Getting around Paris and France

Old Sep 15th, 2011, 09:08 AM
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I have always heard Levis the jeans pronounced in French in the same way as kerouac explains the rue de Lévis is pronounced.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 09:15 AM
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I use old french (Quebecois)

We have an island off of Quebec City called Levis...layvee.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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There are very few rules in French referencing the pronouncing of a final ¨s¨. It´s similar to the h aspiré - memorization is the only reliable way (and there are those of us who lack reliable memories).
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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RidgeRose, You are now on your way to a wonderful trip. Take nwtravelers suggestion about learning a few phrases. I found that even if you just attempt the language people are more than happy to help you with the rest. Sometimes it may be a bit of a guessing game but we only encountered one rude waiter in our 10 days in Paris. Heck, my sister was attempting to ask for three spoons to share a dessert. She asked in Spanish instead of French by accident. Everyone got a laugh including the waiter.

Kerouac - My sister was pickpocketed on our first visit to the Metro in the first hour we were in Paris. However, we did not find Paris scary. I think there is petty theft in every big city. As a side note, I love your posts and pictures. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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RidgeRose,

Coming late to the thread but here's something if you are still looking for a second hotel. Early on in the thread, I think it was Christina who mentioned the Hotel Delambre. I don't know the hotel, but we stayed in an apartment on that street recently. Great neighborhood. On that street there is a wonderful patisserie (for all your baked goods), a fromagerie (cheese shop), a wine shop and a small Italian deli (all of the people there are very friendly, we spoke mostly French with them but they all speak just fine English, you would have no problem communicating. Also a laundromat. Just around the corner is a street chock full of creperie restaurants, several of which are quite well known and well reviewed. There are lots of cafes, the metro is at the end of the block and there's a bank where you can get euros from your bank account. Everything within a block or so (also a pharmacy in case of any emergency needs). The cafes go well into the night. At the other end of the block and around the corner are a couple of other well known cafes (La Coupole and Le Dome) where the writers from the 20's (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein) all hung out. So you might check out the hotel (Christina said the prices were in your budget ballpark). We loved our stay there. Anyway, just my 2 cents. But you have such wonderful advice from all the "veterans" here. Have a great trip.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 03:14 PM
  #106  
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I, too, am sooo glad I posted to Fodor's! I have never been so well taken care of--Thank you all!! I had to go back to the community work all day today and half of tomorrow, but managed to do some shopping--bought TWO money belts--one for passports and one for reserve money. I intend to modify both pouches by putting two black loops on each and make it so my belt passes through the loops, leaving the pouch to hang inside my pants right where the outside pockets are. It may appear that I have something in my pocket, but they'll never be able to get to anything. And I know I would notice someone fishing for my pouch inside my slacks!! I live in Maine, and we always greet store personnel whenever entering or leaving a store, so I'm sure it will be natural to do so while in France. My French is going to sound horrible, but I will absolutely commit at least those eight phrases to memory--or have them at my fingertips so I can refresh my memory. And I'm going to make a list of the types of foods we most commonly eat so we can recognize them. I'm definitely not at all scared by all the advice. It's common sense whenever traveling, even to Maine! I'll keep checking back just in case there's more info--you all are amazing!! Merci Beaucoup!!!!
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 03:30 PM
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The (English chain) W. H. Smith bookstore, on the rue de Rivoli near the Hôtel Le Meurice, is an excellent source for travel guides. I bought a laminated central-area métro guide that we used a lot.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 03:52 PM
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One more phrase you should learn, and will use every day, is "Je voudrais ..." (zhay voodray) which is "I would like ..." so that you can order food. Obviously the blank you fill in is whatever you want to eat, drink, etc.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 05:50 PM
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Um, zhay voodray would actually be "J'ai voudrai" and isn;t really French. Je Voudrais is "I would like" but the first word is pronounced zh with a half an e at the end.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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On language: the only way to really learn a fairly accurate pronunciation is to try and repeat after a native speaker.

Fortunately, there's a slim brochure with an accompanying disc for you to listen and repeat. It is not at all intimidating.

Look for "In-flight French" put out by Living Language.

Just don't wait until you're in the air to use this disc and booklet! If you can find it locally, start using it immediately.

