Are the French Rude? 5 Reasons Americans Might Think So

The rude Frenchman is a classic trope that sometimes makes foreigners weary of traveling in France. It’s even one of the most Googled things about Parisians!


But some of the things foreigners find rude aren’t really personality traits – they’re simply cultural differences.

Here are five reasons you might perceive a well-meaning French person to be rude when they’re just being, well, French:

1. The French keep a distance with strangers

In America, a “neutral” face is a big smiling grin, but in France, that’s way too expressive. It’s simply not the culture to get too cozy with strangers and – as many American girls in Paris will tell you – what we consider to be a casual smile in the States is often interpreted as a sexual invitation abroad (no wonder French girls have the sexy pout down solid!)

A typical French person won’t talk to you for the first time as if you have known each other for a decade. On the flip side, a lack of pleasantries makes everything more genuine. There is almost no “Oh yeah, we should definitely have coffee… sometime!” and once you do make a French friend, they will be a loyal and true friend for life.

2. Good service in France means leaving you alone

In France, the object of dining is to lay claim to a great table and take up as much time in it as possible. A waiter coming to ask you if you’d like anything else every 10 minutes makes the French feel rushed and unwanted. Good service means being left alone.

In the States, we see this as lazy service. We’re used to 45 minute lunches and tables turning, so we wonder why the waiter is seemingly ignoring us. In reality, he’s simply trying to give you your table for as much time as a French person would want it.

So instead of getting frustrated at your server for being a “jerk,” slow down and take your time. It helps you get a good physique AND allows you to experience a French custom first-hand.

3. The French speak French

So before you say, “duh,” let me tell you a little story…

A friend of mine once told me how rude her French bus driver was when she asked him if he stopped at a popular intersection. I asked her, “did you ask him in French?” “Of course not, but he’s a bus driver, he’s supposed to speak English!”

Welllll, not exactly. American bus drivers are not expected to be well versed in every foreign language, and neither are French bus drivers. The truth is that he probably did understand the English, but was likely insulted that his native language wasn’t at least attempted.

You don’t really have to be fluent to get around well in France, but just be respectful and pull out a phrase book. Try. After stumbling a few times, the French person will likely stop you and respond in English (because they actually have a low tolerance for terrible French, once you’ve proven you tried).

Of course, the other issue with my friend’s bus driver experience was…

4. It’s your vacation, it’s their day-to-day

If you’re an American in France, you’re likely on vacation (if your daily job requires you to fly back and forth to Paris, then you can stop reading anyway because I hate you, you lucky butt, and you should promptly resign so I can steal your job).

If you ARE on vacation, you have a tendency to view everything with vacation eyes. You stop seeing time tables or maybe you have an even more rigid schedule of attractions to catch. You see European cities as full of landmarks and not full of bustling commerce.

But imagine, if you will, getting out of your car in [insert any American city] and getting asked directions to local venues by 5 people before you get to your office door. Pretty frustrating, right? Try 5 days a week and you might understand why some Parisians don’t give you the time of day.

Just be respectful of the fact that you’re the only one on vacation and try to seek out help from people for whom helping you might be their job – think policemen, metro employees, tourist offices, or even your dear friend Siri (she’ll even talk to you in English, though not very well).

5. French slang makes everything negative and understated

Was your food good? A French person would say it was “not bad.” The view gorgeous? “Not intolerable.” A good looking guy? He was “not ugly.” This is simply manner of speaking in French, but translates very negatively to an American who loves speaking in hyperbole.

Almost the opposite of the French, we Americans love to make everything an extreme. The food was good? We say it was “the best.” The view is not beautiful but “inspiring” and French guys are “literally the hottest ever.”

Cursing is also way more common in spoken French than spoken English – so don’t be surprised if a French person says “f*ck” more than you’re used to. They’re just translating directly from their French.

When traveling in France, it’s important to remember that some of what we perceive to be personality traits are just different ways of speaking or cultural peculiarities. For an interesting role-reversal, read some of these translated tips French people give each other about American culture peculiarities! They’ll make you think twice about things like urinals…

What are your experiences with cultural differences when staying abroad? Let me know in the comments!

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Write us your thoughts about this post. Be kind & Play nice.
  1. allison b-t says:

    i had a great time in france and only encountered one rude person … and i totally understood his attitude later when i realized i tried asking what time his restaurant opened in a mixture of french and spanish. ooops! that’s on me for taking too many foreign languages and not using any of them often- i’m surprised i didn’t throw some german in for good measure! overall, it probably helped that i can pronounce french pretty decently for an american. i always tried french first and people would usually answer me in english and it was all hunky dory.

    • Dennis says:

      The French will actually appreciate you’re trying to speak their language in France, no matter if you mix it up. So the rude person was probably just… rude. If you’re ever in Holland, just stick to English because almost everyone will understand you. And Dutch isn’t the easiest language for Americans, or other English speaking people.

      • Emily Grossman says:

        That’s great advice, Dennis! Cool tidbit about Holland, too!

      • Daniel says:

        Mon francais est terrible, that phrase literally solved the constant rudeness i experienced in Paris…

        I grasp the concept of why it would be upsetting that a language isnt used in the country of origin but dont pretend you dont speak english thats just douchey and totally contradictive to their self professed direct ‘i dont care’ french persona.

        I am a brit and we have a lot more reservation than the US and the french but i would probably say that we do have some traits in common with the french which is why we call them out on their deliberate abbrasion, they are rude for the sake of it, still france is that brother or relative that you clash with but secretly love and admire, a french person would likely never admit to their secret love for the english, theyre too busy doing the ‘french’ thing for that…

        I have a bunch of stories but the one i still laugh about today was when a friend and i were at train station in paris and we were queuein to speak to the ticket person on the desk, as we were waiting the person who was being served from the ticket person ( who was behind a glass window in lovked in officw) had some disageement with the customer and threw the mic stormed out of the office and attacked the customer, this was at his job and i bet he wasnt fired me and my friend were both gobsmacked and in histerics

    • bern says:

      No excusaes fdor french people they are not only stinky but
      embittered if ypou dont believe ask a hpotelier they the worse people to make revievws nothing make them happy always looking fro something to talk bad about it

    • yushiro says:

      I am in France this week and the very first person I spoke to outside of my hotel, was the rudest fucking bitch I’ve ever seen that had a job, The metro information center.

