Can I Visit France Without Knowing French?

Yes, you should. Language is not a barrier for travelling anymore. In Paris it is quite easy to run into English speakers who are willing to help you out. It is advisable to start the conversation with a “Bonjour, vous parlez anglais?

Paris can be a little overrated sometimes but it still is an absolutely fantastic city. Take time to go on long walks, thats the best way to enjoy the city. Avoid metros unless its absolutely necessary. If you enjoy art, Paris has one of the best collection of museums in the world; the diversity is breathtaking.

Musee d’orsay is my personal favourite but you can also find some smaller ones in every neighbourhood on different subjects and from different eras. Hit the artisanal bakeries for breakfasts. Avoid cafes on the street corners, they are usually pricey.

Take a walk by the seine or better yet have a picnic by the seine, its one of the most parisian thing to do.

If you are travelling alone and looking for company, try to find local international events from Stay with Locals and Make Travel Friends or Facebook where you can meet locals who can speak in English. Couchsurfing is my go to website when I travel and now I have friends all over the world.

Talk to the locals about stuff to do based on your interests. Paris has a lot more to offer than the famous touristic spots and the cliches.

Do I need to learn some French if I want to visit France next summer?

Yes. If you want to enjoy your time here, you need to know the basics:

– Bonjour. [Bonn-joor] Means hello, but it’s basically the one word you’ll need to start any interaction with a French person. If it’s the only French you know, and you switch to English right after that, then at least you will have started well and people will like you for it.

– Merci, au revoir. [Mare-see, ore-vwar] Thank you, goodbye. When finishing an interaction, for instance.

– Pardon. [stressed on the second syllable] Means Sorry. When you bump into someone, or when you want to interrupt someone to ask for help.

– Oui, non [wee, no (nasal o, that sound does not exist in English)] for yes/no.

… and finally:
– Désolé, je ne parle pas français [Day-zaw-lay, jer ner paarl pah frarn-say] = Sorry, I don’t speak French.
– Parlez-vous anglais [Paarlay voo arn-glay], do you speek English.