Paris Travel: Beautiful City, Rude Locals

December 21, 2015
france, france culture, rfp
The Pros and Cons of Life in Paris | Paris Travel: Beautiful City, Rude Locals

Paris Travel: Beautiful City, Rude Locals

During my semester abroad in Spain, our group set up a Paris travel experience for a long weekend. I was beyond excited to experience the beautiful city I had only seen in pictures and dreamed about going to one day. Although Paris’s beauty did live up to my expectations, one thing disappointed me—the way the locals treated us.

I had heard from friends that Parisians are not only hostile toward Americans, but toward anyone who isn’t from Paris, which makes it hard to connect with them—one of my favorite parts about traveling.

There was one particular interaction with locals that I’ll never forget. A few friends and I were going out for the night, and we had to take the metro and transfer lines at the biggest metro stop in Paris.

As politely as I could, I explained to her that I had just bought that ticket and even if it wasn’t valid, the tickets were nowhere close to 30 euros. This angered her, and she called over her “friend.”

As I was about to go through the gates, a “metro cop” stopped me and asked to see my ticket. The woman did not look very official (she was not in a uniform), so I was hesitant at first. I handed her the ticket I had just purchased and she told me that it was not valid and that I had to purchase a new ticket for 30 euros.

As politely as I could, I explained to her that I had just bought that ticket and even if it wasn’t valid, the tickets were nowhere close to 30 euros. This angered her, and she called over her “friend.”

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I was now cornered in a metro station in Paris by a huge man and a rude woman, neither of whom spoke English very well. They demanded to see my passport, which I had in a safe back at our hotel. I tried explaining this to them, but they continued yelling at me in French and wouldn’t let me leave. I told them multiple times that I did not speak French, but they didn’t care.

Perhaps this woman and her sidekick were unusually rude, but something tells me that I’m not the first person this has happened to.

Luckily, one of my friends had taken French in high school and was able to get a police officer to come over and help us. She explained the situation to him, and he told me I was able to go.

I’ll never know if the situation was a scam or if they were targeting me since I’m American (I believe both these things are true). Perhaps this woman and her sidekick were unusually rude, but something tells me that I’m not the first person this has happened to.

I’m thankful that nothing worse came of the situation (I was honestly concerned that I’d be taken to Parisian jail), but I hope to never experience an interaction like this again.

Perhaps if I travel to Paris in the future, things will be different (and maybe I’ll try to learn some French before I go). Only time will tell.


Paris Travel: Beautiful City, Rude Locals

About Rachel Petty

Rachel PettyRachel is a recent graduate of James Madison University. She is from northern New Jersey and spent four months studying in Salamanca, Spain. She also got to travel to many other European countries and has been on mission trips to Costa Rica and Jamaica. In addition to traveling, she loves writing, reading, going to the beach and spending time with friends.

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