Parlez vous francais?, Paris
Learn to speak some French. If nothing else learn: 'Pardon, Monsieur. Je ne parle pas français. Parlez-vous anglais?' Which means, 'Excuse me sir. I don't speak French. Do you speak English?' You will be suprised how much English is spoken, especially by the 30-and-under crowd. However, in some areas of Paris, some people do not speak English enough to be comfortable with it and refuse to even try. A good phrase book is essiential, as well as a good sense of humor. I've been told that I'm a multilingual nodder for my ability to nod my head in several different languages. Pointing works well, too. But just try to speak their language and the natives will at least be responsive.
Please make an effort to learn some French and be polite even if some bus drivers are rude. If you are Canadian sew a small flag on your pack and if you are American don't steal ours. You are slime for doing so!
Take candian flag pins from Heritage Canada and give them to nice people when warranted.
Don't think, because we are americans that French people are willing to speak in English or we are superior to them. It's a culture so different from ours. Enjoy de differences with an open mind and everybody will treat you with friendly respect .
If you try to speak french in France to someone who knows English, they will automatically start speaking English with you, so that THEY could practice THEIR English! I got frustrated, since i wanted to improve my French. Just be accepting of this fact, and whatever happens, speak French back (if you want)...it's the only way to learn!
Try to speak the French language. Most people were very friendly when we began speaking and they helped with the rest. Careful of their gestures like the sniffing of a girl's hair, still don't know what it means but I'm sure not so positive. Also, watch out on the Metro for pick pockets especially little kids in groups they try to create a panick and go through your coats and pants. We did not lose anything but sent a scare into the kids.
Wonder what the special is here?
A cafe / brassierie south of Place Pigalle on rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle
Being fluent or speaking some french doesn't make most of them treat you any nicer, especially waiters.
They say frenci people do not talk some other language.. but especially young people are very firendly in that matter...
When in France or anywhere else try to bring a book for translating. Just butcher their language with a smile and they will appreciate it more than if you try to ram english down their throats.
The French are very proud of their language. Even though you don't know French, try. If not more, then just few words.
And always smile!