The French are mean. Ok, maybe “mean” is a bit harsh but sure, they’re not the most cuddly of cultures. Personally, I would define them as direct and to the point (but not as bad as the Germans). From my short experience in France thet simply don’t have time for your bullshit, which I absolutely respect. Do you want help? Put up your hand and “Pardon!” and “Excusé et moi!” someone until they come over. Be ready to order (in French, don’t be rude) and get to the point. I’m certain this is why many Americans are turned off by French culture.
Kyle and I were having drinks at Le Mary Celeste, our second time there, when a couple sat down next to us at the bar. I didn’t pay much attention to them but after about 20 minutes, noticed them again because the woman looked irked. Curious, I watched them for a bit, then realized they hadn’t ordered yet because no one had specifically came by to get their order. It was their faces though, that look of sheer annoyance at their seeming neglect, must drive French people crazy. Or perhaps they get a sick pleasure from it…
My favorite story is when we were on our way back from Deauville, a small city on the coast northwest of Paris. The train stopped, as it does many times along the way, so we sat there waiting for it to go again, when a young woman remarked, “The train has stopped, you’re going to Paris, yeah?” We nodded and she gestured and said, “Follow me.” It was obvious we were unaware of the situation yet she was kind enough to guide us to our next train, which was several tunnels and flights of stairs away. We would have realized this eventually, but I was quite thankful for her generosity.