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Parlez-Vous Anglais? In Paris and Other Warnings and Dangers

Warnings and Dangers in Paris, Parlez-Vous Anglais?

When you visit France, be sure to learn this phrase: “Parlez-vous anglais? (Do you speak English?)” if you don’t speak French.

English Assumptions

If a Frenchman visiting you in your American city started talking to you in French, would you consider him ignorant for not knowing English or rude for assuming you knew his language? A Parisian would think the same things if you started to him in English.

Always begin any conversation with “Parlez-vous anglais?” You may be rewarded with a Parisian who speaks better English than you do.

Bad French is Better than No French

The French are justifiably proud of their language and just a bit miffed that it does not have the prominence that English does. So they appreciate any attempts at their language because it shows that you value it as much as they do. Having opened the door with less-than-perfect language skills, they may feel comfortable in practicing their bad English with you.


Learn the basics of “s’il vous plait (please)”, “merci (thank you)”, “bonjour (Good Day)”, and “au revoir (good bye)”. Get a French phrasebook so you can at least point to words you can’t speak. Don’t be afraid to mime or to draw on a piece of paper to be understood.

Editor’s note:  The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Parlez-Vous Anglais? In Paris and other warnings and dangers.

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