Hi John I have just (Feb 2106) bought a house in France and although I speak 4 languages my French was very poor (O level C in 1981)
I used an english speaking advisor who walked us through the whole process, I was very happy with him he checked out the property, negotiated a price, ran me through all the paperwork (technical report,contract etc), talked to the sellers, real estate people and the Notary for me and was on speed dial when I signed the contract.
One thing I missed out on is if we had contacted the owners directly and not through the real estate agent we would have saved about 7000 euros in their fees. The advisor would have spoken to them direct (about 50% of houses in France are sold direct even though a real estate agent is engaged by the owners), but we were shown the house by the real estate agent so we were too late for that. He was I must say very helpful even allowing me to stay in his house as I flew down to finally agree the price etc.
Our advisor charged a fee and then charged another fee depending how much below the asking price he could agree with the owners (10% of the reduction), we bought the house at a 15% reduction on the asking price, gained another 300m2 of land, and had the owner remove 7 trees.
All in all I was delighted and he took all the mystery and stress out of the process
I am now busy learning french and have joined our local French conversation club, plus practice each day via Babbel and Duolingo on my phone going to work on the train.
France and its people are great, the language will come, but you have to put the effort in and be bold.
We plan to retire there in 5 years and will holiday there till then as we rennovate the house