Paris Mon Amour

May 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

 I was recently in Paris and at an earlier post i wrote about my visit to the Pompidou. Yet some people have asked me why haven´t i written more extensively about the trip? Well, I think that Paris is so fantastic that probably there is no point in discussing about it, but just experiencing it at least once in your life. Yet, I´m writing this post about some experiences with the much-criticized Parisian treatment of tourists …

We all have heard about their arrogance, not to mention their total lack of awareness for the idea: “the costumer is always right”. Countless jokes, stories and comments have circulated around this not-so glorious part of the Parisian tourist adventure-package. To be sure, in this last trip we tasted our own piece of the Parisian reputation several times (much to my dismay). However it only took a brief reminder from my partner, back at home, to realize how forgetful and blind had I been! – “Didn´t you remember about the golden rule when walking into a Parisian restaurant??” – he exclaimed amused. Of course, I had forgotten …

Some time ago, i bought a book about “Edible Adventures in Paris” by Clotilde Dusoulier wherein she has a brief chapter about dining tips: “In France, a restaurant is not perceived as a public place so much as the extension of the chef´s or owner´s home (…) Diners are seen as paying guests rather than just customers (…) Waiters feel proprietorial about the restaurant they work in, and want to be sure their value is recognized and appreciated ” (p. 6).  How could i not remember that the very American “the customer is always right“, simply does not fit there.

I don´t like the attitude that because i´m paying i have the right to impose my will. Neither do i like to be massaged or seduced into eating or buying things, yet i do also feel that as a hostess I would love my guests to feel most welcomed and appreciated. Human interaction is always a challenge and like a carefully choreographed dance, it takes a misstep to derail the whole thing. So the next time that i travel to Paris, I´ll keep in the back of my head Dusoulier´s tip. Yet it takes two to tango, so while I´ll walk in as a very respectful paying guest, I´ll be hoping for signs of appreciation at my being there.

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