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How hard to spend time in Alesia/Paris w/o knowing French?

How hard to spend time in Alesia/Paris w/o knowing French?

Feb 15th, 2015, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
I've found it handy to remember that French is quite a bit like English just mispronounced. Of course that doesn't help me much.

The difficulty is pronouncing it in a way that a French person can listen without laughing too hard.
LSky is offline  
Feb 15th, 2015, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,146
My 2-yr high school French (from 60 years ago), spoken with a distinct southern American drawl, gets me absolutely nowhere in France. As soon as I try to speak some French, the conversation immediately switches into English. However, it does come in handy to be able to read a bit of French.
crckwc1 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2015, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,670
Hi msnyc,

I'm excited for you and your upcoming adventure!

Just one funny little note:

When buying stuff and holding up fingers, remember that the thumb is "1," the thumb and first finger are "2," the thumb and first two fingers are "3," etc.

Whenever I forget that and try to speak the local language, the vendor is confused --

Have a great time!

swandav2000 is online now  
Feb 16th, 2015, 08:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 6
I just wanted to thank everyone for their very encouraging input! If all goes well here this week with some business ventures I will indeed be booking for a month in Alesia. I can always dust off my CD's from 10 years ago or just do some online work to brush up on some more French. I'll have my ipad and wifi which is all I need to work but mostly looking for quiet and relaxing, beautiful streets, great food, relaxing on a cobblestone street with a book and a bottle of wine or cappucino, listening to conversations ina a beaitiful languae I don't understand, even jut sitting on the balcony looking at the amazing architecture. I grew up in (well 2-6yo) outside of Amsetrdam so that entire asthetic is much more ''home" to me than the crowded, bustling concrete jungles of Manhattan. Who knows maybe I'll just immerse myself in the language and move there
msnyc is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 08:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 6
A quick follow-up question; how careful do you have to be with madame vs madamoiselle? Will my head get bitten off if I get it wrong one way or the other (I've actually gotten my head bitten off here by calling a 'Miss' a 'Madam' and a 'Madam' a 'Miss') or will the act of courtesy just be appreciated for what it is?
msnyc is offline  
Feb 16th, 2015, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,628
Use madame when in doubt, it is not exclusively used to address married women--really any woman from 30s onward or anyone in authority, a young doctor, for example.

I use mademoiselle when someone is obviously quite young.

This is interesting but only addresses some written correspondence:

Cathinjoetown is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 428
Cappuccino is best ordered at your hometown Starbucks, or better yet, in Italy. In Paris, order "cafe creme" - a cappuccino is just a lot of tasteless foam that costs double or triple the price of a cafe creme. Makes the waiter very happy, but you won't be.

You won't find too many cobblestone streets in Alesia, since there is a lot of modern renovation going on here - new gas and water lines, etc. There are plenty of interesting buildings all over the place, though. Don't be afraid to just start wandering - and make sure you have a decent map that lists all the streets in the city.
manouche is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 02:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
The parts of the Alesia neighborhood I have been in have not been remotely, not remotely quaint. Pleasant but not quaint. There are areas nearby that are, like Butte-aux-Cailles. Parc Montsouris is a nice place to spend the afternoon. But you will have plenty of time to explore.
Ackislander is offline  

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