The Parisians have a new softness, friendliness even…that I don't remember before. In restaurants, shops and in their new system of helping tourists with the metro….. I sense something in the air, a change of attitude.
I had a french waitress apologize to me for not bringing my coffee early in the breakfast. She was working in Le Grand Hotel, so might have been trained to deal with foreigners . But still, I think it was a first for me. The apology, that is.
My experience is that one does not apologize here in France. It is seen as a sign of weakness and not cool. If you step on someone's foot it is normal to say excuse me, or I've heard…the more belligerent " I didn't do it on purpose". But if, for example, you have just knocked a jar of pickles off the shelf in a supermarket... the refrain is likely " C'est pas ma faute". "It is not my fault." It is a sentence that one hears a lot here. I think there is even a movie by that name.
Asking someone to excuse you is not the same as admitting fault. I have never heard anyone say " je suis désoler ( I am sorry) to admit wrongdoing here in France.
Once, I was almost run over (while walking my bike through a zebra crossing)... by a woman in a car who was not paying attention. She really "laid it on me" about how I was to blame.
I did notice though that the people in the car behind her jumped to my defense. So maybe, the mentality is changing down here too.
Customer service and civility are always high on my wish list … so bring it on.
And hey, if you can, go to the show on "corsets and codpieces". It was the best exhibition of "undergarments through the centuries" … that I have ever seen ( I have seen similar shows at the Met in NYC and at the Victoria and Albert in London.)
The museum even lets you try some of the underclothes on. And the stuff I learned about men's padding and codpieces was nothing short of astounding. The show there on "bijoux" is also great and it is included in the ticket for under ten euros.
Its at the Decorative Arts museum near the Louvre.
|Pieces available to try on...|
|Kid trying on the codpiece. We both tried it on!|
|Young lady sampling the corset|