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Trip to Paris at the end of March

Hi I´m planning a trip to Paris for the second last weekend of March. I have absoluetely no french however only english and german. Do most french understand english? Also whats the public transport like?

Posted by
32 posts

Paris is the most visited city in the world, so many of the people you will encounter will speak basic English, and the metro is very good. If you see online the Paris Pass selling you all the things you might need, it is overpriced, you do not need this, for museums yes a Museum Pass, for the metro, a Navigo Easy is the cheapest and simplest option http://www.navigo.fr/easy/#easy-anglais to buy once you are in Paris https://www.ratp.fr/sites/default/files/inline-files/mode_emploi_t_0.pdf

Posted by
8223 posts

People whose job it is to sell things to tourists will have some English. We have been in rural areas of France and Italy where not a soul spoke a word of English. Where we stay now in the 13th many shop keepers do not have any English as they don't deal with tourists very much. It is fun to master enough French to buy the meat for dinner from the butcher and get the morning bread etc.

At minimum learn the handful of politeness phrases -- you need to be able to greet people when entering a shop and say goodbye when you leave, you need to be able to say please and thank you and excuse me at least -- from there you can pantomime what you. need.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
Polite words as simple as Hello and good bye. When you enter a shop, not a big department store, greet the operator even if you don't see them immediately.

'If you please', in French isn't that hard, even for me. Every request, even if in English could be ended with, si'l vous plait, If you please.

'Do you speak English' is also not the most difficult phrase to stumble around asking. And when they hear your attempt, they will break into English to stop you from murdering their language further. But they appreciate the effort.

We have spent months in France with our limited ability to communicate in French. We have been treated so well and politely, it is amazing. So learn a few polite words/phrases and you will be fine.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
11294 posts

"Also whats the public transport like? "

It's great. You should look at a guidebook like Rick Steves Paris - he explains it all, in much more detail than anyone can here in a forum post.

Posted by
8 posts

Do you have a smartphone? Google Translate works well. You can use it to read signs and menus. Or type in what you want to say/ask and show the translation to someone.

Posted by
6670 posts

Paris by Train has lots of info about the Metro and RER systems. The Metro is easy to use and very efficient. Buses are slower but give you the chance to see the city as you travel through it.

As noted above, people in the tourist industry will probably speak enough English to meet your needs. But invest in a phrasebook and some time to learn the basic phrases. Keep in mind the importance of greeting people ("Bonjour Monsieur/ Madame") before starting a conversation -- the only "rude Frenchman" experiences I've had were when I forgot to do this.