Are French People Rude? Episode 9

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 Are French People Rude?

In episode 9 of the Join Us in France Travel Podcast we ask the BIG question: Are French People Rude? Wait... wait! Could it be they're just unfriendly? Or maybe they just have a bad reputation?

You need to know because there are ways to handle situations for which you are prepared. What we argue in this episode of the podcast is that French people are not particularly rude, but they are sticklers for niceties that English-speaking people have not cared about for 30 years.

Once you learn the magic word and use them in France, you will see French store clerks smile at you with a twinkle of delight in their eyes instead of a scowl. AND it’s easier than you think!

Are French People Rude or Is It Something Else?

Generally speaking, you can count on Americans to smile at strangers. Most French people are not raised to smile at strangers.

What French people are trained to do from a young age is say "bonjour" to anybody before they utter another word. If you don't say "bonjour" before you ask for your baguette as a child, your mother will scold you. If you don't say "bonjour" to your teacher before you ask to sit, she will not put up with that either.

So, is it any wonder that Americans go up to the hotel counter to check in with a big smile on their face saying "I'm so and so and I've reserved a room". The French person across the desk is probably thinking "what are you smiling at?" and why can't you say "hello" like a normal person?

You see what I'm getting at? French people and Americans do not care about the same niceties. Americans want to see a smiling face and French people want someone who greets them with the proper greeting.

So now that you know, indulge French people, say "bonjour", we teach you how in the episode. You'll see, everything will go so much better!

Do Not Miss: First Time in Paris

 

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If you enjoyed this episode, you should also listen to related episode(s):

Angry man at the theatre; are french people rude?
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French Culture, Interests

Are French people rude or just unfriendly? Or are they neither and just have a bad reputation? Similarly, is there any truth to the ugly American stories? Listen to this episode to brush up on ways to make French people smile at you with a twinkle of delight in their eyes instead of a scowl. AND it’s easier than you think!

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SherryLisa YoungSusanMary Hoekzemaon being “rude” like the french | fakefrenchgirl Recent comment authors
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Bobbi Bowman
Guest
Bobbi Bowman

Bonjour Ladies, I hate to admit that I learned so much from this podcast given that I’ve been living here a long time now:-) Oops… So I’ll try to be a little more polite but there is one issue you didn’t address exactly and I’ve often wondered about it. I don’t normally find French people to be rude in speech BUT I find them really rude when it comes to walking on sidewalks. It’s always like playing chicken it seems. And I always end up diverting to the street or whatever as it seems quite clear that they will not… Read more »

Nancy Valdez
Guest
Nancy Valdez

Bonjour, Annie et Elyse! What an enlightening conversation! Not understanding or appreciating cultural differences has likely been the cause of many a war! People across the world speak and behave so differently. I lived in the Republic of China (Taipei) for a year teaching English. I found the people to be very polite and friendly. The Chinese especially revere and honor teachers, so I felt most welcome! Yet on occasion, I did not know how to react when hearing things like, “You look fat today!” I was wearing a boxy blouse, but you wouldn’t get away with that in the… Read more »

Pat
Guest
Pat

Bonjour, Annie et Elyse! Most interesting and amusing podcast so far in your series! Perhaps this one should have been #1!! I’m working on my reluctant husband to learn the 4 key French phrases and hoping that I won’t be too shy to try my high school on our visit this summer!

Ron Witzke
Guest
Ron Witzke

Bonjour Mesdames, Another great podcast. To underscore the importance of “bonjouring”, so to speak, when we lived in Paris, I listened to a morning “drive time ” radio show. You know, traffic, news ,weather etc. Each time a new broadcaster came on the air she/he said “Bonjour a tous” (sorry I can’t make the accents work).
Love the podcasts which so make me want to live in France again,
Ron W

Joan
Guest
Joan

Merci, Annie et Elyse! I love your programs. I am planning a trip to Paris and learning so much. Can you please tell me where the photo of the Eiffel Tower was taken from? What street?

Joan
Guest
Joan

At the top of this page – the Are French People Rude page. There is a street with a Brasserie on the right corner and the Tower in the background. It is a nice picture and I would love to explore that area. You have some lovely pictures on your website and it would be useful to know where they were taken…… Keep up the good work!
Thank you.

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on being “rude” like the french | fakefrenchgirl

[…] I’m American, but in my head I’m a total french girl (hence the name fakefrenchgirl) so a part of me can relate to all of this. People have this one-sided perception of who I am, without ever getting to know me, or what I’m actually like. Same with the French. You can’t judge someone based off of just one three second interaction. How was YOUR tone? Were YOU asking an invasive question or in MY personal space? Do I have to smile back at you and engage you in small talk? Why? There’s a difference between being polite and… Read more »

Mary Hoekzema
Guest
Mary Hoekzema

I love your podcast and recommend it to my friends who are headed to France. I also like the short pieces you have recorded that Laura Lawless puts on her site, Annie. I wish I had had the podcasts with me when I went to France. Thank you.

Susan
Guest
Susan

I’ve only spent a few weeks in France, many years ago, but think that I may go soon, now that I have retired. I would like to catch up with all your lessons before going, later in the year. I found you through a Quora (question and answer blog) response. My question, since I will also be going to the north of Spain is, “Do the customs and manners vary a great deal when one goes to the Basque country or to Barcelona? Are the customs very similar, or does the language carry a very different culture?

Lisa Young
Guest
Lisa Young

Bonjour! If only I had seen this before my trip to Paris it would have saved so many tense situations. I had never heard that you should make sure to say hello before anything else. I always said “excusez moi” and then asked my question. Finally one night we were at the Adidas store on the Champs Elysees and I approached two clerks folding shirts and said “excuses moi, I am looking for the France national football jersey” they both rolled their eyes. My son came up and told me that the jersey for 2014 was sold by Adidas and… Read more »

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

I would like to know the name and location of the jewelry store you mentioned in this podcast.
Merci,
Sherry