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  • I got by in Paris with the bare basics and a dictionary. The Parisians do like you to at least make an attempt at the language. I found it was quite a nice way to break the ice. I was relieved to discover that just about everyone in Paris speaks at least a little English. Don't sweat it! Raven Turquoise-Moon over 4 years ago

30 Answers

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    It's a good idea to know a bit of French but they shouldn't treat you any worse than Americans treat visitors to the USA who don't speak English. over 6 years ago

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    I haven't been to Paris but in Colmar I found the non English speaking French to be very understanding of my crude attempts. Sign language worked well and caused much laughter! over 6 years ago

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    It's not truth. Parisians in general are more likely to be proud of French and void English but they do know English and might be that know couple of languages more.

    My personal recommendation after internship in Paris - try to aproach them with Bonjour and some more fluffy French trying to show that you are interested in language - then they would start conversation in English and help. At least that worked for me in all the cases.

    Good luck and welcome. :) over 6 years ago

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    I had taken an 8-week extension French class at the local university a couple years prior to my trip 3 years ago, but I found the folks in Paris were appreciative if you said bonjour, merci and other basic phrases. They know you're not from around there and will pick up the conversation with their much better English.

    I spent a solo week in Paris and didn't have any language issues at all. I also had the ilingo program on my ipod and didn't even go to it.

    Have a wonderful time! over 6 years ago

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    I do think that is more a stereotype than reality. I've never had an issue with my efforts. World Nomads has free language guides in MP3 and for iPhone that can help you beef up on same basic phrases before you go and while you are there:
    http://journals.worldnomads.com/language-guides/ over 6 years ago

    Answered by tunnsey via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    Absolutely untrue. Know a little and they appreciate it. At hotels and restaurants most speak English. Btw. We stayed at the Pullman in Berci and it was outstanding and reasonable. Visit the grand epicurean next to Bon marche for great sampling of everything French. Have a great trip. We just got back and loved it over 6 years ago

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    No! Just learn how to say : Good day, please, thank you and you will find the people to be very nice. If you are standing with your map looking confused, someone will come up to you to help you. If you are friendly to them you will have a great time. Paris is my favorite city in the world. over 6 years ago

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    I've worked and vacationed in Paris and each time enjoyed it immensely. Knowing a few words in French will be helpful but just go and have fun. over 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    My experience in Paris 1year ago was a very friendly one. Show an effort, be polite and learn a few French words. No worries. over 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    I spent 9 months living there...I'm as American as it gets and was only there for my Peruvian wife to finish school, since I promised I'd always take it back. Wonderful place to visit, but please be safe! The Notre Dame/Saint Michel area is very accepting of English and Americans, as that's where all the international students hang out, who usually communicate in English with each other. Outside of that, be careful. If you go to the Cluny, Pigalle, Sacre Cour (spelling may be off on that last one) please keep your head down and be careful!

    Overall, it is doable and not bad at all...my suggestion would be to stay in an American hotel and make friends with the Concierge guy! over 6 years ago

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    No true, at all. Iv'e found if you make an attempt it will be appreciated. Generally, they will reply in English anyway, depending on where you will be. over 6 years ago

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    If you don't speak a work of French may be an issue. If you learn to greet and attempt to speak french (even if you know just 10 words) they will ask you if you speak English and help. If not they shrug shoulders and walk away. over 6 years ago

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    I think only americans who have not traveled think this is true. French people are nice to you if you are nice to them. People are people anywhere you go. I have been in France many times and i have only hadngood experiences with french people. And they like you even more if you show that you want to try and at least say mercy!!!! over 6 years ago

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    The only French you really need to know is parley vous Anglais?
    Always greet with bonjour, etc. And smile.
    That's all I've ever done, and have had 2 wonderful trips to France. over 6 years ago

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    Eh yes it is true & it's not just Paris. However the way to get around it is to know a few phrases in French like 'Where is' as an icebreaker or as suggested above. They don't care if you make a mistake & are talking rubbish like I kept asking in French 'Who is' instead of 'Where is'. They just appreciate you made the effort to speak French & that will stop them in their tracks. Then you can descend in to English, they'll probably guess you're not French anyway by that stage especially if you speak French like me. Otherwise some might walk past & ignore you. At worst one or two might walk away raving at you but since you don't understand French you wont know what the're saying & what insults the're sending in your direction so it doesn't matter anyway. :) However that shouldn't happen if you atleast make an effort to speak one or two small phrases. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Hilary via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    I don't speak French. And go there alot. I've been in situations where I had to deal with ppl who don't speak English but I managed. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Mazin via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    My husband and I were in Paris last June and we had no problem at all. We found that if you at least tried to speak their language they were very accommodating. And by the way, the trip was amazing. we stayed at the Regina hotel and found it to be pretty much in the middle of most of the attractions. We walked most everywhere. Fantastic trip! over 6 years ago

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    I have been there several times with no issues. Respect begets respect. over 6 years ago

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    First of all, there is a big difference between Paris and the rest of France (I'm french btw, living in Sydney), Paris is a busy, big city and people are less likely to be patient, but it's not only towards tourists. Almost everyone in Paris can speak a little bit of English, 90% of French < 40 years old. studied it at school, for at least a few years. In the provincial areas, people are more patient, but probably less prone to speak English... Learn a couple of words, bonjour, merci... and everything will be fine! over 6 years ago

    Answered by Tom via Site_iconTravellr.com
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    It is true, but Americans tend to come across a little rude. We talk so much louder than the French, and our constant yelling is off-putting to them. Be polite, keep the volume down (always!) and suspend your American expectations for customer service, and you'll get along fine. Anyway, Parisians evacuate Paris during the month of August, so you'll have less locals to offend than usual. over 6 years ago

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    Always learn the basics before traveling abroad - it is respectful and that can go a long way. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Bazinga via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    Yes it is but don't take it personally ! almost 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    They don't have problems, but u won't understand, as most French don't bother to,learn english. almost 6 years ago

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    I have been to Paris and know for a lot this is not a stereo type. When we spoke English we were talked to rudely. When we immediately tried Spanish we were treated with respect. We tried out our little French and they liked us. So I can say some French do not like Americans. over 5 years ago

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    Not true! Just learn a few greeting and be pleasant. over 5 years ago

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    True, true, true. I have traveled to many places and the French are the most willfully unhelpful of all. over 5 years ago

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    Just start with "bonjour", continue in english over 5 years ago

    Answered by Ozan/ 32 via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    During the Iraq invasion, when they were changing the name French fries (which the French invented) to "freedom fries" in the U.S., we were in France and found everyone friendly to tourists. over 5 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    Spent 10 days in Paris and found the French to be more formal than Americans but friendly and helpful. The extent of my French is Bonjour and Pardone. over 5 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    I've noticed that people usually treat you the way you treat them. If you treat them with respect you get respect in return. That has been true (for me) in every country I visited. over 4 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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