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Clueless American Traveling through France and Italy

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Hello.
I'm a 19yr old american female and I am going to be a Au Pair in Nice, France for the summer. The family also spends 3 weeks of August in Puglia, Italy I believe at Torre Lapillo. I will have nights and weekends off. My concerns are language barriers. I'm attempting to pick up on french but I am not doing very well...do many people know english in France/Italy? Also where should I visit when I have weekends off? I'd really like to visit Paris and the Cinque Terre. I am still trying to understand the train/metro system. I'm concerned about getting around and traveling without knowing much of the language. Any tips?

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