Overall, I have found Parisians to be friendly rather than rude in every encounter we have had. This is on a par with past trips. Just to say it again, I find that whether its the service in the shops, my daughter’s teachers, my daughter’s classmates, city hall, or people in the subway, the French are always extremely welcoming.
I think it has to do with a few things. First, I speak French. I am not fluent, but my French is sufficiently strong that I can converse completely in French about most things – details of my daughter’s ballet class (my daughter is a beginner, what classes do you have that she could take, does she need to have ballet shoes for the first class?), the apartment (a piece of the handheld shower is broken, I don’t think it needs a plumber just a replacement part to hold the shower head), more complex shopping (I want to buy this one but it didn’t have a price tag, so I brought up a similar one so you could see the price). Second, we don’t live in an area with many tourists, so vendors aren’t at their wits end answering questions. I see tourists interrupting constantly with questions that often which have nothing to do with the vendor (where is the metro, how do I get to x?). It is one thing to ask for directions, another to interrupt a vendor trying to serve a customer and to automatically assume they speak english. I can well imagine that gets annoying. Finally, I follow politeness protocol. There is a certain back and forth level of politeness that is required. For example, greeting vendors with a bonjour. I think that if you step out of that (for example by ignoring their initial pleasant greeting) you are going to get the same back. On the other hand, if you enter a shop with a friendly bonjour, it gets the interaction off to a positive start.
True, no one has as yet befriended us to the extent of inviting us over for dinner. And no one came to our Halloween party. However, our downstairs neighbors did volunteer that we should drop by if we have any questions. Someone at rowing gave us a ride home. Also at rowing someone suggested organizing a conversation exchange between our two children. In the modern world, everyone has busy lives. I know that back home, when someone new moves in on the block no one (any longer) rushes over to welcome and befriend them. On that note, I wonder how the renters in our house in California are doing? I know that it is the season when oranges are ripe on our tree!