Before my visit to Italy I learned a smattering of common Italian expressions. Same with Spanish before my trip to Spain. That coupled with leaning on Google Translate came in handy held me in good stead.
Will that suffice for France? I am told from that the French are more insistent that you speak their language. I hear that in some places the assistance you get is a function of how much you try to embrace their language. Is that true? Should I invest in more than a cursory learning.
Pimsleur's French lessons are pretty good but pricey!