“Ugly Americans” and First Impressions of Paris


Quick First Impressions…

  • Paris is so much bigger than I expected
  • People walk really fast
  • Cars park wherever they want on the road and sidewalk
  • Sirens everywhere… “wee-wooo, wee-wooo!”
  • They are heavily advertising for the Minion movie. You can’t walk through the metro without seeing Les Minions posters. I wonder why it’s so popular?
  • The pigeons are fat (Think about all the breadcrumbs!)
  • There aren’t squirrels?
  • People actually walk around eating baguettes


Loud, arrogant, fat. This is the impression that most French people have of Americans. The second time I went to the Eiffel Tower it was the 4th of July. No fireworks or family barbeques going on here. However, a group of girls (who were obviously from the United States) lit sparklers and cheered loudly when the sparkle lights came on at the Eiffel Tower. I was almost embarrassed by how loud and obnoxious they were being. I’m just as guilty as they are.

I found myself wondering:

I’m an American. I can’t learn the language. I can’t dress like them. I speak too loud. I expect too much. So why try?

I believe this is why Americans are stereotyped in such a negative way. It would be too easy to take that attitude and reject the culture differences. Adapting is going to be hard but I think I will have a better experience if I try. That’s all. Just try.

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