusal to take any **** from other people. The kind of deference to the upper classes which is accepted in many countries is also totally unacceptable here.

It's coupled, in my experience, with incredible openness to newcomers, whether they come from a different part of the country or the far corners of the world, friendliness, and helpfulness if you're in trouble. I discovered that during a massive multi-day black out that occurred soon after I moved here, and many times since...

Oh, in so far as "rudeness" is concerned, nothing equals what I experienced in some Soviet bloc countries in the past, and in Russia to this day...having a meal in a restaurant is unpleasant beyond belief...talk about surly, sloppy, begrudging service...

ElHorsto
27-02-14, 20:59
It appears that I may be in the minority here, but I have always had a marvelous time in France, and have never had cause to complain of my treatment there, whether I was traveling with my parents when I was young, or with friends or when studying there, or when traveling on business or with my own family. If, for some reason, it would prove impossible to spend part of my year in Italy, France would be my next, and *only* other choice.

That's not to say there aren't issues there as in any other country, and that I haven't encountered the occasional rudeness, but I give as good as I get...find it quite stimulating to get it off my chest, to be honest. I recall one memorable occasion when a friend of mine asked for train information in English, and the agent pretended not to understand and then showed in his comment to a colleague that he had understood perfectly well. Our mutual performance, in French, and the occasional Italian, drew quite an audience. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/laughing.gif

Of course, perhaps my tolerance for rudeness is high since I spend the majority of my year in New York...http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/grin.png Seriously, what visitors report as rudeness here is, to me, a brusqueness and directness that is partly a result of the speed at which commerce and the mundane business of life must be conducted. There's also the celebrated refusal to take any **** from other people. The kind of deference to the upper classes which is accepted in many countries is also totally unacceptable here.

It's coupled, in my experience, with incredible openness to newcomers, whether they come from a different part of the country or the far corners of the world, friendliness, and helpfulness if you're in trouble. I discovered that during a massive multi-day black out that occurred soon after I moved here, and many times since...


I have no bad experiences in France either. The French I met had all good manners, they were tolerant, friendly, yet very unobtrusive - just how it should be. But I noticed it was crucial not to start talking in bold english language, but always start with at least one french word like 'bonjour', 'merci', 'excuse moi', 'au revoire' and such. Then it was completely ok to continue in english. Else it was perceived as impolite.
Maybe the French are lazy, I can't judge, but they are not particular arrogant, they care for themselves and don't peek in other's privacy.

By the way, does anybody know is there such a yellow press in France too like there is in Britain, Germany and Scandinavia? Maybe I just missed it.



Oh, in so far as "rudeness" is concerned, nothing equals what I experienced in some Soviet bloc countries in the past, and in Russia to this day...having a meal in a restaurant is unpleasant beyond belief...talk about surly, sloppy, begrudging service...

I guess these people have not yet learnt to hide the fact that they hate their job. I observed that too (have not been in former soviet bloc exactly, just in former eastern bloc) and it applies to services like restaurants in particular. But it has improved recently due to commercial pressure. At least you can be sure the rudeness is honest and you only get what you explicitly want, lol. In balkan countries though you might experience extreme friendlyness sometimes, which in some cases might have a certain purpose.

Angela
27-02-14, 22:05
[QUOTE=ElHorsto;427177]I have no bad experiences in France either. The French I met had all good manners, they were tolerant, friendly, yet very unobtrusive - just how it should be. But I noticed it was crucial not to start talking in bold english language, but always start with at least one french word like 'bonjour', 'merci', 'excuse moi', 'au revoire' and such. Then it was completely ok to continue in english. Else it was perceived as impolite.


It also helps when you don't loudly proclaim over a lovely breakfast of great coffee and delicious pastries, "Haven't these people ever heard of bacon and eggs for breakfast?", or "Ewww!, that's gross", when confronted by unfamiliar food, or endlessly complaining when one encounters unfamiliar customs and systems. I sometimes marvel that service people can contain themselves. (I also wonder if these people have never had a summer job in a hotel or restaurant. It's very dangerous to behave in this way. All sorts of nasty things can happen to your food before it comes to your table.http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/shocked.gif )

What I find arrogant is when people choose to go to a foreign country, but don't want to experience foreign "ways", and don't want to prepare for them. Perhaps I've never experienced this kind of unpleasantness because my delight in everything is so very obvious.