      “Well if you you’re NOT sure what type of ticket you want, I DON’T KNOW what else I can do for you”.

      “JUST go OVER THERE to the ticket machine, it’s all in English”
      [I go to ticket machine. It has 6 different options from day passes, to selecting zones, to leaving from this station only, to bus]

      The whole time she was huffing and puffing and about to have a stroke.

      And I’m just watching her doing things I’ve never seen a human being do. Like rolling her eyes to the point her entire eyes turn white. Smacking her lips. Closing her eyes then also rolling her eyes while raising eyebrows. I swear, this kind of behavior was just so amusing for me to watch. How do parents raise children like this? In London, I want to say that they were the exact opposite. Very helpful, everywhere you go. Classy.

      • Denise says:

        I agree. If you try to speak French, they hate you, and if you use your own language, they hate you. We travelled to Paris to financially support them after their tragedies in 2015.
        Leave Paris and head south to the countryside. The villagers are delightful, very unlike their disgusting Parisian countrymen.

  2. Indigo says:

    One of the reasons the French unpleasant

    France is the world’s leading tourist destination.
    France has welcomed 83 million visitors in 2013.
    The French population is 66 million people

    Imagine the USA (315 million inhabitants) receiving 396 million tourists! what a shock to the American people.
    Well this is what happens to the French.

    So please! when you make a request, be kind! !
    Because you may be the tenth in an hour, which is a request for information!

    and perhaps that French is not working in tourism!
    Of course he must answer politely, but it must be tiring when it is repeated everyday.

    The immense majority of Americans back good memories of their stay in France. The bad reputation of the French population resembles the “French-bashing” of some type of media (unfortunately)!

    Seriously! there is no more unpleasant people in France than in the rest of the world!

    The French would there be a different genetic code from the rest of humanity?

    If one thinks! it would be incredible that the entire French population is silly!

    If the French was so bad, there would not be so many tourists in France!

    • Erik says:

      You are wrong!!!
      French are IN YOUR FACE everyday in NYC.
      And the stereotype is correct, shower already, really!
      (uhm, you should be showering now).
      I get the stats point!
      Lets dig….so lets say (these are # from swedish consulate so not 100%),
      At any given day there are close to 100000 french tourist in NYC.
      How do they manage to really piss everybody off so much?
      (yes its the body smell problem, but that is not it) they are RUDE!
      Frenchies, you really have to learn manners, because…… all of those tourist you are bragging about. We won’t come back. You can only milk the Louvre so far. Paris…..?????
      Beirut is the same, except nicer!
      Got it?
      Good (we really don’t care, stay in your country, make good movies, just dont travel)!!!

      • laure says:

        Erik, have you ever been to Paris once in your life? Can you speak French, at least have you even tried? Your post is rude, racist and simply prove you’ve certainly not travel that much to even dawn compare Paris to Beirut!??

        • David says:

          Though I think Erik’s comment is ridiculous and rude, how does that make it racist? Too many people toss the word “racist” around to describe too many different types of behavior. I grew up in Georgia… I know exactly what a racist is and Erik is just a smart@ss…

        • Napoléon says:

          J’ai vécu à Paris est je confirme que cette ville pue la pisse de clodo.
          I lived in Paris and I can tell you this city stinks tramps’ piss everywhere.

      • Denise says:

        I agree, and why don’t they shower?
        The biggest problem with French tourists in my country is their cruelty to rare small animals.
        Two men set fire to a small mammal, and even laughed about it in court.
        They have no respect for other cultures, they are very insular, and now, most unwelcome as workers and as touristes.

        • Joan says:

          For Denise: I am surprised by that comment and very distressed to read it. In my experience, the French are very good with animals and love them. I don’t understand cruelty to animals in any culture but it surprises me with them.

          I always thought Alain Delon was the perfect example of someone who loved and cared for animals. Even today at 81 he goes to fundraisers for animal services. Anyone I ever knew in France was the same way. This is so sad to read.

        • Josep says:

          Two men in a country of nearly 67 million. That’s a small sample. What the heck, dude?

      • Noe says:

        Your arguments are so limpid and relevant that they illuminate the mind with your clairvoyance, it’s so incredibly intelligent that I imagine you instantly as a Republican supporter stuffed to fox news and who voted trump.

        For your information, there is only in the Anglosphere that there is a french bashing. Especially since you invaded the Iraq with lies and false evidence to loot their oil. You ridiculed yourself in the face of the world with your fries of freedom and your warrior expedition that ended badly.

        The whole world knows your way of life and your attraction for your guns. Your 2nd Amendment is an absolute farce, when you see your crime rate and incarceration, the number of deaths in schools, and even your cops who kill Afro-Americans disarmed.

        The biggest economic crises come from the US, and no country other than yours has plunged the world into financial chaos as a result of out-of-control greed.

        We will not talk about the land stolen from the Amerindians by the force of arms, which you have parked in reserves like animals and driven to despair and alcoholism.

        There is only one country in the world that has used two nuclear bombs on civilian men, women and children by vitrifying two cities.

        When I go to Japan, people feel relief when they understand that I am not from the USA. The Japanese see you as people who do not respect or understand their culture. Your ignorant behavior shocks them tremendously, but they are too polite to tell you in the face.

        In fact, If there is a declining nation that can not teach others, it’s yours!

  3. That’s a great post! I mean the media continues to blow up the myth (CNN published a terrible piece about 2 month ago with lots of people commenting and agreeing on how rude/arrogant/even racisist the French are)…It pisses me off as a foreigner living in France, speaking bad French and traveling a lot around the country…and experienced NO BAD attitude towards me.

    This bus driver situation – I read hundreds of variations already. And I still can’t get why people think he is obliged to speak English?! What’s so suprising about that. Try speaking to a Russian or Indonesian bus driver in English. He won’t be much helpful either…

    Shared this post via Twitter and hope this stupid myth will finally disappears for good!

