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Planning a trip to France. Any advice?


Toothfairy
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Of course I don't believe this at all.  From what I read some Americans are assholes and the culture is different. Just another myth. Anyone from France or visited France? Any tips you can give me? What hotels to stay in? What to visit? Also any good French learning programs? And pleas tell me what no to do/do when interacting with a person from France. Thanks. Yes I'm thinking about planning a trip to France

Edited by laPapessaGiovanna
Edited title on OP's request
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The topic heading is ... awkward.   Offensive, even.

That aside, I usually use tripadvisor.com and go to lonelyplanet.com for recommendations.

I am sure you might find more willing to help, without screaming international stereotypes from the rooftops. :)  I wish you well.

 

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2 hours ago, MarblesMom said:

The topic heading is ... awkward.   Offensive, even.

That aside, I usually use tripadvisor.com and go to lonelyplanet.com for recommendations.

I am sure you might find more willing to help, without screaming international stereotypes from the rooftops. :)  I wish you well.

 

I'm sorry. That wasn't my intention. Ii was trying to get attention. The right attention mot the wrong attention. Mods please edit if you can. 

Im sorry if the headline is rude or offensive. I was trying to get attention for the post. Mods please edit the headline if you can. I would never try to be disrespectful towards anyone culture

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Where in France are you going? The regional differences can be quite vast. :)

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France is pretty close to were I live. (To Paris with the train takes 3 hours, directly, the train crosses the border and there are always two sets of officials on board. One French, one German. At least if I remember it right, I saw a documentary about it a few years ago.) I've only been to the Alsace because it is the area directly behind the border. 

Stereotypes always have some truth in them. (Like everything they make fun of us Swabians is as true as it can be.) Make sure to learn some French ahead. Don't expect anyone to understand you even if they do. 

I heard positive and negative experiences. But language seems to be one of the biggest problems. One person I know was treated badly in a quite expensive restaurant. No idea if because they were German or not. 

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I traveled to Paris back in late 2001 with my grandparents and siblings. We mostly didn’t have any issues with the people there - we at least made an effort to use very basic words or phrases (like asking if someone spoke English, saying hello, goodbye, please, and thank you.) Doing that can help show you appreciate the culture and respect their language.

We did have a run-in with a nasty woman working the ticket booth area at Sacre Couer though - my younger brother was separated from us and he tearfully tried to explain that the rest of us were inside the Church, but she refused to let him through even though she spoke English. She’s absolutely not representative of the rest of the lovely people we met, but she definitely tainted my otherwise lovely memories from that trip. I’m still pissed at her and it’s been more than 15 years. The view of the city from the top was gorgeous though, so if you can make the climb up it’s worth it (my sister abd I ran up and down at least twice searching for our brother while Grandpa searched the Church and outside area. He’s a relatively calm and polite guy, but he reamed that woman out when he found my poor brother crying hysterically outside on the steps.)

I will say EAT ALL THE FOOD!!!! Seriously, the food was fantastic. Versailles was a highlight for me because I was really into reading about royals at that point. It was overcast the day we went, but the Hall of Mirrors was still pretty spectacular to walk through. I also enjoyed the Louvre, though you’d need to devote a significant chunk of time to view everything. Most people, us included, usually just hit the major works like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

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The last time we were in Paris was 2013. Everyone we met was great. We were handed English language menus on sight in every restaurant we went to. I guess we (definitely I) look American. :pb_razz: There were a couple of street cleaners early one morning who got a kick out of and joked around with my husband and son because son was wearing his PSG shirt while my husband was wearing his Marseille shirt.  :pb_lol:

If you’re staying in Paris, I loved staying in the St. Germain de Pres area. There’s a  really nice church there to visit, and the area is great. Lots of nice cafes. Places to visit - Versailles, Sacre Coeur, St. Chappelle (gorgeous stained glass!). If you go to Notre Dame check out the back. I love the architecture and there’s a really nice garden area. The food was amazing. Not a bad meal to be found anywhere, and it wasn’t like we were hitting 5 star restaurants or anything. Brasseries, cafes, food carts - all good. None of us speak French although my husband and son sound okay when they try. I - do not. They both went to the bathroom at one restaurant and left me to order. The poor waiter had to lean closer and closer as I got softer and softer as my face turned redder and redder, but he was very patient. A waiter at another place actually applauded me when I pulled the French name for napkin out of nowhere. :pb_smile:

