May I ask what is prompting you to move to France ??
Not an idle question, since you clearly say that you would not have survived in Germany without your late wife .. due to your language skills (or lack of).
Charades are an excellent way of getting the message across... we often laugh at ourselves, when we recall the lengths to which we had to go in the early years... but...it is not suitable in all situations...and you will need to be able to converse (albeit it simply) with neighbours etc...after a while.
"Comment ça va?" or "ça va?" = how are you.. the formal version is "Comment allez-vous?" ... and the reply is "ça va" which means whatever you want it to mean, depending on your tone and facial expression (or charades)
I know 2 words in patois... only 2 words (patois for "ça va" no idea how it is spelt), but when I use them folk smile happily.....then they rattle back to me in patois and I have to shrug my shoulders.. grin widely.. and admit defeat... an excellent way of breaking the ice and making new friends.