Yesterday while I was chatting with an artist at the Bastille market, a 30ish American woman comes up, interrupts without apologizing (doesn’t even say hello), and asks if I speak English. When I respond “yes,” she shoves a travel itinerary in my face and says, “I need “cha man.” Literally sticks it right in front of my eyes. I look at the itinerary and realize she is looking for Rue Chemin Vert. Trust me, her pronunciation isn’t even close … without the itinerary, I would have had no idea what she was asking for and neither would any French person.

I tell her I’m not sure where it is, then ask the artist in French if she knows. Before I can even relay the answer, the American woman just walks off looking disgusted without saying thank you or never mind or anything.

Please bear in mind that manners count in every country in the world. Say “bonjour,” “pardon,” etc., and be a good ambassador for our great country when you are here. It is easy to do, costs you nothing, and will greatly increase your odds of getting assistance.

As a general rule, despite what you may have heard, most French people like Americans. They have mostly been friendly to me.

But I wouldn’t blame any French person for giving that woman the wrong directions on purpose.

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