France was the most prickly. As you know, France would be great if it wasn't for the French.
As least do as the locals do. Drink to excess. You'll forget about your troubles. Europe does liquor like no other place. German and Austrian beers. French and Italian wines. It was amazing.
In general, the tourism industry as a whole has lost its charm. It's no longer about going out of your way trying to get a tourist to want to come back for another visit, it's about trying to separate the tourist from as much of their money as possible. I think the industry has discovered that most people can only afford to take one or two vacations a year, and with so many exotic destinations becomming far more accessible than 20 years ago, tourism agencies have begun to realize the chances of a foreigner visiting the same place a third or fourth time in their lifetime was becomming more and more rare. Those agencies lost the desire to work for repeat business, because it didn't matter how pleasant they were, the tourists wouldn't make a repeat visit.
Also, most major tourist detinations are pretty stagnant. Sure, exhibits change and a new museum or attraction may get built, but if you've been to Buckingham Palace, it's the same today than it was 20-30-40-50 years ago. That's where theme parks have an edge, and why I think we see theme park chains going out of their way to make sure guests enjoy their stay. Those businesses thrive on repeat visits to grow, and are constantly needed to make additionas and improvements not only to stay ahead of the competition, but just to give more reasons for prior guests to come back again.
We were in Prague, Sweden, and Denmark over the past winter, and while we never ran into a situation where we felt that we weren't welcome, we never came across a situation where we felt that someone was going over the top to get us to come back.
I've decided that friendly, disingenuous service is almost always more appreciated than rude, authentic service.
Now, like I said, this guy was the exception. I honestly do beleive that when you go to a foreign country at least try to learn some handy local language phrases. You will be surprised, especially by the French, how much they appreciate it. The French love their language and have a real pride in their culture and will respect you for at least making an attempt.
Good friend who is Louisiana French (I live in New Orleans) who spent half his life in the rural areas of Auvergne, once told me "Mike, don't feel bad - Parisians hate us TOO".