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You Can Pass for French with Just These Gestures and Noises

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Pétanque (a.k.a. boules) is the French cousin to lawn bowling or bocce, once removed from horseshoes, twice removed from darts. Depending on your perspective, it’s a game of rigor and strategy, or else of standing around and drinking Ricard (a.k.a. pastis, an anise-flavored spirit) or rosé. So we’re somewhere on the midpoint here between chess and beer …

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  The world thinks it knows what a French person sounds like: a derisive laugh that somehow pulls phlegm through the nostrils, a sarcastic oh-la-la between pinched puffs of smoke… But what do the French think the French sound like? And what can you say and do to pass as one of them? As part of our Fluent …

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Eating in Paris should be all about small, charming restaurants; exquisite chocolates; and bohemian bars — not the standard tourist nightmare of snarling waiters, seven-language menus, and bland food.

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The following table will aid in communication with inanimate French objects. Tipsy Pilgrim also has a guide for communicating with the young and animate French.

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Welcome to Verlan, France’s answer to Cockney rhyming slang or Pig Latin (and an exact parallel to Serbian’s Šatrovački). Verlan became common in the ’80s among poor young folks in Parisian suburbs, and was diffused through hip hop and pop music. Today, anyone of the MTV Europe age or younger employs it to some degree. The …

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The Comédie Française, the oldest national theater in the world, is an actor-centered company that has produced some of the world’s greatest talent (e.g. Adrienne Lecouvreur, Sarah Bernhardt, Jean-Louis Barrault). It has not, however, always succeeded on its merits alone: Year Action Result 1680 Louis XIV combines the two extant acting companies to create the …

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