    • tourist says:

      Why expected or obliged to speak English?! because English is statistically the main business language around the world and even French cannot deny that fact. It is not my first language by the way, it is a second language to me. Not being able or doesn’t want to use English can be tolerated, but the rudeness that in 90% of situations comes with is the special thing that Parisians have.

      bus driver situation : In Russia and Indonesia even if he/she doesn’t know the language he will not treat you rudely just because you spoke in English, this is the difference !!!!!! added to that the fact that he/she most probably understood what u said which makes his/her behavior in fact extra rude compared to other non-english speaking countries

      • Djidiouf says:

        “Why expected or obliged to speak English?! because English is statistically the main business language around the world”

        Yeah, we all know that but the bus driver is not a receptionist in a hostel or a vendor in a shop. In France, his only task is to drive his bus and respects an accurate schedule in the nightmare of Paris’ traffic. Remember that in France, driving in big cities can really be stressful so with a chronometer in mind, it’s horrible.
        And as it was said early by another visitor, bus driver is not a job which requires a lot of education so for most of them, they don’t know English language.

        Here in France, a lot of people are willing to help other people. Just ask politely, be nice and you can try some word in French. After all, when we go in a foreign country, it’s nice to saw that part too, trying to speak some words in that language and be understandable. It’s not a question about the overwhelming presence of English in the world, it’s about having our language not ignored. We will answer you in English as often as it’s possible.

      • Alexis says:

        Hey tourist, we know that English language is one of the most important today. But just ask “do you speak English ?” to a French man before asking him something. And he will be proud to answer you speaking english or at least trying.
        It is speaking English without asking “Do you speak English” that is INCREDIBLY rude. Its always better when efforts come from both sides. A Frenchman from Bristol, UK.

    • Joan says:

      I’m guessing you’re young and a knockout.

  4. Cate says:

    Amen! I wish that more people understood this. I am tired of people coming back from France and complaining that the French are rude!

  5. jimmy says:

    I have spent a lot of time cycling in france – crossed the country about 4 times from different directions. I have accrued a reasonable amount of french and ask if they speak english in french, before speaking to them in english! I find the french helpful and polite – they do not carve me up on my bicycle, they do not rip me off in hotels or cafes and they do not treat me badly because I am english – there might be a tradition of friction between the french and the english, but I am yet to find it in my travels.

    I suspect it is about respect. I am polite when I deal with them and try not to make unreasonable demands.

    I have a number of english friends who have moved to france who echo my remarks.

    I have however found some extremely brash foreign travellers in France who are very loud and very demanding – they assume that if you speak english slowly and loudly that the foreign jonnies will understand you and jump to it mighty quick – please keep them away from me, spoil things for me

    york uk

  6. Guys don’t try to excuse the French arrogancy.They are extremelly rude and don’t have any respect for your country. They are really very arrogant and i have no respect for them.

    • Bung says:

      Agreed. Ive been a tour guid in both hawaii and the mainland united states. 90% of french tourists have been rude, short, and with a lack of any courtesy. I work in the hotel business now and its still the same. Ever since the paris attacks have been happening however, most of my french tourists have been significantly more nice. Why? Cause you all are getting attacked again and will require U.S. + foreign help again? This is mearly a speculation about the sudden change of attitude, but very rarely have a might a genuinely respectable french person. Trying to think open mindedly, neutrally, and understanding their culture is different…but in human nature, universally, I would fail this student in the arts of how to be human.

    • Bulldozer says:

      We’re not arrogant, we’re lucid.

  7. lana says:

    I am an American living in France and find it extremely rude when people expect the French to speak English!! People even come into my shop and instead of attempting to say, ” Bonjour!” They either say nothing forcing me to say Bonjour and I get a lousy, “hello”! in return. It grates me. I see why the french are rude to Americans.

  8. Christina says:

    Americans complain all the time about foreigners not speaking English! Why should we expect any different when visiting another country?

  9. Limon sims says:

    Language difference has nothing to do with it. I have 2 french housemates and they are so arrogant and never even tries to see someone else’s point of view. They bitch about everything under the sun that’s wrong with the house or other roomates. It’s like how you would expect people to act when government has collapsed and there is anarchy; pure selfishness

    • Charlotte says:

      I am a French living in UK. I am very happy to read this article because it is what I try to tell everytime. So many English told me that they had bad experiences in France, that French were rude and didn’t make effort to speak English. But in France, most of people just almost don’t speak English. I think our education system is very bad for English and if people don’t have to opportunity to go long-time abroad, they don’t learn English. How can you blame them!?
      Then I think indeed there are some cultural differences that British and American don’t understand. French are generally less extreme in their expression but they also tend to say more what they really think. I also have this cultural problem in the other direction: I feel that British politeness is a kind of hypocrisy. Yes sometimes it is a problem for me because I am not used to say amazing for everything even when it is very basic or absolutly not amazing. But I know that is a question of education and habit so I have to get use to that and accept it. By the same way, American and British have to understand and accept that French need maybe more time to be very friendly and that they are more franc in their feelings. When you travel, you are there to discover a culture and that is a part of French culture. In one sense, if you are not able to open your mind and tolerate that British and American way to think are not the norm, why do you go abroad??

  10. Laszlo says:

    French people are not only rude and arrogant, if you compare the reaction of a French man/woman to any other nationalities, French will act like psychopaths way too often. They ll scream at you in any possible situation about their rights and your rights while obviously trying to ignore your actual rights. Any sane European or American will think they’re awkward about almost everything and anyone saying the lazy arrogant angry French is just a stereotype is either one of them or lying. They’re exactly that. Look at their economical tendencies. And look at the rising number of crime, it’s because they’re both chasing all foreigners in madness with their attitude and too lazy and dumb to step up any efficient security efforts. And we could go on.

    • Carlos says:

      Your ignorance is very strong.
      You think French look like psychopaths ? It’s funny, because I worked in many touristic places around the world, and in almost every country I lived, everyone tend to say English-speakers are very hysterical in any situation.
      But contrary to you, I’m more intelligent. I don’t spend my time writing comments about “how english-speakers look stupid”, because I know there are cultural differences in comportments.
      French are chasing foreigners ? Another proof of your ignorance. Did you know that the prime minister is a Spaniard, became French when he was 19 ? Or that the minister of culture is from Korea ? They have also minister from Germany, Canada etc. Can you tell me which other countries allows that ?

    • Bulldozer says:

      No, we ARE rude.

      Don’t make articles like that. I wish the worst (and genuine) possible image of French people could be given to foreigners.

      There already are too many fucking tourists visiting Paris each year. They don’t know how to dress, they always look so lost, they attract crime into the city, AND THEY WALK SO FUCKING SLOWLY !

