I was reading an article in the WSJ last week that discussed why France can not turn Paris into a global business hub if it stays cool to foreigners. France has a new economy minister, Christine Lagarde, who would like to see Paris be on par with London or New York in terms of financial centers. So, the article talks about how the French are hostile to foreigners etc, etc, etc.
I spent quite a bit of time in France, especially Paris, when I was in the Air Force stationed in Germany. As an American travelling around France, I never had any problems at all. The French were always very good to me, and I spoke basically no French at all. When I was stationed in Germany, my fellow Air Force members used to tell these second/third/fourth hand horror stories about people that were treated very rudely by the French. I can honestly say I don’t know what in the hell they were talking about.
To this day I feel like France is one of the places that I would seriously consider emigrating to if the right opportunity came up.
A comment from August Uhl:
Very true. Billy, I also am puzzled about that sterotype. We just got back from two weeks in Europe, including about one week in France (Lyon and St. Tropez, and also Monte Carlo… actually that is Monaco, not France) and I also have nothing but good relations with the French to report. That is probably the fourth or fifth time I have been to France. The first four times I couldn’t speak a lick of French and I have never encountered any negative stuff. Now I have learned enough to hold a very basic conversation. I also consider France to be a country where I would like to spend lots of time like summers or something. FYI, I thought Lyon was a very awesome city.