That said, my French is constantly being corrected, but that's o.k. too; I speak it when I'm there because I want to improve.



I guess these people have not yet learnt to hide the fact that they hate their job. I observed that too (have not been in former soviet bloc exactly, just in former eastern bloc) and it applies to services like restaurants in particular. But it has improved recently due to commercial pressure. At least you can be sure the rudeness is honest and you only get what you explicitly want, lol. In balkan countries though you might experience extreme friendlyness sometimes, which in some cases might have a certain purpose.

That, or they haven't realized that any "mistiere" should be a source of pride if it is done well. I was always taught that no honest labor, professionally done, is ever demeaning.

I think perhaps I detect some politeness at work in your comments, which is very appreciated but unnecessary. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/smile.gifThe Balkans are not the only area where extreme friendliness can be used to fleece unwary foreigners. The same phenomenon can be found in Italy, in some areas more than others. When you're a native you have the necessary social skills to determine when it is genuine and when it is not.

That said, when I return, the abrupt cessation of that sense of "warmth", of inter-connectedness with other people, of a shared humanity which is part of my culture can make me feel as if I am suddenly being plunged into a bath of cold water...very disorienting, alienating, and lonesome making...

Aberdeen
28-02-14, 01:03
[QUOTE]


It also helps when you don't loudly proclaim over a lovely breakfast of great coffee and delicious pastries, "Haven't these people ever heard of bacon and eggs for breakfast?", or "Ewww!, that's gross", when confronted by unfamiliar food, or endlessly complaining when one encounters unfamiliar customs and systems. I sometimes marvel that service people can contain themselves. (I also wonder if these people have never had a summer job in a hotel or restaurant. It's very dangerous to behave in this way. All sorts of nasty things can happen to your food before it comes to your table.http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/shocked.gif )

What I find arrogant is when people choose to go to a foreign country, but don't want to experience foreign "ways", and don't want to prepare for them. Perhaps I've never experienced this kind of unpleasantness because my delight in everything is so very obvious.

That said, my French is constantly being corrected, but that's o.k. too; I speak it when I'm there because I want to improve.

...........


One doesn't have to behave like the stereotypical rude American tourist in order to be mistreated by French waiters and retail staff. Some of my friends who've experienced the worst of French behaviour are in fact Canadian francophones, whose version of French often isn't well received by the Parisian French. And even those of us who are anglophones generally know what a crossant is, and do speak some French, at least those of us from the eastern half of the country. Nevertheless, I find that some of the French have quite an attitude. Although one of my friends got a friendly reception at a French restaurant that was about to close for the afternoon. She explained that she had just arrived by airplane and "I'm very hungry because of course one doesn't eat airline food". They were happy to stay open long enough to serve her, because she seemed like a food snob. So perhaps it's just a matter of knowing how to talk to French people.

martiko
28-02-14, 01:38
El HORSTO : I appreciate the German and behavior, otherwise I would not stay in Germany.
It is true that I have seen the same as you, from seeing Trainer German idle in the day but I have not found like you.
In Russia I sometimes noticed as Angela, but I knew very well why this was and I met more often great kindness.
In France I also had bad experience as you but I'm french I know that sometimes there is this kind of stupid, you just do not have any luck.
Overall I am very consistent with Angela.
The only country that jprfre through night and avoid stop is Belgium because there many people become rude and aggressive if they perceive that you are a French. These are not all the Belgians who are obviously well but just an idiot to cause serious traffic accident or a fight.
I also met the critical situation in Russia at the time of partition of Kosovo, where in a provincial town in central Russia, I took a taxi which was a Renault model and the car was stopped by nationalist fanatics with batons and flags and that because the car was French, but fortunately he did not know the customer (me) was etm'ont even spoke French without knowing that I was French and told me not to get into a Renault, then when they are gone Russian taxi driver and I laughed a lot and I told him that I also had a Renault.
For Belgium I think it is unfortunate because I know this country since my childhood because I lived many years in the Belgian but was in France (Carvin, Lille and Paris) a judge objected that I follow my family who were soldiers in war-torn countries.
But a minority is not a people
The difference when I arrive in a foreign country, I am at rest and very helpful because I do not work them but they work.
It is true and you are right, which is horrible in foreign countries is that they all speak a foreign language ;))

