In France, (not) only French is spoken

Article published on Jan. 28, 2008
Article published on Jan. 28, 2008
In spite of the bad reputation sticking to the French, some try to become multilingual… To avoid the painful setting of classrooms, evenings are organised in bars for cultural exchanges between the many foreigners who wish in turn to learn French. Any evening of the week, conversations in Spanish, English, German and even in Russian can be heard around the tables.
The cosmopolitan atmosphere is very relaxed. Outside by the doorstep, there are a few smokers now forced to migrate in the cold to light a cigarette.

A –confirmed- reputation of being bad pupils at languages has convinced some Parisians to reverse this trend. Everywhere in France, this kind of evenings is more and more frequent; the concept: sharing a drink with complete strangers. It has now become a weekly ritual. “I have been coming every week since last September” says Laetitia an intern in a hospital. “I can speak a bit of German but I’m coming mainly to improve my English” It is true that the bar is very often populated with Anglo-Saxons, especially Americans.

As to Nadia, she comes from Moscow. Arrived a few months ago in France to finish her master in international trade, this young woman is coming for the third time in this bar close to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.  “I am currently working for a large international company where communication is made in English…” she explains. “But I would also like to improve my French. I have heard about this kind of evenings and I started to look for information about them.”

This is where the magic of Internet comes into play. “It is very simple” says Romain, originally from Dijon. “One just need to log on the website, sign up and precise which languages one wishes to practice.” Say goodbye to classrooms and boring grammar exercises. Indeed if you are going to practice the language of Shakespeare or Cervantes, why not make the best of it and have a glass of wine on the side ?

My Paris is rich now !

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