It is said that “youth is wasted on the young” – a statement I find refutable. However, “Paris is wasted on the Parisians” is a similarly structured saying that I see no counter argument to. Over the past three days every stereotype I’ve ever collected regarding Paris has proved incredibly on point. Parisians are the absolute rudest people I’ve ever encountered.
Whether in a grocery store, market, club, or restaurant, locals hissed like angry cats at any attempt to communicate. I’m not saying they were dismissive towards me as an American, but instead that they genuinely take their time to be insulting. And it is blatantly obvious that they greatly enjoy doing so.
While walking the city our first night out, my friends and I were on the search for a low key but lively place to enjoy a nightcap. Passing a bar that seemed appropriate to the criteria, my friend Ejim inquired to a man smoking near the entrance if it were a fun time inside. His response, “I do not speak English. You do not come to Paris to speak fucking English!” Of course, he said this in English, and continued to heckle us as we walked off.
Our group did have one French speaker in it – Hunter, who willingly assumed the position of default diplomat in all matters. And it is commonly accepted that the French are friendly towards those who make the effort to speak French…nope. Hunter’s French is good, not once was he ever at a loss of words or understanding throughout the weekend. While politely asking a club doorman whether or not he would let our group in though, he was cut off mid-sentence and told, “you might as well just speak English because your French isn’t good.”
I could continue on detailing such experiences, but the two anecdotes above should suffice. The Parisians hold their noses so high towards Americans one would think they are stargazing. The irony is, when you walk into any business establishment, you’re likely to find them listening to American music. Many of the clothes people are wearing, American brands. Every American fast food chain I passed, packed. And most of all, half the reason the French speak the language they love so god damn much is because grandparents to American and English millennial’s took the time to make sure they weren’t forced to speak German.
Needless to say I’m disgusted. The impression imprinted in my mind of Parisians differs little from spoiled and entitled minded children. Because almost every person I came into contact with acted as though they painted the Mona Lisa and you should bow to them because of it – failing to realize that they were never apart of anything that ever made Paris a “great city”. And lastly, to be a great city, you need great people – disqualifying Paris from any such title.
If I hadn’t traveled here with a group I would have left after the first night. I took the Eurostar express train to Nord station from London, which was incredibly efficient. For the return journey though, I wanted to make it more memorable. In fifty minutes I will be jumping on a train to Calais, from which I will boat across the channel to the white Cliffs of Dover, and, if all goes to plan, be back in London by the evening.