Natalie Portman Relieved to Move From Too Cool Paris to Los Angeles, Where People Actually Smile
Unlike The Hills‘ LC, Natalie Portman was the girl who did go to Paris. Unfortunately, the social behavior she found in the famed French city, which Portman moved to with her husband Benjamin Millepied in 2011, was a bit of a culture shock for the Academy Award-winning actress.
On Thursday (August 25), the A Tale of Love and Darkness director appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where she admitted that she’s relieved to be back in sunny, smiley Los Angeles after living abroad in the City of Light and Aloofness for two years.
“Everyone smiles a lot here,” Portman said when Kimmel asked her about the difference between living in Paris and L.A., skillfully avoiding any mention of the word “rude,” which has become something of an unfair stereotype for the city. “I mean, it’s so nice. They’re more… they’re very, you know, cool in France…”
When asked by the talk show host if that sense of “coolness” bummed her out, she told him that she’d gotten used to it after living there for a while, and didn’t realize how different it was until moving back Stateside.
“I didn’t realize that I got used to it until I got here and I was so surprised when like, you get in an elevator and someone starts a conversation [with you],” she added, laughing. “You’re like, ‘They’re so nice!’ Or someone would smile at my child and I’d be like, ‘What a good person!…People are really lovely here.”
“Why do you think that is? Is it just a cultural thing? Or is there some kind of sadness? Is it considered rude to be friendly to others in Paris?” Kimmel asked the actress, joking, “Based on my experiences it does seem that yes, that is the case.”
“There’s a lot of rules of politeness and codes of behavior that you have to follow,” she revealed. “I feel it’s a lot looser here…”
“A friend of mine taught me that when you go in some place you have to say ‘bonjour’ before you say anything else — hello! — then you have to wait two seconds before you say something else,” Portman shared. “So if you go into a store you can’t be like, ‘Do you have this in another size?’ or they’ll think you’re super rude and then they’ll be rude to you…”
“It’s like talking to Siri in a way,” Kimmel quipped.
Watch their exchange below:
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