Bienvenu a Paris (Welcome to Paris): La Vie en Rose, Part 16

by | May 11, 2014 | Example, God's Hands, Kindness, La Vie en Rose

I had heard numerous rumours that Parisians can be rude to American tourists. What we experienced however, was completely the opposite. It was our experience that Parisians are courteous and friendly beyond one’s imagination, and unlike the abundant tourists, they are always willing to help. Anything from answering questions, to giving directions, to explaining the history of certain places, to restaurant recommendations!

When we approached the Eiffel tower it was cordoned by police officers. In such a situation at home, police officers wouldn’t give you the time of day, but when I asked one of them what was going on, he gently responded that a lady had decided to go for a walk on the wild side.

Several times we needed directions, and every time we got help from a smiling Parisian.

While heading towards the Louvre, an old lady walking by noticed that we were somewhat lost. She stopped in her tracks and approached us with a huge smile, asking us if she could help us somehow. How merciful and caring!

I have to admit that we made an effort to communicate with them in French. Trying to speak the local language instead of expecting them to speak English really helps! I believe that rudeness springs forth from other people when we think only about ourselves and our needs, and require others to adopt our culture. It’s not an attractive way to make friends!

“But,” you may say, “you guys speak French! What if you don’t speak the language?”

It’s true that we speak French. But we found this to be the case in every country we visited. If we greeted the people in their own language, which is easy enough to do with all the travel guides that are readily available, our experience was that they did everything in their power to help us understand! But if we approached them in English, without even trying to speak their language, we generally got the cold shoulder.

This reminds me of a text in Romans: “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” (Rom 9:18 NIV) No wonder! If we are rude towards God, how can He truly help us?

“Vous devez m’aider, espèce d’abruti! (You have to help me, moron!)”

“I am sorry, I don’t understand you.”

“Vous n’essayez même pas de me comprendre! Escroc ! (You don’t even try to understand me ! Crook!)”

“I am sorry. I prefer to concentrate on more positive matters.”

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil 4:8 NIV)

How are we treating others around us?

Rob Chaffart

(To view the entire “La Vie en Rose” devotional series, please click here.)


Bienvenu a Paris (Welcome to Paris): La Vie en Rose, Part 16