      Do not come, we hate you.

      • mo says:

        Well you have obviously confirmed this stereotype in 3.5 seconds, yes it is obvious that French people are mean and rude but they really need to try to change. It’s so inappropriate and umGodly to behave that way. I am unfortunately French :(

      • watch, some Americans will not tolerate YOUR PEOPLE. If it want for your tourists, you would be broke.

      • Smita says:

        I am sorry you feel that way. I always though the rudeness of Parisians was a hypothetical construct of the western media.

        I was a blundering, pestering tourist in Paris last summer, asked directions of over a hundred people but did not receive a single rude answer. In fact most people went out of their way to explain the route maps and trains schedule to me. A lovely young couple (God Bless them) even let me use their pass when I messed up my tickets. I could quote dozens of incidents of kindness I experienced in Paris. It is a beautiful, wonderful city and I would love to visit again. (I promise to dress better next time 😀

    • Paul says:

      ahah, an american guy with a 3.8 homicide rate complies about the rising number of crime in France. “and too lazy and dumb to step up any efficient security efforts” so funny. Just keep in mind that even Liberia as a lower crime rate than USA.

      A french guy.

  11. Stéphane says:

    Well, I think the rudness of Parisian people in general is real, because there wouldn’t be so many remarks about it if it weren’t !
    I must admit that Parisian people can sometimes be rude among themselves.

    It comes from the fact that in France unlike the in the North of Europe, efficiency and welcomeness is not highly valued. Further more, Paris concentrates too many activities compared to the other ereas of France. Also, the educational system is too academic, and is not work oriented. The french ruling class is not measuring up to its tasks, in general, and does not show the exemple neither…

    Yet if you happen to travel to other french big cities outside Paris, or at the countryside, the people tend to be much friendlier than in Paris, and will help you willingly !

    I understand the points of view of some people, and feel sorry for them ! I think it is a shame for us French people, being one of the most visited country in Europe, but I would like to recommend to come to our country, not especially only to Paris…There are numerous hidden gems everywhere throughout France (as everywhere else in Europe), especially big cities such as Lyon, Marseilles, Toulouse, Nancy, Montpellier, Bordeaux…etc…which have nothing indeed to envy to the capital city.

    I hope that the readers will understand my english…

    • Ryu says:

      Your English is perfectly fine; no worries there. I have heard for myself from many tourists, traveling businessmen/women and from French citizens themselves similar things to what you’ve said here. I’ve never been to Europe myself, but I must say that your French countrysides and your city of Bordeaux look spectacular from the videos and photos I’ve seen.

  12. Thomas says:

    Well…. if you’re coming to France you know what to expect. You don’t like it then you don’t come. As simple as that. There are hundreds of beautiful countries you can go to. France is just one of them. The fact of beeing a rebel is part of the French culture. It’s part of the history. It’s somehow something romantic. That’s why France is respected and loved. It’s a country that lives and survives with gutts. You don’t like that. You don’t come. But then don’t venerate French clothes food and wine. France is just one country among hundreds. It has its own culture and history. Same for the French. And I’m French so I’m not bashing.

    • John Wayne says:

      Ridiculous statement. You can’t afford to be a rebel when everybody kicks your ass. Every French national should know english since we always save your ass. At the very least you guys should be able to sing the USA National Anthem and to say HELP !!!

      • Nashenas says:

        Actually, John Wane, it’s your comment that is absolutely ridiculous, ignorant and full of arrogance, not the comment of that Frenchman. His comment actually makes perfect sense. If you knew France’s military records you wouldn’t spew such nonsense. That some ignorance you are showing and you are embarrassing yourself. And your dear country USA would be a British colony for much longer if it wasn’t for the French. Come down from your high horse. Your American exceptionalism is absolutely disgusting. With people like you, it’s no wonder there is a stereotype saying Americans are ignorant which is quite unfair to nice and educated Americans.
        And I’m not even live in the west.

  13. Bulldozer says:

    No, we ARE rude.

    Don’t make articles like that. I wish the worst (and genuine) possible image of French people could be given to foreigners.

    There already are too many fucking tourists visiting Paris each year. They don’t know how to dress, they always look so lost, they attract crime into the city, AND THEY WALK SO FUCKING SLOWLY !

    Do not come, we hate you.

    • Emily Grossman says:


    • mo says:

      Why are you so hateful. Its not good because it could really hurt someone on the inside. French should try having compassion for mankind.

    • MikeS says:

      Do you hate Australian’s too? I hope not because I love the french :(

    • EFF YEH. says:


      He's right. Fuck off.
      I'm a french, living abroad and I have to take these remarks all day long from people that I met: french are this, french are that; At some points, I have to shut up and laugh at it and just shut up; If I started answering to that, people would ay I'm just being french.

      – italians are fucking loud
      – spaniard people are really rude
      – portugueses keep talking about their native country as the best one in the world (though they emigrated)
      – germans are cold and don't have any sort of humour and they have to stop wearing socks with sandals, it's gross.
      – americans are stupid and fat
      – the list could go on but as it's been stated: you're ALL walking slowly.

      S T E R E O T Y P E S much, right? (though, come on UK and USA: 60% obesity rate, right?)

      You hate french people? OK, that's your right. I'm not too keen on some other nationalities either, it's fine being a cunt.
      But please: Don't visit Paris; And please, stop going to our beaches, if you want to keep spreading stupid stereotypes to reinforce your poor insecurities, fine but please, act accordingly. Every year, we have germans, dutch people, danish and british invading our country but then, when they come back to their own country, they criticise France. How polite is that? Not mentioning again we have to overcome the sight of german "SOCKS AND SANDALS" (oh and stop being nudists too, that would be great)

      French people have weird rules and etiquettes, you don't understand them and you don't want to know about them, neither you know about the french educational system or the cultural system and what has been called "l'exception culturelle" (which is not so much of a bad thing when you read english speakers asking the rest of the world to speak their languages — we'll see how they react)

      You know the funniest? The number of time I heard french people sucked at speaking english, I actually never witnessed any average brit or 'murican speaking any other languages: now that's arrogant.

      Merci bien et gros bisou.

