26 January 2007

Americans who speak good French

This morning I was listening to France Inter radio when I heard an announcer say that the morning's guest was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Guess what. Breyer speaks fluent, nearly perfect French. He's one of the few Americans you ever hear speaking French on the radio or TV here.

Are there others? Jodie Foster speaks French fluently, nearly perfectly too. I think people know that about her. Kirk Douglas too, though at age 90 he no longer makes appearances frequently. Former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright holds her own in French as well.

I used to think Sigourney Weaver spoke good French, but she was on a French talk show the other day and depended on an interpreter. They said in 2004 that John Kerry spoke French, but I've never heard him.

Don't forget George W. Bush and Dick Cheney... Just kidding.

Oh yeah, Jacques Pépin does pretty well. Know any others?


  1. Yes, heard John Kerry - fluent. So is Jane Fonda and Oliver Stone.

  2. Yes, Isabella, that's right about Stone. I heard him in an interview last week when they showed his film about Alexander the Great on one of the movie channels we get.

    Jane Fonda was in France last year and was on a lot of TV shows. Her French was pretty good but obviously rusty. Compared to Breyer or Stone, that is.

  3. I would think Johnny Depp must be fluent in French, because he lives there. Candice Bergen was married to Louis Malle, so she's probably got the accent down. And I'm sure David "France is my ashtray" Sedaris does pretty well, too.

  4. Ginny, I've never heard Johnny Depp speak French. He's married to Vanessa Paradis, a French singer and actress. A lot of English-speakers manage to live here without ever learning French.

    I think I've heard Candice Bergen speak French but I can't remember how fluent she sounded.

    I wonder about David Sedaris. He would have you think his French is pretty primitive, but he's probably exaggerating.

  5. I just saw Jane Fonda on a commercial here in France advertising Age Reperfect Pro-Calcium cream (I saw the commercial a billion times), and I noticed that the voice sounded much like hers, and it didn't appear to be dubbed, so I believe that Jane Fonda speaks French as well. The ironic part is that I typed in "Does Jane Fonda speak French" into Google's search engine and it pulled up this blog.

  6. Hi Danielle, yes, Jane Fonda was the guest of honor for two hours on Michel Drucker's Sunday afternoon TV show on France 2 a few months ago. Her French was rusty but she held her own.


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