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Questions about travelling in France

Questions about travelling in France

Old Jun 19th 2021, 2:08 pm
  #1  
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Default Questions about travelling in France

Hey all,

A buddy and I want to visit France in April, but we're worried about getting around since we don't speak French, and we're brown guys. It may sound ignorant but given the current world political atmosphere, we're a little worried and want to avoid any and all trouble.

That being said, our main issue is the language barrier. For those who've been to France, how did you find it? Where all did you visit in France and how did you get around? We're thinking of taking public transportation around. Are the drivers/conductors able to communicate in English at all?

I know this sounds very arrogant on my part, given that I'm travelling to a foreign country and don't speak their language. I can say very basic things, like please, thank you, and I don't speak French, in French, but that's about it.

Also, what are your favourite destinations in France outside of Paris?
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Old Jun 19th 2021, 3:23 pm
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

Originally Posted by BarateGites View Post
Hey all,

A buddy and I want to visit France in April, but we're worried about getting around since we don't speak French, and we're brown guys. It may sound ignorant but given the current world political atmosphere, we're a little worried and want to avoid any and all trouble.

That being said, our main issue is the language barrier. For those who've been to France, how did you find it? Where all did you visit in France and how did you get around? We're thinking of taking public transportation around. Are the drivers/conductors able to communicate in English at all?

I know this sounds very arrogant on my part, given that I'm travelling to a foreign country and don't speak their language. I can say very basic things, like please, thank you, and I don't speak French, in French, but that's about it.

Also, what are your favourite destinations in France outside of Paris?
Hi, and welcome to the forum!
Do you mean April 2022?
If your trip is for less than 90 days, then your only issue would be demonstrating that you have enough money for the duration and that you have healthcare coverage. Not being able to communicate in French would be problematic, as speaking English isn't one of the requisites for working in public transportation... But if it's for next April, you've got almost a year to learn the basics....
If your trip is for more than 90 days, then you must get a Visa from the French Consulate.
At the time of writing, only those who are fully vaccinated can come to France from the UK without having to justify a compelling reason. Tourists who aren't fully vaccinated can't come.... Covid regulations can change from one day to the next, so you'd have to check.
Most of France is beautiful and I would simply recommend where not to head for - the industrial areas in the North-East, for example!
HTH
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Old Jun 19th 2021, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

When I came to France initially to work I couldn't speak the language, but like yourself I knew only half a dozen words and a couple of phrases. Luckily I had an English/French phrase book and used it wherever I went (there were no computers or any easy on-line learning tools like today). That phrase-book proved to be an almost life-saver with visits to the dentist, doctor etc, and travel/shopping trips to say the least. Anybody coming to France today on holiday, is spoilt for learning choice imho, and could easily learn a few dozen essential phrases on-line in a week or two prior to travelling. It's never been easier. If you started today to improve your French, by April 2022 you'd be able to cope really well.
Favourite destinations in France outside of Paris? One may ask favourite to do what? Fish, swim, ski, cycle, surf, climb, wine appreciation, gastronomic tours, tranquility without the crowds etc.....? The choices are numerous, I wouldn't know where to start to answer that. Today, suffice to say 'Google is your friend!'
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Old Jun 20th 2021, 5:53 am
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

France has the highest number of tourists of any country in the world, doesn't it? By no means all of those tourists have white skin and by no means all of those tourists speak French, The French tourist industry is very slick and experienced and well adapted to welcoming different nationalities speaking different languages. As a general rule the non-French speakers, such as the Chinese etc, will speak English so virtually everybody in tourism offers English (or their own approximation thereof). Notices are in English, you can pick up brochures and leaflets and town guides and timetables in English. If you started going off of the tourist track it's different of course and not being able to communicate with the locals would obviously be more of an issue, but why would you need to when there are so many tourist destinations to see.
You can stop worrying. Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 20th 2021, 7:47 am
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
France has the highest number of tourists of any country in the world, doesn't it? By no means all of those tourists have white skin and by no means all of those tourists speak French, The French tourist industry is very slick and experienced and well adapted to welcoming different nationalities speaking different languages. As a general rule the non-French speakers, such as the Chinese etc, will speak English so virtually everybody in tourism offers English (or their own approximation thereof). Notices are in English, you can pick up brochures and leaflets and town guides and timetables in English. If you started going off of the tourist track it's different of course and not being able to communicate with the locals would obviously be more of an issue, but why would you need to when there are so many tourist destinations to see.
You can stop worrying. Have a great trip.
You're right, but the OPs are taking public transport to get around France and I was thinking more along the lines of employees in non-Parisian railway/bus stations, bus drivers, etc... where communication might be difficult...
I spoke French before I arrived, and, for visiting countries (pre-Covid) where I didn't speak the language, I've got a European Phrase Book in 14 languages. Maybe old-fashioned nowadays, but indispensable if I manage to visit other countries post-Covid, after my trips to see family.
Pre-Covid tourists were of all colours and creeds, and it will be the same post-Covid when the virus is under control. No worries on that front....
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Old Jun 20th 2021, 9:19 am
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
You're right, but the OPs are taking public transport to get around France and I was thinking more along the lines of employees in non-Parisian railway/bus stations, bus drivers, etc... where communication might be difficult...
Not just Paris surely, I'd have thought any city that has hotels and attracts tourists would have English speakers at the transport hubs, along with yesterday's English newspapers in the kiosks! They probably couldn't hold a conversation in English but they'll know the essentials like "single" and "return" and they'll be used to communicating with non French speakers, there's only so many questions that travellers normally need to ask.
Failing that, tourist offices can give info about public transport, and every tourist office speaks English.
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Old Jun 20th 2021, 12:29 pm
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Not just Paris surely, I'd have thought any city that has hotels and attracts tourists would have English speakers at the transport hubs, along with yesterday's English newspapers in the kiosks! They probably couldn't hold a conversation in English but they'll know the essentials like "single" and "return" and they'll be used to communicating with non French speakers, there's only so many questions that travellers normally need to ask.
Failing that, tourist offices can give info about public transport, and every tourist office speaks English.
Fair enough, if the OPs stick to big towns and touristic places.
I was in Devil's Advocate mode and had visions of them being stranded somewhere, in my neck of the woods for example, where English is rapidly forgotten on leaving school. There again, if they're looking for tranquillity and scenic beauty alone, they might do well to hire a car....
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Old Jun 26th 2021, 7:38 am
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Default Re: Questions about travelling in France

Have just noticed that BarateGites's latest post has been deleted as spam, and that he has been banned.
This is yet another example of members taking trouble to advise newbies, without realizing that it's a wind-up.
This discourages them from contributing, or, at best, they'll treat each first poster as a possible troll, which in turn will discourage him/her if they're bona fide.
Rant over....
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