Chinese Tourists to Be Barred from Chic Parisian Hotel?

A French fashion designer and aspiring hotelier is backtracking after appearing to claim that Chinese weren't welcome at his new establishment.

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Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images

Tourists taking photographs in front the Eiffel Tower, Paris

The boutique Zadig Hotel, scheduled to open in 2014, will be a cozy, 40-room establishment on Paris’ chic Left Bank. But it won’t be open to just everyone:  its owner Thierry Gillier told Women’s Wear Daily in an interview that caused a stir last week that certain kinds of guests would not be allowed:

“We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris – many people are looking for quiet hotels with a certain privacy.”

The founder of the high-end fashion label Zadig et Voltaire later urged the trade journal to change “Chinese tourists” to “busloads of tourists,” the French daily Liberation reported, although a screengrab of the original article is available here. An unidentified company spokesperson told the French daily that M. Gillier had not been misquoted, but misinterpreted. “Chinese are only an example, but this applies to tourists of all nationalities.”

Zadig et Voltaire operates a store in Hong Kong. Chinese tourists spent $47 billion on their bank cards abroad last year, the Financial Times reported, two-thirds more than a year earlier. The average Chinese tourist in France spends roughly $1,900 on shopping, by far more than any other tourists, according to Le Figaro — which also noted that the number of Chinese tourists to France are expected to rise from 900,000 last year to 4-5 million by 2015.

So far, the story has not attracted much attention among Chinese micro-bloggers, but for those netizens who have noticed, the statement hits a raw nerve. According to a popular urban legend, a sign reading “No dogs and Chinese allowed” hung at the entrance to the Huangpu Park in Shanghai when the city was a European entrepôt — a symbol of Western arrogance so reviled that Bruce Lee kung-fu kicked it into pieces in the 1972 classic Fists of Fury.

The story also hints at an undercurrent of unease among European labels over China’s surging buying power, albeit one caked in layers of xenophobia. Abe Sauer, writing at BrandChannel, notes that while Chinese buyers are practically driving the luxury goods market singlehandedly, some fashion houses see them as brand-diluting parvenus who should be dissuaded from conspicuously consuming their goods. And while the hordes of Chinese tourists that annually descend on Europe rarely cause resentment, they are often greeted with no small amount of bemusement and consternation; read Evan Osnos’ terrific account of his experiences on a Chinese package tour for more on this.

But the roots of French concerns over rowdy Chinese visitors go deeper: In the 1974 French comedy Les Chinois a Paris, Chinese Communist Red Guards invade France and set up their headquarters in Paris’ most famous department store, the Galeries Lafayette

Gillier should have watched the movie: after a brief occupation, the Chinese occupiers retreat as they despair over the country’s decadence and debauchery.

31 comments
DongShao007
DongShao007

I am from Shanghai and have visited Paris couple of times. My first trip was pretty good but in second visit I get some of the ridiculous experiences. I really don't know why? ? It was comparatively not a good treatment at restaurants, hotel services, theaters etc. I have written my raveling experience at, http://www.joguru.com/paris-france

SimonArnal
SimonArnal

It's amazing to see that chinese people are now representing the 1st category of tourist in Thailand and the 2nd one in Australia. Concerning France, studies have showed that they go there for luxury goods. You can read also a good analysis on this blog http://marketingtochina.com/chinese-tourists/ Have nice reading.

scottishguy
scottishguy

@JRboy BULL! I've been to Paris at least 10 times and each time I've encountered very few rude people. In fact, the first time I arrived in Paris I got the biggest shock I've ever had. I assumed they'd all be bad manered, loud, in a temper, all those French stereotypes the media portray the Parisians as. They turned out to be very well manered, warm, friendly and smiley. And, I'd say that was the majority of them. It was nice of them to speak English, as after all it isn't their language and French is the language of France. Perhaps they didn't like your attitude and chose to pretend they didn't speak English. I find that quite funny ;-)  On the subject though, I've seen the way Chinese people treat service people. There's a class of Chinese people who find it normal to go on vacation and scream and shout at people like they do at home. Unfortunately for them, European Countries tend to be more civilized.

