101 Basic French Words For Travel In France
Are you planning your trip to France but feel nervous about actually speaking french among the natives? Do not worry. We made a special guide for you to help you during your trip!
Although France lies next door to England, a native English-speaking country, you may not always be able to get by with speaking English, especially if you wish to immerse yourself in the culture or walk around the French suburbs. So, before you plan a trip to Metropolis, it's a smart option to brush up on some fundamental French terms and phrases.
Learning a few introductory greetings and courteous phrases in the mother tongue will make the most of your trip and facilitate your interactions with the locals. Even if speaking the language isn't your forte or you're not too confident, this guide below will help you speak french like a native.
Below are a few that will allow you to communicate and will surely make your vacation worthwhile.
Why Visit France
France has been on each one of us's bucket list. Why not? It is known as one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.
Every tourist will find that the country has a lot to offer. Whether you've come to learn about the city's rich culture and history through its museums and architectural marvels, or you've come on a romantic trip with your loved one in, you guessed it! The City of Lights, Paris, la France has something for everyone.
Paris, as well as Bordeaux, Lyon, Cannes, and Nice, France is known for its magnificent cities and luxurious lifestyle that will certainly capture your heart. It is home to world-famous art and movies; museums such as the Louvre and the Cannes Film Festival, as well as films such as La Vie en Rose and Amelie. Moreover, learning french through art and artists is a fun and engaging way to understand the language.
It should come as no surprise that France and fashion are sides of the same coin, hence prepare to see many shopping centres and boutiques around the region. It had to be, given that it is the birthplace of some of the world's most well-known fashionistas, like Yves Saint-Laurent, Christian Dior, and LVMH.
It's also famed for its delectable cuisine, scenic towns, outdoor sports, and, most importantly, its love language, le français. So, even if you can't fly to this lovely nation just yet, you may begin to feel a connection by growing your French vocab and develop your accent right now!
Basic French Phrases To Visit France
Learning to approach people respectfully in French is the very first step toward feeling at ease in France. It will also enhance the level of service you receive and your interactions with the French overall.
Male and female expressions are generally different, just as there are various definitions of greeting in French depending on how well you know someone.
There are often articles associated with every word, be it an object, a material or a person; they are categorised into masculine and feminine. You can use le (the)/ un (a) for a masculine noun like un garçon means a boy. Likewise, you use la (the)/ une (a) for a feminine noun like une fille means a girl.
Similarly, when speaking to someone you know or addressing a child or an animal, you can say 'tu', which means you. However, you must use ‘vous’ while speaking to strangers, authorities or your seniors. It is a far more polite and formal way of addressing someone.
Remember, it's usually safer to use ‘vous’ as a general rule.
To start a discussion, here are some simple French words and phrases to use:
The Basics Phrases You Need To Know
Common courtesy is fairly serious among the French, so whether you're meeting someone for the first time or conversing with a stranger, it's key that you address them correctly and with the appropriate expression.
Bonjour: Good morning/ Hello
Do not forget to say bonjour as you enter a shop or start a conversation with someone!
Salut: Hello (casual way of saying hello)
Bonsoir: Good evening
Monsieur/ Madame/ mademoiselle: Mister/ Madam/ Miss
S'il vous plaît: Please
Merci/ Merci beaucoup: Thank you/ Thank you very much
Excusez-moi/ Pardon: Excuse me
Pardon is an informal way. You can use either if you bump into someone or make your way through a crowd.
Au revoir: Goodbye
Bonne journée!: Have a good day!
Je suis désolé(e): I'm sorry (an e is added if you identify as female)
Making Yourself Understood In French
It is important to make yourself understood if you are a tourist and you are not familiar with the language.
Je is used as a subject and it stands for I.
- Je ne comprends pas: I don't understand
- Je ne sais pas: I don't know
- Parlez-vous anglais?: Do you speak English
- Je ne parle pas français: I do not speak French
- Je parle un peu français: I speak a little French
- Répétez, s'il vous plaît: Repeat please
You can say this when you have not understood what has been said or if the person might have spoken too quickly, you can say:
- S'il vous plaît, parlez lentement: Please speak slowly
Introducing Yourself In French
- Je m'appelle ...: My name is ...
- Quel est votre nom?: What is your name?
- Comment allez-vous?: How are you?
- Je vais bien, et vous?: I am well, and you?
- Je viens de ...: I come from ...
- Enchanté(e): Pleased to meet you (an e is added if you identify as female).
Transportation Words In French
The transit system is usually the main mode of transport in the country, connecting the big cities so you will have no problem travelling from one end to the other.
Prices vary over distances and it is a fast and comfortable option. You can even travel within as well as to neighbouring countries. You might need to know certain terms to be able to get your way through!
Le bus: the bus
Arrêt de bus: Bus stop
Un taxi: a taxi
Je voudrais partir à la gare: I would like to go to the bus/train station
The high-speed train of France is called Train à grande vitesse (TGV), you can simply say TGV.
