Cannot speak French

Old Mar 19th, 2002, 08:22 PM
Posts: n/a
Cannot speak French

Taking Eurostar with British Shrinkers from London to Paris in April. If anyone on this board has taken this same trip could you PLEASE let me know if the guide stays with you the entire time you are there; how long is the bus tour; if you cannot speak any French at all how do you manage to get from one typical tourist site to another (walk, taxi, etc)? Also, how are you able to order lunch, wine, purchase gifts, etc? I am trying to learn a few vital words in French before we leave so we won't be completely stranded. Any comments or suggestions would be very greatly appreciated or am I getting nervous for nothing!!
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 04:03 AM
Posts: n/a
I, too, learned a few key phrases before visiting Paris. You will find, however, that you can usually find someone who speaks English. My recommendation would be to attempt their language first, though. You'll have no me. English is a pretty universal language and most Europeans speak at least a little of it.
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 04:27 AM
Posts: n/a
don't worry.
Europeans are much better about knowing English than English speakers in general are at knowing other languages.
In Paris especially most people speak good English,especially those in service positions like waiters, shop assistants, etc.
By all means it is nice to be able to say Bonjour Madame or Merci Monsieur, but with "hello", "goodby", "please" and "thank you" and perhaps
"where are the toilets" you will be fine. YOu will not be "stranded" on Mars, but in wonderful Paris.
Elsewhere on this Fodor's website there is a section for learning key phrases in several languages (with sound) and there are other websites as well.
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 10:05 AM
Posts: n/a
don't panic!

Paris receives more foreign tourists each year than any other city in the world, they're used to it! You'll find many restaurants speak english and have menus translated into english, german, italian and even japanese.

To get from site to site, it depends where you're going. You can hail taxis in the street, or the Metro underground system is very good (with ticket machines that translate into english).

Just learn your french p's and q's and you'll be fine.
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 12:02 PM
Posts: n/a
1. Don't worry. 2. Yes, learn a few vital words. Also, if you can get a couple of travelers' language tapes, you can get a feel for what the words sound like.

Yes, lots of French speak English. But also consider how little (it's shameful, really) we speak sometimes when we take a cab ride, buy something, etc.

You hail the cab, get in, say "Bon jour," and the name of the place you want to get to, let's say, "Musee d'Orsay." The fare should appear on the meter when you get there. That's probably no more than you'd say in a cab in the U.S.

Same with ordering in a restaurant. "Bon jour." The waiter will ask you if you want something to drink ("boire"), what you want to eat for the various courses, probably in English, but even if it's in French, you can figure out what he's saying anyway - he's not going to ask you to order dessert first! If you can't pronounce what you want to eat, you can just point to it. Consider buying a "Menumaster." They are tiny books that contain just food/eating words, very helpful in a restaurant.

And hand gestures can be very communicative!

Old Mar 20th, 2002, 12:32 PM
Posts: n/a
Many of the menus are in English. I have family members who search for only those restaurants that advertise English is spoken. That is an option, but I would highly recommend purchasing a pocket menu guide to help you better understand what you are ordering. Learn a few phrases of French and the French will show you how much English they actually speak.
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 04:49 PM
Posts: n/a
Unless it is one of the popular monuments, Paris cab drivers will want the address. If you cannot pronounce it correctly, write it on a slip of paper.
Old Mar 20th, 2002, 05:05 PM
Posts: n/a
Scaltreto: If you are UNWILLING to speak French, you have a problem. People will resist you and make you feel inferior and uncomfortable. If you TRY, the experience will be quite different - people will switch to English or talk simply so you can understand.

You seem almost panicky about whether the guide will stick with you or not - geez, it's just a trip to Europe! So what could be the worst-case scenario? You are abandoned by the guide and left to your own devices? OH!!! MY!!!Are you really this insecure? I guess that's why you're taking a tour, huh? Believe me, you could get anywhere in Europe from wherever this tour company deposited you, to a hotel room, provided you had jotted down the name of the hotel, the address, and the room number. You're REALLY over-reacting!!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:04 PM.