Tue 9 Dec 2008
This writer from the LA Times had a few unfortunate experiences with Parisians and therefore is writing off Paris, despite it being “one of the most spectacular cities in Europe.” He thinks Parisians are lacking in social skills. I hope he’s never been to New York.
And Paris is an architectural masterpiece. Tourists from all corners of the globe come to the city to experience its museums, cathedrals and the famed Eiffel Tower.
But, for me, the genius of Paris does not extend to its residents’ social skills. For some reason, the cultured and sophisticated Parisians seem unable to transcend the vaunted history and beauty of their beloved city. These locals are a proud bunch who suffer no lack of self-esteem.
Most of all, they seem to have an absolute disdain for those who speak English. French waiters seem never to want to speak with me in English, even when it’s clear they speak English as well as I. I know that trying to speak the language is part of the experience, and I do try. But apparently, listening to my French makes a meal far more entertaining.
Not everyone was quite as churlish. On a trip in May, I met a student named Pierre whose generosity and kindness transcended the stereotypes that Parisians have fought so hard to earn. He put me up in his uncle’s house and traveled with me down south to Toulouse. But Pierre, I’m sorry to say, seemed the exception.
Other cities I happen to love that he thinks are “overrated” are Prague, Moscow, Athens, and Dubai (the only one I don’t have data points on). He disses Athens due to a run-in with a cab driver. Prague is wet and rainy and he meets a woman who dislikes President Bush. Moscow is too expensive and traffic is horrible. Dubai “lacks a soul.”
This guy should be writing obits or the gardening column.