ElHorsto
28-02-14, 02:30
El HORSTO : I appreciate the German and behavior, otherwise I would not stay in Germany.
It is true that I have seen the same as you, from seeing Trainer German idle in the day but I have not found like you.


Uhmm.... :thinking::confused2::thinking::grin: ok.



In Russia I sometimes noticed as Angela, but I knew very well why this was and I met more often great kindness.


I know, Russian kindess is more rare but also more honest.



In France I also had bad experience as you but I'm french I know that sometimes there is this kind of stupid, you just do not have any luck.


But I said that I had NO bad experience in France.



Overall I am very consistent with Angela.


So am I.



I also met the critical situation in Russia at the time of partition of Kosovo, where in a provincial town in central Russia, I took a taxi which was a Renault model and the car was stopped by nationalist fanatics with batons and flags and that because the car was French, but fortunately he did not know the customer (me) was etm'ont even spoke French without knowing that I was French and told me not to get into a Renault, then when they are gone Russian taxi driver and I laughed a lot and I told him that I also had a Renault.


Russia in the 1990s must have been a wacky experience I can imagine.



It is true and you are right, which is horrible in foreign countries is that they all speak a foreign language ;))


Uhmmm, luckily I could deal with it fairly well. If you read my post with a translator again maybe it becomes more clear, convier. :laughing:
Merci!:grin:

Angela
28-02-14, 04:46
[QUOTE=Angela;427182]

One doesn't have to behave like the stereotypical rude American tourist in order to be mistreated by French waiters and retail staff. Some of my friends who've experienced the worst of French behaviour are in fact Canadian francophones, whose version of French often isn't well received by the Parisian French. And even those of us who are anglophones generally know what a crossant is, and do speak some French, at least those of us from the eastern half of the country. Nevertheless, I find that some of the French have quite an attitude. Although one of my friends got a friendly reception at a French restaurant that was about to close for the afternoon. She explained that she had just arrived by airplane and "I'm very hungry because of course one doesn't eat airline food". They were happy to stay open long enough to serve her, because she seemed like a food snob. So perhaps it's just a matter of knowing how to talk to French people.

I don't discount your experiences, but can only relate my own, if that makes sense.

Perhaps it has something to do with whether one comes from a similar culture? And therefore indeed talks to the natives in a different way, or behaves in a way they find familiar? Your comment reminded me of a trip my husband and I took with my parents to France when they were quite elderly, all the way from Provence to Paris. Although I have never encountered any difficulties in France, I was never treated so well as I was on that particular trip. Without exception we were treated like visiting royalty, both during a "tour" and when traveling solo. I still correspond with the wonderful woman who was our tour guide in Provence. I think they were particularly taken by the fact that a man was traveling with his wife's elderly parents, a behavior which, perhaps wrongly, they didn't associate with "Americans", which my husband is, regardless of his genetics.

Part of it indeed might also have had to do with the fact that we, in particular my father, was very "serious" about food and wine. As he would in Italy, he only ordered after a protracted discussion with the waiter about our options and about the way in which the dishes were prepared. On one memorable occasion in Paris, my father, having not eaten eel in a restaurant for years, virtually inhaled his meal, even using a crust of bread for the sauce. The waiter went back into the kitchen and returned unasked with another full plate. My father inhaled that one as well, despite my mother's protestations that he would get sick. The chef in his starched whites then marched into the dining room and personally ladled another full helping onto his plate from the pot, at which time the entire restaurant burst into applause. We also found a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Auvergne where our delight in their regional food led to the entire restaurant staff practically joining us at table. We returned on numerous occasions. Even the stuffy waiter at the Inter-Continental in Paris unbent; seeing how much my mother enjoyed the chocolate croissants, he started to bring an extra serving dish full of them as soon as he saw us sit down, a serving for which we were never billed. Any country where my parents were treated in this way would find a place in my heart even if it weren't already there.