We took the train to Normandy which is where we met our first impatient local. The ticket checker on the train was rather annoyed that we hadn’t followed the rules to stamp our tickets at the machines before boarding and certainly let us know she thought we were idiots (so if you take the train see if you need to do that!). She didn’t charge us the extra that she could’ve though, so I guess in the end it wasn’t that bad. Just embarrassing. Normandy was beautiful and very different from the area around Paris. If we ever go back, I want to see Marseille. My father in law is from there, so it would be nice to see where he grew up.

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8 hours ago, Gobbles said:

France is pretty close to were I live. (To Paris with the train takes 3 hours, directly, the train crosses the border and there are always two sets of officials on board. One French, one German. At least if I remember it right, I saw a documentary about it a few years ago.) I've only been to the Alsace because it is the area directly behind the border. 

Stereotypes always have some truth in them. (Like everything they make fun of us Swabians is as true as it can be.) Make sure to learn some French ahead. Don't expect anyone to understand you even if they do. 

I heard positive and negative experiences. But language seems to be one of the biggest problems. One person I know was treated badly in a quite expensive restaurant. No idea if because they were German or not. 

You're Swabian? "Mir kaufet nix und mir gebet nix" (we don't buy anything and we don't give anything). Hi to a fellow South German! :)

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French person here. I definitely second the "learn some basic French" advice. It shows willing and people really appreciate that. Some of the older generations resent the "English as a universal language" thing. 

Just be polite and respectful and it should go fine. The stereotypes are just that, stereotypes. If you show up expecting them to be true, people can tell from your attitude and it won't bring the best out in them. You'll meet lovely friendly people, and people who are busy/having a bad day, just like everywhere else.

 

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17 hours ago, samurai_sarah said:

You're Swabian? "Mir kaufet nix und mir gebet nix" (we don't buy anything and we don't give anything). Hi to a fellow South German! :)

As Swabian as you can be! :) 25% directly from Stuttgart, 50% from surrounding areas and the other 25% from the Swabian Alps.

Funny thing is that I bought a Eiffel tower key chain on a flea market yesterday for a few cents. My Mum saw it and said: "Nice find, they are so expensive in Paris, I did not buy one when I was there." I replied with: I'll tell everyone you bought it for me in Paris." - That explains being Swabian pretty good. :lol: 

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Agreeing with the learn some basic French. Also when buying from smaller shops smile and say hello before you start ordering, possibly more so outside of Paris (can't remember exactly), and say thank you and goodbye at the end. Essentially expect transactions to take a bit longer than what is often usual in Anglophone cities - and not just because of working out the franglais!

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I have never been to France, and am not planning to go, anytime soon. I'm just here to beg for cheese, preferably stinky cheese. Though not Brie, because as much as I love cheese, I'm just not a fan of soft cheeses. 

If I were to go to France, I would only stay a few days in Paris, to catch all the major sites the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower,Notre Dame..stuff like that), then spend the bulk of my time, in the French countryside. Then I would spend a week in the French Riveria. I would eat cheese the whole time (except for Brie), and drink wine. Oh, I forgot pastries too, I would eat the shit out of some pastries. Oh yeah, I would go to the town, where my granddad's plane was shot down in WW2. The name of the town escapes me, but I DO know, that they have a granite memorial there (that has the entire flight crew's names on it), and there is a chunk of the plane there too.

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I went to Paris a couple of years ago. It was lovely. I don't really speak French beyond Bonjour and Merci, but that will get you pretty far in Paris. I only encountered one man at the sandwich shop by our flat that didn't speak any English, but I read food and speak numbers and it was our second visit to that stall, so we figured things out. We didn't go up in the Eiffel Tower because of worker strikes, but that wasn't my priority anyway. If you can, eat gelato from Berthillon on the Isle de Louis at the original stand (which is only open 4 days a week in summer). It's to die for. Many outlets on the island sell the same gelato, but the original stand has the most flavors. I recommend the chocolate candied orange flavor and the raspberry. 

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