Popularity of English in France


How popular is English among the common masses in France ? Can a person stay in France without knowing or learning any french ? How difficult would it be ? Can one normally locate English speaking person while walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant or while shopping in a common market ?Do they understand English or they know and are hesitant to speak ?


I've been studying French for about one year and have just returned from a vacation in northern France, including Paris. Certainly one could get along without knowing more than basic please and thank you in French, but knowing at least a little French will enhance anybody's travel experience. For me, learning French isn't easy; it's a struggle to remember all the vocabulary and to work with the French verb conjugation. However, when I used the French I knew, I was generally understood, even by people who knew little or no English, and I met quite a few of those people. I even managed to get my needs if they included words I'd never learned. The big thing I noticed is that an effort is recognized, and people responded favourably if I used what French I could. Another thing, although the polite words are important, they can be flat and meaningless depending on how they're spoken. We need to say them with the same expression and emphasis as if we were saying them in English back home. When I struggled to remember the French words, an expressive s'il vous plaît or merci went a long way. There's another advantage to knowing some French when in France. I went to the Louvre and Orsay Museums, among othe places, where the informational signs are in French. I was able to read enough to get the gist of what was written. In short, I had a fabulous trip that was definitely enhanced with the knowledge of French, even if it was limited.

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