HOME > Chowhound > France >


Tourist Hate


Why is it there is all the hate of tourists on this site?

For those that live in Paris do you realize that you live in one of the most visited cities in the world?

I was born and raised in San Francisco, another city that tourists like to visit. I worked downtown everyday of my working life. When I saw tourists on the street I loved it. If I saw them puzzled over where to go looking at their map I would always stop and try to help.

When I am in your city I am obviously a tourist. I don't where flip-flops and try to at least present myself in a respectful manor. I do not speak the language, as I do not have an affinity for them. I do know the basic greetings and am polite.

The last time in your city was for my 65th birthday and had a fab lunch at Le Cinq. That’s what I call service. I and my wife are usually able to wade through the menus and eat well. We mostly go to places in the neighborhood we are staying in.

I will be in your city starting on Friday bringing 2 nieces and sister in law and wife for 10 days as a graduation present for the nieces.

I hope we won't make you all angry.

  1. "I do know the basic greetings and am polite."

    On the contrary, we do like tourists that know the basic greetings and are polite.


    1. Why do you actively imagine that others don't like you ? I don't even know who you are.

      1. I'm not sure we hate tourists in general, rather as Mangeur said, we have problems with those who are rude and loud and disturb the calm of a meal.
        Just today, I, who have been reprimanded for calling out fellow pesky Yankees and fellow pesky Parisians, was really put out when it became impossible to hear anyone in our foursome due to the shouting of visitors from Asia at the Restaurant A.T. (now part of the problem is their lack of sound-baffling, but....)
        I agree with Rio about basic greetings - I'm so conditioned that in the US I greet cashiers in Whole Foods with "Good afternoon," "thank you" and "goodbye."
        As Karl in Casablanca said "You will get along beautiful."

        1 Reply
        1. re: John Talbott

          Many irritating habits of tourists can be chalked up to Cultural differences, "To each their own".

        2. I have visited Paris three times (and will soon be visiting other parts of France for a few weeks), and I don't recall experiencing any "hate" because I was a tourist. I do recall a couple of instances in which a Parisian seemed impatient with me because I was not familiar with what I was trying to do at the moment and could not speak French well, but I can imagine the same thing happening to a tourist in New York. I think Parisians are similar to New Yorkers in this way--New York and Paris are both busy cities, and although the locals appreciate the tourism, the ones who are not directly involved in the tourist industry can't be bothered with some inept tourist slowing down his daily routine. I can understand this. People can't always be expected to cheerfully make allowances for tourists when they're on their way to work or whatever.

          San Francisco may be different.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LorenzoGA

            I think Fred, the OP, is saying those of us who post frequently here and/or live here are tourist-intolerant not that Parisians are.

            1. re: John Talbott

              It is certainly how I was made to feel over the past few months. I've taken a look at myself and have made some changes. ......................

              1. re: John Talbott

                Hmm. His posts begins:

                "Why is it there is all the hate of tourists on this site?

                For those that live in Paris do you realize that you live in one of the most visited cities in the world?"

                So I figured he was talking about Parisians on this site. I'm confused.

            2. If the regular posters truly hated tourists, they would not be so generous with their restaurant advice to anyone who asks.

              1. I wouldn't call it 'hate'. Paris gets more posts and responses than any foreign city on this site. There are tons of information available and just about every topics have addressed on this forum, sometimes ad nauseam. What irritate some of the local posters are either a post too vague (ie, what is the best such and such without any qualification) or a topic has been discuss thousands of time and no one whats to repeat it again or someone who ask for but never bother to ever report back what they've experienced . It is against this laziness to search and to think that bothers many. This site is a 'forum' not a one to one personal discussion. Many expect responses specifically directed to them as if their posts are somehow uniqued.

                37 Replies
                1. re: PBSF

                  "What irritate some of the local posters are either a post too vague (ie, what is the best such and such without any qualification) or a topic has been discuss thousands of time and no one whats to repeat it again or someone who ask for but never bother to ever report back what they've experienced."

                  That's certainly true, and I think it's common to Chowhound in general (not just the France board). And while the expectation that greenhorns do their homework can be intimidating for some, it's not at all unreasonable.

                  But what I think the OP is talking about is more the sort of casual digs at tourists (in general, and American tourists in particular) that can certainly look, to tourists, like hostility. And while I think they are directed at a certain *type* of tourists, at tourists whose behavior is boorish or oblivious or both, rather than at tourists (or Americans) in general, that distinction is not always made clear at the time.

                  I find those digs mildly off-putting, but for me they're outweighed by the vast amount of information available on this forum, and by the generosity and helpfulness of the regulars toward anyone who is prepared to put some thought into what they ask.

                  1. re: TVHilton

                    "But what I think the OP is talking about is more the sort of casual digs at tourists (in general, and American tourists in particular) that can certainly look, to tourists, like hostility. And while I think they are directed at a certain *type* of tourists, at tourists whose behavior is boorish or oblivious or both, rather than at tourists (or Americans) in general, that distinction is not always made clear at the time."

                    Exactly. There was a poster here recently who asked lots of educated questions about the restaurants loved/commonly mentioned on this board. And all was going well until she mentioned that she had gotten a reservation at Bistro Paul Bert and thus might cancel her reservation at Spring. She said "don't worry, I'll cancel well over a week in advance :)"

                    What was the response? "Please do other diners a favor and cancel now." (recommended by three other people). The poster did not respond.


                    In what universe other than Chowhound France is it considered rude to cancel a reservation more than a week in advance? None. That response would be off-putting to me. Maybe the poster didn't care and she will still cheerfully report back after her trip (which I think might be in progress). But a lot of new posters get little "digs" from a few of the "regulars" in the course of their questions here, and I think it might be a reason they don't "report back". Not because they're lazy (though some queries here are just take, take, take, I admit that), but because they were treated rudely.

                    This is why I'm a lurker. I really don't care to get caught up in the snottiness/cliquishness that sometimes goes on here, so it's easy to ignore it if I simply don't post and simply read, as if I were reading a dramatic piece. (And until a few weeks ago, I had no way to post because I wasn't registered.)

                    I did contribute a few restaurant opinions (and a book opinion) during my delurking, and actually wrote a report about visiting newer and/or rarely- mentioned on CH places in the 7th in April. Since that report didn't get a single response, I feel comfortable and not guilty at all with going back to lurking and not writing about food-related stuff I've visited on my other previous visits or my next scheduled visit. I'll continue to share those through email/other means with people I actually know.

                    1. re: GetLucky

                      GetLucky, I'm sorry to hear that you are retreating from active participation on this board. I did enjoy the contributions that you previously made. I didn't reply to your feedback on the 7th because it's where I grew up, I know it too well, and (except for Café de Mars which I like a lot) have very different opinions on the places you liked ... but don't feel that I have the right or the need to tarnish your own positive experiences.

                      I have lots of scars from tussles with Ptipois, Parigi et al so I understand what you are saying. But I cannot agree with it....victimitis is not part of my psychology. This is a forum where ideas, good or bad, are exchanged. Sure, sometimes the style used to express views can be a bit, um, austere and censorious and fragile feathers can be ruffled but it just takes a slight shrug to get them back in place again.

                      "Qui se laisse outrager mérite qu'on l'outrage". Corneille. 350 years ago and still applies.

