Consular/Travel Culture

PARIS– Be Elated by the Expected Good, Get Devastated by the Expected Bad

GUEST POST: Dr. Suresh K. Joishy is Special to usindiamonitor; he is father of usindiamonitor.

On my recent vacation in Paris, I was thrilled by the rare delights that only this tre magnfique French city has on offer for its guests.  I planned this trip for the happy occasion of my 50th wedding anniversary to my lovely wife no less.  We felt we deserved this unique opportunity for indulgence with some other family members with days filled with fine food, fine wine, fine coffee, and fine arts.  We made plans well in advance in order to have a smooth stay.  We managed to have a memorable time, but disappointingly we all felt the joyous memories were notably marred by the needless, cruel, relentless, and omnipresent shaming felt acutely by non-French speaking tourists like me throughout our Paris holiday, from the minute we landed to the minute we took off.

Paris!  The moment we hear the name of this city, it evokes feelings of admiration. And rightly so.  It is known worldwide as a dream city, romantic, steeped in history, culture, all manner of fine arts and architecture. It has its globe-leading fashion scene and world renowned cuisines. All of these are the “expected good” and unquestioned features of Paris, built over centuries of rich history carrying over into the modern day.

But is there anything negative to expect in the mix of this glorious city on a visit?  Surprisingly, there is only one bad thing to expect in Paris.  The attitudes of Parisians towards the non-French speaking tourists reaches the epic heights of rudeness. It should come as no surprise; much has already been written about it by those who love Paris with some advice to ignore it considering what a fantastic city Paris is in all other respects.

In the summer of 2022, my family and I finally made it to Paris for the first time in our lives, fortunate to be filled with prior world travel.  During our 10-day visit to Paris, we were much elated by experiencing the expected good.  And to boot, my wife and I chose Paris to celebrate nothing less than our 50th wedding anniversary in this city with close family members.

However, the bad taste was not just limited to the Parisian servers in the restaurants, which we knew to expect beforehand; but Parisians in every tourist place of any type. Just because we were unable to speak French with them, they were not just rude but arrogant, disrespectful and even cheating.

The goal of this narrative is to give a critical appraisal of the plight of non-French speaking tourists who pour into Paris by the thousands every day.  We are veterans in international travel and well-oriented to French culture and made meticulous, well-researched travel plans.

Our comments are evidence based and not meant to be abusive or derogatory.  Above all, I will present remedial measures to French authorities to be adopted to prevent the shaming of non-French speaking tourists in Paris, once and for all. There is no excuse for hosts to shame the guests this way, that too who infuse good money into the local economy.

First, we will present all the good we experienced in Paris.  Second, we will illustrate the shaming of non-French speaking tourists by Parisians.  Third, we will offer concrete remedial measures to curb shaming of non-French speaking tourists in Paris.  Above all, we would like to clear the mental blocks Parisians have for a problem so well known all over the world about the Parisian attitudes towards non-French speaking tourists visiting by the millions every year.

My French cultural connection long before visiting Paris

Yes, I do have a “French Connection.” Oops! Not the French Connection film about the real-life international heroin smuggling gangsters spanning across Europe and North America in the 1960s and 70s, but a French “cultural” Connection.

Paris of the East 101

I just may be able to teach a lesson or two on French culture to the Parisians. There is a place called the Paris of the East. It is located on the East coast of Southern India spanning prime beachfront real estate colonized by the French from 1623 till 1954. The French fought vicious battles for this territory against the Portuguese, Dutch, Danish and of course the British. It is called Pondicherry even today.  Modern “Pondy” is a gorgeous city still, boasting French architecture and French culture maintained under the persistent auspices of an older generation of French speaking Indians.  There is no other place like this unique enclave melding French and Indian culture into one. 

My French alma mater: The Pondicherry Medical College

The French first established an overseas Medical School in Pondicherry in 1863.  It was named L’Ecole De Medicine De Pondicherry L’EMP. When the French left in 1954, it was simplified to Pondicherry Medical College. The medium of instruction remained French. In 1963, it was again renamed to Dhanvantari Medical College after the Father of Indian Medicine when I joined.

The very next year it moved to a brand new medical college campus and got a longer name: Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research–JIPMER. It was and still is a top-notch medical school in India and I am a proud alumnus along with many other illustrious physicians and researchers who practice in every corner of the globe.

