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  1. #1
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    going to France this summer

    Hi,
    I'm going to France this summer and would really like to follow the tour, or as many have recommended, part of the tour. However, I've never been to France and don't speak French. I'm a 28 year old male from Santa Barbara and would love to meet up with some people and share car/ RV rental expenses. Unfortunately it seems that most people going over there aren't very keen on the idea of having a total stranger accompany them on their trip.
    Does anyone have any ideas about how I can possibly meet up with some people? Any good web sites, anything that might help? I won't have my bike with me, but I'd really like to follow along for the spectacle of the event. Any advice is appreciated!
    Thanks.

    Justin

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    The best way to meet people is to travel alone.

    France is a fantastic place to bicycle. There are bicycle trails that go all over France and bring you right to the best towns and sights.

    The French people are wonderful. Whoever said the French are nasty or mean to foreign visitors was wrong. The French people are kind, helpful, and extremely friendly - oh, yeah, and beautiful. We WEWEEeeee!

    I would say go alone. Get a good set of maps that show the bike routes, and bring a compass. You don't really have to make hotel reservations either - there is lodging in every town.

    Don't worry about not speaking French. Of course, speaking the local language helps, but MANY French people speak English even if only a little.

    Have a wonderful time. France is cool.
    Mike

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by mike
    Don't worry about not speaking French. Of course, speaking the local language helps, but MANY French people speak English even if only a little.

    Have a wonderful time. France is cool.
    I would at least try to learn a little of the language. Just simple phrases even. I had a friend who went to france who said that one of the guys refused to even try to speak french. All of the people he met would blow him off. But when my friend would at least try to speak french, they were very nice to him and would switch to english if my friend was having too much trouble.

    Just my $0.02.

    andy

  4. #4
    Senior Member Harry's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aturley


    I would at least try to learn a little of the language. Just simple phrases even. I had a friend who went to france who said that one of the guys refused to even try to speak french. All of the people he met would blow him off. But when my friend would at least try to speak french, they were very nice to him and would switch to english if my friend was having too much trouble.

    Just my $0.02.

    andy
    Good comment!

    The French are actually quite arrogant. They will condescend to you if they see you are making an effort. The standard line would be "parlez-vous l'anglais?" or "je ne parle pas le franšais. Then when they get a whiff of your accent (especially English) they feel superior and speak English. Most French have a good knowledge of English.

    It's a fabulous cycling country. But then so is Switzerland. Dearer but the roads are much better and cyclists are well catered for by the Swiss Federal Railways.

    Bonne route

  5. #5
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    In general, country folk are better than city folk in this respect. Where we are going to live, the natives don't like the Parisian people either.

    It is always better to try to speak the language of the country you are in. Some good things to know are please, thank you, etc.

    The best instruction I ever heard for the French was "seduce them". As someone else said, once you get past the initial barriers, they will go to great lengths to please.

    Cheers...Gary

  6. #6
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Well, I sure agree that even a little of the local language helps a lot. The locals are usually very happy that you have tried to learn at least a little of their language.

    The posts by aturley and harry speak unflatteringly of the French due to language snobbishness. I have often heard such comments about French arrogence, but it really has not been my experience.

    Maybe this is a Paris thing - and I have yet to go to Paris.

    Let's put it this way, there are a lot of people in France. Most kind-hearted, a few nasty. If you stumble on a nasty person, quickly go to the next person. Chances are, that will be a nice person.
    Mike

  7. #7
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    If you are going to France and don't speak the Lingo, then have a talk with the CTC in the UK http://www.ctc.org.uk/

    Also depending on where you are flying into (London is cheaper than Paris for most tranatlantic flights) they run the 'bike express' a large coach fitted with a bike trailer, filled with bike people from the North of England to the south of France, four different routes, and they run every 3-4 days in the summer

    Having gone on a cycling holiday in France last year via bike expess I would never even look at any other option.

    The coaches are full of other singles and small groups who may welcome a fellow traveller for a few days whilst he finds his legs (or is it wheels ?) in a strange land .

  8. #8
    Senior Member Harry's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gmason
    In general, country folk are better than city folk in this respect. Where we are going to live, the natives don't like the Parisian people either.

    It is always better to try to speak the language of the country you are in. Some good things to know are please, thank you, etc.

    The best instruction I ever heard for the French was "seduce them". As someone else said, once you get past the initial barriers, they will go to great lengths to please.

    Cheers...Gary
    Never mind Paris,

    I'm nest dooor to the Haute Savoie and the Pays de Gex. Same difference...

    Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi...

  9. #9
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    Let's see, that was de Gaulle, was it?

    Cheers...Gary

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