Even if your hosts can speak some English, during your vacation in France you will undoubtedly meet people who speak limited or even no English. If you can speak even a smattering of French, you can open a channel of communication between the two of you. Whatever the case, you opened a new door and gave yourself more opportunities.

If you have a bit of time before you vacation, why not get a handle on the French language. Here are some essential French phrases to help you get started. You’ll be amazed at how many words are similar to English and how easy it is to grasp the basics. Before you know it you will be buying cheese at a local market or ordering a glass of wine without any bother at all.

Here are some tips on how to improve your French before you jet off.

Do you speak French? You will do soon! - © French Classes

 

1. Use French Subtitles

Most streaming websites, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, allow you to add subtitles to whatever you are watching. Adding French subtitles to your programs will help you absorb vocabulary without even trying. What’s more, subtitles are great for learning whole phrases as well as single, stand-alone words.

 

2. Download Language Apps

Perhaps you have 30 minutes free on your train commute in the morning. Use this time wisely and fill your brain with French as you travel. Apps like DuoLingo and Memrise are great ways to learn vocabulary and are structured in a way that will take you from the most basic level through to an advanced stage in no time at all.

Duolingo can be used on your phone and you computer and is a great way to learn French fast - © talkREAL

 

3. Attend Language Exchanges

Most big cities will have language exchange events going on. A language exchange is when people from all over the world meet up to practice speaking each other’s languages. Seek out a native French speaker and try out your new language skills with them. This will help you improve your skills and also help you overcome any shyness barriers you might have.

Speaking a foreign language can feel intimidating but the more you do it the more confident you get.

No-one will ever make fun of you for making mistakes so don’t be nervous.

 

4. Carry a Notebook and Make Notes

Try and name the things around you in French. As a car drives past, think to yourself “une voiture”. If you come up against something you cannot name in France, look up the word and jot it down. Writing things down often helps cement it in our memory. Every now and then, glance over your list of words and try to commit them to memory. If need be, copy out the words a couple of times to help you remember them. Vocabulary forms the skeleton of a language so the more words you know, the more you will be able to communicate. 

 

5. Learn a Verb of the Day

Learning a verb and how to conjugate it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes out of your day. Pick a verb in English – say “to speak”. Then learn how to say it in French – parler. Then work out how to say I speak, you speak, he/she speaks, we speak, you (plural) speak and they speak. Do this in the present tense and imperfect tense and you will have mastered the basics of that verb. Once you have done a few you will start to notice conjugation patterns, which will make the process even easier. Just keep an eye out for irregular verbs!

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Bonnie
A wonderful trip through Provence and the Riviera planned and organized by Emilie. Stayed in lovely B&Bs and had enough scheduled activities and free time. Emilie provided lots of options of things to do and a complete package for the traveler. Would highly recommend!
Deidre & Kevin
Such a professional company and their attention to every detail was amazing. Car hire , French phone, tours and suggested stops were all fantastic. And the B& B’s in the country and wine districts were fabulous. The owners all very friendly and helpful as well as the accommodation being clean and beautiful. We cannot give enough praise for Emilie …
Leo
My wife and I traveled in Provence and Dordogne in early April 2018. Whie the weather was mostly on the rainy/windy side, the trip was so well planned and organized, with so much to see, that we did not pay much attention to the weather. All B&Bs were excellent in terms of accommodation, food (sic!) and very welcoming. All hosts were bi-lingual and …
Sue
This was our first trip to Europe with just the two of us doing all the planning. I was looking for someone to help with the details of lodging and transportation and found Emilie through this site. She planned an incredible trip for us to Normandy/Brittany, Loire Valley and Paris. She is easy to work with, responsive and organized. I told her what …
Lynne & Jeff
In 2013 I had 2 big reasons to plan a trip to France: a new grand baby boy in Avignon, and I wanted to surprise my husband with a trip to Normandy. He absolutely loves anything and everything he can find to read or watch that is related to WWII. So, I started exploring online for a custom tour designer that could put together a great itinerary for …
Daisy
We had an amazing experience visiting Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne in June 2018. We were a group of eight wine freaks and Emile & Laura organized an amazing itinerary with awesome attention to details. We definitely recommend FJFY!!

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