Paris: Mind your Manners

Posted on September 21, 2006


by the paris blog 

Bonjour Messieurs Dames!

It’s not hard to say. Sometime I say it to myself just for the heck of it. But it was so hard to get into the habit, when I first moved here, of singing it out every time I entered a bakery or a fruit shop. Chris at ParisLogue explains how crucial it is to utter the french version of “‘Sup?”:

Talk to a Parisian over dinner and in one breath he will adamantly oppose Le Pen and the anti-immigration policies of the National Front and in the second breath he will complain about the Asian and Arab immigrants failure to s’integrer into French life.

Here was one complaint overheard, “When the Chinese come into my friend’s shop, they never bother to say, “bonjour”. They just walk in, look around, and walk out again. That’s very rude.”
It doesn’t take much to receive that unwanted label: “mal-eleve” or badly brought up.
Walking into a shop without aknowledging the person behind the counter is about the worst thing you can do in France. In smaller shops, it is almost the same as walking into someone’s private home.

Au revoir, Messieurs Dames.

Photo credit: My Computerman