      • Aaron says:

        From your message, I can see that you’re extremely livid of what is said about France. I didn’t know people can be that passionate about their homeland. If I were you, I would have ignored it and look for other solution to resolve the problem. For the last statement regarding Anglophones aren’t unable to speak a non-English language, I’m English, can speak Spanish pretty well and think of another, perhaps French. However, I’m not too sure if French is worth it because I’ve heard that “les anglicismes” is common in the Francophones and many young French, Swiss and Belgium will response back in English when they encounter a native English speaker frightens me. What’s your response and what would you suggest?

      • It’s what happens when people are honest. Some people simply can’t handle the truth when it is told to them. To too many English speakers particularly Americans, truth is an offense. ( I am an American, with french ancestry By the way) It seems to me it is easy to be offended if the truth is an offense. Americans talk about freedom of speech , But only if it’s their own speech, if it’s anyone else’s and it conflicts with their own, it suddenly becomes rude. Americans love to talk about free-speech (which was derived from the French enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire ) , the French actually exercise free speech, and discourse would of course by extension be expected, and embraced.

  14. Bill Rabara says:

    So essentially, we should accept that rudeness is a part of French culture. It’s s a way of life. My uber liberal cousin with great eagerness and excitement visited France years ago. Culture shock. He was blown away the by the extent of truthfulness to the stereotype. His desire to revisit France is nil.

    • Josep says:

      Again, don’t confuse rudeness with being direct. Treat them with respect and they’ll do the same. How hard is this to grasp? Comments like yours will make the rudeness worse. Pot, meet kettle!
      My two cents.

  15. Tim says:

    I have never been to France. But I have been traveling abroad now since May 2015, over 8 months. The Caribbean, South America, Central America, and now New Zealand. Without exception, the French tourists have been the rudest people I have ever met. They have no concept of “taking your turn” in line, they consistantly barge to the front; here in New Zealand it has been the worst. They cut in line and look at you like you are low class scum. The hotel managers here have told me how impossible it is to please their French guests as well. Honestly if I had done this trip when I was 30 there would be a lot of French citizens with broken noses. No, I won’t be spending my tourist money in France.

    • bob84 says:

      Yeah same story all the time,you’ve never been here so what you talk about……broken noses??

      Come over here and we’ll show you really about what is a broken nose..French tourist are not better nor as bad as Anglo Saxons..ask the Greeks and the Thais what they think really genuinely…they’ll tell you about some French behavior……

      Went to Greece saw some English girls pissing on themselves drunk to death…fights on the streets..always the same people…anything you wanna teach us?

      Waiting for you to break my nose i’m in my 50’s …my nose still stands.

  16. bob84 says:

    After reading so much crap i’m in awe!
    Americans trying to give the French some lessons of “savoir vivre”.

    I would have one recommendation for American tourist traveling France is “stay home,go to Disneyland or some other places you fancy”,we don’t need you over here…..

    France is a country you embrace of course with its flaws,this country has contributed so much to the rest of the world…and merely not asking anything else than to stay quiet on the side.
    I lived 4 years in the US and was so glad to be back over here,back to genuine relationships,away from the mercantile US crap, and surely away from this ignorance.

    Americans are ignorant of any values except the ones they’re fed with since childhood.

    Lesson to this Americans ,you can f**ck off (because this is your language) we don’t need you,in fact nobody needs you . Stay home you’ll spare us from from your ever longing crap.
    You are rude people,you think every part of the world is an extension of the US…but it is none nobody likes you……time to question yourself huh?

    The French don’t give a sh*t about you because there ‘s no need..simple as this…

    And don’t give your ever long story about the liberation of France during world war 2,the Russians liberated Europe and suffered a lot more casualties than the US,and they don’t whine..or ask for any consideration..or any type of remembrance….

    Do us a favor stay home,eat all your poisonous food make sure to keep it all for yourself….really the entire world doe’s not need you……..

    In fact my message was that, we don’t care what you think about us whether you like us or not..because we just not simply live on the same planet..that’s all…

    • John Wayne says:

      Bullshit you Frenchies are cowards you need America more than any other country in the world. Do yourself a favor and go check on youtube the video of a black Frenchman being kicked out of the Paris Metro by 5 English Hooligans….you cowards let than happen. No way that happens in America, we would send those bastards home on a body bag. Spare all of us your bullshit you guys are cowards and your biggest contribution to the world is the white flag.

      • Josep says:

        The real culprits in your examples were the English hooligans.
        Where did hot air balloons, the Braille system, and pasteurization come from?
        Seriously, get off your high horse and stop assuming the world revolves around America. IT DOES NOT.

  17. bob84 says:

    We value things in this country that you have no idea about….too complicated maybe….so please spare us from your comments…there’s really no need…..

    • Shan says:

      What are those things exactly? I guess I forgot about all of those deep French values that only your esteemed kind hold dear.

  18. Ioana says:

    I’ve lived in Paris and worked at a french traveling agency. From my experience, I can assure you that most of the french tourists, no matter where they go, they expect that everyone will speak french. They don’t make any effort whatsoever to talk in english or other language. So, they are the last people that should be offended when a tourist asked them a question in English. I understand that french people are different, and sometimes misunderstood, but they certanly have flaws. Your article denies any kind of bad behavior by calling it ” french” ir cultural difference. I’m not afraid to point out the flaws of my country. I know what my people are capable of. So, a litlle bit more of authenticity and selfawareness, ne fait pas du mal.

  19. Bo says:

    I speak french but not perfectly but that is not good enough. French Culture and food is shit. I don´t like their asslicking attitude and this vouvoyer shit and madame, monsieur, madamoiselle shit, their rigidity, bad service, and all the rest. If you want to go to Spain from Germany you must pass France. So find the small roads, make your own cooking, camping in the wild, and buy your food in the supermarket and if somebody speaks to you just say vous monsieur m´insulte

  20. Shan says:

    I enjoyed the article overall. Only point I would change, or rather tweak is number 4. I live in Ireland currently but coming from the United States I can tell you that I did have people ask me directions daily in LA when I lived there. I still gave them the time of day and gave the directions if I could.

    What makes French people different in that regard? France is one of the most visited places on earth but many countries have a huge tourism business with millions of visitors a year.