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        Thank you for the kind words and the quote, Parnassien. I will continue to enjoy your posts. (BTW, I agree with your recent comment elsewhere that many of the less well-known restaurants you have mentioned and pop up in search never seem to get visited by other posters because they are not "validated" in the eyes of others/media, which I can imagine would be frustrating. But, then again, maybe they visit but don't post a report!) But I'm generally a lurker in most places and I think that's best here.

                        Forums of all sorts can get the fur flying. I understand what you're saying about letting it go and not letting fragile feathers be ruffled, but I don't actively participate in forums (which I consider entertainment/information gathering) to get irritated with people and exchange back and forth with them in an increasingly hostile manner. I certainly don't mind people not agreeing with my opinions or pointing out different experiences, but sometimes the disagreements I observe here often escalate into passive-aggressive hostility - sometimes lingering hostility that continues into other posts. I was guilty of being snarky myself by entering a debate when I first registered because I was - you guessed it - annoyed.

                        There is too much annoying stuff already going on in my country in real life, I don't need to waste energy on annoyance while pursuing my silly travel and food diversions. ;-) I don't think others always want to either. IMO it shouldn't be required to have a thick skin to post about places where you've eaten in France in hopes of sharing with others and exchanging feedback.

                        But since this has little to do with food, let me end by making a suggestion to Chowhounders (those who regularly post and those who don't). I think what a lot of people are looking for, in addition to high-end/trendy/well-known/undiscovered, is a good, solid cafe - breakfast expresso, lunch plats, simple dinner and drinks - in the neighborhood they're staying in or visiting.

                        If you all would mention your favorites among those - maybe in a new thread - I think it would be helpful, as many people seem to have unhappy, not tasty meals in the cafes which look 'Perfect Paris' appealing. Yet they continue to search for a solid one - no fireworks, necessarily, just good food - in between their splurge meals they often find here on CH.

                        1. re: GetLucky

                          "I think what a lot of people are looking for, in addition to high-end/trendy/well-known/undiscovered, is a good, solid cafe - breakfast expresso, lunch plats, simple dinner and drinks - in the neighborhood they're staying in or visiting."

                          TA covers this every day. As I have understood it, the mission of Chowhound is to ferret out the outstanding. Ordinary is not difficult to source.

                          1. re: mangeur

                            IMO you have that wrong, Mangeur - both on what TA covers - I hope you're not talking about the forums there; and the listings of 12,000 restaurants are not only overwhelming but somewhat suspect. I also disagree with you about the mission of Chowhound - and I did not say ordinary cafes (which is the problem and disappointment), I said good, solid cafe recommendations from CH-ers. Surely you've eaten in a cafe you've enjoyed at some point, or have some regular stops since you visit regularly?

                            But I am not going to argue with you.

                            1. re: GetLucky

                              In the last week alone, I've seen mentions of Bougainville, le Laffitte, Pied au Fouet and Machon d'Henri, all of which conform to the gold standard of good solid trad cafe/ bistro style, in central locations even, produced as personal recs by the supposedly uppity locals.

                              And I'm hardly a diligent daily reader, nor particularly on the look-out for this kind of establishment.

                              1. re: shakti2

                                "I think what a lot of people are looking for, in addition to high-end/trendy/well-known/undiscovered, is a good, solid cafe - breakfast expresso, lunch plats, simple dinner and drinks - in the neighborhood they're staying in or visiting."

                                I was suggesting a list of good, solid, neighborhood cafes. Not bistros (I suppose your last listing might be considered a cafe).

                                1. re: GetLucky

                                  From casual observation, Bougainville and le Laffitte are continuous hours and provide coffee, drinks and sandwiches between formal meal times, along with hot plats at meal times. Isn't this precisely what you're talking about ?

                                  More neighbourhood cafes ? I myself included le Progres and le Rostand in a response a day or two ago, and I know Parn includes the others on rue de Bretagne whenever he does a round-up of this neighbourhood.

                                  And I have to say again - it's hardly like I have anything more than a very casual recall of this stuff. If someone was actually interested, I'm certain they'd dig up a lot more.

                                  1. re: shakti2

                                    "If someone was actually interested, I'm certain they'd dig up a lot more."

                                    No, they wouldn't come up with suggestions easily, really. Not in the search I did. Type in "Cafes" for this board. I suspect that is not an unusual search here. The first set of results includes some threads that are from '13 and '11, then some from 2010, 2008 and 2009 - and many with very few replies.

                                    According to the Lonely Planet site, Le Machon d'Henri is open for lunch and dinner. Not a cafe. Le Lefitte is described as a bistro on its own website, but it does open at 7 am. Au Pied de Fouet? Depends on the location. One (the most commonly listed) is open at lunch and dinner; one is open 24 hours. Le Bougainville? Hard to tell. Some listings such as Le Fooding and Lonely Planet have it open for lunch and dinner only. No website, but google+ has it open in the am as well.

                                    The point is, is there a thread populated with more than a few replies thread discussing favorite cafes? No. Is there a recent thread discussing favorite cafes? No. Perhaps that doesn't bother you; you mention you are not "particularly on the look-out for this kind of establishment." That's fine. I was merely making a suggestion.

                                    1. re: GetLucky

                                      Not to be disagreeable, but I'm not sure what you're saying beyond the CH search function not being very good (which I'd agree with).

                                      Otherwise you are simply making assertions for which point-for-point rebuttal are clearly possible, if someone cares enough to take them on (I've just gotten someone who works nearby to confirm that Bougainville does indeed open early and am still wondering at my own insanity ...)

                                      But why not just start a thread instead of bickering with me, if this is a subject that interests you ?

                                      1. re: shakti2

                                        IMO, you are missing the point. You wrote: "If someone was actually interested, I'm certain they'd dig up a lot more."

                                        If new readers or posters from other CH boards attempt to use the search feature before asking a question, they will get no assistance or years-old assistance in this particular query (and probably others). If they go ahead and ask the question, it is likely to be asked if they have searched. Fair enough, but if you're going to criticize the search function, then you can't criticize people for asking questions if it's not very good, in your opinion.

                                        I am not "bickering with you". I don't know you. (And this sort of comment is why I lurk.)

                                        And I said this about Le Bougainville: "Hard to tell. Some listings such as Le Fooding and Lonely Planet have it open for lunch and dinner only. No website, but google+ has it open in the am as well."

                                        There is nothing to rebut here. I wrote that some well-known listings had it open for lunch and dinner only, and one (google+) had it open in the am. Ergo, "hard to tell". Now that you have confirmation from someone nearby, that's different.





                                        1. re: GetLucky

                                          "(And this sort of comment is why I lurk.)"

                                          And some first-rate lurking that is :D

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            A few years here, and at some point actually went back from the beginning page of this board and clicked on each page and then the posts that interested me, all the way to the present. Took a while. Pretty good memory for what I read, but I find that is true of most lurkers. We like to read. ;-)

                                  2. re: GetLucky

                                    Mein gott, I've even bored myself with all my neighbourhood rundowns and suggestions of cafés for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc in various quartiers that I've contributed to this board. Admittedly, these are sometimes impossible to find because Chowhound's search function is not the best in the world and seems to get very confused by keystrokes from French keyboards. Small example: you gotta do separate searches for cafe, café and breakfast to come up with good results.


                                    And there's a lot more cafés I've mentioned along the way but it's too early in the morning for me to be more generous.