I also have another cultural connection with France even the French may envy.  A French lady named Mirra Alfassa voyaged to Pondicherry, the Paris of the East, and met the great spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo.  After a political stint in British India, he went to French Pondicherry and established a spiritual organization. Mirra Alfassa joined him in collaboration and after his death founded the world famous Aurobindo Ashram. She simply came to be called “Mother”. When I was a student at the Medical school in Pondicherry I met her out of curiosity and drew a portrait of her and showed it to her. She autographed it, writing Blessings.  It still hangs on the wall of my home in California..  This French lady also built an idealistic city in Pondicherry named Auroville combining the name of Aurobindo and the French for dawn, Aurore.

With this degree of French cultural connection, being a Francophile and having studied some French too in a medical school originally founded by the French, the Parisians harassing me as a non-French speaking tourist was nothing but shaming- on top of shameful. This really needs to stop.

Preparations for the Paris trip

No one could blame us for any bad experience in Paris due to inadequate preparation for the trip. It was well researched for months, all sightseeing and transportation pre-booked online by me and my family.  My adult kids coordinated our plans closely in consultation with their Parisian friend, along with others who visited before.  I now realize that no amount of preparation could possibly have prevented Parisians shaming the tourists if they cannot speak French.  Additionally the inimitable travel guide Rick Steves was my able Guru for the Paris trip through his publications.  His notable quote: “The Parisians know English more than the tourists know French.”

Elated experiences of the good, expected of Paris

Le Jules Verne French restaurant in the Eiffel TowerThere is no match for this French restaurant anywhere else in the world, by objective measures of central location, unrivaled scenery, impeccable service, and the unique menu. The world-renowned, award winning Chef Frederic Anton is no less than an artist of contemporary French cuisine. Every item in my 7 course luncheon boasted different texture, colors, culinary perspective, and was a scrumptious treat for the palate.  It will take several months just to book a table and the price is extremely high, but we thought it was worth the experience once in a lifetime.  Some items on your plate may seem of microscopic portions, but the seven-course meal was sufficient to fill the stomach.

The Iron Lady of Paris: The Eiffel Tower

Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, it’s by far the most iconic structure unique to Paris as every schoolchild in every corner of the world knows.  It simply must be seen close up, at the base and at the top to get the best views of Paris. The Iron Lady  looks different when viewed from different vantage points in Paris and in different light settings of day and night. Don’t forget to view her at night, She simply glows with the lights on.

The Louvre

The Louvre is one of the largest art museums in the world, with 400+ rooms displaying masterpieces of the most famous artists of the ancient and modern world spanning many centuries and styles.  Unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult museums to find what you want to see if you had a specific plan.  If you do not reserve an online booking in advance, most of your time will be wasted standing in line.  Information desks are few and far. The brochures and maps are thoroughly confusing. The text on the maps is microscopic in size.

We played out a plan to see the Louvre without too much of a search in one day.  The key is to make a list before you go. Stick to it and do not worry if you miss something, which is to be expected. No mortal can see the Louvre in one day and do it justice. We managed to adequately experience the Louvre by making three lists:

  1. Must see
  • (Of course) the Mona Lisa painting.
  • Paintings of Michaelangelo  
  • Statues of Venus DeMilo,  Psych Rinne; Dowser Del L’Amour. 
  • A unique statue of hermaphrodite with female body and male genitalia sleeping on a puckered bed of marble that looks like a very soft mattress
  1. Should see
  • Statues of the rebellious slaves and the dying slaves
  • Statues of the galloping horses Chavous de marly
  • Statue of the winged victory
  • Painting of Napoleon’s coronation
  1. Nice to see but don’t fret if you miss
  • Napoleon Apartments
  • Birthplace of Hammurabi
  • Islamic Near-eastern art
  • Lion Passant of Babylonia and Nebuchadnezzar
  • French paintings section

Special Exhibits.  There is always some special exhibit so look for it beforehand, just after you have seen the masterpieces in your list.

Note that the staff at the Louvre may mislead or disorient you if you don’t speak French. Of all the things one could possibly imagine, they misled us by saying the French paintings section was closed when it was actually fully open at the time!

A sunset cruise on the River Seine is a must

You must see the monuments hugging along the riverbanks and the Iron Lady.  Board the cruise at the feet of the tower. Find out sunset time that day and board when the sky just starts to dim for the prime time. Thus experience all three: sunset, dusk and the night in the span of a one hour cruise.  Forget the dinner cruise, when your eyes can instead feast so much.