JRboy
JRboy

France is the rudest nation in Europe, agreed unanimously by all EU countries, and incapable to speak any foreign language. When I was in Paris, I was banging my head against a brick wall by trying speaking English. Not to mention the Cashiers and Restaurant servants whom are stupid, arrogant and monolingual. It was a nightmare ! French = Euro-Rubbish.

Mingtb
Mingtb

"Political correctness" does not allow you to make negative comments about the behavior of blacks, Chinese, women, muslims, poor people, Obama, or stupid people even if the comments are true, especially if the comments are true.

Do not criticize the negative behavior of Chinese.

Rama Ratnam
Rama Ratnam

The article states that the sign "No dogs and Chinese allowed" is a "popular urban legend". Be that as it may, a similar sign in India is not a legend. The British did have signs posted in India (in gymkhanas etc) stating "Dogs and Indians are not allowed". I am inclined to believe that Europeans had similar signs posted in China. Historically they reserved equal contempt for both. Apparently some Europeans still do.

DenisNL
DenisNL

Oh come on. I wish the author and most of you commenting would use just a tiny bit of common sense here. This hotelier is clearly a snob but I doubt if there was anything racist intended at all. On another day he might have said 'bus load of Americans' or 'bus load of Japanese'. I would be very, very surprised if M. Gillier had a specific problem with Chinese people, which is more than I can say for a lot of you commenting here. He doesn't want massive groups of - as he sees it - uncultured, camera wielding, package tourists who come to Paris just so they can brag about it back home. He wants frequent flying food lovers who speak at least a little French, claim to understand art and lend the place a touch of 'class'. His problem is snobby disdain for people who travel in groups on buses, not racism. The Chinese are just this year's most visible annoying package tourists. The Japanese, Americans, Koreans, Germans and French (!) have all had their turn. You would be silly to call racism on anyone dissing Japanese tourists 10 years ago, and you're missing the point just as much as the author is to see this remark as a shot at 'the Chinese'. Not misquoted, just misinterpreted. 

itdoesnotmatter
itdoesnotmatter

I hate to say it, but I don't blame this hotel.

Chinese tourists in groups are loud loud loud, taking over any space they occupy with noise and chaotic activity. They will push through queues, rudely knocking aside anyone who steps in their way, grabbing what they want if in a store. I've observed it in Europe and New York City, and also know from personal experience. 

In a French department store, a Chinese woman tourist snatched a designer handbag I was holding [with intention to purchase] right out of my hands. There were no others of that style left, so she grabbed mine. Very childlike.

Bottom line: if I walked into the lobby of this posh hotel, paying top dollar for a private, peaceful, quiet accommodation, and saw the lobby full of Chinese tourists, I would cancel my room and ask for a refund.

guestofaguest2012
guestofaguest2012

One more thing, just youtube anti Japan protests. Most of the violence is in mainland china. The government is completely inept, deflects the public's attention and emotionally manipulates them. Just watch footage of street goons overturning Japanese cars. There's even one where they physically bash someone's head while the cops look on. These racist riots are your examples of a fascist regime brainwashing idle poor and uneducated youth. The communist party must disintegrate. Everything Mao stood for has been crushed under greedy party members in capitalist power grabs.

guestofaguest2012
guestofaguest2012

Survey by consulting firm asks business school students around the world, whether they are interested in taking Ethics class. Students from almost all countries expressed interest, eXcept PRC.

Another separate survey asking what college students what their goals are. Many wanted to contribute to their communities or become a doctor, mainly to help people. Most answers from PRC, "making money".

Normally this answer wouldn't faze me one bit, but if anyone has worked in mainland China, they are not known for honest business practices. Not racist because even if you ask a mainland Chinese Taiwanese hongkongnese who have owned businesses and regularly work there they can confirm this is true. So with their high emphasis on money making as a life goal, and with corrupt environments that let companies get away with counterfeit salt , oil, medicine, seafood crabs, what WoN't they do for an extra renminbi?

guestofaguest2012
guestofaguest2012

ChineseAmerican here, agreeing with you, though I hope you can distinguish between mainland Chinese, the corrupt ones with food scandals and who'd rather hoard LV bags than help out their fellow human beings, and Hong Kong/American Chinese, who are more mannered.

