I'm not speaking of contexts in which I should appropriately use 'tu' or 'vous', I'm actually referring to the actual shock of it all.
Is it the equivalent (in english, for example) of saying "Hey bro! What's up, man?" to a complete stranger in America?
I could understand some people getting confused, but maybe not insulted.
I suppose my question is:
Does French culture perceive such an informal address as an insult? And if so, how grave is that insult? Is it the equivalent of being cussed out by a complete stranger in english?
I understand that there might be some leeway given to tourists, since they're still grasping the language, but I thought just as a point of culture I want to know how people actually react to the formal/informal addressing.