Not that France is the only country which I find simpatica. The running of the bulls in Pamplona when I was at university is another such memory. The stout, florid, countryman in his beret and neckerchief who so kindly shared some wine with me from his wineskin has a warm place in my heart as well, even though he tossed a luckless foreigner trying to climb out of the street back down. As do the students with whom I conversed into the early hours of the morning in a mad blend of Catalan and Italian while in Barcelona. Or the elderly farmer in Romania who brought out his prized home made wine and his sausages on a wonderful summer night. Or the time I was taught to do Greek dances in...well, I could go on, and on, but I won't bore you all. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/grin.png

I think you've also hit upon something with your discussion about the experiences of French Canadiens in France. Italian-Americans are sometimes the most difficult tourists in Italy. The elderly ones who still speak some dialect that is a hundred years old seem offended that barely any one understands it anymore, just as no one sings those old songs anymore unless they're at a folk festival in some little town. They complain that the food isn't as good as what they consider "Italian" food, never realizing that their "home" food was typical only of certain regions, and was incredibly changed because of the lack of authentic ingredients in America in the early years. I'm afraid they expect to be welcomed with a fatted calf like the prodigal son, which is only going to happen in their ancestral villages. Other Italians find their attitudes, their behavior, their clothing, their body language, even the way they walk totally and unmistakably "American" and foreign, and treat them accordingly. Misunderstandings and hurt feelings all around, I'm afraid.

martiko
28-02-14, 13:31
Russia in the 1990s must have been a wacky experience I can imagine.





it was fantastic, for better or worse, I will never forget!

kamani
01-03-14, 03:16
[QUOTE]
I think perhaps I detect some politeness at work in your comments, which is very appreciated but unnecessary. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/smile.gifThe Balkans are not the only area where extreme friendliness can be used to fleece unwary foreigners. The same phenomenon can be found in Italy, in some areas more than others. When you're a native you have the necessary social skills to determine when it is genuine and when it is not.

lol, well some people go on vacation abroad straight from their village (or quiet small town), thinking that they're escaping modernism and the stress of the West. What they don't realize is that they're putting themselves in a very complicated environment, which might be very different from the "golden cage" that they're used to. That being said, the Balkans are nothing compared to Asia when it comes to scamming tourists.

Angela
02-03-14, 17:26
[QUOTE=Angela;427182]
lol, well some people go on vacation abroad straight from their village (or quiet small town), thinking that they're escaping modernism and the stress of the West. .

I think we're on the same page, and they don't have to come from a quiet, small town.

When I show my American friends around Italy, I find that the less sophisticated among them are somewhat disappointed that it doesn't quite match their vision of Italy. I'm afraid some of them expect to walk into a Sophia Loren/Marcello Mastroianni movie set in the Naples of sixty years ago...you know, all barefoot and pregnant and heaving breasts. :smile: Even the mezzogiorno has moved on.


That being said, the Balkans are nothing compared to Asia when it comes to scamming tourists.

Some tourists positively beg to be scammed...I once asked a gondolier in Venice why on earth he was singing O Sole Mio...he told me the tourists demand it...he used to try to sing old Venetian songs but they would have none of it, so there he was, warbling a song inspired by the glorious, blazing sun, azure sea and skies, and intoxicating floral and citrus scents of the Bay of Naples while rowing about amid the watery skies and murky canals sometimes unfortunately redolent of more than a whiff of eau de Mestre. :rolleyes2:

Not,of course, that there are not equally insalubrious areas of Naples proper. And no disrespect to the movies of Loren and Mastroianni...I adore them.

Aberdeen
02-03-14, 18:58
[QUOTE=kamani;427264]

I think we're on the same page, and they don't have to come from a quiet, small town.

