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It Takes Two to . . .

September 28, 1997

Regarding Kitty Blassey's letter "Rude? Mais Non!" (Aug. 24): In Paris, we were met by the most charming, polite, gracious and accommodating of peoples.

Why was our encounter with the Parisiennes, as was Ms. Blassey's experience elsewhere in France, devoid of the rudeness that countless others have been said to have encountered?

For me, I allowed the following to be my guide: Avoid at all costs "Do you speak English?" as the first words out of my mouth. Although by no stretch am I fluent in French, my first words with someone were always in French, as halting and laughable as it was. And you know what? My attempt was not met by sneers or snickers but with gracious accommodation. The conversation would then proceed as far as it could go in French, and when that avenue was exhausted, the other person would convert to English, many times as halting as my French, but always with a smile.

So, please, everyone, allow yourselves to thoroughly enjoy your visit to France by taking some time to learn a few words and phrases.

HELEN MARINO

Palm Desert

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