More than 15 000 people who speak 145 different languages are on Leeve since September 2018. English, he interviewed 10 of them about their experience in France with French people...
Adda, 19 years, Senegalese
I don’t like generalising an entire population based on a few experiences. Some French people are very nice, some were less welcoming to strangers but overall, I think many of them just struggled to speak English with me. Although, I appreciated the effort they made.
Jàime, 26 years, Spanish (South America)
I studied French in middle school, high school and college, but during college, I didn’t make it to Europe. I had studied French culture and history over the years and loved it. But I had not met or talked to many French people during my last trip so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The French people I met were warm and welcoming, especially in the south of France.
Élyse, 22 years, English
I was in France a few years ago and I didn’t feel very comfortable. Especially if you don’t speak French. But it depends. This year, I was in Paris and the people there were absolutely lovely and welcoming.
Felipe, 19 years, Spanish
I wanted to live in France (at least for a little while) for as long as I can remember. I actually chose my university and course choice so that I’d have the opportunity to study abroad in Paris. I’m a pretty open-minded person and so I didn’t really come with any prejudices about what French people would be like. I’d heard that Parisians were rude but, by now, I’m pretty convinced that it’s all just talk...
Karina, 24 years, Russian
I’m not a foreigner, as I raised in France since my childhood. Here is no uniform answer at this question about French people. It depends on the areas you visit. Based on conversations with people and my own observations, Paris is the worst... And there are also marked a difference between southern and northern France. Northerners look colder and more distant, while southerners are louder and more welcoming. But in the long run, if you win the trust of the former, you are good to go. e latter and looser cannons and friendships are a little more superficial in general. I’m originally from Toulouse and it’s one of the most welcoming places I know.
Paulina, 30 years, Italian
I felt very welcome. Even in Paris, despite what a lot of people say, I had very few negative experiences, and those were all many years ago. I lived in Metropolitan France from 2015 to 2017 and never had a problem. I find that the French are very polite, though not necessarily friendly. And in the South of France, whenever anything related to the war came up, the always said something about how grateful they were to the US for their (our) help.
Yiruma, 24 years, Japanese
I was not expecting a good time in Paris. However, I found my school level French Language coming back to me and managed «Bonjour Madame, Du pain s’il vous plait» and «au revoir madame». My accent must be atrocious but the people I spoke seemed to respect the fact that I was making an effort to speak French. On the Metro, in Rennes, nobody spoke to me in 7 days, which might be typical of the French Metro, especially in Paris. It’s not very welcoming. On the streets and cafes, everyone is friendly enough.
Mohammed, 42 years, English
The only city I visited in France was Paris. To be honest, it has so many tourists that I am not sure I have a good idea of what French people even are. My impression is mixed. On the one hand, there are so many tourists that everyone seems to be used to them. You can’t surprise anyone with the foreign language or a huge camera here. On the other hand, all the restaurants and cafes are so used to serving hundreds of people daily that the service has become a bit automatic: sit, eat, leave... I had been to Prague prior to that and I can say, I still got more authentic service there. In Paris, you are mostly treated as one of many tourists: People don’t ask where you were from. You don’t seem to be interesting to the locals. Still, I thought that was Paris style - I actually liked everything there!
Karen, 20 years, American
When I was younger I travelled to many places within France staying on sunsites campsites. e majority of French people were not particularly welcoming. We always try to get to know local people and integrate with them to enjoy the local area, cuisine etc. many French people did not seem keen to engage. ere were exceptions of course and they were usually within the tourism industry we stayed at a hotel for one night and the staff there were very welcoming. Generally, their reputation is that they are not particularly friendly. However, I do know some people with holiday homes in France and their neighbours are all lovely. Really helpful and look out for their property when they are not there.
Bereth, 30 years, Australian
I have had a wonderful time in Rennes and find that because I approach people in a respectful way and use a few words of French I get along me. People are polite to me overall. They are also much more helpful in rural areas if you are a beginner in French and want to practice. They are ok with being patient.