Whenever I used to see pictures of places in France in newspapers, magazines or travel websites, I was always inspired by the fascinating landscapes, the country's passion for art, food, wine and most importantly, its distinctive sense of fashion. I imagined what it would be like to spend lost days in the lush valleys of Loire or to get lured into one of the wineries in Bordeaux (well maybe luring S into these may be an easier task!) or to even simply roam around the gentle hills of Normandy...

We finally got an opportunity to visit France but lets say due to some ado on missing luggage, a bad knee injury and a chilly weather, we had to cut short our rather eventful trip to Paris and Versailles only, leaving my other dreams to remain a distant reality. Anyways, we found the "City of Lights" to be a perfect place to have our share of France, wine and cheese!

While on my trip, I read an interesting article on the Guardian, about the French. I had also heard and read that they were a bit rude and condescending, which made me a bit wary about them. But my personal experience was a bit different. I found the French to be highly proud of their language, at times annoyingly to the point that they would not respond unless you perfected to pronounce the words in its native accent! In a tourist city like Paris, I would expect the locals to speak or at least understand English, but that does not seem to be the case everywhere. However, leaving the language problem aside, I found them to be a helpful lot.

So here are some words/ sentences that may be useful while getting around in France. (I should thank my mom for insisting I take French as my third language in school!!):-

1)  Merci- Thank You. 
2) Je vous en prie- You are welcome (As a response to Thank you)
3) Bienvenue - Welcome (As a greeting- note the difference between 2 and 3)
4) Sortie- Exit (You will come across this word in most metro and train stations)
5) Bonjour- Good Morning
6) Bonsoir- Good Evening.....make it a habit to use 5 and 6 regularly when you meet people for the 1st time or when you enter and leave restaurants (depending on the time of the day). We had an incident at the Metro where we barged in and asked for 2 tickets (hurrying to catch the next train) but the lady simply said Bonjour and waited (till we responded with another Bonjour) to hand over the tickets!!Crazy but true!
7) Bonne nuit- Good night
8) Je ne parle (/comprends) pas français- I do not speak (/understand) French....Now this would be a funny phrase to say in French, but if you meet some one who doesn't speak English at all, you can try this as a last resort!!!

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