When I show my American friends around Italy, I find that the less sophisticated among them are somewhat disappointed that it doesn't quite match their vision of Italy. I'm afraid some of them expect to walk into a Sophia Loren/Marcello Mastroianni movie set in the Naples of sixty years ago...you know, all barefoot and pregnant and heaving breasts. :smile: Even the mezzogiorno has moved on.



Some tourists positively beg to be scammed...I once asked a gondolier in Venice why on earth he was singing O Sole Mio...he told me the tourists demand it...he used to try to sing old Venetian songs but they would have none of it, so there he was, warbling a song inspired by the glorious, blazing sun, azure sea and skies, and intoxicating floral and citrus scents of the Bay of Naples while rowing about amid the watery skies and murky canals sometimes unfortunately redolent of more than a whiff of eau de Mestre. :rolleyes2:

Not,of course, that there are not equally insalubrious areas of Naples proper. And no disrespect to the movies of Loren and Mastroianni...I adore them.

I wouldn't mind going to Italy and seeing a young Sophia Loren with heaving breasts. The same for France and a young Brigette Bardot. But do some tourists really expect European countries to be what they see in old movies? Perhaps some people don't travel much. When I travel, I want to see a different place and culture, but I realize that one can't escape modern fast food restaurants or any other aspect of the 21st century in any developed country. I just ignore that sort of thing as much as I can and appreciate the old architecture and the local food and culture, while remembering that some of the locals will look at tourists the same as a lion would look at a gazelle. When I'd in a restaurant or shop, I do appreciate it if the locals are polite while they try to fleece me, but I'm also suspicious of anyone who seems too friendly and helpful.

Angela
03-03-14, 00:14
[QUOTE=Angela;427373]

I wouldn't mind going to Italy and seeing a young Sophia Loren with heaving breasts. The same for France and a young Brigette Bardot. But do some tourists really expect European countries to be what they see in old movies? Perhaps some people don't travel much. When I travel, I want to see a different place and culture, but I realize that one can't escape modern fast food restaurants or any other aspect of the 21st century in any developed country. I just ignore that sort of thing as much as I can and appreciate the old architecture and the local food and culture, while remembering that some of the locals will look at tourists the same as a lion would look at a gazelle. When I'd in a restaurant or shop, I do appreciate it if the locals are polite while they try to fleece me, but I'm also suspicious of anyone who seems too friendly and helpful.

I think a lot of the images I have of countries and peoples with whom I'm not all that familiar are partly formed by film whether old or recent. For some, nowadays, perhaps music videos and other internet materials also inform expectations. I just think that I'm lucky in that like you, I've been able to travel, and also like you, I think I'm aware enough of how insidious stereotypes can be, that I tend to examine and be critical of my own stereotypical thinking.


Here is the film I meant, btw...you won't need to understand Italian...it's just visuals... his expression at 2:25 is priceless...the hapless, harried Italian male exhausted by the myriad demands of his womenfolk. This is what is most endearing about him...his ability to laugh at himself. The set up for the "Yesterday" Neapolitan portion of the film is that she's been convicted of selling black market cigarettes, but in the Italy of that time and place, a pregnant woman couldn't be imprisoned. When I have time I really should post some of their films in the Italian cinema thread.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKus1utmN1o

As to your other point, it's been my experience that in France as in other countries, when people, service people or not, are friendly, it most often means that and no more. And, even should I be mistaken, what have I lost? A few extra dollars? I prefer to think of what I have gained most of the time. It's worth the risk, I think.

Aberdeen
04-03-14, 15:03
I'm glad that my friends and I are the only people who've ever experienced rudeness from the cheerful, friendly, industrious French. Perhaps our experiences weren't typical, but it's odd that there seems to be a general stereotype that French waiters and retail staff are rude. I wonder how that idea ever got started?

Angela
04-03-14, 18:31
I'm glad that my friends and I are the only people who've ever experienced rudeness from the cheerful, friendly, industrious French. Perhaps our experiences weren't typical, but it's odd that there seems to be a general stereotype that French waiters and retail staff are rude. I wonder how that idea ever got started?

Goodness, did anyone imply that you and your friends were the only people who've ever experienced rudeness from service people in France? It's quite a stereotype that's become attached to them isn't it, especially with regard to Paris, and perhaps especially in the Anglo world?

