In a recent edition of the French newspaper Le Parisien was a front-page headline “Dur d’être touriste à Paris!” (Tough to be a tourist in Paris!), with a two-page spread featuring differing opinions from both tourists and locals. This being Le Parisien (which many may consider as journalisticly sophisticated as USA Today), it seemed to base the entire article on anecdotal evidence and a few interviews.
The Chinese, a fast-growing population in Parisian tourism, seem to be the hardest hit, not just for rudeness but also being targeted by thieves because they tend to carry large sums of cash. I’m guessing that Parisians don’t treat everyone equally, though, because in my own experiences as a tour guide and emails from readers of the Secrets of Paris (predominantly North American and other native English speakers), the Parisians are surprisingly friendlier than most visitors expect. It could be that expectations are so low that this isn’t hard. But I do believe the right attitude and basic respect of local customs and etiquette go a long way in affecting how the Parisians treat you back.