As for blacklisting France, good luck with that. There are too many FOBs begging shoppers to buy LV bags FoR them, because these classless MainLand tourists buy too many bags and short out the supply. Now stores have to set a limit. Money can't buy class.

Brian Lau
Brian Lau

Let's not blow this out of context here. Statements like these by Zadig et Volatire are offensive for the simple fact that they are RACIST. 

biologixco
biologixco

The Chinese act like spoiled brats and worse. They seem to be rude, brash and uncultured. Being loud and obnoxious, they need to learn some manners and understand Westerners have different customs that don't include spitting big loogies like the ones you slip on in the streets of Beijing and Shanghai.

rory2012
rory2012

Time for Chinese tourists blacklist France and French produces. Be a man goes where you are welcomed and spend your hard earned money with dignity.

superduperawesome
superduperawesome

I know it's racist, but just from my experience and hate to generalize as everyone is different, but they do often tend to get loud as a group and I actually kind of understand where this is coming from (no offense).

Lastrova
Lastrova

That would be an American response.  Haute cuisine and the hospitality industry in France don't bother with that bagatelle.  

Gay_Chevara
Gay_Chevara

{Makes mental note in time for next trip to Europe}

Lastrova
Lastrova

Racist or realistic?  I have lived in China and, in many ways, it is still a peasant culture.  Many of these tourists are nouvelle riche.  They have no business putting their sticky and uncouth fingers anywhere near a sophisticated hotel or restaurant.

Ashea Dely
Ashea Dely

they are not racist, fact is that chinese do not understand bon ton

JaejeB
JaejeB

Generalizing much?  I live in an area frequented by Chinese tourists, went to an esteemed Western university with a large population of foreign students from China and newly-minted Chinese immigrants, and, finally, I live in a tidy, calm apartment building that's almost entirely Chinese and first-generation Chinese-Americans, and I'm absolutely sure I've seen more Westerners spit in the street — not that that ever wounded me.  And who's the "rude" one here?

Kieran Colfer
Kieran Colfer

"The Chinese act like spoiled brats and worse. They seem to be rude, brash and uncultured. Being loud and obnoxious, they need to learn some manners " - replace "Chinese" with "American" there and it can be equally applicable in some circumstances...  As for rude and obnoxious, ever go into a restaurant in Paris and try to get some service? 

rory2012
rory2012

 Chinese only have their nine years free education across the country most recently.But I don't understand is the so-called civilized West with their education well ahead of time to China,they produce a lot of loud mouth brat and hooligans.

Lastrova
Lastrova

France and Paris will be the better for it.

Gay_Chevara
Gay_Chevara

Just for the record, I am English.  And just to add something else to the mix, I have found certain Parisians to be highly rude and arrogant.

Lastrova
Lastrova

Many ugly Americans should be barred from some of these French establishments as well, no argument there.  Money seems to open doors that would be better off shut.

Lastrova
Lastrova

Education in itself does not make a person cultured and urbane.  That takes a particular upbringing and a particular cultural context, neither of which comes from living in the vast majority of China--where I have lived and worked.  Many tourists act like hooligans, not only the Chinese, but vast crowds of tourists accentuate this problem.  And that is what China brings to Paris.

Mary M. Stover
Mary M. Stover

They seem to be rude, brash and uncultured. Being loud and obnoxious, ..KingofProfits2012.webs.com

Mary M. Stover
Mary M. Stover

@biologixco:disqus They seem to be rude, brash and uncultured. Being loud and obnoxious, Marcus said I am amazed that people able to make $6257 in a few weeks on the network. have you look this(Click on menu Home)..KingofProfits2012.webs.com

Gloria Morey
Gloria Morey

Unlike the "cultured" Americans doing Wheelies on their Harleys in the streets of Paris on an early Sunday morning when I was there?

Mike P
Mike P

"lived and worked"  you lie like a rug, a-hole