I think that I and some others who have posted on this thread have merely observed that we've never personally experienced anything particularly noteworthy in that regard in France. One can encounter rude people anywhere, of course; that's to be expected.

I obviously can't speak for your friends, but in so far as one can know someone from an internet experience, you strike me, if I am not being too presumptuous, as someone who would be a civilized and knowledgeable traveler, so I doubt that your experiences stem from any boorish behavior on your part.

As I've speculated here on this thread, I think some of it may be down to whether or not the traveler comes from a relatively similar culture, and so falls into patterns of behavior, ways of speaking, topics of conversation even, that seem familiar to them. To use one of your examples, someone who shows a real sense of discrimination in terms of the type of food they are willing to eat is going to get a more helpful response in a French restaurant than someone who doesn't.

Which leads me to the fact that perhaps if a traveler doesn't find the culture or the people very "simpatico", that is translated in some way which is picked up by the natives of whatever country might be in question? For example, you seemed to find the emphasis on food in France to be a form of food "snobbery" which it seems you find off-putting. (Fair enough, to each their own, although I personally would reserve food snobbery for those situations where people with more money than an actually well developed palate spend a fortune in a currently trendy temple to haute cuisine, but have no idea what they're actually eating.) Perhaps a less polite traveler with a similar attitude might transmit that perception in some way? Just a suggestion...

For me, good food is one of life's sensual blessings...something for every day, not special occasions, no matter how long it takes to prepare it. The quality of the food, the seriousness and attention paid to its preparation, is one of the reasons I so adore traveling to France...and most of the time I am eating in small restaurants or bistros. (The quality of a country's food doesn't lie, in my opinion, in the number of four star restaurants, but in the number of local and reasonably priced good quality restaurants.) A succession of bad meals, on the other hand, can turn a trip into a disaster. I have resisted traveling to some countries partly because the reports are that the food is atrocious. I'm thinking here of China, for example. (I love Chinese food, btw, to the horror of my older Italian relatives.) Although the food in Hong Kong is supposedly superb, what they serve the tourists in mainland China on these tours has been described to me as being so bad that it's like an enforced diet; you're guaranteed to come back kilos lighter!

Then, to be honest, the French have their own set of stereotypes about other peoples. Perhaps that has something to do with it? As I pointed out above, my American friend was treated in a way that I, when traveling alone or with other Europeans, have never experienced. I don't know that they distinguish between Canadians and Americans. I don't think some of them are particularly fond of the English either. And, as I said, they have their issues with French Canadians, and vice versa.

There are also all the regional animosities which color relationships between Europeans, unfortunately, in my opinion. The notorious disdain of the French for the French spoken in Belgium, and indeed for many things Belgian, and vice versa, will color those peoples' experiences of one another. I'm sure the Belgians don't take kindly to being seen as country bumpkins.

All of that said, France remains the most visited country in Europe from what I remember of the statistics, so either people's encounters with the French are not all that bad, or they are willing to overlook any unpleasant experiences because of the extraordinary things it has to offer.

Work habits are another issue. I think there's a lot of stereotyping going on about that as well. And, as far as I'm concerned, and with all due respect, the work habits in all of continental Europe pale in comparison to those of North Americans.
European Union In most European Union countries, working time is gradually decreasing.[31] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#cite_note-stats.oecd.org-31) The European Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union)'s working time directive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time_directive) imposes a 48 hour maximum working week that applies to every member state except the United Kingdom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom) and Malta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malta) (which have an opt-out meaning that UK-based employees may work longer than 48 hours if they wish, but they cannot be forced to do so).[32] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#cite_note-32) France has enacted a 35-hour workweek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/35-hour_workweek) by law, and similar results have been produced in other countries such as Germany through collective bargaining. A major reason for the low annual hours worked in Europe is a relatively high amount of paid annual leave.[33] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#cite_note-33) Fixed employment comes with four to six weeks of holiday as standard. For example, in the UK, full time employees are entitled to 28 days paid leave a year. [34] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#cite_note-34)





You know, I'm going to print out all these posts of mine defending the French, and keep them handy for my next visit. Perhaps I'll leave them strategically lying about in my hotel room! I wonder how I could get restaurant staffs to read them without obviously just handing them over? http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/laughing.gif


Oh, I forgot about cheerfulness...I don't think I've ever said anywhere that the French are a particularly cheerful lot...in fact, I think I've posted a famous quote to the effect that the French are Italians who are in a permanently bad mood. http://cdn.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/main/grin.png
I will not print out this comment for their edification!

