Everybody has the stereotypical Parisian in his mind:
- shirt with stripes
- and eating a baguette
But is this really true? I made the test and wrote down how Parisians appeared to me.
Parisians are polite.
Parisians are polite. That has to be said once for all. No matter if it’s in the metro, in a store or in the middle of the street. During my four day stay I’ve barely heard any bad word. Everyone is polite, people are greeting and saying goodbye to each other in a very friendly way and show consideration for others.
Following scenario: In a clothing store I asked the assistant for a different size. Whereas in Germany you approach the staff directly (well sometimes you put an “excuse me” before your sentence), in France you are welcomed by a polite “Bonjour Madame”. Parisians place special value on politeness, take time for their costumers and say friendly goodbye.
Most of the times Parisian metros are totally crowded and you barely find a seat. However, when a woman (no matter which age) enters the train, Parisian men get up and offer them their seat instantly. How nice!
Parisians avoid speaking Englisch (okay most of the time)
French people are famous for not speaking English. But is this really true? Or is it just a stereotype? Well… I wouldn’t say they don’t speak English at all BUT they’re definitely talking French with you in the first place. Which isn’t bad though. I don’t know if they’re too lazy to learn Englisch, if they just don’t want to or if they have too much national pride. As I said, it doesn’t bother me. I learned French in school and unfortunately it’s not as good as it was then – all the better that I’m kind to forced to speak it when I’m in France. And even if you don’t speak French, a simple “bonjour” or “merci” is possible for everyone. Fun fact: Even when the cashiers or vendors realize that you’re a foreigner they tell you the price and speak with you in French (“Voulez-vous un sac?”)
Parisians aren’t asocial
You’re thinking that Parisians are unsocial and shut themselves off? Then you’re wrong. The other day I was in the metro with my friend when an elderly man told her she had beautiful eyes (what a charmer!) In Germany we would probably get a bit panicky and maybe even think about it like a greasy chat up. This Parisian man however just wanted to be friendly and say what was on his mind. Of course we didn’t understand him in the first place (he was talking French, duh) but then another man in the metro translated it into English. Until the elderly man had to exit the metro, he and the “translator” got talking to each other and laughed. It was so nice to see these two strangers having a conversation with so much joy.
Parisians love eating baguettes
This is definitely NOT a stereotype. Parisian people LOVE to eat baguettes (not matter if it’s for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner). They basically eat it everywhere and at any time. No surprise: Paris has about 1 700 ‘boulageries’. Although I didn’t taste that much difference between a German baguette and a French one, people say that there’s a difference for sure. Nevertheless, they’re delicious. The other day we had a rest in the park of the ‘Palais Royal’ and within about an hour we saw at least ten businessmen in suits coming by, sitting on the floor in the sun and enjoyed a baguette for lunch break. This happens only in Paris I guess.