Manu Feildel’s crash course in French

Stephanie Yip 9 April 2019 NEWS

Two friends taking a walk around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Image: Getty Images

Headed to the land of baguettes, cheese and champagne? MKR judge and Frenchman, Manu Feildel, has some language tips that'll help you fit right in.

Travelling to a country where English isn't the native language can be daunting. But skilling up on a few key phrases can turn a confused and discerning face into a helpful and friendly one, because effort counts for everything.

The good news for anyone headed to France is that English is the second most widely known language in the country. In fact, according to a 2012 survey by Eurobarometer, 39% of the population are proficient enough to have a conversation in English.

That should bring you a lot of relief.

But for anyone looking to impress, learn the language or just headed to less-touristy destinations where English may not be prevalent, Feildel's crash course in French is a handy way to start your holiday right.

The basics

English French translation
Hello Bonjour
Goodbye Au revoir
Thank you Merci
Cheers (toasting) Santé
Where's the bathroom, please? Où sont les toilettes, s'il vous plaît?
Can I have…? Puis-je avoir…?
How much is…? C'est combien…?
Yes/No Oui/Non
What's your name? Quelle est ton nom?
My name is… Je m'appelle…
A glass of your best wine, please Un verre de votre meilleur vin, s'il vous plaît
What's your phone number? Quelle est votre numéro de téléphone?
Where can I find moustache wax? Où puis-je trouver du cire à moustache?

If all else fails, Feildel suggests you use Google translate. Or, you can say "je ne sais pas!!!" which literally translates to "I don't know". Not in the way that you don't know what they're talking about but in the way you'd say, "you know?" while groping at the air searching for that magical word that's on the tip of your tongue.

Feildel agrees that it's a good go-to phrase for encouraging conversation, even when you're unsure what is being said.

Another good phrase, particularly if you're looking to pick up a Frenchie, is "voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?" made popular by the song “Lady Marmalade”. It might be well known but "you might have to be prepared for a slap if you ask that!," adds Feildel.

What you won't get a slap for though is some good table manners, which are certain to be much appreciated whether you're wining and dining at a fancy restaurant or the local bistro.

Picture not described: Croissant_GettyImages_738_450.jpg Image: Getty

French table manners 101

"Never put your elbows on the table," warns the My Kitchen Rules judge. If you think that means you can keep those 10 digits on your lap, it doesn’t, because Feildel also says that "both hands must be visible on the table at all times".

Posture is also important and leaning forward, particularly while dining, is not encouraged. "Your mouth doesn't go to the fork," says Feildel. "The fork goes to the mouth."

Finally there's your obvious rule of three: no slurping, no burping and no licking the plates. Unless you're two years old. Then I think you may be excused.

Bon appétit!


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