So have you ever travelled to France and you couldn’t understand the language?

Many Western countries now have English as a second language, but it can be quite difficult still.

Not everyone is patient with tourists, and they can seem a bit rude, no?

To understand each other seems to be at the heart of it all.

Check out the article below on some more insights on this and watch the video for some French understanding!

(This week: the verb COMPRENDRE – to understand)



This is Karen Fawcett‘s guest blog post shared from

Karen Fawcett‘For years I’ve been denying the French are rude. People simply don’t understand cultural differences. Tourists who come to France should remember they’re guests. It’s their responsibility to learn about French culture and mores, before making grand pronouncements that they’re not well treated as soon as they land on Gallic soil.

There have been times I’ve nearly waged battle over what I believe to be massive misperceptions. Some people assume I’m a representative of the French Government’s tourist office since my mantra has been: smile, shake hands, say “bonjour” and “merci” and don’t assume your being here and spending money entitles you to jump to the front of the line.

The analogy I’ve made is Parisians tend to be like people who live and work in Manhattan and don’t necessarily make nice-nice to strangers—you know, the ones who look lost and ask for directions, in a foreign language no less, about how to travel from the lower East Side to the upper West Side without changing subway lines.

Imagine my upset when the results of a telephone poll conducted by the CSA (France’s Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) of 1000 French adults, who live outside of Paris, were made public.

The findings were devastating. But there had to be a reason. It was a sample of those who were willing to take the time to answer the questions, undoubtedly because others were too busy. How many times have you said no to a telemarketer or a survey-taker because you had other things on your plate—like dinner? I’m skeptical of the results, but here they are:

Parisians were found to be: arrogant, aggressive, snobbish, flirtatious, chauvinistic, feel they’re superior to people who live outside of Paris, and—dig this, Lotharios who hang out on the Champs-Élysées picking up women. It didn’t mention whether or not women were guilty of picking up men.

Thank goodness, “Marianne,” a political magazine ran an editorial alongside these findings. It was quick to say Parisians are under substantially more stress than people who live in other parts of France. Many have longer commutes to their jobs, work longer hours and, if the truth be told, they tend to be unpleasant to one another.

In addition, Parisians may have tourist fatigue since the city is a major tourist destination. Among the French, people from Brittany frequent Paris more than people from other parts of the country.

In spite of the fact that I constantly defend the French, Parisians are different from residents from other parts of France. When I split my time between Paris and Provence, I was constantly irritated by how long it took me to accomplish the most mundane things. I’d go into town to buy newspapers, bread and a few other things and it would invariably be a two-hour foray when I was in the country.

Why did people want to discuss everything and anything? I’d look behind me (when I finally got to the counter) and wonder whether or not these conversations were really necessary.

If I ran into a neighbor, it was considered rude if we didn’t stop for a coffee or a pastis. If I had a drink at 11 a.m., well, so much for the rest of the day. What I had to remember was that many of our neighbors were retired and that’s precisely the reason they settled in Provence. They were doing what they loved, and bless them. But I wasn’t into planting gardens (that was my husband’s passion) and please please, let me get home so I could access my passion Bonjour Paris.

As someone who loves to travel, we all have to learn that people march to their own drummers and at different paces. No matter where you go, rhythms are different.

When I spend time in Washington, DC, my pace slows down compared to Paris. Another thing I’ve learned is that no matter where I am, taxi drivers tend to be rude. It may be because they’re tired from having to fight traffic, busy listening to the radio and invariably are carrying on phone conversations— rarely these days in a language I understand.

My question (I’m ducking) is do you find Parisian rude? If you do, how could they change their behavior to make you more comfortable? Most people (and certainly ones in the hospitality industry) speak English. What can tourists learn from Parisians?

If you’re coming to France (or for that matter anywhere) you can reserve your hotel here. To rent a car, Bonjour Paris recommends Auto Europe.

© Paris New Media, LLC


Immerse yourself as you FINALLY reach your dream of becoming bilingual, learn to speak Parisian French and BREAK your language barrier!


Now it is your turn!

I’m going to let Karen ask you the question today:

“My question (I’m ducking) is do you find Parisian rude? If you do, how could they change their behavior to make you more comfortable? Most people (and certainly ones in the hospitality industry) speak English. What can tourists learn from Parisians?”

Merci beaucoup et à la prochaine,



Want to learn French to enjoy Paris?
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Llyane Stanfield is a Parisian French language coach, and founder of the J’Ouellette® French Method – an organic method using techniques that are employed by the world’s finest linguists. She travels between Toronto, New York and Paris, while teaching French via Skype in more than 15 countries. She is French language coach for busy traveling professionals, and has produced an unprecedented Intensive Program and PARISIAN FRENCH PRONUNCIATION MASTER CLASS, as well as other visual and teaching materials. She now spends a large portion of her time in Paris, where she also organizes an bi-annual FRENCH IMMERSION RETREAT (the only 1:1 of the kind in the World). Her unique methods produce a quantum leap in confidence and pronunciation, and a short session with her is the perfect start to brush up your French (whatever your level!) at the start of your Paris trip.

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Are French rude?

5 thoughts on “Are French rude?

  • November 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Some French are not polite. Some French are very polite.

  • November 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Generally speaking, I don’t think the French are any ruder than other nations. In fact, I find them far politer than some. Personally, I operate on the principle that if you’re polite with people, they’ll be polite back. In most cases this works. The only occasions when French politeness leaves something to be desired is when they get their derrières in a driving seat. It must be the Mr Hyde factor.

  • July 7, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Somehow I find quite rude to qualify somebody else of being rude. Think about it!

  • June 22, 2015 at 7:19 am

    During my last visit I found Parisian’s very warm and welcoming. I was so happy to finally be in Paris that I was all smiles. I was appreciative of everything that was done for me. I wanted to experience the culture and way of life. I think of Paris often with only pleasant thoughts. Until next time.

  • June 24, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I’ve written/said this a kazillion times: the French are wonderful, funny, quirky, warm and always so helpful. It’s the tourists-usually Americans-who are the problem. They don’t realize that they’re a guest in someone else’s home, and expect-in a typically entitled manner-people to speak their language, instead of even bothering to learn several key words/phrases in French…they am merely tourists, who want everything to be just like at home instead of travellers, who revel in and relish the unexpected adventure and different. unplanned twist and turn. I live in NYC and understand the Parisian’s rhythm-it’s very similar to ours. I’ve been renting an apt. in Paris for several weeks a year for a long time, have great friends in France, and truly feel more “at home” in that beautiful city/country than I do in the States…Americans in particular have alot to learn in terms of being considerate, thoughtful guests in another country.


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