                                    1. re: Parnassien

                                      "Small example: you gotta do separate searches for cafe, café and breakfast to come up with good results."

                                      That's the problem. No one is ever going to find those, Parnassien. Ever. Not when looking for "cafes". A person who searches for "cafes" and gets a number of results (though on examination, not helpful ones) is not always (not ever) going to go back and ALSO search for cafe, café and breakfast, then dig through to find helpful threads, then read everything on those threads. That's not reasonable to ask someone to do that. A cafe is not just for breakfast for a tourist. It probably would have taken you less time to post another thread about cafes than to compile that list.

                                      1. re: GetLucky

                                        I found them. Because I looked for them. But yes, 5 mins of copying and pasting is tiresome.

                                        1. re: Parnassien

                                          You also know better than others where to look. Again, most people simply are not going to look that hard, with three or four different searches, and they shouldn't have to.

                                2. re: GetLucky

                                  For the record, the TA Paris forum has a very well informed and helpful group of regular posters who selflessly answer questions about good, solid and dependable eateries in every arrondisement. Often their recs are coincidental with Chows, but also there are references to very local and less well known or publicized spots which I thought was the thrust of your remarks.

                                  1. re: mangeur

                                    "For the record, the TA Paris forum has a very well informed and helpful group of regular posters who selflessly answer questions about good, solid and dependable eateries in every arrondisement."

                                    That is not the main focus of the TA forums, and in fact, on many food threads, those otherwise well informed posters will say "You can't get a bad meal in Paris" or "Just look at the menu outside; if you like it, go in. It'll be fine." (I lurk there, too, mangeur.) Some of them come right out and say they don't care much about food at all, and one recently said planning meals and reserving before visiting, as one poster from NY or LV was trying to do, was unfathomable and somewhat ridiculous.

                                    Some of the food threads get no real answers at all, which is why someone just a few days ago recently directed some people to Chowhound. (You saw that, right? ;-) ) Which is not unusual for many visitors - many really do not care about food as long as it's decent and inexpensive - but it's not the optimal situation when you do care about food and/or atmosphere/environment and are looking for recs. I would also disagree that "Often their recs are coincidental with Chows". That has not been my observation.

                                    The TA actual reviews cover many places not on Chowhound, but as I said, with 12,000 places it is difficult to narrow down (they've deliberately made it difficult by eliminating some search filters, probably so users will rely on TA rankings or the new The Fork filter).

                                    So no, I don't think it would be out of the ordinary or a downgrade for Chowhound to cover cafes where they have had good experiences in a discussion. And the more, the better, as everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes.

                              2. re: GetLucky

                                The Cafe question is interesting in Paris as it tends to be so casual that the each neighbourhood has a few good local places with a terrace where you can get serviceable salads, a coffee, breakfast, or a beer in the evening. They are so common they are almost unremarkable.

                                The better ones tend to be thought of as good coffee spots (covered on the board) or casual bistro's or restaurants. Maybe this is because in France you tend to eat at more formal hours so if you want lunch you go to a lunch place, dinner to a dinner place etc.

                                My goto place was Le Nemrod near Bon Marche, but like many this was really a mix of bar and restaurant that served coffee and snacks during the day.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  Thank you for your suggestion of Le Nemrod.

                                  "They are so common they are almost unremarkable."

                                  For those of you who are lucky enough to have lived in Paris full-time or part-time, or visit for long periods of time, I would imagine these cafes are unremarkable. For those who don't, I would think many would take a Chowhound's "unremarkable" over innocently walking into a tourist trap-ish site like the Cafe Le Dome (not Le Dome, of course) on the corner of Rue Saint-Dominique and Avenue de la Bourdonnais, which has some rather bad reviews (I wrote worse initially, but changed it because I don't want them coming after me!) http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                                  Some visitors might still choose Cafe Le Dome anyway because they wouldn't research beforehand. But a number of people do try to have some ideas in mind when they are out and about in the city, and would appreciate the guidance to something better.

                              3. re: Parnassien

                                Actually, I rather enjoy the madness of the more feather-ruffling exchanges, rudeness, digressions, freedom from factual accuracy and all, even though rarely a participant.

                                I'd click on the neighbouring Economist icon on my device if I wanted balanced informed reporting.

                                1. re: Parnassien

                                  "I have lots of scars from tussles with Ptipois, Parigi et al"
                                  You'd never know it from your cheery demeanor.

                                2. re: GetLucky

                                  I'm with you. I'm reluctant to post here, and on other sites for many of your reasons, plus a few extra. Indeed, this will most probably be my last, even though I'm a part-time Paris resident/home owner.

                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                    I am also with you Nancy S. and Get Lucky.

                                    Nancy S. you are my pastry goddess for Paris - please don't stop posting! I always loved that you would travel across the city to purchase your fave lemon tart, etc. I do the same thing.

                                    You and a handful of others are why I continue to read Chowhound France. Otherwise, there is not a lot of incentive to post.

                                    1. re: francaise

                                      I'm not sure what payback Nancy and francaise want/ need from posting on this board. If your suggestions/ purpose-driven style are challenged, so what ? There are many who will benefit from your generosity and some who won't. I know we all have a need for affirmation/ validation but just because you run into contrary views is no real reason for not sharing your own particular Paris with others. Especially with so many lurkers.

                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                        Parnassien, I can only speak for myself, but my reluctance to post has nothing to do with wanting any form of payback, or from any specific experience I have had. It has everything to do about the attitude that certain regulars on this board have.

                                        I have only been reading CHF for a couple of years, so I don't know if things have changed for the worse as some have claimed. As an outsider looking in, I do see new posters ignored and treated rudely. There seems to be an inner circle that take sides with each other, and god forbid if you don't agree with them. Frankly, it makes me cringe to read the nasty comments some of the regulars sling. For example, recently a new poster wrote up a trip report that was quite fine. He genuinely asked for some feedback. Two regulars offered up only rude comments on some minor spelling mistakes he made. Fortunately, the ever gracious Mangeur stepped in and gave excellent feedback. When I see this happen time and again, I wonder why anyone bothers to post.

                                        There is always an opportunity and an appropriate time to display clever wit and a sense of humour, but just as there are rules of conduct to observe when dining in Paris, similar rules of conduct should be observed by the regulars on this board.

                                        As a forum, everybody has an opinion to share, and I do agree that conversations that offer differences are informative. I just wish there was more room for everyone, without the attitude. I see many new posters cut down by regulars because they don't share the same opinions, and it seems to be a group effort.

                                        Of course, this is just my opinion.

                                    2. re: Nancy S.

                                      Nancy: I have always enjoyed your posts and your recommendations. I personally and selfishly hope you will continue to post.

                                    3. re: GetLucky

                                      I agree. In many ways, the France Board is NOT welcoming.

                                    4. re: TVHilton

                                      And I will also note, as a longtime lurker, I've noticed that the number of "regulars" providing information on this board has dwindled quite a bit over the past few years. It's actually a very small number now.

                                      There could be a number of reasons for this. I certainly realize that answering the same queries over and over could get exhausting, but I have my suspicions that it goes beyond that. (I doubt it's because they've all moved away.)

                                      Every once in a while someone posts with interesting, new, or helpful info and I'm shocked that that person lives in Paris, as they rarely post. They are often ignored. No "recommendations" from the "regulars" for them! Ha.