    • Mr. B says:

      I am American, and was in Paris (in my early 20s) for holidays. A man stopped his automobile in the street and asked me, in rapid French, for directions. I was a bit shocked that he thought I looked French (Irish or Scottish yes, but certainly not stereotypically French-looking). After chuckling internally at his assumption, I guiltily tried to explain in Franglais that I didn’t know the directions. He threw his hand in the air in disgust and hopped back into his automobile. Very odd experience, to say the least.

  21. Terry says:

    Just more goofy “venting” for the most part. W e have had no problems in Paris. Just remember you are a guest, be pleasant, learn a few phrases and learn about customs. We have received help we didn’t even ask for. You usually find what you expect to.

  22. Ashutosh says:

    Hey Guys , I am in France for more than 1 year and I am from India but I speak little bit of French. But if I talk about French people and specialy girls they dont dont dont like strangers. But they like Black Africans Because of their Black long Dicks. They prefer Either European Guys or French Guys. They are not at all happy , Because There was somebody write above that they are happy when you speak thier Language. This is all bulshit , they never give a fuck to you either you are speaking or not. For them whose is not french you are stranger. If you are from Asia dont come to france for work or study go to Russia , US or any fucking part of the world. But not france these people like to live in bubble.

  23. Nejla says:

    Well, i have been to many places in the world. i visited many cities in europe and i must say that france is killing itself ! people are negative, arogant, hysterical, mean, insulting and coward. sorry for the good ones but you can’t discriminate a person because of it’s skin colour, i noticed a sick racism against black people even if i am a white woman.
    french guys can be nice but the worst part of france is their women , they think that being classy is synonym of having nice clothes, they dont know that class goes with a good behaviour and being nice to others. for sure it’s my last travel to this nice country.

  24. Benoît says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’m French and I feel so blessed about hearing so immature people arguing about my country without ever having set foot there.
    The thing is that Americans and French are worlds apart, France has the qualities that don’t have the USA but France has defects that don’t have the USA !
    We’re the opposite. That’s all.
    I would never judge America as I just know we havn’t the same culture. Some americans think we’re rude and arrogant as some french think that Americans are dumbs and fat. However it’s just a culture boundary.
    It’s very difficult to see further than the stereotypes we have, but please step back on what you’re saying.
    People who wants to go abroad must accept the culture shock. I also have been shocked by American behaviors, just stay tolerant.

    Also, some Americans on this website seem to get their idea of France based on Paris. It’s quite ridiculous in fact. I know that people are very different from New York to Texas for example; well it’s the same in France. Paris is busy, people are stressed and hurry. You could understand they get easily angry and we’re sorry about that.
    In France and especially in Paris, it’s not a usual thing to be friend at first glance with someone. We’re more forthright, and sincere in our behavior which is not a matter of politeness, unlike in the U.S.
    Different culture !

    • Patt says:

      Maybe you’re right in some aspects. But May I say something about it.

      I tried to speak in French to the people in Paris. Some people was really nice. Is ironic, but the people on the streets is more respectful than People that should work to Attend With tourists! The workers in airport, train stations, etc. answers your questions IN FRENCH as … “you upset me” Why? I was also in Belgium, and the people in tourist information center answered me directly IN SPANISH.

      Sorry, but if much people in the world says this about Paris is for a reason. I’m not american, I’m not british and I really do not like speak in Inglés. But is simple: is a practical language. And, the problem is not, in fact, the language Inglés. The problem is the attitude of the people there.

  25. Roxanni says:

    americants are hamsters on a wheel. period. Hustling, swindling, and sussing each other up for a financial angle and their endless zeal for more–that’s the failed corporation–they think they’re “country”—it’s really a business and the sheeple–populace are the tax and debt ridden employees–they barely get any holiday time, walk around speaking very loudly, and have not a clue outside their 1000litre aquarium of their so-called “life” of non stop war mongering. Would suggest that americans stay home, smile alot–narcopathy, watch lots of tele, play with phones, update their status every 4min, and tell others how to run their countries.

  26. Cecily says:

    I lived in Paris for almost a decade (for studies and work) and I can say that Parisians’ definition of rudeness is simply different from Amercians: being nosy, intrusive and indiscreet is what they call impolite. So as long as you mind your own business, you can be as arrogant and unpleasant as you like; you won’t be considered rude. (Not a very pleasant place to live, btw, I must say).

    • Cecily says:

      Oh, I might add that if you ever go to Paris and want to be pleasant and agreeable to a local by asking him/her something like what they intend on doing during the weekend (just to make small talk) they will think that’s an indescreet question, and act defensively and aggressively. Both parties will walk away from each other thinking they were rude.

  27. Zimbolaktus says:

    Every “idées reçues” about french are above, I know it might because I’m french but the “not cleaning” legend really drives me mad ’cause I “hitch hiked away across the U.S.A” as Lou would say in July and August 1980 and believe me I had never seen so many dirty people (I’m speaking of homeless poor guies who couldn’t help beeing dirty, whom, in those days didn’t exist in France, even today pretty seldom…).So clean your own backyard and get rid of the fucking jerk you’ve just elected before the 3rd world war begins….

  28. Zimbolaktus says:

    Et j’ajoute que je serais agréablement surpris qu’on me réponde en français vu l’inculture malheureusement célèbre des américains….!

  29. Anton says:

    I’ve been to many countries in Europe and only had problems with aggressive people in France. Also working with people all over the world, my french clients were most weird (in a bad way)

  30. Tricycle says:

    Being hated by the vile redneck and nouveaux-riches crowds from wherever is quite an aristocratic pleasure. I hope there will be another diplomatic crisis soon enough so that we get another round of ridiculous Fox News comments and freedom fries to laugh at.

  31. Luke says:

    I’d rather be a rude French person than a dumb American any day of the week.

  32. Nick says:

    Interesting article, as well as the bunch of comments that follow. The latter show only one thing, a clear seperation between smart and educated people, and dumb asses, the dumb asses being those who have absolutly not doubt that they aren’t that stupid. Point them out on a Gauss curve.

    I’m French, from a spanish (from French-Algeria) and Polish family. I must say that some, but not all, stereotypes sound true to me. I’d been living in Paris for 6 years before I got sick by the Parisian rudeness and crazyness and had to leave the city. A shame, as Paris is really a beautiful city with a great culture and night life. But insane in some ways. But let’s be clear, I’m proud to be French, proud of the French history and culture, our French intellectuals and so on. But I’m also proud to be an european, and a westerner.

