5 Reasons… I should have learned French before going to Paris. – So go look every day

Eiffel Tower at night

Paris is the city of lights, the city of love, and especially to note if you go there, a city full of people who speak French. I do not speak French. In school I took about eight years of Spanish, which allowed me to say that I love fries and ask where is the library, which wouldn’t help me (much) in Spain and did me no good in France. However, my thoughts on the matter were, how serious could this be? People from everywhere travel the world in Paris every year without speaking the language and they get along very well. I forgot that these people are not neurotic me and that personally I had never traveled to a place that English was not the primary language. It followed, to put it mildly, a “memorable” trip to one of the greatest cities in the world and the realization that I should have learned a bit of French (or at least bought an English dictionary). -french) before venturing to France. Here are five reasons why you might want to learn some French before crossing the pond …

View from the hotel window

5. You might end up in a hotel in the sex district. I’m not kidding, our hotel, nice as it was, was located on the outskirts of a sex district. There were two adult stores in the same block as the hotel and to get to the subway we had to walk past what I guess is a strip club with a barker outside like a carnival in the city. old man trying to get people to get on the freak show. He was there at all hours of the day, no matter what time we were leaving early in the morning or what time we were coming home. Oddly enough, he spoke a little English and enjoyed trying to talk to us every day as we passed. I was traveling with a friend and his girlfriend. Every day my friend would say the same thing to the guy, that he already had two daughters, and this French madman would tell him “they are coming too!”

Buy a CD from the metro accordionist who gave us directions

4. The metro. Ah the metro. It’s an absolutely wonderful way to get around and incredibly efficient, but navigating it can be very difficult if you can’t read French. And the metro is waiting for no one. It’s not as bad as a London where the doors have barely opened and the train is already taking off, but it’s quite difficult.

Still lost

3. And on a related note, you might get lost. We were all three, sorry my French, bad at reading a map. I wouldn’t be surprised if we spent more time reading maps than sightseeing. You can try asking people until you are lucky and find someone who speaks some semblance of English, but it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. And later in the day it becomes harder to find someone who not only knows a little English but is also not drunk and able to communicate. One night in particular, after a few bottles of wine, we realized we had no idea how we got to where we were or how to get back to the hotel. Everyone we met seemed to have drunk even more wine than us and were absolutely no help. I would tell you how we got back to the hotel if I could remember.

Dinner at the Eiffel Tower

2. Order food. I am a picky eater, who was accompanied by another picky eater and a vegetarian. We signed up for this Eiffel Tower tourist dinner and had to go to the tourist office to check in earlier today and confirm the reservation. When we got there we had to choose the meal we wanted in advance, and this my friends was an incident that I will never forget. The girl at the counter did not speak English. She called her manager who spoke maybe ten words of English. They both tried to explain the food of the different meals to us through gestures and drawings. It was like something from Mr. Bean and extremely ridiculous. My friend asked if they had a vegetarian meal to which the nursery replied, “What religion? My friend said, “No religion. Vegetarian. “The manager again replied,” What religion? “My friend said again,” No religion. Vegetarian. ” The headmaster looked up as if he was contemplating something and then came back to my friend, “Jew? My friend shook his head and said, “No, vegetarian.” The headmaster frowned, “Muslim?” At this point, my friend’s girlfriend and I were about to burst out laughing. It was difficult to control yourself given the number of “is this really going on?” »Situations in which we had already found ourselves. My friend thought for a minute, then replied “Hindu”.
The folded forehead of the crib turned into a huge smile. “Yes, Hindu. He said, nodding enthusiastically. A crisis avoided, my friend would get his vegetarian meal. Now it was my turn. From what I deciphered, I was getting a chicken appetizer and some sort of cake for dessert, but couldn’t figure out what was for dinner. The girl at the counter then drew a picture of a clam and handed it to me. I had never had clams, but thought why not give it a try. My friend’s girlfriend decided to do the same and we thought we were all ready… until they served us dinner. We were starving, as we had been running all day and eating breakfast in preparation for our grand fancy dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Although my friend just found out with his Hindu meal, we were served a fried clam shaped fish cake. I’m not talking about fried fish like fish and chips. It was like the consistency of tuna inside and smelled like a can of cat food. Needless to say, we wish we could have spoken French that day.

Looking like ignorant tourists outside the Louvre

1. So as not to appear like an ignorant tourist. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it was to have to approach people on the street and beg them to help us. Although almost everyone we met were extremely nice even though they couldn’t help it was still awkward and I’m sure some of them at least bother. We didn’t plan our trip well, it was a last minute getaway from London, but we should have at least bought a dictionary or a guidebook or something.


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