Bonjour! Comment ça va?
When I first went to France, I knew the bare minimum of the French language. I knew enough to get by without offending the locals and could say a few things that my husband couldn’t understand. Popular opinion is that the French are rude but I really found the opposite to be true. Every person my husband and I met were incredibly helpful, polite and understanding.
Though one morning while enjoying our croissants and café crème for breakfast at a nearby café, an Australian woman, of all people, enlightened us about what the French really think about us English speaking folk. At first she seemed lovely, until she began criticising our fashion sense of wearing thongs (a shoe- we’re Aussie’s) in September and how generally French people (particularly Parisians) do not like to speak any language other than French. Which is fair enough; why should a local native speaking French citizen have to speak another language to accommodate foreigners?
Generally speaking, in world class cities like Paris, most people speak English. But common courtesies such as using manners in French can go a long way such as; s’il vous plaît, merci, bonjour, au revoir, and pardon.
I went to France prepared. I knew how to say a few things that were important such as using manners and how to order unthé au lait (tea with milk). I love my tea! I took with me my Lonely Planet French Phrasebook which I carried with me literally everywhere. But before I went, I listened to the DK Hugo Complete French: Complete CD language course which is Learn French in Three Months and the French Advanced set of CD’s and Books. I used the French in Three Months CD’s which were amazing but I ran out of time to complete the Advanced French CD’s.
If you want to learn French the easy way, grab a guide book and listen to some French CD’s on your way to work in the mornings. I listened to them in the car while dropping my kids off at school and they learned with me! It was great!
Au revoir et bonne chance!
French Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Phrasebook) (Take with you to France)