How to Get Along in France

How to Get Along in France

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Photo By Guy MOLL via

So much of what Americans think about the French is just wrong.   The French have so much to be proud of including architecture, history, the landscape, their wine, and their beautiful language.   They think Americans are arrogant, self absorbed, and act superior – and then the last straw, we butcher their language.  

When 83 million tourists come to France every year, you can understand their impatience.   You are lucky to be in France – act like it.   Learn how to get along in France.  It will make your visit/stay so much more pleasant!

To be truthful, I was hesitant about visiting.   But here’s what I found.   Unless you speak perfect French, apologetically approach the locals with your translation book in hand, say “Bon-jour, Par-don?” and point to the word you want and gesture “What?”  They will pronounce it for you and then you try to pronounce it correctly.   If you try to get it right, you have come a long way to making a new friend.    Unless you are in a hotel that expects English speaking guests, do not assume that everyone speaks English or that they want to.   This is France – speak French!  

This is very much like “This is America – speak English!”  

Tell us about your experiences with the French.  What have you learned? 


Cheryl and her husband have just recently retired and live in the Pacific Northwest. She has been enjoying her herself by traveling around the world, playing with her grandchildren, and she frequently volunteers in her community. There is certainly never a dull moment with Cheryl. She cheerfully co-founded RetireBook and wants to share her energy, hoping that it inspires her readers to live life at its fullest.