The first thing I packed for my trip to Paris is possibly the chicest little book I own: Parisienne French. It’s a girl’s guide to conversing in French, complete with phrases, conversations, and neighborhood tips. This definitely does not fall in the textbook genre, but rather a fun and witty insiders’ guide to getting around Paris, perfect even for someone who’s been there multiple times. Ever since I finished (and forgot) most of my grade school French, I’ve wanted to relearn it but in a useful way. I’d love to actually know what vernacular is used to, say, chat with the bartender. Although it’s possible to get around Paris knowing very little French, it’s more fun to venture off the beaten path to the cozy bistros and little boutiques, where the real treasures are found. For those situations, Parisienne French comes into play with tips on how to talk to Parisians and blend in a little with some charm. Parisienne French is authored by Rhianna Jones, a Chicago-native with a degree in French Literature who adores all things French. She spent time living in Paris and working in the fashion industry, and shares her intimate knowledge of the vogue city of lights with her readers.
One of my favorite examples of indispensable phrases in the book is, “I’m so over my wardrobe! I need…” and a list of possible elements ensues, with translations of course. If you happen to find yourself in one of my favorite parts of town, the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10e, it may be compulsory to ask, “What instrument is that street performer playing?’ That might be followed with, “Let’s find a spot where we can dance!” I love that Ms. Jones thinks of casual language as the focal point to getting around Paris, and I do think it helps endear us just a bit to the natives. Also found in the book is a concise guide to each arrondisement, which may take you from the Musee D’Orsay to the Grand Palais for a day drenched in art. Or on a whim, one may also find a box of macarons to take to the Jardin du Luxembourg to enjoy people watching while savoring each perfectly formed pastry. Fancy a serendipitous hop into a tiny wine bar on your stroll? Parisienne Frenchgives you the French girl’s lines for striking up a casual conversation. For any Paris-bound traveler, the book is a must-have to welcome you into la vie parisienne.