It'll give you basics of the language. We used the one for Hungarian - but that didn't prevent us from getting lost and driving around in circles (I put that down to lack of road signs )
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 07:33 PM
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Check out www.travlang.com for audio of basic conversational French online, if you have time. Also, the BBC website has good audio language stuff for beginners.

Zhay voodray is way off base. Follow nytraveler's advice.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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A few more thoughts:

1) make copies of all your documents - passports, credit cards, state driver's license, etc.

Keep one copy at home or give to a trusted relative for safekeeping.

Take another copy with you. If you are carrying your passport, then give the copy to your husband to carry and vice versa.

This way, if any of these documents is lost or stolen, you will be able to react quickly...like notify your CC company.

2)Do travel light. It is NOT necessary to carry a lot of things, like a Swiss Army knife (I don't know how many of my male relatives I've had to persuade NOT to carry this item with them - or the Leatherman tool). If you do take anything sharp like that, it means you have to check your bag - which is a pain. You can always buy a souped-up version of the Swiss knife in Europe and check in your luggage on the return flight.

Europe has everything that you could possibly want and need, just like at home, even toothpaste, kleenex, shampoo, picnic knife, - which reminds me, I like to carry a set of plastic knife, fork, spoon - the packets that come with the airline meal is ideal -

What I do carry are cotton swabs (somehow my ears tend to attract a lot of European dust) and toothpicks - both of which have multiple uses.

3) Wear your heaviest clothes on board the plane - your hiking boots, your massive winter coat, etc.

4) If you think you are going to be buying a lot of stuff, then pack a duffel bag in your suitcase. you can put your dirty laundry in the duffel bag (and check that through if necessary) and CARRY ON BOARD your purchases in your roller bag. Always keep your most expensive items and your purchases with you on the return flight, if at all possible.

5) I always type up my itinerary with columns for date, flight information, city, hotel - if I'm travelling with friends or family, we each have a copy and so, even if we get separated and can't reach one another, we can always rendezvous at the next hotel. I also give a copy to my family at home so that they know where I'm going to be and don't worry as much if they don't hear from me.

6)BTW, I use Skype a lot and can talk to friends and family from Europe for a very cheap rate.

http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/pay-monthly/

I usually get the "Unlimited World Plan" for only $13.99 a month. You can check and see what's the best plan for you...and you'll need a computer with you to get the best value from the Skype account.

If you are going to use internet cafes, you can still purchase a Skype monthly plan, and access Skype by signing into your Skype account from the internet cafe, but you don't have privacy for your conversations.

For a more expensive Skype account, you can get Skype to hook up with your mobile phone:

http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/feat...s-and-mobiles/


Sorry for being so disorganized, but a lot of things I do so automatically that it's hard to remember them in sequence for a first-time traveler.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 09:27 AM
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I would get the basic list of french phrases (and minimize those that require you to answer back in french ) and memorize the pronunication.

"Je voudrais" is not a bad one to know, and yes, it is not pronounced 'Zhay' but more "juh".

Bonjour
Bonsoir
merci
Au revoir
Excuse moi
Toilettes
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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An alternative to "les toilettes" (lay Twa-let) is "le WC" (Luh Vay say). But you'll see the signs, I'm sure.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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Actually, Patrick, since "toilettes" is plural, so is "WC" so it is "les WC" -- lay vay say.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 10:06 AM
  #116  
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I found that it was also helpful to know "c'est tout" as the shopkeepers will often ask at the register if, "that's all."

"Avez vous. . .", meaning "Do you have any. . ." is a nice way to at least begin the question in French. The natives seem to appreciate at least a modicum of effort.

My favorite little phrasebook is the one by Lonely Planet, which seems to have the most accurate pronunciation prompts.

But I fear that kerouac's observation could be true. While everyone has been so wonderful to RidgeRose, her poor eyes may be starting to cross with confusion again from the information overload.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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That would be doubluh vay say
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Instead of giving what can only be approximations of French pronunciation, barring the use of the phonetic alphabet, why not send the reader to http://www.forvo.com/word/fantastique/ for a correct pronunciation, which BTW, is <i>vécé</i> for WC, leaving out the word <i>double</i>?
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Cool site, Michael. Thanks for that.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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So Kerouac, am I wrong in asking directions for la toilette? That's my new thing to learn today, I guess.
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