How much English is spoken in Paris

Can I get by with English when traveling to Paris?

I never found the stereotypical rude Parisian I was warned about. Some people went out of their way to help me in ways that I wouldn't expect in my own town.

I didn't find many people outside the tourism industry in Paris who spoke English.

I've always used the French words and phrases I knew: "Sorry Moi", "Salut", "Merci" and if I could fight those I wouldn't even ask "parlez vous anglaise". I got the impression that people appreciated that. The use of single words goes a long way, French or English if you can't form a sentence. Often times, if you manage to form a broken sentence, people will help by correcting your mistakes! More people know more English vocabulary than you know French vocabulary, but they may not be able to form or parse English sentences.

Be patient. Lots of smiles. Never act rude or arrogant. Don't speak out loud if people don't understand.

When you get to your hotel or tourist office, people can speak English.


+1, exactly my experience too. Most of the people in Paris were friendly even though I spoke English. That is, I have Bonjour and Merci to the best of our ability thrown in , and it probably helped. I think using the local language for greetings and thank you is a good idea in general, not just in France.


Also consider this: Paris is the most visited city in the world. Indeed, it would be very strange if you couldn't do without French (most foreign visitors certainly don't speak it).


As a Frenchman, I totally agree with this point. The myth that the French cannot speak English is also wrong. More and more young people speak English. If you can speak a little French, people will be interested because you tried. Everyone knows you shouldn't speak French.

Willeke ♦

That answer was my impression of Paris 30 years ago. More recently, it's a lot easier to find people who speak English, and not just in tourism. I start with Bonjour and a smile and that mostly does the trick.

CJ Dennis

Avoid using with strangers. It is generally used with a high level of familiarity and can be considered rude if used improperly. is safe to use in any situation.