My first two trips to Paris would have been a lot different had I taken the time to learn a few key phrases in French. I was busy, London was the focus of my trip, and despite the Spanish courses I took in high school my foreign language skills were limited if not severely lacking. One of my most memorable exchanges was in a Parisian coffee shop where I struggled to order a simple Americano. Turns out, in Paris "Cafe Americain" is filtered coffee. "Cafe Leger" on the other hand is espresso with double the water. As I struggled to figure this out (in English) and the barista struggled to help me (in French) the rest of the customers in line behind me began to get impatient. Feeling annoyed and sensing that I had no intention of trying to figure out my order in French the barista finally turns to me and says in perfect English, "Just tell me what you want to drink." Note to self: learn a few key phrases if you don't want everyone in the local coffee shops to hate you. Noted.
Turns out, Paris may be in my cards again very soon, except this time I plan on taking this trusty new sidekick (pictured left) also known as "Parisienne French: Chic Phrases, Slang & Style" by Rhianna Jones. This book was easy to digest and fun to read. Highlights include a user-friendly pronunciation key, common phrases for any stylish situation, a guide to the 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) and a quick overview of Parisian culture. A must-read for anyone who doesn't speak French and plans on visiting the famous "City of Light".
This book is the perfect budget-friendly gift for your stylish friends who love to travel, because when all else fails, at least you'll always have Paris.
Chic Phrases, Slang & Style
by Rhianna Jones
$14.95 US/$17.50 CAN