Parlez Vous Francais?

I would like to dedicate this blog to my high school French teacher Miss Potts who spent many years trying to force this beautiful language into my brain. It has been an absolute delight to be able to order food, get directions, read signs and posters and news papers and most importantly chat a little with the people I meet along the way.

I think Miss Potts was a very patient woman who, in the end, realised that the best way to get the words we learned to stick, was by teaching us French songs.

Now if there is some kind of tragedy involving a kitten – then I’m your girl. Le petit chat est mort. (The little cat is dead).

Then there’s the phrase: Dans le port d`Amsterdam, Y a des marins qui boivent, Ils boivent à la santé des putains d`Amsterdam. (In the Port of Amsterdam, there are sailors who drink, they drink to the health of the whores of Amsterdam.) Again, bound to be useful at some point if I need to describe either the drinking habits or sexual delights of French sailors. Not so good if I just want to buy a baguette

You see although my French was diabolical when I was at school, my ageing brain seems to have the ability to pluck some of these words and phrases from thin air. Now I hear myself saying things I didn’t even know I knew.

It is making me so happy to see the brilliant smiles light up the faces of French people I encounter whenever I have a go. Even if my accent hurts their ears, they smile encouragingly and nod, urging me to keep going.

I have found the French to be adorable. They are friendly, patient, helpful, charming and polite. All you have to do is be warm and friendly yourself – and make the effort to throw out a few French words now and then. That said most French speak English very well, they are just hesitant to use it because they hold language in such high regard they don’t want to make mistakes.

What I am trying to say is that if anyone tells you the French are arrogant or rude, don’t believe them. It isn’t true. I have found them to be nothing but charming, helpful. and so kind. In fact it is the people of France who have made this journey so memorable.

But don’t take my word for it – why not come and see for yourself.Image

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1 Comment

  1. Jenny

    oh yes, I too remember Miss Potts.

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