Sometimes I like to think of myself as a cultural mythbuster. Whenever I hear about a stereotype, I like to see if there is some truth to it or if it is completely wrong. One thing I have heard since before going abroad was that Europeans, especially the French, are cold. They will not smile at you when you walk down the street and they are rude, especially Parisians. While I agree that there are probably some, because there are rude people everywhere you go, I have had an overall positive experience. My experience may be different from others but here is what I have encountered:
I think I can give a pretty accurate picture of what Nantes is like because I have been here since January. The people here are generally pleasant. I feel comfortable going up to anyone to ask them a question whether it is in French or occasionally in English. Of course I have met moody people, but you will encounter that anywhere.
I was not in Marseille for a long time. I spent about four days there during my winter break. I do not know of any stereotypes about people from Marseille but I did hear that people in southern France will be rude to you if you do not speak French or if you cannot speak it well. Everyone in Marseille was nice to my friends and I. We stayed on the outskirts of town but also spent a lot of time in the center of the city. Everybody we talked to was very pleasant and, to my surprise, people would say, “Bonjour,” in passing.
This is where people usually refer to when I hear about the French being rude. I hear that waiters are especially rude. I was only in Paris for a weekend, so I cannot say much. However, as a tourist, my stay was pleasant. Everyone was nice whether it was the servers we had or someone we met. I met a Parisian woman in Nantes right before this trip and she was the most pleasant French person I have met. She was very outgoing and talkative, not to mention she lit up even more when we told her we were going to Paris for the weekend. Of course, this was my experience as a tourist who can somewhat speak French. I have heard other people from France who say that Parisians are rude, so it very well could be true, but I did not experience that.
Speaking of my experience in Paris, I was there a week ago to celebrate a friend’s birthday with her and some of our other friends. Check out my video (with English subtitles included) to see what we did while we were there! Feel free to also check out my other videos of my travels on my channel that goes by the same name as this blog: PassionForDreaming.