By the way I have read French does not have a progressive aspect, is this true? How does a Francophone express the idea of an ongoing action?
French does have a progressive aspect, except that it's usually labelled the continuous aspect.
In English, you'll have something like "I am eating". In French, this is overlapped by the present tense, so you normally obtain a translation of "Je mange". If you reverse this, "Je mange" can mean both "I eat" and "I am eating". If you absolutely want to put the focus on the action being done in a continuous/on-going manner, you can say "Je suis en train de manger", or in more colloquial Canadian speech, you can also use the construction "Je suis après manger". It's not quite the same as the English progressive, since the French continuous really does express an action currently occuring, so it's more like "I am in the process of eating".
A better example for contrast would be "I'm going to the store." If you said "Je suis en train d'aller au magasin", you're implying that you're already heading off for the store; perhaps you're in the doorway putting your shoes on, perhaps you're currently walking there -- it really implies the action is occuring in the 'now'. "Je m'en vais au magasin", means that you're going to the store, but it could be later on in the evening, or maybe you're already setting out -- it is basically anywhere within the time frame of right now to later on.