(asked by Jen, from… somewhere, possibly somewhere in Asia)

And here is Jen’s third and last question:
And… is it normal, if you ask a stranger something (most of the time where the metro station is located), he then will offer you a city tour on the weekend or coffee after work? Would I be too naive if I just think all Parisian (men) are these nice to tourists?

I’m planning to go back to Paris the end of the year… I really hope the next trip will be less headache with this simple things.

Btw, I really love your blog. I don’t know how to subscribe, once I found out I’ll do it right away.
To answer your question briefly: No it is not normal and yes you are being naive.
Basically if somebody reacts the way you mention I see three possibilities:
1. The person is indeed extremely nice. This is pretty rare though.
While I have never given a tourist a city tour on the week-end or invited them for coffee after work, I have been out of my way for tourists more than once when time permitted to do so and if they seemed like they were worth it (by that I mean that I felt that the extra advice, information, etc. would be appreciated). I don’t think I have ever done it in Paris though, I wouldn’t want the tourist to think that I’m a Parisian and that they can be nice, that would ruin the reputation of the city. :-)
2. It’s a love/BFFship at first sight thing. Even more rare.
3. You mention that they’re usually men, right? So I’d lean towards the third choice: They wanted to get into your pants.
Apart from that, thanks for the nice words.
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  4 Responses to “Am I naive if I just think that all Parisians are nice to tourists?”

  1. I like Google Reader for blogs.

  2. Yeah, this is just girl stuff. You may notice that men are very helpful to unaccompanied single women in New York, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Uttar Pradesh, and the moon, too. It's nice sometimes, but Parisian men can be pretty pushy, so don't feel obligated to take them up on their offer.

    My favorite exchange, from my first trip to Paris, when I was 23, in the Jardin du Luxembourg:
    "Pardon, are you here alone?"
    "Just waiting for my boyfriend, he'll be here in an hour."
    "Ah, so, would you like to go with me to drink something, a coffee, a glass of wine?"
    "I said, my boyfriend will be here in an hour."
    "Well, how long does it take you to drink a glass of wine?"

    Fair logic, but I didn't go with him!

  3. - Kate,trying to put a distance between you and a stranger by mentioning a boyfrind/husband is like telling him " I like you and I would go with you except that I have a boyfrind/husband"…. This is not a way to keep strangers away but merely a way to make them insist even more :) ) Men would understand the only reason you are not following his invitation is that you are still " attached" to the boyfrind, not that you DO NOT WANT TO. The conclusion? The husband/boyfriend is THE ONLY obstacle. Damn, she has a boyfriend, but if I keep her under pressure I might get something eventually! In my hummble experience - if a woman does not want to talk to a pushy man, she should just pretend he is invisible( or that she is deaf and blind, so to speak ).

  4. Very good point Rosabell.
    Saying you have a boyfriend would stop "decent" guys, but "decent" guys won't harass you in the first place.
    The other guys know that having a boyfriend is just another hurdle on the way to getting the girl. After all, how many women among you have never dumped their boyfriend not for being single but for another guy.
    (a big number of my female friends haven't been single since they were teenagers, they always wait to find another guy before dumped the previous one, no matter how unhappy they are in their current relationship).

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