How are Parisians

Paris is the most popular travel destination in the world. However, in a recent study of the most tourist-friendly cities, the Seine metropolis only ranks 52nd. The reason: By no means all locals show their lovable side when they meet guests who do not speak their language.

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe now pulled the emergency brake and published a "code of conduct for good coexistence".

"I sacrifice some time to provide information to a tourist," says the recently published brochure. Or: "I use my language skills to answer visitors in their native language."

The linguistic ignorance of many French is notorious. But anyone who suspects arrogance is wrong, says Paris tourism director Pierre Roll: "The French are shy when they have to speak in a foreign language. Many have strong accents, which makes them difficult to understand."

Not everyone shares this interpretation. "To be honest, Parisians would have to learn a lot about how to deal with tourists correctly," says the Brazilian Joana D'Arc de Almeida. "It looks like they've already made so much money with us that they don't have to worry about us anymore." In fact, one in ten jobs in the French capital depends on tourism.

And one of the goals of the “Charter of the Parisian and the Visitor” is to make it clear to the locals how important guests are.

Premature accusations are inappropriate because the situation is complicated. Taxi drivers, for example, are said to be just as unfriendly to 'natives' as they are to tourists. Those who want to cover short distances are often harshly referred to the next bus stop. This may be due to the fact that not all taxi chauffeurs are French native speakers.

More and more waitresses or waitresses from other EU countries are also serving in cafés and restaurants, and their French is often not much better than that of their non-French customers.

"I try French products

The Parisians themselves, on the other hand, often fail to live up to their unfriendly reputation. People who seem disoriented are often approached. You often wait in vain for the warmth with which many locals offer their help at some Berliners or Hamburgers. It happens that you are accompanied several blocks to your destination.

Tourist guide Nicole Rimbaud rightly protects her compatriots. "If the visitors don't start talking in English, but first make it clear that they don't speak French, we Parisians are open-minded."

Rimbaud therefore welcomes the fact that the "charter" also contains information for guests. "I get involved with the Parisian lifestyle," you can read in it. It becomes even more direct: "I use my stay to try French products."

Many a tourist might feel caught out because, driven by hunger or thirst, they run to the nearest McDonald's or the nearest Starbuck's café. For the Dejeuner in the Paris bistro you have to have a little more time.

In order to reconcile Parisians and visitors, the city administration is also setting up five "welcome" kiosks in front of major tourist attractions such as the Notre Dame church and the Place de la Bastille. There the brochures are distributed and the good news of mutual consideration is brought to the people.

By the way, the climate cannot be quite so poisoned, according to statistics from the city administration. Of the 16.3 million people who came to the City of Lights last year, 97 percent said they would like to come back.