Walkabouts along Seine River and bridges 

It’s not just the boat rides when it comes to getting the most of the river.  It is magical walking on old bridges like Pont Neuf.  There are so many more bridges to walk as well throughout Paris.  Plenty of cafes to stop by along the stroll, which live up to their earned global reputation.  People watching in any season, and every direction. The banks are named East and West banks.

Hop-on, hop-off Bato Bus ride.

Instead of a hop-on, hop-off bus this is a boat ride from which you can get on and off many stops close to the monuments. This offers a great way to stroll or walk along Seine riverbanks between stops.

The Stunning Monuments of Paris are a Treat

Mont Marte

  • Huge ancient church on high ground with 200+steps.
  • Go to the top pf the church to get spectacular views of Paris.

Arc de triomphe.

  • Monument honoring the victories of French wars.
  • Walk to it on a straight path of Avenue de Champs-Élysées

The glass pyramid at the entrance of the Louvre.

  • Unlike all other monuments in Paris, this is a modern glass architecture designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei.  This can be seen independent of the insides of the Louvre.

The Palace of Versailles

I may hold a contrarian opinion to all that you might have heard.  While it does indeed display some outstanding art, architecture, and interior design, and was the famous venue of historic events, if you have already seen grand palaces in London or other European countries it is not worth the visit.  It takes some effort to get to and back from Paris if that’s the starting point.  Besides, the constant stench of sewage in the palace during our summer visit was unbearable and was an unwelcome distraction for the other senses.

Paris neighborhood strolls

Like many European cities, Paris is also a walking friendly city inside, outside and between the monuments, old and new neighborhoods.  Flaneuring through Paris by sidewalk is perhaps unbeatable.  Marais is a fashionable neighborhood with nice cafes.  The Jewish neighborhood is also pleasant to walk through to experience authentic Jewish food, relics, and culture.

Restaurants

We have already visited the world-famous French restaurant Jules Verne.

World famous as it may be, French cuisine is not always pleasing to the vegetarian palate.  While I am not a strict vegetarian, it is the strong preference for both my wife and I.  This caused us some challenges throughout the Paris trip.  French restaurants we visited were notorious for gamely publishing a vegetarian menu on their website only to inform us on-site that they didn’t have it.  If you call on the phone, they will not answer in English anyway so that’s not much help.

The best way to get some decent vegetarian food above and beyond cold salads while visiting Paris is to go to a non-French ethnic restaurant such as Chinese, Thai, or Indian.  Fortunately, there are plenty of these including some truly excellent ones all 6 of us enjoyed.

If you are getting elated from our Paris playbook so far, brace yourself. Perhaps sit down if you aren’t already seated.  

Even if you are a proud Parisian or a Francophile, please read.  I sincerely hope you do especially.   I’d expect the non-French speaking will understand best.

There’s an all-encompassing important question on my mind.  Why don’t the Parisians speak English to  non-French speaking tourists?  A great deal has been written going back centuries about the Parisians’ peculiar attitudes towards non-French speaking tourists, those same earnest souls who traveled a long way, often at great expense, to help the City’s local residents in fact butter their baguette!  

Various explanations and even justifications are on offer:

  1. Parisians are actually very nice people. They are simply perceived to be rude because they do not wish to speak in English.  But why?  Rick Steve knows Paris well and rightly explains that Parisians can speak more English than a tourist speaking French.
  2. Some suggest Parisians will be nicer and open up if we start in French; Bonjour, s’il vous plait, etc.  To that I’d ask, how do Parisians start conversation when they visit non-French speaking countries?
  3. Next we hear about the excuse that Parisians do not wish to speak English because they feel embarrassed to make grammatical mistakes. What English grammar does one really need to speak a few words to a non -French speaking tourist?  Simple things like “yes, no, twenty euros, or it’s over there?”
  4. The poor waiters and other service personnel are just too busy to drop what they are in the middle of to respond to tourists in English. But would they speak English if they were less busy- such as those times I witnessed when they were doing literally nothing at all?

Some advise not to worry about rude Parisians because we should simply enjoy Paris as such a magnificent city in its own right, without getting caught up on the quality of basic social interactions.  I find this to be silly. Tourists don’t go to Paris just to see the monuments. To get a feel for any new city, you need to interact with the locals, who are the city’s hosts. Tourists are guests.

Where can we find the evidence of Parisians shaming non-French speaking tourists?

Unfortunately, it can quite easily be found anywhere any tourists seek help in Paris.

At the Hotel Front desk.