                                      1. re: GetLucky

                                        And, thanks to quick work by the moderators here, several particularly nasty exchanges illustrating the point that there is nastiness were appropriately and quickly truncated. One had to do with ATMs .Another with a women with two children suffering from severe food allergies. Another had to do with restaurants that only serve what the chef is serving as opposed to a choice menu. Another had to do with how to avoid tourists by eating cheaper and as well outside the single digit, which quickly disintegrated into a litany of tourists' bad habits and quirks by nation and race. And, there are some others I'm certain will come to mind of daily readers. In each there was much animosity expressed rudely and even crudely in righteous indignation, mostly by "the regulars."

                                        Like several expressed above, these episodes have made me consider putting my time to other interests. As expressed elsewhere instead I decided to try to be a better person myself, and continue to monitor CHF and offer help where knowledge I have can be helpful. The subject, the site, the service performed, and "the regulars" are worth trying for.

                                        But, things always need reevaluation.

                                        1. re: hychka

                                          I'm a semi-regular here. France board regulars, I'm sorry, but while you're helpful, welcoming really is not how I would describe you.

                                          When I actually lived just outside Paris, I tended to not a whole lot of time here, because I felt labeled and shelved as a foolish American expat who was adding uninformed opinions and not being much help to anyone.

                                          I persevered (I'm tenacious, if nothing else) because visitors need to know that Paris doesn't have to be a parade of 100E meals with tons of pomp and circumstance...and that while reservations are better, it IS possible to walk into a restaurant without reservations and be served solid food with good service without taking out a second mortgage. I took a LOT of shit for that (and thoroughly expect at least a truckload more for this)

                                          (eta) There are a lot of ordinary folks who get the chance to make an extraordinary trip to Paris -- but whose food standards don't match the standardized checklist of "rules" that exist on TA (at least people are starting to realize that skinny back jeans, tall boots, and a scarf are not actually a required uniform) There are places for these folks to eat, too -- somewhere between the tourist dreck that frequently shows upon TA and the places that most can only afford to dream of. (Much as I'd love to dine at Le Cinq or Les Cascades, I simply don't have the budget for it)

                                          Judging by the replies to my comments (restaurant crawls, terroir, and similar) and the recommends on some of my posts since, I think I've at least managed to prove that I was not "just another expat" and have at least made it to "tolerated".

                                          By the by -- I'm back to living in Florida, where we're known to have a few tourists. And yes, there are places we actively avoid because of boorish tourist behavior (and there are several guilty nationalities).

                                        2. re: GetLucky

                                          I agree, and I've been on this board longer than all youz: pre-CNet.

                                          Bring back the Howler! Bring back Faijay! And bring back that dude who received gommage from the French state to the extent that only the highest standard fish soup can satisfy him.

                                          1. re: Busk

                                            In looking back, I really liked Moshulu posts and found them informative for me. Can't search for his/her exact posts because the username is too old to be linked.

                                    5. I regularly read other CH locations and this is by far the most informative board on CH. I don't see any hate issues here. Living in a resort environment, I also ask why folks can't use the search function and post their findings after visiting, But they don't here on the Mountain States board, either.

                                      We travel to France once a year and the help from the CH France "regulars" is terrific. Maybe one of the keys to using CH is taking the approach of being a visitor instead of a tourist.

                                      1. Fred - tourists arrive in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they have a range of expectations, experience and interact with Paris in a myriad of different ways.

                                        And because of the volume of tourists you get in Paris you will get the extremes of good and bad tourists. And because of the volume if tourists it means there are a lot, a hell of a lot of both good and bad. So sensitivity to tourists in any major tourist city is natural.

                                        However, there is another level of sensitivity. We all make up a wonderful community of food lovers, we love both the food and importantly respect the people who dedicate themselves to producing great food.

                                        We love food lovers like ourselves who appreciate this, who equally value great food. Those who respect good food by investing time to research and understand it. We love those with the good manners, and good taste to learn the cultural norms that facilitate getting the best out of the experience. And as others have said we are generous with our time to help and support those visitors.

                                        But, and it's a big BUT, part of the mainstream tourist experience in Paris is to "do French food" because France is so gastronomic and it's the home of gastronomy, and the foods do little cafés are so cute in all those fab movies.

                                        So along with the well mannered, well researched food lovers Paris (and this board) gets a good share of the uninformed food tourists, those that want to tick the box and do Paris by eating: the best croissant, best bread, best macaroon, best hot chocolate, best oysters, and eat at the best bistro, best brasserie, best cafe, top (non-starred) restaurant, and outsource the arrangements for their wedding, anniversary or birthday to a bunch of strangers.

                                        So whilst we love fellow food lovers, like yourself, who visit the city we get a little fatigued by the transient visitor who just wants to tick the boxes and not immerse themselves in the city.

                                        PS - as you hail from San Francisco when I visit can you tell me where to get the best Chowder at Fisherman's wharf, in a cute trendy hipster bar that is child friendly for my 6 month old triplets, and can look after my gluten and shellfish allergic husband. I am staying in Oakland what is the best way to walk to the wharf?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          I could not tell you where to go @ fisherman's wharf as I don't go there. I think you are pulling my leg anyway.

                                          1. re: fred42

                                            just for the last paragraph.is he pulling your leg. He is trying to explain what you call "hate" and no one else is sure of.

                                        2. "For those that live in Paris do you realize that you live in one of the most visited cities in the world?"
                                          Believe me, we do. Last week, with no Vélib bikes available at my nearest station and a traffic jam that made taking the bus impractical, I walked down the horrible Champs Elysées from my office near the Arc de Triomphe to meet a friend at Le Napoleone near the Rond Point. I didn't hear a single word of French along the way.

                                          I don't know how to take this thread. Is it just an expression of a certain prickliness and a tendency to personalize absolutely everything ? The fact that some tourists are unbelievably annoying and culturally insensitive doesn't mean that all tourists are horrid. The fact that posters frequently request suggestions for restaurants where locals go doesn't mean that they hate other tourists... they simply want a more parisien experience. The fact that locals (and many visitors) prefer not to frequent restaurants popular with loud tourists doesn't mean that all tourists are reviled... it's simply a statement of cultural differences... imposing one's conversation (in any language) on neighbouring tables is considered the height of disrespect and rudeness.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Parnassien

                                            " imposing one's conversation (in any language) on neighbouring tables is considered the height of disrespect and rudeness."


                                            1. re: mangeur

                                              Back to the OP.
                                              I simply don't see a locals/tourists divide.

                                              First of all, as Parn as pointed out, there have been some skirmishes of disagreement among locals themselves.
                                              When you write to a forum, you are asking for opinions. Guess what ? You get opinions.
                                              Some opinion requests may not be really asking for opinions, but rather requests for therapeutic reinforcement. I understand these just-say-yes-please posters feel dissed. I wish they would give us a hint that "yes" is the only thing they want to hear.

                                              As for obnoxious diner behavior, it is obnoxious whether one is a local or a tourist. Why feel targeted as though O.D.B. were enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights ?
                                              Obnoxious diner behavior may be the mores where you come from, but don't expect others to pat you in the head. (That is the royal you, the editorial you, not the personal ad-hominem you you you. The fact that I have to specify here is pathetic.)

                                              Lastly, I repeat: I myself do not have such a locals/tourists divide. Some non-locals' recommendations are faithfully followed by this local. Laidback, Jock, Sistereurope, DCM, Mangeur, Nancy leap to mind.

