Friday, June 5, 2009

Travel in France with kids

This post is for anyone traveling to France with kids.

There are four words you need, must have, when going to France.

1. Bonjour (hello/good day),
2. Au revoir (good-bye, literally: until the re-see)
3. Merci (thank you),
4. S’il vous plait (please, literally: if it is pleasing to you).

The most important is bonjour because it is the first impression word.

Contrary to popular belief, the French are very courteous.

To make the point, French youths (ratty looking boys with low hanging pants) commonly say “thank-you” to the city bus drivers when getting off the bus!

The main reason French think Americans are rude (and the reason they are rude to us) is that we do not say “Bonjour” when entering a store (shop, café).

French shopkeepers are like little Napoleons ruling over tiny dynasties!

The number one rule of all European cultures is to acknowledge the proprietor of a store, shop, or even the waiter in a cafe. (Even if it is a humble “hello” in English. But, in France, the “bonjour” is imperative.

Once you’ve said bonjour then you can use the “I don’t know another word” smile!!!
And they get it.

France is the most visited country in the world with more visitors than citizens.

What you’ve done by saying hello is say, “I am trying... meet me half way.”

S’il vous plait (See Voo Play) is very useful because it can introduce any need or want. When looking to buy something, typically you do not touch it first. If it is a self-service place, a sign will read, “Self-Service.”

French custom is many times very formal so they like to serve you. If you want something you might say, “S’il vous plait” and then say slowly in English what you want or point.

Au revoir (Oar ruh vwah), is important because it is last thing they hear from you and so leaves a good last impression.

Word four is Merci. (Mare see)
French are not lavish, like we are, with their thank you’s. Merci is used at the end, commonly when leaving with “Merci, au revoir.”

You don't need to say Maresee every time the waiter puts something on your table. It's his job.

KIDS IN FRANCE: Everyone loves it when parents ask their children to say, “Bonjour” and “Merci.” It is a big crowd pleaser!

Send a kid into the store with you and have the kid say Bonjour Madame. They will be buerre in your hands.

Here is my top five places to go with kids in Paris.

1. Tuileries Gardens. After your Louvre tour you’ll come out of the glass pyramid. The Tuileries Gardens are across the street and in the park you’ll find playgrounds, mule rides, and trampolines.

2. La Tour Eiffel (of course). See it at night at the top of the hour when the 10,000 strobe lights light it up.

3. Pompidou Center. Don’t even go in. Just watch the street performers in front of the museum. Sunday is best.

4. Picasso Museum in the Marais. A fun place to give kids a pad and pencil to copy Picasso’s work.

5. Ile de la cité and Notre Dame and Ile Saint Louis.

Eats.

At most cafés, brasseries, or even high-end restaurants you will find staek-haché et frites (hamburger and fries).

Pizza in France is very good.

Quick food places are the greek restaurants with the big spool of meat behind the counter. The Shawarma sandwiches are awesome.

Drinks in France are innumerable. For kids, they like Orangina and cassis and water. Or a Coke is "Cocah. See voo play."

For grownups on a hot day, a Monoco (a beer mixed with a little sprite) is great.

Au revoir.