The French generally get a bum rap from American tourists. The thing is that the French culture has well-defined set of manners that many Americans don’t understand. Actually, Americans (especially tourists) generally are not very good at picking up subtle nuances from culture to culture in general. I guess that’s from being a large isolated country without many bordering neighbors.
The difference about the French is that they are willing to show their displeasure toward rude visitors more than most. For me, that’s one of the appeals of the French – the open honesty. I’m spending my vacation in France with my wife right now. We’ve visited many times before and this handsome country always draws us back. Of course, Paris is a spectacularly beautiful city. I, however, also believe it can be viewed as an over-rated place. What I mean is that many people around the world build such a “romantic” notion of the city that when they are hit with the full reality of a diverse, aging urban center, the reaction can be shock or disappointment.
Yet, there are still so many Francophiles around the world. I think what is most appealing is how the cafes, restaurants and bars are set up for extended time with friends. People genuinely enjoy time together. People are not rushing home to tend to their “material” goods (mowing lawns, watching a big-screen TV’s, cleaning their boats, etc.). There is a warmth among groups of people that is undeniable. That vibe is what is inevitably the French appeal – at least it is for me. Be content. Enjoy today.