Bonjour.

Bonjour!

It might sound like the start of Beauty and the Beast, but you’d be surprised how much one little word can transform your travels, especially in small towns like Saorge.

It might open the door to a sweet old lady marveling at how “you young folks” don’t need layers on a chilly morning while she’s bundled to the nines.

It might warm up the room when a trio are the only other diners in the restaurant, and when the stoic Italian owner Bruno makes a joke, “okay, madame gets all the fries and you get none,” you feel free to make eye contact and share a chuckle.

Saying Bonjour answers at least a few questions for locals. They may not know you, but you’re not foreign…or at least you speak their language passably enough to evade suspicion. You are friendly. They can relax around you.

For you, it gives you a tiny slice of what it would be like to be a local, at least until you open your big American mouth to say something more.