If you speak English, they don’t answer the phone.  If you go to the desk. they don’t care to talk to you.  Sometimes they won’t even lift their heads to acknowledge your presence.  Sincere attempts at asking a question in French, prefaced with a perfectly pronounced bonjour, s’il vous plaits may or may not work, like an awful crap shoot at the casino you should have left two hours earlier.  I found hotel front desk staff who, on purpose, wouldn’t even help me to call a taxi.  Shockingly, one of them took the extra effort to place a fake phone call pretending to help me at a time this paying hotel guest had a far-off destination to get to as soon as possible.  This just may have been the ultimate bitter icing on the rich and creamy Parisian rudeness cake, perhaps.

Taxi drivers

I’ve gotten taxi rides in dozens of countries.  The taxi drivers of Paris are by far the worst I’ve encountered, and each day we required many rides to pursue our itinerary.  Right off the bat, the drivers often refused to turn on the meter as regulated, leading to haggling over the price of the ride, an ominous sign.  Immediately upon landing at Charles De Gaulle Airport, we patiently waited our turn at the marked taxi line.  The attendant at the front of the line pointed my family to hail a specific cab that pulled up to the curb in front of us.  We had several standard suitcases and four people.  But when we approached to open the door, the car rolled on without stopping- a dangerous and confusing situation.  My son chased behind and knocked on the rear door gently, all of us wondering why the car wouldn’t stop to give us a lift, that too after the staffer pointed to that same car.  Maybe he didn’t see us somehow?  Then after rolling a few more feet, the driver jumped out and immediately began verbally abusing us without even a bonjour: “Where do you want me to put those suitcases, in my pockets?” he yelled with a disproportionate amount of anger.

That was our very first introduction to Parisian conversation at our very first breath of Paris air, and that was only the beginning.

At a downtown taxi stand we waited for a substantial length of time with nobody else anywhere close by,  and finally a taxi arrived.   As we opened the door to enter, two French speaking ladies suddenly ran in out of nowhere, pushed us aside and blocked us from entering the taxi, saying they were waiting for the taxi first. The taxi driver just drove away with them despite our protest.

They also may charge exorbitantly for a short distance.  On top of it all, at many locations it was surprisingly difficult to find an open cab.  Paris does have Uber but we found it quite hard to reach them even with advanced planning.  Oftentimes Uber drivers would cancel rides long after accepting them, something I’d never witnessed Uber drivers do elsewhere.  This was cruel in addition to being an inconvenient waste of precious vacation time.  Bad as taxi and uber experiences were though, it got much worse.

Motorized TriCycle Rickshaws

Learn from our mistakes. Never, ever take one!  We decided to grab one from the Eiffel Tower one night for what looked like a fun alternative transport option. Before embarking we examined a printed sheet of variable charges to various tourist destinations the driver presented us. We were heading to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, which was listed at 35 Euros flat.  The sheet was printed clearly in correct English, though the pedicab driver spoke none in our presence.  This price seemed a bit high to us, but reasonable enough for a short and fun open-air ride carrying 6 people through the bustling Parisian avenues, just for a one-off holiday experience.

Upon reaching our destination the driver pulled out a charge sheet again, and of course this was an entirely different one stating 35 Euros per person on it in plain English!  Obviously, this was not the same charge sheet he showed us before.  Now the ride apparently cost a whopping 210 Euros, an absurd amount he undoubtedly knew we would never have agreed to before climbing on if he asked for it honestly up front.  We did what any sane tourists would do and protested immediately, sniffing out a classic scam artist, and tried to hand him 35, then 80 Euros after heated negotiation.  But no argument would budge him from angrily demanding the ridiculous 210 Euros, and though we knew he spoke English, he pretended not to.  At this point it was 11:00PM, dark and relatively isolated in the neighborhood near the Cathedral.  We quickly debated calling the police to resolve this blatant highway robbery, but after anticipating the language barrier and difficulties in explaining to the local gendarmes how to find us, then judge our word against his in this strange situation could make the move fruitless in the end, especially with the white local Parisian having home court advantage.

We told the driver we had no such cash on us, which was true. Like clockwork he pointed out where the nearest ATM was located across a river bridge, clearly having played this game before.  Besides being a scam artist we could sense from his eyes fixating on us he was a shameless criminal, and we were not in a time or a place to safely exit the situation without completing the extortion.  He refused to move an inch.  We feared he might follow us in this isolated area, or have thugs staged nearby who were his partners on a classic organized grift.

