Note to people wanting to learn French or speak it better, watch all those shows in French the 50,000 times they are requested and your French will improve amazingly! I attribute my better comprehension and speaking skills to Dora l'exploratrice!
Since moving to Montreal, I've realised that there's a difference between speaking French in France and understanding the French of the Quebecois. In downtown Montreal, it's quite easy to hear French from French tourists and get lulled into a false sense of security. You start thinking, I can understand this French, what's all the fuss about? Or you get spoken to in English because you look like a tourist. But then you catch some locals on the metro speaking in what seems like a foreign language with a bit of French peppered in there. It's only after a few days of this that it starts to feel more like French. You can hear the subtle differences and realise the words are the same just with a different accent or set of sounds.
I've found it really quite liberating. I can wander up to a shop counter and speak to someone in French and they'll respond in French. If I initiate the conversation in English, they'll keep going in English. If I start in French and get stuck, I can easily just give up and switch to English and they'll be fine with that. It's totally the opposite experience from the one I had in France, where I was so nervous about making a mistake that I couldn't even order a baguette from the bakery.
I've only had one occasion when someone continued speaking French to me even though I'd spoken in English and that was at a government office. Otherwise, people are very forgiving of my accent and errors I have to say! For example, only the other day I was in a restaurant that I normally never go into (it has golden arches?) and I was trying to order English named items in French. I got stuck on 'le wrap poulet et bacon'. I suddenly forgot how to pronounce bacon in French but instead of just switching to English, the lady taking my order kept up the French. She did ask a question in English after the bacon hesitation but I told her I was practising my French and she laughed and said she knew and that was why she hadn't wanted to change languages!
Watching French TV was the best way for us to improve our French comprehension in Australia so I reckon the best way here is to listen to children. When Austin's at the park, I carefully eavesdrop on little kids playing and I've actually caught Austin doing the same. It's fun to work out what they're saying and to hear the weird sounds that this version of French has. Hopefully before we leave in 6 months we'll have mastered it too!