The quick (but not so easy) way to meet your neighbours

I accomplished two things today:

  1. I spoke a whole bunch of French;
  2. I got to meet a new bunch of people. 

Using my foolproof method, you too can meet a new bunch of people and improve your French language skills all at the same time.  You’re wondering how I did it, aren’t you?

My 4-Step Program is guaranteed to get you speaking French to a bunch of people you don’t know.  Here’s how!

First, lock yourself out of your apartment.  Find any excuse.  I used the “plumber came by to fix a broken tile and brought the second set of keys which I figured I would use never expecting that a gust of wind would slam the door behind me with the other key in the door and it’s one of those old three-sided keys that won’t work if another key is in the lock’ excuse.

Second, find the maintenance guy and his wife and explain what happened.  Be clear now!  It’s the key to the apartment, not the key to the coursive.  Be confident.  They won’t laugh at you.  The same thing happened to Maintenance Guy but he lives on the ground floor so he could easily get in through his balcony.  (And if they do laugh it will be after they’ve left.)

Third, mentally support and encourage the Maintenance Guy as he uses a x-ray film — don’t ask where/how he got the film — to try to jimmy the lock.  (You won’t be successful and you will have to continue to step 4.)

Fourth, visit the neighbours on the other side of the elevator and ask if you (meaning: Maintenance Guy, this is France after all and they won’t let a woman climb from one terrasse to another!!!) can climb from their terrasse to yours.

All the while, you’re talking to people.  You’re speaking French!  You have no time to be nervous.  You’re using words like languette and coursive and la porte a claqué derrière moi.  Look at you go!

Feel free to share these tips with your friends!  Success is guaranteed!

Before you start be sure to leave the balcony door open and turn off the stove/oven/iron.

Bonne chance mes amis!

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Categories: locked out

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and France!

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13 Comments on “The quick (but not so easy) way to meet your neighbours”

  1. D
    August 30, 2010 at 6:14 PM #

    Ah! Did the maintenance guy make any comments when he saw the water pistols on the terrace table? Your new life is really different!!!

  2. August 30, 2010 at 6:35 PM #

    Wow – sounds a lot more exciting than my method!

    When I wanted to meet people and improve my French I just used to go down to the bar and talk b*llocks about football.

    I never even thought to lock myself out!

    Still if your method has worked – good on you!

    All the best


    • August 30, 2010 at 6:54 PM #

      Oh, it was exciting. It’s also a lot cheaper than your method. You should give it a go! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Keith!

  3. August 30, 2010 at 8:14 PM #

    OK – I’m not sure about the logistics though as we often don’t even close the door, let alone lock it? I guess we’re not so security aware up here in rural Brittany?

    Yesterday I went to the supermarket and, not only didn’t I lock the car, I left the door open!

    I did get locked in the toilet the other day but that’s not really the same though, is it?

    All the best


    • August 30, 2010 at 8:25 PM #

      But that’s the thing: it wasn’t locked! On the inside I have a handle to open the door. Below that is the lock. We kept the key in the lock because we only had the one. (The plumber had the second set of keys and was on vacation.)

      From the inside we can open the door providing the lock isn’t engaged. From the outside it’s a different story. There’s a door knob about 2 m from the ground. It serves only as a pull to close the door. Even if the lock isn’t engaged, from the outside you need a key to get in. Since I had continued with our practice of leaving the key in the lock I was screwed in trying to use another key on the other side!

      As for you getting locked in the loo, was it a public toilet or was this at home? Big points if it was a public toilet as I can only imagine the shouts of “au secours!”

  4. August 31, 2010 at 9:46 AM #

    Ha ha, too funny! Yep, that’s one way to make introductions…& I have to say, could be a great idea! We seem to only meet our neighbors doing times of crisis as well…like cats stuck on terrasses & flooded basements..At least it gets everyone talking 🙂 bravo!

  5. September 1, 2010 at 3:08 PM #

    LOL! Good job your balcony door was open! What a clever and innovative way to practise French. Much better than my old method of randomly ringing businesses and asking questions!

    • September 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM #

      LOL! I think I would rather die than to have to do business in French. I’m not ready for that yet so kudos to you!

  6. September 1, 2010 at 3:16 PM #

    Tanya – it wasn’t a Public Loo, I’m afraid. I keep trying to get locked in a Public Loo but it’s difficult being a man as we’re allowed to pee pretty much anywhere and I’m not sure our loos have locks on them anyway?

    If push comes to shove, I’ll let myself into a Ladies loo and endeavour to get locked in there. That should make for a pretty interesting blog post?

    All the best


    P.S. Will you have internet access in Paris next Monday?

    • September 3, 2010 at 10:45 AM #

      Oooh, that would be a post!!! Keith, locked in a ladies loo, shouting “au secours”. Go for it! I double dare ya! 🙂

      Mm, I should have internet access. Since hubby selected the hotel we should as he cannot survive without internet. Plus, I may fancy posting something before flying across the pond.

  7. September 3, 2010 at 10:53 AM #

    OK – I’ll do my best but, if I get arrested you know I’ll blame it all on you!

    All the best



  1. A Taste of Garlic » Tanya in Transition - September 6, 2010

    […] no particular order Tanya manages to Lock herself out of her Apartment (she pretends that she did it on purpose but I know better!), buys water pistols so as to have fun […]

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