Is it Rude to Speak English in France?

Knowing more than one language is more than useful when you are an avid traveler, especially if English is your first language.

But what about when traveling in France? Is it rude to speak English in France, or should you practice a bit of French before your trip?

Read on below and learn the full and in-depth answer!

Is it Rude to Speak English in France?

The fact of the matter is, less than 40 percent of France’s population speaks the English language. 

That means while someone is eventually bound to understand you if you’re speaking English in France, you will not always be able to rely on English for all of your communication needs. 

That’s why you should at least practice a bit of French before taking a trip to France.

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, speaking English in France rates 3

Albeit using English, in general, is not considered rude for those from English-speaking nations visiting France, it is considered rude if you automatically expect everyone you encounter to cater to you and speak your language.

Why is it Not Rude?

It isn’t rude to use the English language in other English-speaking nations like France, but since the majority of people, you’ll encounter more than likely speak French as their main language, don’t be surprised.

In other words, you won’t be seen as rude, speaking English in France. 

That is not to say, however, that you won’t be viewed as rude if you are pushy about others accommodating you in English even though they are clearly not comfortable with it.

Other Options to Do Instead

In case you are planning a trip to France soon but you don’t know another language other than English, you can try a few of these other options to do instead of planning on just speaking English:

  • Download a translator app to use in France
  • Teach yourself a few basic phrases in French
  • Get a private tutor and learn the French language well in advance
  • Travel with someone who speaks the French language fluently
  • Learn how to write in French, and carry a small notepad and pen

Common Questions

Is it polite to use English in France?

It isn’t rude to use English in France, especially if you are visiting.

That said, just over 60 percent of the population doesn’t speak a word of English, so don’t expect to always be understood perfectly (or at all) if you are speaking in English.

Can an English speaker live in France?

English speakers live all around France, today. In fact, France is considered one of the friendliest nations, towards English speakers who are relocating to their country.

In other words, yes, an English speaker can live in France as long as they please, with little to no communication issues.

Is Paris English-friendly?

Yes, Paris is an extremely English-friendly city. That said, possibly half or more of the city’s citizens don’t speak English, and those who do aren’t always experts in the language.

That means while Paris is friendly enough towards English speakers, there is no guarantee that someone will understand your English queries.