Rather than risk further trouble in a dark, desolate urban and foreign quarter late at night, my two male family members visited the ATM and paid off the extortionist.  We avoided the prospect of violence which was our foremost priority- and of course that’s why the scam works.

Bad-mannered at the boulangerie

We went to a well-appointed bakery to get some croissants to eat one afternoon during the space between lunch and dinner times. No other customer was there and we were in the middle of ordering a few croissants and coffees. Two French customers showed up- and the lady at the counter abruptly turned away from us to attend to them instead, speaking in French. Shé abandoned the idea of serving us non-French speaking tourists mid-stream, perhaps to gossip with these familiar Parisian regulars while taking their order.  Regulars or no, friend or not, this was unimaginably rude.  We had no time for this and left without the famous French croissants.

At the Louvre

See above how we prepared for and managed to tour the Louvre successfully.  However we could not possibly anticipate that any staff posted there would not speak English.  We asked a guide standing at the entrance to a gallery, of all places, where the French paintings were displayed on the Louvre map we had. One look at me, and he brusquely said and also gestured that it was closed.  Suspicious and not giving up, I went to another staff desk, and learned it was certainly open and got the proper directions this time. 

Come to France!  And enjoy the French paintings if you aren’t misled away from viewing them!

Fear of pickpockets in prime tourist locations

When entering the great Louvre, you do not see the masterpieces on display first. You see a master sign warning of pickpockets.

When studying a Monet you may also see the pickpocket sign first. This is jarring and can be terribly dampening to a tourist’s enthusiasm for the great art museum.  To be fair, pickpockets are common in many tourist countries, but less so in developed ones like France.  My wife ended up getting pickpocketed in a shopping place on the trip unfortunately even though we were extremely careful.  Rick Steves suggests a solution for not losing your purse in Paris: tuck a money belt inside your pants, and pull the pants over it.  This might be well and good, but imagine walking in Paris in hot weather with a hot crotch.

The saving grace in Paris

We landed in some real trouble on our very first day. The pre-booked hotel we intended to stay in was found most unsuitable to check into.  Then we managed to find another hotel booking, and upon arrival at that one found that one even more unsuitable.  So we set up camp at a nearby cafe and attempted to plot our next move.  It was peak tourist season, and even at exorbitant prices, even after scanning all of the international hotel booking websites we could think of, coupled with our lack of familiarity with the foreign city we had just landed in, and with difficulty attempting to engage local staff to help us, we could find no accommodations for 6 people over the 10 days of our trip.  We began to feel stranded and worried about where to turn.

My son has a good friend living in Paris of French heritage named Danielle, in touch over 25 years since they first met during college in the United States.  Fortunately, my son was able to contact the friend, who dropped everything in the middle of the weekday to come and join us on our mission to find housing.  We couldn’t take up her offer to stay at her home, due to multiple cat allergies in our family, but she was still God sent. After making considerable efforts, including back and forth consultations with her mother who is also a Parisian, she found decent hotels for our stay and made the bookings in French over the phone after confirming all of our requirements.

That was fortunate for us.  But not everyone has a personal local contact on standby for a sudden SOS call on demand.  What could a non-French speaking family of tourists do when most Parisians are unwilling to talk through such a situation in English?

The Paris Syndrome

This is a real thing, and I learned it happened to Japanese tourists in Paris.  When I was working in Japan I heard accounts from my Japanese friends who visited at the time.  It can be devastating to the Japanese people because politeness, and going above and beyond as hosts is an admirable hallmark of Japanese society that has deep roots in their history.

Despite their feelings, the Japanese would betray no public displays of anger or frustration in Paris (quite unlike my family and I, LOL).  All Japanese love to visit Paris. But alas, they can neither speak French nor English.  When they try to communicate with Parisians  who don’t even want to speak English, Parisians showed frustration, anger and even chased away Japanese tourists from their presence using rude words and gestures.  It was such a total cultural shock to the Japanese that some experienced panic attacks, and would call the Japanese embassy.  With one group I know, their Paris trip was actually canceled very soon after arrival, and the embassy facilitated their return back to Japan.

Japanese people have been learning English but not French. It will be interesting to know the current incidence of Paris syndrome.  Needless to say, one Day One we were at risk of succumbing to the Paris Syndrome (that too on our first vacation since the beginning of the COVID pandemic!) but for the timely help of Danielle, and we did not have to deal with cutting our trip short or altering our carefully planned itinerary too much.

