Parisian Living

Zut Alors! How To Speak French Like A Parisian

by Victoria Wall
Written By

Victoria Wall

Following hours of foreign dictionary studying at university and a tapas-and-cerveza filled year in Madrid, Victoria decided it was high time to put her French and la belle vie Parisienne to the test. This Brit from near-London initially worked as an enthusiastic-yet-underpaid English teacher and has now become a translator-copywriter-community manager for a French website. Two years after arriving in Paris, she has had ample opportunity to fall amoureuse with every single arrondissement of the city of love and light, from picture postcard Montmartre to the winding backstreets of the almost provincial 20ème. View Victoria Wall's Website

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10 comments on “Zut Alors! How To Speak French Like A Parisian

You’ve certainly got my attention! Sometimes it’s so discouraging that I’m not sure it’s the trouble to bother speaking French in Paris – as soon as I get the ‘bon’ out before the ‘jour’ most Paris store owners and servers switch into English!

Quelle horreur!

It is all very intimidating, and it takes a lot of guts to speak when you are not fluent, or do not know the slang. I will continue to be brave!

I find Verlan particularly interesting because of it uses the schwa more than traditional french! Meuf, keuf, etc. Good article! 🙂

An A for effort to anyone who braves this!! In any country where your language is not the mother tongue!


Art by Karena

Sarah - Dodeline Design

This is so true. I arrived in Paris my senior year of college SO worried about speaking anything other than textbook perfect French, but I realized just like you said that it was more about the sort of on-the-fly conversation. People appreciated my effort and we figured it out. I approached speaking in classes so much better when I got back! I can’t wait to go back next month and keep working on my “natural” French 🙂

A smile goes far.

It’s funny, the French even critique young French children. I understand it’s necessary to teach them and help them correct errors, but sometimes you have to let a kid be a kid! The French do the same for child artwork – they often indicate what the child could have done better rather than simply say “bravo!” 🙂

Thanks for using my photos!

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