                                          2. Fred, I, too, live in San Francisco and, like you, love to stop and help visitors on the street or in buses or in restaurants. And, at the same time, I am one of the most vociferous critics of my countrymen and other visitors to France who have done little cultural homework, those who embarrass me, yes, embarrass me in restaurants and other public places.

                                            Foreign travel requires an investment in learning about the cultures one is visiting, learning how to blend in, how to leave no footprints. Most people get this. Only an intrusive few don't. And those I rail against since they detract from my hard won experiences.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mangeur

                                              another san franciscan here. i help out tourists whenever i can. but when i travel to foreign lands, I, as an American, am annoyed by American tourists. not all of course - because the ones that i notice are the ones who are annoying - loud, obnoxious, becoming irate because they aren't receiving the type of service they believe they deserve. i totally get why people in many countries think we are rude as tourists.

                                            2. You wrote in the France forum, but here's a perspective from Washington, D.C. Sticky ice cream dropped all over the place. Everywhere you look, someone has dropped ice cream. And trash. Huge amounts of trash. They are loud, they cluster at the tops and bottoms of the escalators on the Metro, they cluster right at the entrance and exit gates, they insist on eating and drinking on the Metro (not allowed here) even though there are signs in every car saying no eating/drinking - and then they leave a huge mess of sticky ice cream and trash on the Metro, too. They bring their kids, who are bored and/or too young to enjoy it (and who enjoys being dragged around a city in 90 plus heat and horrible humidity) and not surprisingly, the kids whine and misbehave. They spend most of their time looking at their iphones and walking into things and people because they don't look where they are going.

                                              I used to think it was obnoxious to express disdain for tourists. Now I avoid going downtown in the summer and during the Cherry Blossom festival at all costs because...tourists.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                                In Paris they wash down the streets and collect the trash daily in the heavy traffic arrondissements. The spilled ice cream and other stuff disappears.

                                                Likewise maybe CHF needs a blow off page like this one every little while so that pent up frustration gets vented.

                                              2. I've read this whole thread carefully before thinking it useful to reply something.
                                                At first, I was intending to drop it completely. The OPs initial shriek of pain touched me somehow, and at the same time its patronizing tone sounded lightyears away from anything I could understand or feel empathy for.

                                                It is a pity that so much misunderstanding may be at work. Really.

                                                As Parigi wrote, people come here to ask for information and opinions. And surprise — this is what they get. However, instead of being thankful for getting informed replies, they feel offended and feathers are ruffled while there was no intention of being rude on the other side. So at length some weariness comes in. (and yes, one thing posters here should bear in mind: Americans and French people do not behave in the same manner. Their notions of rudeness do not exactly overlap. And the French do not write on forums the way many Americans do; they are naturally snarkier without meaning any harm, they have a thicker skin and expect others to cope, they don't take or mean everything personally, they trust the other poster as being able to understand and withstand adult speech, etc.)

                                                There is a sort of irony in the fact that some people who are natives of France/Paris or longtime expats with extreme familiarity with the culture are devoting here some of their time to give precious, practical, sometimes professional-level information (time for free that they could charge for, as some of us are freelance writers or food consultants) but sometimes no, that will not do, that is not enough. "We want the information delivered as we expect it to be. And that means: our way, according to our culture and our notions of manners (whether we have them or not, yes "multiple reservers", I mean you) or "Rather than what we could do, we would like to hear that we're doing the right thing, just a pat on the head, however clueless we are." Or —and this one is the most annoying— "We would love to have all our misconceptions confirmed", as was the case with that recent mindboggling ATM affair.

                                                At some point, in that kind of intercultural interaction, a choice may be necessary for the poster. Absorb the information or remain touchy and miss everything. This is why I am increasingly reluctant to share anything here. I am staying here only because of the presence of some "balanced" posters, regulars or occasional.

                                                Sometimes I see a new post by a new poster who is asking a real question, raising a real issue and in real need of a reply (not just asking to sort through a foot-long list because they're too lazy to read old threads, or asking questions and not being satisfied with the answers, or trying to sort their psychological issues, or make demonstrations of purism nobody's interested in, etc.) — then I do want to help, and I do.

                                                Regarding other cases, trying to fill the proverbial Danaides' tub is now for me a thing of the past.

                                                For indeed a lot has been said here about how the "regulars" should behave towards newcomers or querents, but not much about how the latter should behave to "the regulars". As we are, most of us, we do useful work here, and we kindly do it for free. Most of us - even the most apparently irascible, even me - have the patience of an angel, yes, positively. Some of us give lengthy and detailed answers to downright silly queries as they occur sometimes, they repeat the same things over and over again, they try to make things a little clearer, and not infrequently they get snapped at, or proudly belittled, or plainly misunderstood. They too are human beings, not delivery machines.

                                                20 Replies
                                                1. re: Ptipois

                                                  I appreciate reading this perspective and that you took the time to write it, and your thoughts about American/French communication style differences.

                                                  "As Parigi wrote, people come here to ask for information and opinions. And surprise — this is what they get. "

                                                  One unusual thing I've noticed about the France board, as opposed to say, the LA board and the NYC board, is that this has somehow morphed into a primarily "Ask" board (which then has morphed into "Ask the regulars, and sometimes ask for them by name" board). Blame for that morphing can be shared all around (on the regulars, and on posters who have somehow trained themselves or decided through seeing certain names all the time that only certain opinions matter).

                                                  While of course the two other boards I mention have *lots* of questions being asked by visitors (who often note they are from other CH boards), at the same time they also have a churn of posters who contribute by quickly posting their thoughts about a newly opened place. Or an old place they ate the night before and what they thought of it, or a supermarket find, or a food festival (Before someone says "Paris doesn't have food festivals" - it does, and I caught the tail end of one in April - http://www.thepariskitchen.com/super-...).

                                                  I don't see a lot of that here, with the exception of John Talbott summarizing newly visited restaurant finds. To me, that's part of French eating, too. I'm sure someone will tell me it's here and I'm missing it. Perhaps. I don't see it as frequently as I think it should be seen, based on other CH boards.

                                                  It seems like this "Ask" emphasis places an extreme burden what I believe is a dwindling number of "regulars" - but then those regulars don't often seem to be that welcoming to others, as mentioned, who might relieve some of that burden that some of the regulars periodically claim to feel. So, vicious circle.

                                                  And the fact that I can easily name all of the "regulars" on this board (and, indeed, a few of you often namecheck yourselves, amongst yourselves) is also different. I can automatically think of two very frequent posters on the NYC board who graciously jump in for many of the "Ask" questions, and I think one has mini-FAQs prepared for a lot of them to address the issue of questions asked over and over again. I can think of the username of one on the LA board who does the same. The rest of the regulars who contribute to "Ask" by new people are numerous enough that I can't automatically recall their usernames until I see them.

                                                  "As we are, most of us, we do useful work here, and we kindly do it for free. "

                                                  But there are others who could and would do the same and make this a better board - the more contributions, the better - but don't seem to be welcomed and/or don't feel welcomed. The proverbial crux of the matter.

                                                  1. re: GetLucky

                                                    One other thing: Posting a newsier topic for discussion also seems to be less common here, like permanent openings and closings of specific restaurants. For example, someone on the TA forum posted that Le Timbre, a well-regarded restaurant mentioned here and in guidebooks fairly often, is closing for good. (If true, it closes this Saturday).


                                                    Haven't heard a peep about it here, or discussion on if it's true. If there were more participants, more "regulars", chances are someone might have posted it because they would have heard about it.

                                                    Not blaming; just an observation.

                                                    1. re: GetLucky

                                                      "While of course the two other boards I mention have *lots* of questions being asked by visitors (who often note they are from other CH boards), at the same time they also have a churn of posters who contribute by quickly posting their thoughts about a newly opened place. Or an old place they ate the night before and what they thought of it, or a supermarket find, or a food festival (Before someone says "Paris doesn't have food festivals" - it does, and I caught the tail end of one in April - http://www.thepariskitchen.com/super-...).

                                                      I don't see a lot of that here"

                                                      You know, this is a very accurate observation and one that I have made at times without pondering a lot over it. But it is true that the French board seems to function differently from most others. At times it reminds me of a services hall with windows where people walk to and ask, ask, ask, and behind which there are clerks who provide information. It seems to be all about asking and answering. Nothing wrong with that per se but...

                                                      When I am in London I like to read the London board. And there's a definite difference. There is some asking, but a lot of exchanging too.

                                                      I think that has to do with the fact that most of the contributors to the London board are Londoners, or at least people from the UK, not necessarily visitors, and they indulge in familiar restaurant chat, a horizontal conversation rather than a "question-answer" dynamic.

                                                      There isn't a lot of that here because it mostly behaves like a service boards. Sometimes I get the feeling that all we do is feed, feed, feed crumbs to a constantly renewed crowd of koi carps in a Chinese ponds.

                                                      So there's a recurring pattern, with some posters coming with their avid questions, wanting knowledge, and rejecting that knowledge when they get it because it is not the one they were expecting.

                                                      Of course it must be tempting, in these conditions, to label the France board as "unwelcoming" and I can see what causes this impression. But I also think that the "locals" on the board are a small minority, and the natives an even smaller minority. And that somehow there are uncommon expectations and pressure exerted over them, so there is an imbalance in the social interaction here (while the other boards tend to self-organize better and function more on a peer-to-peer basis), and perhaps it is a little easy to blame it on the "kernel" of sarcastic locals, for some "askers" tend to act like it is their divine right to be answered upon their own terms and care little about exploring and exchanging, a chief feature of — for instance — the London board.

                                                      And some local locals (Souphie, yours truly), tend to switch from curt and sarcastic to lavishly helpful with plenty of information, except Parnassien who is always an angel, but believe me that's cultural, that's really a French thing. Even an American who would have lived here for decades would probably not adopt this kind of behavior.

                                                      (About the food festivals in Paris: this is a long story. Yes of course there are some now. But they are a relatively recent trend, there used to be more in the provinces than in the capital. It would be too long to tell the story here but to sum it up, there are many more now than there used to be.)

                                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                                        2 factors that I think contribute heavily to this are that 1)CH is an English language board, limiting who can participate in places like France, Italy, etc. & 2)Paris is a famous big city with lots of tourists coming & going, needing advice.

                                                        1. re: Steve R

                                                          Well, there are French-born (Parnassien, Souphie, Pti, Max) and translators (Parigi, Hesse) and others who speak both better French and English than I.
                                                          But since I'm always looking in the rear view mirror, the French bloggers are pretty much up to speed.

                                                          1. re: Steve R

                                                            "Paris is a famous big city with lots of tourists coming & going, needing advice."

                                                            So is NYC/Manhattan, but they do things differently than the France board. You could also make that case for LA and SF (about tourists), but those boards often seem to have as many or more residents posting as they do tourists.

                                                            1. re: GetLucky

                                                              In 100 words, please expand.
                                                              John (A Manhattan-denizen 1953-1985 with time off for Viet Nam).

                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                Basically the part Ptipois quoted above:

                                                                "While of course the two other boards I mention have *lots* of questions being asked by visitors (who often note they are from other CH boards), at the same time they also have a churn of posters who contribute by quickly posting their thoughts about a newly opened place. Or an old place they ate the night before and what they thought of it, or a supermarket find, or a food festival (Before someone says "Paris doesn't have food festivals" - it does, and I caught the tail end of one in April - http://www.thepariskitchen.com/super-...). "

                                                                The Manhattan board has a ton of tourists and a ton of asking, but it's a different feel on that board. It feels like the pool of contributors is much larger and that the asking/answering is a smaller part, or at least doesn't dominate.

                                                                And let me go over my 100 words and say that the feel of the NYC board is NICER and has a feeling like anybody from anywhere can contribute. NYC isn't known for being warm and snuggly, but the board isn't daunting.

                                                                I read and appreciated Ptipois' explanation about international differences, and I feel much of that is probably valid. I still think there's some rudeness on here that can't be chalked up to nationality differences and is simply individual personalities attempting to dominate. With that rudeness/coldness/cliquishness, I think there will still be some issues here.

                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                  Modification by life in Baltimore provides more variation possibilities

                                                                2. re: GetLucky

                                                                  When the French board is not answering specific questions it is often involved in lively and informative threads about different foods, sourcing, preparation, traditions, food history. The caliber and the wealth of knowledge here is boggling. It is the real reason to stay tuned in.

                                                                  1. re: mangeur

                                                                    Sorry, I don't agree. The fact alone that some CH-er's nonchalantly say they don't "do" cafe food - when good cafe recs are what a whole lot of people are looking for - is a problem IMO. Fine if they don't "do" cafe food, but there should be some other contributors here who do. LA has people who eat at the tippy-top and people who specialize - even take glee in - finding the most hole in the wall places ever. There's no breadth on the France board like there used to be.

                                                                    As as I mentioned earlier, I went back and -over time- read this board from the beginning. It wasn't always this way, so it probably doesn't have to stay this way.

                                                                    1. re: GetLucky

                                                                      "but there should be some other contributors here who do" re cafes. And you lurked for how many years?

                                                                      1. re: wally

                                                                        I don't feel a need to contribute where I'm not welcomed and I see others frequently being treated rudely. There are plenty of other outlets IRL for me to share my suggestions. I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.

                                                                        1. re: GetLucky

                                                                          You are very welcomed here. But nobody is the enemy so it's easier when you don't rush into combat.

                                                                          1. re: Parnassien

                                                                            "You are very welcomed here."

                                                                            Sorry, the evidence proves the contrary.

                                                                            I started a thread about cafes (such a controversial topic! How to find a Paris cafe with good, solid food!) which I didn't even intend to do, I intended to go back to lurking. And look how that turned out. I can't even believe the behavior on that thread. Just can't believe it. I've seen that behavior for quite some time; should have known that if I posted it would hit me eventually.

                                                                            1. re: GetLucky

                                                                              Or accept that you are welcomed by some and … dismissed (but not unwelcomed) by others.

                                                                  2. re: GetLucky

                                                                    Well, actually, I meant that its the confluence of the 2 factors that pretty much impacts things. It means that a smaller # of folks are left to respond to a lot of requests on the France, Italy and similar other places boards due to the language restriction (there are many monolingual food experts in Paris, I'm sure, that don't write (or wish to write) in English or on a predominantly English speaking board). On the non-big city boards in the US, there aren't as many requests, nor as many choices of places & on the big city boards in English speaking areas (NYC, London…) there is more potential for responses & opinions from non-regulars, since English is the common language of all (except maybe a handful of us Brooklynites). NYC is a prime example -- as you know, there are as many "coming in for 3 days, where do I go eat…?" or "what's the best…?" requests there as here, but there are more people responding (yes, I know… Kathryn is an exception…our very own JT). By the way, I don't mean my statement to be a complete analysis, only to add on to ptipois' post.

                                                                    1. re: GetLucky

                                                                      My home Board of Chicago is the same way. Probably 50% of the posts, at least, are from visitors asking largely repetitive questions relating to recommendations for restaurants and other food-related establishments in the areas of the City frequented most often by visitors, although we probably have more of a mix of business, as well as tourist, visitors posting such questions. The regular posters on Chicago sometimes get frustrated by the lack of homework by some posters, although there are a few Chicago regulars who are unfailingly patient and complete in their answers to these questions.

                                                                      The difference, from my perspective, is that there is a kind of clubbiness to the regulars among the France Board (to use the vernacular from my days in High School and date myself, "the in crowd") that just is not apparent on the Chicago Board, or any of the other 5-10 regional boards, both State-side & International, that I regularly read.

                                                                      Just to be clear, I've received terrific advice from the regulars on this Board. But there is definitely an intimidation factor on this Board that I don't see elsewhere on CH.

                                                                      1. re: masha

                                                                        The San Francisco board is just as "clubby" as you put it and their participation is the same: 75% questions from visitors wanting to know what is hot and 25% reviews and arguments over noodle houses. Local color, I guess

                                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                                          I follow SF from time to time, as I get out there often. Sure there are regulars and there is a certain clique-ishness but there is rarely the undercurrent of hostility/ condescension that not infrequently creeps into posts here.

                                                            2. Just saw this in The Huffington Post and thought it might be of interest and also put some things into perspective...
                                                              "It’s not just the French who love their country; the world loves France too. France was the world’s top tourist destination in 2012, with 83 million foreign visitors -- that’s almost 20 million people more than the country’s total population. "

                                                              1. On the one hand, there is a lot of "pesky Yankee tourists" chatter, and it does get old. On the other hand, there is an amazing wealth of knowledge here, and people are more than giving of their time and experience. Just read the recent thread where ShortyEpic was asking for advice seemingly as he walked down every street, and people kept on giving him recommendations. So you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff . . . .

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: bauskern

                                                                  I honestly don't know why that's so hard to do for some people. Whether good natured quipping (which, really, is what some of it is) or otherwise, take what you want & ignore the rest… it's an internet board & they really can't hurt you. Like everything else, it's a pain/gain equation that each of us has to decide for ourselves. I've given up trying to convince folks to stay on CH (or other) boards…that's their call. But there's a lot of value to communication with others about things we care about, even if all of the communication is not "feel good". I thank the folks here on the France board for all the help they gave me with my recent trip & really don't fault them for not being as sweet as those who helped me with past trips on the Italy board :-)

                                                                    1. re: Steve R

                                                                      Agree with you, Steve.

                                                                      In my life, I have "Thank you" and "No, thank you." This applies to what I want to eat, what I will buy, what I am willing to pay for something, whether i want to go someplace, whether I wish to participate in or continue a conversation either in person or on the internet. It's very simple and averts much stress in discussing what I don't want to do.

                                                                    2. re: bauskern

                                                                      ""pesky Yankee tourists" chatter,"
                                                                      Correction; it's pesky FELLOW Yankees, I invented the phrase in response to posters asking where they could eat that was hot, undiscovered by the NYT and where they would hear no English spoken.
                                                                      It was invented as a joke.
                                                                      I am a pesky fellow Yankee.

                                                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                                                        I stand corrected. You should trademark the phrase . . . just think of all the dining possibilities that open up as all the royalties start rolling in.

                                                                        1. re: bauskern

                                                                          buskern: what's your hourly PR rate?

                                                                          1. re: John Talbott

                                                                            Don't worry about my hourly rate. Let's just say lunch -- at the restaurant of your choice. . . .
                                                                            Just pick a place with no pesky fellow Americans!

                                                                            1. re: bauskern

                                                                              You're on. Let's go off piste.

                                                                        2. re: John Talbott

                                                                          John, I agree that you have generally used the phrase with irony. Not everyone who has participated in such threads, however, joins in that sentiment. There is definitely some undercurrent of antipathy and gross generalizations about national types in some of the posts.

                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                            But recently having been in Tuscany for 2 weeks as a total tourist and total pesky Yankee with 11 other family folk from 7 to their ninth decade (me) I'm sure we got some raised eyebrows, although we've taught all to use "restaurant voices, kids" for many years.
                                                                            One thing I realized (Duh) at A.T. yesterday was that with no sound-proofing (forget velvet cushions), a pounding sound-system and a little booze, the best brought up raise their voices until they shove food in or leave.

                                                                      2. While not specifically addressing posters here - I find that most Expat communities tend to be very "anti-tourist" and regularly speak ill of their fellow countrymen (not just American Expats in France).

                                                                        1. I really liked this post, because it's such a worn out conceit of so many bloggers that tourists 'ruin' things. Well how would the tourists know about these places if the bloggers hadn't written about them? And there's a certain past-its-sell-by-date snobbery to the idea that tourists ruin a restaurant. Have tourists ruined Arpege or Astrance or Septime? Of course not. If we're privileged to some degree, we're all tourists at one point or another, and I so I find the knee-jerk dismissal of tourists on this board highfalutin, disingenuous and rather sad.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: andaba

                                                                            "Have tourists ruined Arpege or Astrance or Septime?"

                                                                            In the case of Septime, in fact, they have. The Parisian crowd is a culprit just as well, but Septime is a good example of a formerly excellent restaurant that is now being destroyed by overwhelming success. Whether it makes it through the storm or sinks, it is now in a state of shipwreck.

                                                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                                                              I would add that when Astrance opened, it was a jewel box. it is now something completely different, perhaps just what the chef hoped for, but with much less soul.

                                                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                                                L'Astrance being tiny, and in way of reservations not biting more than it can chew, I'll incriminate Michelin pressure and Pascal Barbot's extreme perfectionism rather than a tourist invasion.

                                                                          2. to try to change directions a little, as I understand the OP and can't defend all the comments on other threads - nor do I feel the need to. . . .

                                                                            but Paris (which is really what we are talking about) is a very unique and complicated aspect of Chowhound. I'll try to keep this coherent and organized but I'm not willing to write, proof, and re-write a post . . . . and I'm making the assumption that many posters have similar feelings as I do (of course a huge assumption, but one that plays out in many posts here)

                                                                            As a tourist (which I am in Paris) I often want "classic French food" - I feel slighted if I leave without a croque monsieur, rillete, a great cheese plate, and some duck. I'll take a cassoulet in the winter too and something with aioli in the summer. Not to mention some great wine. And of course fabulous baguettes.

                                                                            I am not sure tourists to NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, etc have those same expectations of a culturally specific (idealized or not) food experience.

                                                                            But as a local (having friends that live there), I know that Paris has a lot more great food to offer. Like NYC, it is a cultural melting pot that has great food influenced by other cultures - let alone great stand alone food from other cultures. So it isn't all "french food".

                                                                            Also as a local, you get a better idea of the range of "what's good". I can't get rillete of any kind where I live, unless I make it (and I do). You can get rillete everywhere in Paris. Hell, I was even happy with the goose rillete I got at the Mono Prix (grocery store - think Super Target), because I can't get it anywhere at home. Was it the best rillete in Paris? Of course not - but as a tourist I'd take it any day.

                                                                            Not to mention that Paris is fairly spread out. As a tourist (long weekend, etc), you'll mainly be in the 1st - 8th. Which, while a large area, isn't all of Paris and some of the most expensive rent, so not the most conducive to "new/up and coming" food.

                                                                            So trying to balance all of those issues (expectations of french food, limited location, local knowledge) is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

                                                                            I think as tourists we often take the "local's word" as more credible than another tourist's word. I don't think that should be the case. While I may not live in Paris, I have eaten in great restaurants all over the world. So my tourist opinion is not invalid. It is just different. And I could argue, in some cases, will be more in keeping with another tourist's expectations for the reasons I mention above (expectations, location, etc).

                                                                            I need some great closing paragraph to sum this all up - but I don't have one right now . . . .just saying - it's complicated.

                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                            1. re: thimes

                                                                              I get all that, but none of if is an excuse for being mean, snarky, or a jerk. That's the bottom line.

                                                                              ETA: I'm not saying you are any of those things, just to be clear.

                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                No argument there. Just trying to provide some perspective as to why the issue may arise.

                                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                  This is the Internet. Mods will deal with douchbaggery as they see fit.

                                                                                  1. re: Busk

                                                                                    Yes, but only after the fact. And only if it's flagged. And then only in their usual arbitrary and inconsistent way.

                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                      There's also something to be said for the "rough and tumble of the free marketplace of ideas" - - - - I'm not a fan of rude behavior, but to me the level of expertise and experience and advice on this Board far surpasses the occasional snarky comment. It's a cost/benefit analysis. Anyone who feels that the "costs" are too high are free to move on to other forums. No-one is being held hostage here.

                                                                                      1. re: bauskern

                                                                                        Might have miscounted, but I believe 33 chowhounds have commented on this topic. Of these eleven think there is a problem. If you ran a restaurant and surveyed everyone in the place and one third said there is a problem, would you tell that one third, "No-one is being held hostage here"?

                                                                                        1. re: hychka

                                                                                          If I may alter your metaphor, one third of the reviewers disliked their meal in this restaurant staffed by unpaid help.

                                                                                          1. re: mangeur

                                                                                            ....and you could go further, many of the diners are wonderful, but a few are ungrateful or show little respect, and show stretch the staffs good nature....!

                                                                                            I hope I see both sides of this. There are a very small group of resident hounds in the board, complemented by a slightly larger number of regular visitors, and sometimes helped and/or contradicted by irregular visitors (I may be in this category).

                                                                                            This means the load falls on very few shoulders so it's not surprising they get a little testy at times, especially with oft repeated questions, questions where it's obvious the person hasn't done basic research etc etc. These posters are often fairly naive tourists so they sometimes get "the rough end of the pineapple" ( a wonderful Australian expression).

                                                                                            However, many of the "anti tourist" posts are not about fellow hounds, they are posts that reflect the general challenges of living in a city like Paris. Americans tend to be quite noisy so are noticeable in restaurants and so get called out on a food board. If this were a handbag board we would be moaning about the hordes of Chinese and Japanese tourists clogging up Chanel and Vuitton and so on and so forth.

                                                                                            The other difference on the Paris board compared to the tourist cities in the US is the ratio of people who live in the city as a proportion who give advice. I think there maybe 5 or 6 (John, Parn, Pti, Parigi, Rio spring to mind), many of the others (Sunshine, Mangeur, DCM, Jock etc) are regular visitors. As a result the amount of regular banter about new places is minimal as the few locals who are regulars are swamped by the repetitive questions for the same experiences. In other tourist cities the number of locals is greater in proportion to the visitors so more time for restaurant news.

                                                                                            The other thing about the US "tourist cities" is that the posters are US tourists so their knowledge and understanding of local customs is far stronger - so far fewer basic questions or misunderstandings.

                                                                                            1. re: mangeur

                                                                                              While I agree that your metaphor is a fair one, what I don't like is the implicit notion that being unpaid gives the person the right to be uncouth, crude, vulgar, rude, profane, bigoted or disrespectful. If a contributor is burned out, take a time out. As was said above, "No-one is being held hostage here."
                                                                                              If I'm reading the wrong thing into your attitude, please set me straight. I do appreciate the times you have helped me and I hope I have said so before this.

                                                                                          2. re: bauskern

                                                                                            I never threatened to leave. I'd just like to see the moderation be more consistent, if we're going to have moderation.

                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                              As someone who was once a Moderator (at eG-FR when it was hot); shortly after I joined CH I quit for 2 years because the moderators didn't control the situation.
                                                                                              It's a tough balance; allow free discussion/dispute but tamp down nastiness and ad hominem remarks often couched as "I'm just being honest" posts.

                                                                                    2. re: thimes

                                                                                      ...just saying... that I agree. That I spend hours researching restaurants. That I don't follow anyone on the internet, Chow or blog, without vetting and revetting. So, yes, it is difficult or impossible to toss out great addresses to people we don't know. And even worse when you are choosing for yourself.

                                                                                      1. re: thimes

                                                                                        I thought of a non-food tourist/local example that happened on my last trip to Paris.

                                                                                        We were there during the French Open (but don't call it that in France, they have no idea what you are talking about - they call it Roland Garros).

                                                                                        We spent 2 days (we were in Paris for a long time) watching the French Open on the giant screen under the Eiffel Tower. It was awesome. The weather was great. We bought some cheese/butter/baguette/wine at the shops around there and had a great picnic watching the tennis. When we got bored of watching tennis we just had to look up and watch the clouds roll past the Eiffel Tower.

                                                                                        It was a perfect way to spend a big chunk of the day. I wish I could remember the name of the wine shop we frequented, he was lovely and I'd love to give him some business.

                                                                                        On day two, we "made" some locals join us - none of whom had ever been and none of whom "wanted" to go. We all had a fabulous time - and the locals went back to watch the finals there. (One of whom lives 2 blocks away, had never been, and didn't know it happens there.) So it couldn't have been all bad.

                                                                                        Just an example of a "tourist" driven recommendation as opposed to a "local" driven recommendation.

                                                                                        It's a give and take. But a local would have dismissed that recommendation very quickly - or not even been able to make the recommendation. We just have different expectations. . . . .

                                                                                      2. I think everybody have now made their point and this discussion should be closed.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                            I was not calling on the moderators, but on self-control...

                                                                                            1. re: monchique

                                                                                              Ok, but only the mods can "close" a thread (by locking it). I was pointing out, in an attempt to be a little humorous, that some greet your suggestion with contempt and outrage, and a discussion about it generated hundreds of posts and much heated conversation.

                                                                                              1. re: monchique

                                                                                                "I was not calling on the moderators, but on self-control..."
                                                                                                At the risk of self-promoting too much you might be interested in http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                                                            2. re: monchique

                                                                                              Fred: Call me on my private line and we'll have lunch.

                                                                                              PS Just joking, I have no private line, my numbers are published and my patients can call at all hours. But I'm Googleable and serious; we're really not so hateful - just occasionally testy and pesky; but serious about food.

                                                                                            3. It looks like this discussion is continuing to trend in a negative direction, so we're going to close it now.