PARIS – What does an American expect from Paris? What's the best way of making an Italian feel welcome?
Paris' Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Regional Tourism Council have teamed up to produce a guide for hotel owners, restaurateurs and shopkeepers in the hopes that it will help shake off the city's reputation for snobbishness.
Here are some excerpts from "Do You Speak Touriste?" — a guide to the cultural habits of some of Paris' most frequent visitors:
AMERICANS: spend the largest portion of their budget on lodging and like to eat dinner at 6 p.m. An American "doesn't hesitate to introduce himself by his first name." They especially enjoy the beauty of Paris lit up at night.
CHINESE: appreciate personalized suggestions about where to go for the best shopping — which is what they spend most of their money on while in Paris. A smile and a hello in Chinese goes a long way.
SPANISH: travel mostly with their families and generally eat dinner quite late, so warn them about opening and closing times. They often come by car and are interested in free events.
FRENCH: don't want to be treated like tourists and often eat foreign cuisine while in Paris. They spend on average the least of the 11 nationalities surveyed.
ITALIANS: can be impatient tourists, but a little attention to their children goes a long way.
JAPANESE: expect comfort and cleanliness, but are unlikely to complain while abroad. However, they will pass on their criticisms once home.