Expat Magazine

Answering in English

By Sedulia @Sedulia


I have to admit that I like being asked for directions. It makes me feel Parisienne, as if I really belong here. And I must look as if I do, too.

Today some Chinese girls, very well-dressed, came up and asked me how to get to the Gare de Lyon. They didn't even try to speak French, but they were very polite. I wondered how older French people feel, when they come across the new wave of tourists that doesn't feel apologetic for not speaking French.

But sometimes I get an American or Canadian or British tourist. They will start off, "Excusez-moi, Madame...." and haltingly bring out a question.
Of course I can tell an American accent in French. So I answer in English. I'm American.

But at least half the time, the tourists look offended and continue in French. They just think I am French, being rude!

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