Is a trip to France in your future ?   view of rural France with rustic farmhouse

Especially in France, it's good to know a few phrases in French to get through the day, and not just to ask everyone to speak English. Most people will speak English, especially in Paris and other large cities, but it's always better to try even a little in French. Amey can help you get ready:

French for Travel & Conversation

Thursdays July 6--Aug 3  6-8pm   $79  Important and common phrases you'll need to get around with confidence, plus learn about French culture and various tourist attractions. A little travel prep, but mostly this class focuses on language skills. This class is through Lane Community College downtown center, across from the Eugene Public Library. Register directly through LCC:
  • Online
  • 541 463 6100    (Mon-Thurs  8-5)
  • 101 W. 10th St.   (Mon-Thurs 8-5)

Schedule an individual session to best prepare you!  ($30/hr)

    • Sightseeing in Paris
    • Day & Weekend Trips from Paris
    • Transportation in France
    • Regions of France    French restaurant with tables outside
      • Provence
      • Burgundy
      • Loire Valley
      • Normandy
      • Brittany
      • Dordogne
      • Alsace
      • Corsica
    •  French Beyond France 
      • Belgium
      • Switzerland
      • Québec
      • French Caribbean  (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti)
      • Africa
Cultural Prep 
  • participate in a workshop  (arranged on request)   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    • Restaurant Menu French
    • Life in France
    • Regions of France  (see above) 
    • French Beyond France  (see above)  
    • Studying in France
    • Studying in Québec
    • Studying in Africa  
   
French train station with train and people walking

la gare  (train station)

Why is travel important ?  For someone learning to speak French, there's nothing that quite matches actually being in a French-speaking country. No matter your level, there are always parts of the language you can try out, and things you will be able to understand. Classes provide abstract situations, but when you are in a foreign country you are forced to use a different language for most interactions, even basic daily tasks. a castle in France Traveling in a foreign country can be both exciting and exhausting. You realize just how much you really know (or don't know) a foreign language. But, being in a foreign environment accelerates your learning, and you will pick up more than you would at home. The best way to maximize your travel experience is to learn the basics before your departure, take some notes with you, and practice when you get there. Don't rely on a dictionary and phrasebook, they'll take too long and put a barrier between you and the other person. Instead, have a small notebook handy and get people to write things down. Use gestures or drawings to describe what you're trying to say. Most conversations are pretty basic, and often you can point to what you want. Try out some French, and if they switch to English, stay away from complicated words, idiomatic expressions and speaking fast. If you do want to keep speaking French, and they're still speaking English to you, talk to them in French. Their reasons for speaking English might be the same as yours: they want to practice with a native speaker. Most French people are actually surprised when visitors can competently carry on a conversation in French. France:  An Overview  France is blessed with a wealth of geographic diversity.  There are three different coastal areas (the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the English Channel), four distinct mountainous regions (the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Massif Central and the Jura), lush river valleys,  sub-climates and micr0-climates within the country.  Due to this geographic diversity, the French can stay within the borders of their own country when in pursuit of many types of activities.  This helps contribute to a strong national pride and a belief in the superiority of their country. For many centuries, France was a series of separate kingdoms: ruled, disputed over and exchanged between various European kings and queens.  When Napoleon Bonaparte defeated those powers, he unified France, centralizing all its power in Paris.  Napoleon divided the country into 100 départements, and the former kingdoms are today recognized primarily for tourism and historical significance. France also has a variety of subcultures.  Many of what used to be separate kingdoms maintain their cultural uniqueness through their cuisine, architecture, traditional dress, music, regional dialect, accent or heritage language.  Immigrants from former colonies in North Africa, West Africa and Southeast Asia have come to France to live, study, or work.  These new influences are changing the cuisine, religious and cultural landscape of France, and are sometimes met with tension and frustration. If questioned about religion, most French people would describe themselves as “not practicing”.  Religious wars have been fought many times in France’s history.  Gallic tribes were pagans but they were forced to convert by the Romans who slowly became Christians, and Charlemagne forced everyone in Europe to become Catholic.  Through holy wars, cathedrals, long lines of kings and queens, and public holidays, Catholicism has dominated France for centuries.  Bloody conflicts between Catholics and Protestants have always ended with the Catholics the victors.  Pre-and post-WWII,  Jews have been accepted in France, if Judaism is not presented as a threat to Catholic institutions. Post-colonial immigration to France has increased the muslim population in France, presenting new challenges to the unofficial state religion.  Important muslim traditions incongruous with traditional French (Catholic) behavior in dress (headscarves and long skirts for women) and diet (abstaining from alcohol, observing halal and Ramadan) have raised concern in academic and political arenas, where Catholicism has dictated decorum in both church and state for centuries. For many people the world over, Paris is the heart of France.  Though not the geographic center of the country (it’s slightly north-east), it’s both the largest city and the capital of France (politically, economically, and culturally).  Paris offers many wonderful possibilities for tourists, but to travel to France and only see Paris is unfortunate.  From Paris it’s very easy to get to other regions and countries in a few hours, via the vast train network which radiates from Paris in all directions.