    About the French being cowards, I agree. That’s true for most of them, but not all. It never happened to me to get rescued when getting attacked. Most of the French just don’t care and prefer to avoid getting hit. Individualism. That’s one of the main trait of the French mindset that piss me off, and a lot. It already happened to me to avoid people from being attacked (martial arts help in this case of course, but a lot a French people practise martial arts, that does not explain the point). And not only one time. But always alone. That’s crazy and one of the main reason we got so much problems with our suburb’s offenders.

    About the French women being well dressed but behaving like pieces of shit, that’s true indeed. A large amount of them think that looking well replaces being a good person. Presentable outer garment. You just have to get over it and avoid them. That’s of course more complex than how it sounds, and interlinked with a lot of factors, including our French culture and how Frenchmen behave, but here is the result.

    About the British/French friction, I agree with a comment written above. I assume that British are too French, and French too British. That’s a kind of brotherhood separated by a sea, a different language and a history of wars and partnership. But I also think that we love English as much as they love us, or at least, I hope. It’s just like if I was shouting at a Brit counterpart over the North sea: “Hey Frenchman, what are you doing over there, speaking English and drinking tea, are you insane ?”. No, he is british. It is a hate/love relationship.

    I’m on the way to move to a English speaking country, mainly because I appreciate this language, even if I need to improve mine a lot but I did not intend to move to the US because of their average mindset. Great country, beautiful accent, but the average american just sounds too much undereducated. Each country’s culture brings its own strengths and weaknesses. The american culture weaknesses build solid proud-to-be average american dumbasses, unable to think by himself, like a puppet endlessly repeating the same craps without even knowing what drives his thoughts. On this point, almost every educated country is a better place than the US. The French mindset builds too individualist people, seeking more for their rights and their ego-centered interests than for the society sanity. It seems like too much right bring too much demands, asking for always more. On that point, as far as I know, Japan is the best way to follow.

    But, actually, all these stereotypes are probably just bullshits. An asshole is an asshole, no matter what country he comes from. The opposite is right too. If you visit France and you are an asshole, there is no solution for you. Otherwise, just be looking for smart French people.

    • Drew says:

      Makes sense as our dumbasses make the movies displayed in your country the songs on the radio. Our products and culture soldiers ships and planes are in your countries not the other way. Just wait when the time is right you will see who the dumbasses are.

      • Noe says:

        Your films were imposed on us by contract with the financial credit at the end of the 2nd World War. Music, we have all the countries, only English speakers are insensitive to the music of others. As for products, you buy a few more French products, that we buy American products, but it’s almost balanced, look at the trade balance. In France we do not have a soldier, ship and American planes, except on mutual invitation. Indeed, fools think that they alone save the world.

  33. Tricycle says:

    French are actually quite polite, but in a very formal way, somewhat cold, while what many Americans consider politeness is more chilled out, casual friendliness.

    I assume that’s where the misunderstanding may be, I personally never had the slightest problem with any American I met, but I can imagine the way Americans are sometimes very outgoing can be found a little theatrical, destabilizing and intrusive to the common Frenchman who is used to keep a little more distance when dealing with strangers. As French formalism can be interpreted as uptight arrogance.

    And perhaps as we are a Western 1st world nation, some American tourists might assume we’re very similar and not be prepared to a cultural gap as they would when visiting Asia or Africa, and therefore leave with the idea that we’re just a snobbish version of them. But we’re not, even if we share many things we’re a different people and culture.

  34. Joan says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time there and have friends who live there, and the French are a rude bunch. But I’m only talking about Paris – outside of Paris, it’s not true.

    There are certainly cultural differences that may seem rude but are not.

    But here’s my experience – when you speak French to them, even if it’s good, they speak English back – which is their way of saying you’re an idiot. All these people telling you to speak French to them, they’ll appreciate the attempt, I could not agree less unless you want to be made fun of and insulted.

    My favorite story is a friend who lived there for years. She was on the phone making some sort of reservations, speaking French of course (today she’s a translator) and at one point, the operator became very uppity with her and said, MADAM, it is je VEUX – or whatever the correction was. So if you speak French to them, expect an English reply or correction of your grammar.

    Now, here in America, what I’ve noticed is if you’re at a veterinarian’s office or some place with a line, inevitably someone with a French accent will walk in and cut or say it will only take a minute, anything to get in first. I have never said anything to the person – I never had to because EVERYBODY in the room has had past experience with this and won’t let them. And they all say if you’re French, it’s what you do. I never encountered that – of course I was in France and they didn’t cut in front of other Frenchmen.

    They are cowards – how many people does it take to protect Paris? No one knows, it’s never happened.

    They hate Americans. As far as the way Americans behave often, I don’t blame them. Any time I meet anyone from another country, I bend over backwards so they won’t go home and say, those Americans are awful.

    Now, as to why they hate Americans – I think they think we rubbed their faces in saving them from WW II. One would think they would have moved on from that – and they probably have. Now I think they feel superior in education, fashion, you name it, and that we’re all low class compared to them. Frankly I don’t blame them for feeling that way.

    They are very superficial. As someone here said, being well dressed is a replacement for being nice as far as they’re concerned.

    We had French neighbors growing up and they were the most wonderful people ever. I think some of it is the mindset and the cultural differences when living in Paris. And some of this over time is changing.

    You cannot beat the richness of life when living in Europe, but other cultures can be a challenge. For instance, in Germany, they won’t tell you a thing. My friend sent his letters by boat for months from the German post office before anyone told him about air mail. You want to take the 11 o’clock train, there isn’t one. There’s one at 11:05, but they won’t tell you that. I was with someone where this exact thing happened. He tried to look at the ticket person’s computer screen and she deliberately turned it so he couldn’t see it.

    That’s Europe. If you live anywhere, though, you will make friends and find some great people.

    • Tricycle says:

      What a beautiful list of ridicule prejudices and presomptuous, simplistic assumptions.

      You may be complexed with your own visible lack of sophistication, and you should be, but except perhaps our own uneducated rednecks, don’t think that French believe that’s a national characteristic.

  35. Nick says:

    About the French answering back in English when you try to speak French, actually I really don’t think it is a way to say you are an idiot. I may be wrong, but I really think that as we have been told for decades (here in France) that French is a difficult language (I don’t know if this is true, though), we, French, may feel unconfortable that foreigners might struggle trying to speak our language.

