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language barrier?

Havre de Grace...
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5 posts
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language barrier?

I will be visiting Rouen soon and it is my first trip to France. I speak English and can say a few phrases in french, but not enough for a conversation. Will I have a problem, or do enough people know English that i won't have to worry?

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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1. Re: language barrier?

Usually you´ll find plenty of people who will be anxious to practice their English. Overall, I shouldn´t worry.

Port-en-Bessin-Huppa...
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for Bayeux
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2. Re: language barrier?

You'll be fine somewhere like Rouen, Honfleur, Bayeux but in the smaller towns and villages you may struggle a bit

Essex
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3. Re: language barrier?

As long as you can cover the "nicities" you should be OK.

I find that it can pay off well to learn the words for hello, goodbye, please, thankyou, numbers from 1-10 and the phrase "do you speak English?" In almost any language.

Taking a small pocket French Dictionary also helps, IME.

Also some genral miming is good and can be a laugh all-round and a bit of an ice breaker!

London, England
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4. Re: language barrier?

We go to France fairly often and my partner and self attempt the language in our very bad school French. We find everyone very helpful and don't normally have a problem. On the odd occasion have ended up eating something which we weren't quite sure what it was, but that's all part of the fun.

Dundee, United...
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5. Re: language barrier?

Mostly you'll be fine but take a note of a few key phrases (food, directions, numbers etc. - the back pages of a guidebook can be more helpful for menus than a dictionary though they can be really helpful) and keep it with you. Attempt to speak French first and mostly people will try and help you out. That you made an effort is appreciated and, let's face it, polite. Smile and be polite, shouting in English is not a good idea and a fast way to offend. Tourist areas have quite a high level of English spoken so Rouen should be fine - I was there a week ago and the waiter spoke more than adequate English. I tried to order in French and pointed, he confirmed in English and all was well. Rouen is in Normandy so the galette is a regional dish - savoury crepe and pretty tasty. Cheese and ham (fromage et jambon) is a very traditional, widely available and safe filling so if you are stuck try that or a Croque Monsieur - the sandwich version. If you are really stuck then find the Tourist Information Office. The staff typically speak excellent English and will help you out.

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6. Re: language barrier?

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