Meeting French Parisians

Feb 13th, 2002, 01:39 PM
  #1  
Elizabeth
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Meeting French Parisians

My husband and I have been planning our first 12 day tour to Paris, reading about its history from Gallic times to the present, learning about French cultural mores and some basic French travel phrases. To learn more about life in Paris we would like to meet French Parisians who might know enough English to converse with us while having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. How do we do that? We don't know anyone in Paris, nor are we members of any group that might have a corresponding association abroad. Any pen-pal websites, appropriate for people who grew up in the late sixties-early seventies, to start a correspondence in advance? Is it OK to address someone at the next table in the cafe in broken French - and if so what would be appropriate to ask? Should we put up a sign at the cafe table (saying what?) or are we likely to be arrested for "soliciting"? Any ideas would be most welcome!
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 01:41 PM
  #2  
Gee
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Start with "hello" and see where it takes you. If the first people don't respond, try more until someone does.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 01:44 PM
  #3  
xx
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Gee, wouldn't it be a better idea to start with "bon jour"?
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 01:47 PM
  #4  
Gee
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Good point. First time I went to Paris all I knew how to say was "voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce sois." I bet that would have gotten a response.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 01:56 PM
  #5  
bonnie
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Elizabeth: There is wonderful organization called SERVAS which was originally started for teachers and evolved into a worldwide peace and cultural understanding effort. You can inquire about "day hosts" in just about any country in the world which are
locals who will meet you for lunch or a stroll or conversation. Look up their website at http://www.servas-internation.org/. I have met some wonderful people this way in France and Italy.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 07:41 PM
  #6  
John Bermont
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You have a tall wish Elizabeth. Parisians are about as stoic as you'll find in Europe. They mind their own business when they sit at cafes. You might try getting chummy at the American Church (Metro Alma) or at Shakespeare & Co. (left bank near the Seine); these are Anglo-lingo hangouts for expats and someone might be able to help you with your quest.
Some restaurants with elbow to elbow tables provide opportunities to get into conversation with locals. Try the Alsacian near Odeon and the Bistrot de la Gare at Montparnasse; at least you'll get a good meal at a reasonable price. Most Parisians speak American when they want to. Dress well to get attention and respect, i.e. leave your Nikes and Levis home.
John Bermont
www.enjoy-europe.com/cds/france.htm
 
Feb 14th, 2002, 02:35 PM
  #7  
Elizabeth
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Thank you all for your suggestions, in particular the Servas tip, which we are now following up.
 

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