Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I was actually wondering about this too. Do others agree that the French "opinion" should only be used in a "public opinion" sense of the word? The WordReference dictionary gives an example contrary to this, "Mon opinion est que le peine de mort est moralement inacceptable."
The dictionary says that "avis" is more for point of view, and that "opinion" is more for a belief, or a judgement.
In my English-thinking head, those two concepts seem fairly interchangeable.
"I believe/it's my belief that there are too many ducks in this park."
"In my opinion/from my point of view there are too many ducks in this park."
Those seem to convey the same message to me. Is there a distinction that I am missing?