Le Métro: Subway
Un Avion: Airplane
Une Voiture : Car
Un Billet: Ticket
Le Guichet: Ticket window
Quelle est l’horaire?: What is the schedule?
La gare: Bus/ train station
Directions Phrases In French
- À gauche: To the left.
- À droite: To the right.
- Tout droit: Straight ahead.
- Où sommes-nous?: Where are we?
- C’est loin/près d’ici?: Is it far/close by?
- La Sortie: The exit
- Nord: North
- Sud: South
- L'Est: East
- L'Ouest: West
- Ici: Here
- Là-bas: There
Places Or Accomodation Terms In French
As you explore the country, you should have an idea of what certain places are called so that it's easy for you to maneuver around.
A hostel is usually cheaper than a hotel but you have to make sure that they are accessible and clean.
J'aimerais faire une réservation: I'd like to make a reservation
Je voudrais une chambre pour deux: I would like a double room.
À quelle heure est-ce qu’il faut régler la note?: At what time should we check out?
La plage: The beach
Les Magasins: Shops
Centre commercial: Shopping mall
La poste: Post office
Le supermarché: Supermarket
La pâtisserie: Pastry shop
Asking For Help In French
As a foreigner, it is essential to learn how to ask for help if ever you find yourself in trouble, face an emergency situation or simply having issues in finding something. Keep reading to know how to deal with such circumstances!
- Je cherche: I'm looking for
- Où est: Where is...
You can say either followed by the thing or place you might be looking for.
- Où sont les toilettes?: Where is the restroom?
- Où est l'hôpital/ la pharmacie?: Where is the hospital/ the pharmacy?
- Aidez-moi: Help me
- Je suis perdu: I'm lost
- J'ai perdu ...: I've lost..
- J'ai perdu mon porte-monnaie: I've lost my wallet
- J'ai mal au cœur: I feel sick
- Appelez une ambulance: Call an ambulance
- Appelez la police: Call the police
You might be able to properly explain yourself to authority figures as they usually understand English.
Food And Ordering In Restaurant In France
Home to one of the most popular cuisines, France will surely make your mouth water with its myriad choice of cheese and pastries, not to forget its unique dishes! However, most menus are not offered in the English language, so a few basic culinary vocabulary will make your dining experience more fun. Moreover, you can also learn french by following french recipes yourself!
Le menu, s’il vous plaît: The menu, please.
Quels sont les plats du jour: What are today's specials?
Je suis allergique à ...: I'm allergic to ...
Options végétariennes: Vegetarian options
Je prendrai: I'd like
L’addition: The bill
Est-ce que le service est compris?: Is the tip included?
You should remember that tipping is not a common practice in many restaurants.
C’est trop bon!: This is so good!
Le Pain: Bread
Un Fromage: Cheese
La viande: Meat
Drinks Words In French
La carte des vins, s’il vous plaît: The wine menu, please.
Un verre de vin: A glass of wine
You cannot visit France and not try a wine collection!
Du thé: Tea
Un café: a coffee
Une bière: a beer
Du jus de fruit: Some fruit juice
De l’eau: Some water
Boisson pétillante: Fizzy drink
Money Terms In French
If you are travelling to France, you are bound to use some euros to enjoy your stay. What better way to start understanding money terms in french than now!
Billet d'argent: Notes
La monnaie: Coins
Combien ça coûte?: How much does this cost?
Je voudrais payer en liquide: I would like to pay in cash.
Acceptez-vous les cartes?: Do you accept cards?
It is important that you inquire before paying as many small restaurants do not accept cards. It is also a wiser option to carry cash with you.
Je vous dois combien?: How much do I owe you?
C'est trop cher: It is too expensive
La banque: The bank
Best Places You Need To Visit In France
A vacation to France will keep you busy with all the wonderful activities available.
Since you made it this far, we added 5 more beautiful places to visit in France along with their gorgeous names.
La tour Eiffel: The Eiffel tower
One of the must-see locations in France is surely the Eiffel Tower, a real and amazing structural masterpiece. You can mount the Tower and look down on beautiful Paris.
If you are a wine enthusiast, you may tour the winery in Bordeaux, which is also a city full of history and art.
Le Musée du Louvre: Louvre museum
The Louvre, which houses the Mona Lisa, has some of the most renowned works of art in contemporary history.
La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris: Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral is a Gothic architectural marvel and one of the most amazing tourist sites you should see.
La plage de Saint-Tropez: Saint-Tropez beach
You may also choose between the captivating beaches of Saint-Tropez and the ski resorts of Chamonix, or you can simply do both.
Now, Up To You To Practice You French!
Now that you have an idea of what le français consists of, it is time for you to practice saying these words. You can also improve your french with the tools that Speechling provides.
Remember as many as you can to make the most of your next trip to France!