|Subject: Paris - Language|
Others will be more help re which airport, since I've only changed planes at
Orly and always flown into CDG when going to Paris. But, on the French
language thing, don't be intimidated. Prior to my first trip, I got some
basic tapes that were very easy to follow and waited for you to pronounce the
words or phrases, then pronounced them correctly again so that you could hear
if you were saying it right. It was set up by topic, i.e., Greetings,
Hotels, Restaurants, Using the Metro, etc. and came with a little cheat sheet
card that folded up to credit card size, so you could use it pretty
unobtrusively. It was not expensive, and I just kept it in the tape player
so it came on every time I started the car and drove along gradually
absorbing some basic French. The repetition really helps -- if only so you
get to feel more natural with the pronunciation.
However, nearly everyone in Paris speaks English and, if you smile a lot and act friendly, they are very good about helping you, and they do appreciate that you try to speak the language even if very badly. Be sure you learn how to ask for the check, or you will never get one even in the sidewalk cafes and small bistros. Also, it's helpful to learn how to say in French I speak Francais only a little bit. Usually, they smile and nod and begin to speak beautiful English, but some will sort of test you first. Please and thank you go a long way in any language, and that's a good place to start. A good phrase book is helpful, but tapes that let you hear the correct sound seem to me easier to absorb.
By all means go to France, and you will love it. Bon voyage, Lou (TX)