As I continue my French journey, I speak/practice my French every opportunity I can get. I have found my efforts are appreciated and, in fact, there is surprise that I am trying to speak their language. As a result, my tension is reduced and suddenly we are conversing!
Recently I was visiting L’Abbaye de Jumieges. After purchasing my ticket in French, the ticket seller asked if he could share a brief history on the Abbey in English. He wanted to practice his English! I,of course, agreed and replied that I would speak French to practice also.
The French take great pride in speaking their language well and have the same expectations for speaking other languages. Outside of Paris, opportunities to practice their English are infrequent.
I have another story that might show you further that your French is better than you think.
I was traveling with friends in the south of France. My friend’s luggage was lost and after two days, I suggested we go to the Marseille airport to track it down. My friend spoke very little French and the phone conversation for the past 2 days were not productive. As we were about to leave, the phone rang. My friend answered, listened for a minute and thrust the phone at me. I don’t know about you but French phone conversations are very difficult; without any context or gestures, your language skills are tested!
We conversed – my nervous French, his fast speaking French. The conclusion – we would meet the airline’s representative at the tourism center in St. Remy in 30 minutes and he would deliver my friend’s luggage. As I paced in front of the Tourism Center, I wondered if I had been understood. Suddenly I looked up and saw a small white van coming up the road. Next thing I know, my friend had her luggage. From that point on, I was the French speaker and translator for the trip!
As the French say – “Bon Courage”. Join me and continue your journey.
(I thought you might enjoy learning more about L’Abbaye de Jumieges. As you can see, it is a spectacular ruin, imagine how impressive it must have been!)
L’Abbaye de Jumieges is the most important ruin of a Benedictine monastery. The monastery was founded around 654. The monastery had a history from its founding until the French Revolution of as a center of religion, learning and its charity to the poor. The ruins are the remains after the Revolution. Today the ruins include the church, portions of the cloisters and the library. In case you are wondering, I drove to Jumieges, and I will tell you more about driving in France in a future blog!