Coffins, Not Elevators

Nowhere in the world except in Paris have I endured an experience I can only describe as being shut down in a coffin.  Many elevators seem ancient in Paris and have just enough room to squeeze in your body, only if you are skinny and alone, with no space to spare.  They creak up and down the shafts slowly and haltingly, and if you brought a suitcase you’d practically have to be sitting on it.  God knows when they were manufactured- probably around when Mr. Faraday discovered electricity.  When the metal gate shuts, if you are inside you are in a dark coffin. If the electricity gets disconnected for any reason,there is no alarm and it could feel like you have been awarded a surprise one-way ticket to either heaven or hell from a death entirely possible by suffocation or instant panic attack.  And that’s for those of us who are fortunate enough not to be claustrophobic- I’m sure those who are wouldn’t even dare get in.  That’s a real condition that affects many.

I wondered in all seriousness, are there no fire regulations for elevators in Paris?  That’s not all.  Some tall multi-story hotels do not even have elevators at all.  How do they manage to carry elderly members of the society or visitors to, for example, the seventh floor?  

Comments and recommendations for remedial action 

First, we need to get to the bottom of why the Parisians do not wish to talk in English to non-French speaking tourists in Paris.  So far, I have presented the second hand answers with only first hand anecdotal experience. It would be helpful to conduct a scientific nationwide survey of Parisians or the French and tabulate the real reasons they do not wish to speak English that is spoken just across the channel, all over Europe and well-beyond in almost all metropolises with substantial tourism.  

I’d recommend that the appropriate French tourism boards enact a program to teach all Parisian tourist personnel the English language at least to basic level.

Regulatory bodies should not issue the license to run hotels if staff do not speak basic English.

China and Japan may not agree on everything, but both countries have made it compulsory for public transportation personnel to learn English for the Olympics. Similarly in Paris it is possible to make tourist service personnel learn to speak English and also use it once they know it, with some effort.

Second, encourage Parisians to visit the Paris in the East, Pondicherry, and learn how the hosts there treat non-French speaking tourists.

Send a large number of Parisians to Japan to see how wonderfully and respectfully the Japanese take care of tourists even if they lack skills in French or English.  It is truly the gold standard of customer service that all tourist destinations should aspire to.  Pride is not an excuse.  After all, the Japanese too are a fiercely proud people who deeply honor their culture and heritage, and nurture a continuous recorded history many centuries longer than France’s.  Yet they manage to treat outsiders with respect anyway.

By following these steps, a more modern, welcoming version I’d like to coin Paris 2.0 could soon eliminate the occurrence of the Paris Syndrome forever.  And it’s no secret that making the improvements would be good for Paris itself, as tourism would grow even more, and so would the Euros circulating in the local economy during a period we all know promises to be difficult for all businesses in the months and years to come.

Conclusions

Paris is not an island within itself. It is surrounded by the UK across the channel and European countries on the Continent.  Yes, East European countries may also have language problems for the tourists but Paris? Let’s hope Paris decides to change course and not continue to demean itself.

No doubt Paris despite it all is a glorious superpower among cities with global reach and so far has managed to get away with their collective personality leaving something to be desired. It has achieved difficult feats and defeated grave challenges before.  From their scenic seat on the River Seine Parisians built and ruled great and far-reaching empires in the past, all the way to the lapping shores of faraway Pondicherry with success and local buy-in to French culture.  I hope today’s Paris starts with a basket of easy tasks.  With focus, the city can surely eliminate pickpockets and get rid of the raw sewage smell from iconic buildings like the Louvre and Palace of Versailles where they were pervasive.

Getting rid of the “coffin elevators” from any building within city limits is a must.  Paris should be reminiscent of heaven, not hell.

Paris should play host with sincerity to the non-French speaking tourists.  Tourism is a guest/host relationship and no compromise should be accepted when it should be a win/win instead.  So many other global cities have already figured out this formula, even where English is a second or even third language.

Think about it.  What will Paris be without tourists?  Empty.  And over time, it would go bankrupt without tourists.  The COVID pandemic should have increased Parisians’ respect for tourists, when they were much harder to come by.  Instead these people just picked up where they left off.

Besides not speaking English, ignoring the creature comforts of the tourists is a form of shaming of the tourists in Paris.  

The Iron Lady surely has higher expectations of her citizens.  Well, there is hope!  If you can rebuild the severely burnt-out icon Notre Dame, you can accomplish anything.

Below, I have drawn up a simple manifesto I would encourage the French to review, for their own benefit and that of their guests. With the main point of respecting the non-French speaking tourists, Paris would lay claim to be the most unrivaled global city.

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