Two polite Japanese women, very well dressed, were waiting patiently in front of me to pay in a chic boutique in the centre-ville. The salesgirls were swarming around a French mother and daughter, running back and forth bringing them sizes to try on and suggesting outfits. They had been very helpful to me, too. But I could see they were ignoring the Japanese customers.
After a few minutes, the women walked away from the cash register counter and stood looking at the clerks, trying to get them to pay attention. I was in line behind them, and a blond French woman about 60 came and stood behind me. A clerk rushed over to ring up our purchases. The Japanese women moved back to the front of the line and I made way for them. But the Frenchwoman behind me said loudly, "The line is behind me!" The Japanese women didn't understand-- they didn't speak French. So the Frenchwoman made a peremptory gesture with her hand, pointing at the floor behind her. The Japanese women looked at each other, puzzled and embarrassed. They moved behind the Frenchwoman and I paid. As the sales clerk was wrapping up my item, the Frenchwoman said to me, "Ces chinetoques! Elles sont d'un culot!" [Those Chinks have such a nerve!]
It's the not the first time I've seen shocking racism against East Asians in Paris. It's acceptable somehow for Parisians to express racist views against Asians that they would not permit themselves to say (at least in public) against anyone else.