Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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French Travel PlannerNot Speaking French

If you are worried about traveling in France but not being able to speak French, don't. The language of tourism is English. When I first traveled in France, I spoke limited French and was able to get around and sightsee. Yes, it makes things easier speaking the language but in my opinion you are still going to have a great time even if you don't speak French. Most French that work in the tourism industry speak very good English.

In Paris, to be honest, you don not need to speak French to get around. All the museums and other tourist attractions will have either guided tours or written guides in English. Where you might have more of a language problem is in the countryside. But even there you still will be able to get around and have a great time. Most B & B owners will have a limited English vocabulary, enough for them to understand that you want a room.

What can make your stay more enjoyable is to try and speak what little French you might know. Try to meet the people you interact with in France half way. If you show someone you are trying to speak their language then they might become more willing to speak yours. Lastly, when you do speak English speak slowly, clearly and with as little slang as possible. Try to make your sentences short and to the point.

Suggested Reading:
Words in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse

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