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The Traveller's Magazine
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Parisians have a bad rep for being rude. As one of the world’s most visited cities, Paris is trying to redeem itself with a new campaign to tackle its bad attitude and to better cater to tourist needs. One Parisian at a time…

The biggest complaints that Paris gets from foreign visitors? The waiters, sales assistants and taxi drivers are rude, unhelpful and don’t speak foreign languages. Paris’ tourism board has taken it upon themselves to fix the situation. Introducing the new booklet, “Do you speak Touriste?” 

The six-page booklet contains greetings in eight different languages including Chinese and advice on foreign spending habits and cultural codes to help Parisians better understand the visitors in their city. According to the guide, “The British like to be called by their first names.” Brits plan holidays in Paris for the architecture, traditional food and look forward to kicking back in a foreign setting.

Paris, according to Rachel Khoo


The guide explains that Chinese tourists are “fervent shoppers” and a smile and simple hello in Chinese will go a long way to making them feel welcome. As for the Dutch, they are courteous, direct and are very easygoing. Brazilian travellers have high expectations when it comes to service. They’re more likely to travel by taxi than by public transportation.

Jean-Pierre Blat, the general director of the regional tourism committee explained,

“We need to make sure that professionals (in the field of tourism, restaurants and hotels, Ed.) are better prepared to respond more effectively to the wishes of foreign clientele, one should not treat a Japanese and an Italian in the same way. There are cultural norms to respect and one needs to adapt to the situation.”

Last year 29 million people visited Paris. 1 in 10 jobs in the City of Light are connected with tourism, from restaurants to hotels, from museums to shops. Paris’ chamber of commerce fears they could lose out on tourist traffic to friendlier cities like London.

How to: experience Paris for FREE

30,000 copies of “Do you speak Touriste?” are being distributed citywide to taxi drivers, hotel managers, restaurant waiters and sales assistants in major tourist areas of the city, along hte banks of the Seine, Montmartre and well as outside the city in Versailles and Fontainebleau.

Imgs: alex grechman, nate robert / Flickr cc.

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