I don't think I've ever said they're the friendliest of the Europeans either, although they've treated me extremely kindly over the years...I think I would reserve that for we Italians. I have made wonderful acquaintances, and even close friends just riding the train in Italy. I have an impressive list, if I do say so myself, of names, addresses, telephone numbers of people to visit when I am in their town, for a drink, a meal, a tour, even a bed, should I need one.

Of course, this won't happen when you're riding commuter trains on workdays and you're surrounded by harried and bleary eyed Italians who, due to their reluctance to ever move away from the sound of their own campanile, condemn themselves to hours of commuting time each day.

Angela
05-03-14, 22:16
I'm glad that my friends and I are the only people who've ever experienced rudeness from the cheerful, friendly, industrious French. Perhaps our experiences weren't typical, but it's odd that there seems to be a general stereotype that French waiters and retail staff are rude. I wonder how that idea ever got started?

Goodness, is everyone in a bad mood? Is this sarcasm directed at me?

Yes, indeed there seems to be a stereotype that French waiters and retail staff are rude. It is particularly prevalent in English speaking countries, which is suggestive in and of itself. Perhaps your experiences and those of your friends reinforce that stereotype in your mind...fair enough.

Does that mean that those of us who have not experienced anything other than the occasional rudeness, which can happen anywhere, are not entitled to relate our own experiences and feelings about the matter? Why does that necessitate a snide, passive aggressive response? Unless you prefer to discuss things only in an echo chamber?

I thought, mistakenly, it seems, that one could have a rational discussion of why certain people have better experiences than others...why, perhaps, people from certain countries might be treated differently, which could partly be due to the fact that the French think stereotypically themselves, and have negative stereotypes about people from Britain or the other English speaking countries, for example. Or negative stereotypes about neighbors like the Belgians, for example, who they notoriously ridicule as being country bumpkins who speak a decidedly sub-par French.

I also thought it might be interesting to speculate that people from similar cultures, who behave and speak in similar ways and have similar values, might have a more pleasant experience. Without ever being rude or boorish, a tourist who thinks that finding airplane food highly objectionable makes one a "food snob", might be apt to transmit that rather condescending, dismissive attitude, which would hardly be likely to endear him or her to the natives.

Also, although I couldn't be further from a New Age type, I do think you get back a lot of what you put out. If you project openness and friendliness, you're much more likely to get it back, in my experience.

As for cheerfulness, I don't believe I ever said that I find the French to be a particularly cheerful bunch. In fact, without giving offense I hope, I posted somewhere a famous quote to the effect that the French could be seen as Italians who are in a perpetual bad mood. I personally find their affect bracing and stimulating, but to each their own.

Finally, I am more than *tired* of this *tired* stereotype of how little the French work compared to the Germans, for example. People should look up the statistics instead of relying on the same old ideas. Last time I checked, the whole continent is on a thirty five hour work week, and takes incredibly long vacations. When I have had occasion to call the French or the Germans or the Italians on business during what I consider normal working hours, (five thirty or six o'clock their time, say on a week-night), they are ALL long gone, and I'm not talking about union employees, or government workers...I'm talking about attorneys, marketing people etc. You wouldn't go far here if you scooted out the door at 5PM. North America is an entirely different universe in this regard. The British were usually around when you needed them too, and people from the far east as well.

Aberdeen
05-03-14, 23:23
No, Angela, no need to be defensive because the remark wasn't directed at you. I think someone needs a hug. LOL.

