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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

French tourists labeled "rude"

Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009, at 6:41 PM

(Photo)
Finally, an area in which Americans aren't considered the "worst"! This week's Yahoo news included the results of a survey carried out for internet travel agency Expedia:

"French tourists are the worst in the world, coming across as bad at foreign languages, tight-fisted and arrogant, according to a survey of 4,500 hotel owners across the world."

For years, Americans were described as the "Ugly Americans," because of their rudeness in foreign countries and their lack of foreign language experience. It's good to see an objective survey on this subject.

I took two groups of students to Europe, one in 1998 and one in 2000, and I felt that the French were the least friendly and cooperative. They were highly insulted when we didn't know their language, but they were perfectly willing to take our money.

The Swiss seemed the most agreeable, other than the English, of course - and in Amsterdam, the shop clerks spoke English with no accent whatsoever. By and large, we were very well treated everywhere we went.

"It's mainly the fact that they speak little or no English when they're abroad, and they don't speak much of the local language," Expedia Marketing Director Timothee de Roux told radio station France Info.

Americans have also been highly criticized around the world for not learning more foreign languages. I admit that we should encourage our people to do that, but I really think most Europeans don't realize how little opportunity Americans have to practice a foreign language. Europeans can travel a few short miles in either direction and they're in another country, speaking another language. It's not that easy for us.

De Roux said the French, not accustomed to leaving large tips at home where a service charge is automatically levied on restaurant bills, can seem "tight-fisted" compared with other nationalities.

The Japanese ranked top of the Best Tourist survey, with the British and the Germans judged the best of the Europeans. I found that the Japanese had a tendancy to talk among themselves during presentations by our guides. There was no comment about the Americans, but I don't think we could be considered "tight-fisted"!


Comments
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When I lived in Paris I found the French people to be very accomodating and helpful. The key was I would attempt to speak to them in my very limited high school French (Sorry Mrs. Setzer :) )and then they would switch to English allowing us to communicate. I think it was just a matter of respect - as long as Americans seem to make an effort to speak their language....I agree with your point about Europeans having more opportunity to practice foreign languages.

-- Posted by cheers4dhs on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 8:24 PM

As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law had the same experience in Paris. My sister-in-law said that his French was better than average for an American, but he was reluctant to use it in France, as he's such a darned perfectionist (If he can't speak French as well as he speaks English and Spanish, he just won't speak it at all!). Finally, he tried it, and the results were as you described - even though he spoke it badly, at least he tried -- so the waiter was suddenly nice to them!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 9:06 AM

At the end of WW2 my bro-in-law said the French were the most ungrateful that the US soldiers had liberated in defeating Germany. The Italians and the Germans were the most friendly.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 12:14 PM

Yes, I've heard that, too, Dexterite!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 9:36 PM

What I have found in my experience with friends/acquaintances from Europe is that Americans as a whole are viewed as uneducated, rude and arrogant. Now, that view is no more true of every American than a similar view of all French, Germans would be. That is why I do not like generalizations about people anywhere.

-- Posted by cheers4dhs on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 11:00 AM

Anyone who would reference Yahoo! News as objective needs to research a bit harder for stats and facts. That is laughable and Yahoo! is a joke as far as credibility goes.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 8:14 AM

I found that the French were offended when I spoke English (you filthy American, how dare you not know French?), but they were equally offended when I used my minimal French (you filthy American, how dare you try to speak my language?). I think we can't win. We had a French guide in Paris once and she shushed a group of Japanese tourists when she was talking to us. Then she said "it's ok, I can be rude. I'm French".

Once Adlai Stevenson told LBJ that DeGaulle wanted all US servicemen out of France. LBJ said "what about the graves? Ask him about the graves." DeGaulle withdrew his request. It's all too easy to forget.

-- Posted by Ducky on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 9:05 PM

Ducky: Good history lesson!

Hoon: Good grief! Are you saying that Yahoo News would misrepresent a survey about 4,500 hotel owners?

Why bother?

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 6:07 AM

GOAT: I am saying Yahoo! News is a joke.....along the lines of the NY Times and St. Louis Post Discrap and other rags disguised as News.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 10:42 AM

Okay, I get that. But this is a light topic that doesn't really warrant hard-core, extensive research, so it doesn't really matter if Yahoo News is out of whack on this one.

I think you miss the political discussions, hoonster! Trouble is -- nobody wants to argue with you!

Speaking of politics, what did you think of the All-Star game??

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 5:28 PM

Julie Delpy was yummy in "An American Werewolf in Paris"!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 7:00 PM

Haha! FJGuy, that is SO relevant to this discussion! I haven't seen that film - Was she a werewolf or a victim?

Sexiest werewolf/vampire film personna I ever saw was Frank Langella in the 1979 version of "Dracula." Ahhh! He was teee-rif-fic! He could bite my neck any day!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 7:46 AM

She was a yummy werewolf. Julie Delpy is one of the more brainy young actresses. She writes and produces as well as acts. She was in the terrific films "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" with Ethan Hawke. BTW, I just read that "An American Werewolf in London" is being remade.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 1:35 PM

Who is being cast in the role she played?

Even if they made a remake of the '79 version of Dracula, they'd screw it up with someone not nearly as charismatic as Langella. I saw him being interviewed on tv a while back, and he's pretty darned hot, even now. What was that newer movie that had him in it? Did he play Nixon?

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 9:38 PM

Langella was Nixon in "Frost/Nixon." It is now out on DVD. Julie Delpy wasn't in An American Werewolf in London, the female lead was Jenny Agutter. Any guy that sees her in Walkabout will never forget her! Double Yummy!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 11:44 PM

Oh, my, I've never heard of either of those two hot chicks. I think it would be easier to be a hot vampire than a hot werewolf. How can you be hot with hair all over your face??

I wonder why the tv series "Moonlight" couldn't make it, while the film "Twilight" was so popular? Do you think the key was the age group?

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 7:07 AM

"Moonlighting" starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd and it wasn't about vampires. It was definitely aimed at a different age group than "Twilight!" But as I recollect "Moonlighting" was a successful show.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 10:33 PM

No, no, no, FJ, I wasn't talking about the movie "Moonlighting." I was talking about the TV series on CBS Friday nights - "Moonlight." I guess you never watched it, but I thought the hero - a "good" vampire crime fighter - was "hot." However, most of America obviously did not agree, as the series was cancelled some time last year.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 8:43 AM

I saw that vampire show, gl. It was very short - lived. Yes, I think the target audiences age group was the decisive factor. Twilight appears to be aimed at a much younger audience from what I've seen.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 6:03 PM


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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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