    If one thinks that the French are rude, he will conclude that’s really a way of saying your are an idiot. On the other hand, if you mind they could try to avoid you being unconfortable in French, and that could be, actually, a respectful way of helping you and feeling sorry you have to speak our language, you’ll have a totally different opinion.

    If you insist to speak in French, they will surely appreciate speaking with you in French. Please, just remember that English is the most used language in the world (I’m not talking about Chinese that is mostly spoken… in China) and the French culture tends to protect its our language. The French have that point in mind when you come to France and start speaking in English.

    This explains that, IMHO. Once you proved you were not coming in France as a English speaking conqueror (maybe our long and common history with our fellow Bristish counterparts helps a lot), they just feel sorry you might have a bad journey with our language.

    Keep that in mind, it may be surprising in the future.

  36. VideoPortal says:

    I appreciate that the maker of this video decided to use an image of Strawberry Shortcake named Charlotte in French to illustrate the lyrics.

  37. A says:

    They’re so rude and snobbish! Self centered too. Majority of them. Ugh.

  38. Walter says:

    I’ve been once to France. Probably in of the most massive summers Paris has ever seen (1997 for World Youth Day). I am lucky enough to speak both English and French, and most of the time I did translations for my fellow Hondurans who made the trip.

    Indeed, they are very special. But, all in all, no bad experiences with their culture. Main trick: I told my friends not to speak English because French hate that language. “If I’m not around, go with Spanish. They take that better”. And it did work for them.

  39. Marion says:

    Well, I saw a lot of messages, as good as bad. The issue is to accept differences between our countries and our cultures. Simple and efficient, I promise ! =)
    I’m French, I lived in the USA for a while and I met an American boy who fell in love with me (it is still the case). Do you think that it would be possible if I didn’t speak English and if I didn’t take shower ? Ahahah =D
    In fact, old French don’t speak English because it was unuseful before. But our young generation does it now ! It’s amazing ! When is your turn to be bilingual my American Friends ? =D
    And I know for your “geography skills”. Dear Americans, like you know, I am sure, Paris is the Financial Capital. It’s not our country, so visit it ! Gorges du Verdon are waiting for you ! It’s gorgeous ! =D So Smile and Peace guys !

  40. Daisee says:

    I don’t really agree with this post. Being French American and having lived in Paris for over 20 years, I think French and esp. Parisians (overall luckily NOT all) are extremely rude and “sans-gêne”. They just don’t care about others whether you are American or not, a tourist or not. A Lot of them : will cut you in the line and then pretend they did not know. They will take your seats in the movies. Won’t move or apologize. You have spits, cigarettes and hundreds of dog shits in the streets.
    They will insult you easily. They won’t move in the street so you will be pushed or bumped into. And the perverts in the metro. Jeez… how many dirty hands touched me.
    I never encountered so much rudeness and lack of common sense in the US, London, Berlin, Warsaw .. just in paris. Even NY was “easy” compared to Paris. I seriously can’t wait to move away from Paris. I don’t want my children to live with such animalistic behavior.

    • Drew says:

      Your economy dosent exist without tourism. You live on top of each other in shithole apartments to protect kings residences that took so much in taxes that made the people starve. These constant reminders of the top 1 percentage is why you are so angry. I would be too. Your GDP matches are top state any of your neighboring nations could take you over anytime as shows in the past. Our farmers ran the British off. The crimes committed by your government robbing your people of space protecting the tourism markets should be a crime against huminty no one has any disposable income here besides the tourists and your top 1 percent. The world couldn’t take the USA over. We have a GDP almost 10 times your small broke country we should be snobbish and arrogant. You suck our money when we visit and you need it to be 1st world but cry about learning or being spoke to in English. Get a life and be thankful we visit your and support your country! Or you would just be a small Russia

  41. I have the solution. It’s very simple. If you’re a citizen of the usa DON’T visit France!
    Instead, there’s a crazy little city on the Mississippi named New Orleans. Le Vieux Carre is a charming, somewhat rundown, bit of France and Spain. Sidewalk cafes, easy going wait staff in the restaurants, raucous night life…bordering on cheap. One can speak English without fear of reproach. The food is perhaps the best in the usa and wine and liquor flow freely…no crazy liquor laws like here in uncivilized texas. Close you eyes while sipping sparkly in the sidewalk café next to St. Louis Cathedral and you just might mentally transport to somewhere in France….or at least some place on the continent. (Europe)
    Yes, I have been in France and guess where the best place to visit? Strasbourg! Lovely spot. And, if you get tired of being in France just walk the eight miles into Kehl, Germany!
    See? Problem solved for the easily offended usa tourist!

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  43. Jeb says:

    In America, a “neutral” face is a big smiling grin


  44. We’ve been to France several times, Paris this fall for the first time. I’m expecting to enjoy the city and the people I meet for their differences and our eventual shared similarities. I see there is a value judgement based on rudeness. Some tout it as a virtue. When I encounter rudeness after a short while I can excuse myself and go elsewhere, like I do in the US, when I encounter rude people. Arguments or reciprocal rudeness wastes my time. Deliberate confrontation is childish and proof the species might be reaching its peak. I’m really excited about the City Of Light. I can hardly wait to be there after wanting to be there all my life. If you’re on a rude trip I hope I can see you coming.

  45. Michael says:

    How Rude Can One Be?
    In 2005, my Caucasian lady friend and I had arrived mid-morning at Gare du Nord after an exhausting all night journey. I approached an official counter in well-attended part of the terminal, and before I could say more than a sentence, the young white woman – in her early 20’s – looked daggers at me, threw her left arm to her side – gesturing – and yelled: “English!”. She looked at me like she wanted me dead, nearly spitting. A young white man in his late teens or early 20’s at a desk looked on and giggled, like a little girl.
    I, of Asian-Polynesian extraction, was stunned… just nodded and went back to my friend to recover. We had to get our Euro Passes validated; a more mature, courteous woman helped us do that, in another part of the terminal [I was honestly afraid she might make an error dating the pass; then what would we do?]
    Needless to say, I have never visited France again. I have never purchased anything French, e.g. wine, food, gifts; “made in France” and “French” mean to me rudeness and small-mindedness. I always t experience schadenfreude when I read or hear of French misfortunes.


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