ElHorsto
05-03-14, 23:27
I'm glad that my friends and I are the only people who've ever experienced rudeness from the cheerful, friendly, industrious French. Perhaps our experiences weren't typical, but it's odd that there seems to be a general stereotype that French waiters and retail staff are rude. I wonder how that idea ever got started?

My trip to France had its limits so I still could have missed a lot of course.
My experiences are meant to be subjective, which were mildly positive and I thought it can be explained by certain 'tricks' I used to encourage friendlyness. I also didn't say that the french were especially friendly, mostly that I had no negative experiences. I was in the south-west. My german friends with whom I spoke about journeys to France most of them judged their personal experiences also very neutrally, but also nobody was particularly excited. But there were one or two who were very negative and it is possible that a few additional others just had no chance to say anything negative. It was very helpful that several people advised me to be careful when talking in english, and I think they were right, it worked for me when I showed my concern. I speculate that there might be a certain grudge against english-speaking peoples because it was not long ago when the language of the 'Grande Nation' was on par with english in the world but now it has lost it's status.

Aberdeen
06-03-14, 00:53
My trip to France had its limits so I still could have missed a lot of course.
My experiences are meant to be subjective, which were mildly positive and I thought it can be explained by certain 'tricks' I used to encourage friendlyness. I also didn't say that the french were especially friendly, mostly that I had no negative experiences. I was in the south-west. My german friends with whom I spoke about journeys to France most of them judged their personal experiences also very neutrally, but also nobody was particularly excited. But there were one or two who were very negative and it is possible that a few additional others just had no chance to say anything negative. It was very helpful that several people advised me to be careful when talking in english, and I think they were right, it worked for me when I showed my concern. I speculate that there might be a certain grudge against english-speaking peoples because it was not long ago when the language of the 'Grande Nation' was on par with english in the world but now it has lost it's status.

Now that I think of it, most of the bad experiences my friends and I have had were in Paris. People in other parts of France were more polite, although not always friendly. But I think you're right - English is not as well received in France as some other languages are. And Parisian French seem to react even worse to Canadian French accents than to English, which wasn't the case in other parts of France.

Coolboygcp
06-03-14, 01:05
In my experience, French people have been very kind, friendly, and nice. I have never met an arrogant, nasty, or rude French person yet.

For example, a couple of months ago, I was shopping at a grocery store (Whole Foods, it's one of those natural and organic stores), and I was in the cheese section, and I was looking at some Brie, and I asked this dude, "Have you ever tried this?", and he said "Oh yes, it is very good cheese." Then he proceeded to ask me if I ate the wax on the Brie, and I told him no. And he said "The rind is like the skin of the cheese, like apple has skin, cheese has skin." Then he said, "Do you throw out the rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyére?" I said that I usually did. And he told me "If you put the rind in the microwave for, like a few seconds it will become like a puff, and it is a very delicious puff." I never knew this, and I was very happy to find this out. I said thank you, and goodbye, and I went on with my shopping.

I have recently bought a microwave, and I have some of both of those cheeses, so I think I will try it.

Anyway, I have only had good experiences with French people far, and I have found them to be very nice. (Though the Frenchman I met at the store's breath smelled like smelly cheese and coffee, horrible breath) But other than that, nice guy, and only good experiences so far.

I don't know where all these people find or meet these nasty French people, but I have not yet.

martiko
06-03-14, 01:06
Now that I think of it, most of the bad experiences my friends and I have had were in Paris. People in other parts of France were more polite, although not always friendly. But I think you're right - English is not as well received in France as some other languages are. And Parisian French seem to react even worse to Canadian French accents than to English, which wasn't the case in other parts of France.

this is strange !
I think that it is your feeling and not that of all the German; but what you wait; that people who do not know you embrace you? you thought be waited impatiently?
If you want so, you will have to take the hotel luxury hotel and it will be in all countries and even your there so.

Angela
06-03-14, 05:24
No, Angela, no need to be defensive because the remark wasn't directed at you. I think someone needs a hug. LOL.

My feathers were definitely ruffled...you just happened to be in my sights...sorry.

I could have used a hug, but a visit to the gym, followed by the purchase of a new pair of shoes, has put everything to rights!:grin: