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The world's most visited city this year is not Paris. Paris would like to be number one, since tourism is a huge contributor to the French economy. So the City of Lights is taking on its problem with urgency.
The Parisian Chamber of Commerce has started a campaign on the Web and in printed pamphlets called "Do you speak tourist?" And it's targeted at taxi drivers, shopkeepers and restaurant and hotel workers. It offers suggestions on how to conduct polite conversation with foreigners.
It's also chock-full of advice on what certain nationalities prefer. It claims that Brits like to be called by their first names, Brazilians like Wi-Fi and the Japanese wait until they are back home to make criticisms. These are all national stereotypes, of course. But I wonder how most people would characterize the French? Maybe as being a bit rude or stand-offish, right? And that's exactly why Paris had to institute this “get friendly” program in the first place.