Hi is true that we have to communicate in French instead of English? | Paris - LikeALocal Guide

Hi is true that we have to communicate in French instead of English?

By Traveller August 2, 2018

Hi is true that we have to communicate in French instead of English?

(7 answers)
By Nur Traveller August 2, 2018

Hello we will be travelling to Paris, however has some worries that we are not fluent in French. We worry that we may offend the locals for not being able to communicate with them in their language should we require some helps in directions or when we are ordering our food. Please advise what are the things that pisses of the locals when the tourist are visiting Paris? So that we could avoid making any. Thank you.

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7 answers

Most of us speak english enough :-)
Bu to speak true avoid the restaurant with english menue... That' s a very bad sign... Tourirstic restaurant are ok, but you might get trapped.
Don't panic : it's very easy to learn enough french to feel ok :-)
Local August 2, 2018
Bonjour Christophe :) Thank you for you advice. I will make a note of it. Cheers
If you spend time worrying about offending you will inevitably screw up, so I recommend doing your best to use the little bit of French you have to ask, Parlez vous anglais? Then they know you are trying but would prefer to speak English! As long as you make attempts to say Merci, Pardon, Excusez-moi, the few words you learn, it softens them to want to help you. It is the loud Americans who just talk louder and louder English to try to shout their way into being understood who give all Americans a bad name. But as long as you don't wear a Trump hat and act the "Ugly American" you should be fine. That said, the French are harder than most on people who don't speak their language, so it is important to break the ice as mentioned above. Bonne Chance!
Local August 9, 2018
Hi Nur,
What you have heard is not right. Most people in Paris speak English or at least try to be helpful.
They get upset though when the foreigners don't greet and just demand things.
For this reason I'd recommend you to practice your "Bonjour" as much as possible. That a sacred word in France, and it will open many doors ;)

"S'il vous plaît" and "Merci" are also very helpful and appreciated by the locals.

Wishing you a great trip!
Local August 2, 2018
Thank you so much for your advice appreciate it, definitely gonna learn some few french words. 😊

The main difference is in the culture. In Paris you can always find a way to communicate in English but very often the people just don’t care about the tourists or the customers... and will easily be offended even if the person is perfectly fluent in French.

I’d say about half of the people are easy to offend (It’s not the language, they just don’t care and are naturally rude) and the other half is composed of very helpful and nice people that will help you even if you don’t speak a word of French.

Just remember that the tip is always included in the price (it’s one of the reason you get poor service from time to time... they don’t even have to try to be nice).

By the way, most restaurants open at 19:00, unless there is a sign outside saying “Service Continu”.
Local August 2, 2018
Hello Stephane, thank you for your advise hopefully i would get to meet the other half composed of helpful and nice people along the way during my trip :)
Hello, Paris is a tourists hub, so people here are familiar with hearing English instead of French. Don't worry about the "offending them" part. However, not everyone speaks fluent English, but communication is always possible. Have a nice stay!
Local August 2, 2018
Thanks Mima for your advise, noted it. Cheers :)
Hello Nur,
as Julien said you might encounter some French people who does not speak English, Parisians could be quite annoying sometimes but if you are showing them that you are trying to speak French then they will be happy to answer back in English. It is always a good strategy to start by apologizing for not speaking Frech, so it will give the parisian you are facing "the power" to help you which will caress his/her ego. If you go straight for English they might answer that they don't speak it... That's Paris, but once you got the trick life will be easier (especially with any waiter/cab driver/service person)...
Local August 2, 2018
Hello Massimo, thank you for the tips. Will try to my best to use the tips given.
no you do not need to speak in French
But French people are sometimes not fluent in English. You might struggle to make yourself understand.
have a good stay in Paris
Local August 2, 2018
Hi Julien, noted thank you for your advise. Appreciate it Cheers :)