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It’s finally happening, the trip you’ve dreamed about since you first saw photos of the Eiffel tower – you planning your trip to France.
Aside from booking your flight and planning your itinerary, one of the most important things you can do before your trip is to look into learning a few French phrases for travel.
Being able to communicate, even a little, with native French speakers is key to making friends not just in France, but in other places around the world where French is spoken.
French is a common and useful language to learn, not just for travel but for business. French is one of the European Union’s official languages, so chances are good you will be able to make yourself understood almost anywhere in Europe with a little French.
All in all, France is the official language of 29 countries, including some very dreamy and exotic locations like French Polynesia, the Seychelles, and Monaco.
Where ever you are planning to go in the French-speaking world, your trip will be made all the more enjoyable if you learn these French phrases.
Even if you don’t intend to hold an entire conversation in French with someone, you should at least learn these four basic phrases.
1. Bonjour! - Hello
2. Au Revoir - Goodbye
3. Oui - Yes
4. Non – No
You might also hear these phrases used in greeting or in farewell in French-speaking countries. You should know how to recognize them when you hear them and you might want to use them yourself as well
5. Salut – Hi/Bye
6. Bonne après-midi – Good afternoon
7. Bonne journée – Good day
8. Bonsoir – Good evening
9. Bonne nuit – Good night
10. À tout à l’heure! – See you later
11. À la prochaine! – See you next time
12. Je suis désolé(e), mais je dois y aller – I’m sorry, I have to go
Politeness is an essential social lubricant. Being able to address someone in a way that is considered polite will go long way into making a good first impression. To that extent, memorize these phrases and use them accordingly.
13. S’il vous plait - Please
14. Merci/ Merci beaucoup - Thank you/Thank you very much
15. Je suis désolé - I’m sorry
16. Pardon, excusez-moi - Excuse me
17. De rien – You’re welcome
The three phrases below are general forms of address for a French person depending on gender.
If you want to be formal, add these before you say their name. Or, if you don’t know their name and just want to call their attention, you can use one of these terms to address them.
10. Madame – Mrs.
11. Monsieur – Mr.
12. Madamoiselle –Ms
After you have caught the attention of a “madame” or “monsieur”, it’s only polite that you introduce yourself.
13. Je m’appelle – My name is
14. Comment vous appelez-vous? – What is your name?
15. Je suis ravi(e) de faire votre connaissance – I am delighted to meet you
16. Enchanté – Pleased to meet you
17. Comment allez-vous? – How are you?
18. Je suis là pour les vacances – I am here for vacation
19. Je suis là pour les le travail – I am here for work
One of the best ways to really learn a language is to have conversations with native language speakers. If you are travelling to a French-speaking country, this is a great time to practice your French.
It is important, however, that you let people know that you are just learning their language. It will let them know that you might need them to speak a little slower and maybe be ready to answer questions that you might have about the nuances of their beautiful language.
20. Je ne parle pas francais – I do not speak French
21. Je parle un peu de français – I speak a little
22. Parlez lentement, s’il vous plait – Speak slowly, please
23. Répétez, s’il vous plait – Repeat, please
24. Encore une fois – One more time
25. Écrivez-le, s’il vous plait – Write it down please
When traveling through a new country, you will want to know how you can ask for help getting around and finding important places. It will definitely help if you memorize these French phrases for travel.
26. Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
27. Pourriez-vous m’aider? – Could you help me?
28. J'ai un problem – I have a problem
29. J'ai une question – I have a question
30. Je comprends – I understand
31. Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand
32. Comment? – What?
33. Quand? - When?
34. Où est? – Where is?
Of course, you are excited to go around, see the sights, but even the best guide book will not really prepare you for actually BEING in a new country. You will still want to be able to ask locals for directions and even recommendations.
If you are traveling to a French-speaking area, you will want to be able to use these phrases to ask for directions to important locations.
35. Où sommes-nous? – Where are we?
36. Où est-ce que je peux trouver un plan de la ville? – Where can I find a city map?
37. Où est un bon restaurant? Where is a good restaurant?
38. Où est un bon café? – Where is a good café?
39. Où sont des toilettes? – Where are the toilets?
40. Où est la plage? – Where is the beach?
41. Où est le centre-ville? Where is the city center?
42. Je cherche le metro. – I am looking for the metro.
43. Je cherche le gare. – I am looking for the train station
44. Je cherche le l’aéroport – I am looking for the airport
45. Je cherche l’hôtel – I am looking for a hotel
46. Je cherche l’hôpital – I am looking for the hospital
47. Je cherche la banque – I am looking for a bank
48. Où sont les magasins? - Where are the shops?
49. Où est le centre-commercial? - Where is the mall?
50. C’est près d’ici? - Is it close by?
51. C’est loin? - Is it far?
52. À quelle heure est-ce que s’est ouvert? - At what time is it open?
53. À quelle heure est-ce que s’est fermé? - At what time is it closed?
54. Emmenez-moi à cette adresse, s’il vous plait – Take me to this address, please
So you’ve successfully managed to ask how you can find a bank, but can you understand the directions they’ve given you on how to get there?
Here are a few phrases you might hear in response to a question about directions. You should memorize and understand them in order to follow those directions.
55. C’est à gauche - It’s to the left
56. C’est à droite - It’s to the right
57. C’est tout droit - It’s straight ahead
58. Tout droite – Turn left
59. Tournez à gauche – Turn right
You asked how to get to the metro station, successfully followed the directions, and now you stand in front of it. Here are a few phrases you should know in order to get a ride on various forms of public transportation.
60. Où est le guichet? - Where is the ticket window?
61. À quelle heure faut-il arriver? - What time should it arrive?
62. Je voudrais regarder l’horaire - I would like to look at the schedule
63. Je voudrais acheter un billet aller simple/aller-retour -I would like to purchase a one-way ticket/a round-trip ticket
64. Je voudrais réserver un billet - I would like to reserve a ticket
You asked for directions to a hotel and now you stand in front of one. You can use the following phrases to get yourself a room.
65. Je voudrais une chamber – I would like a room
66. Pour une nuit – For one night
67. Pour duex nuit – For two nights
68. Pour une personne – For one person
69. Pour deux personnes – For two people
70. Quelles chambres avez-vous de disponible? - What rooms do you have available?
71. À quelle heure est-ce qu’il faut régler la note? - At what time should we check out?
Did you forget your toothbrush? Or maybe you promised you would bring back a bottle of your mother’s favorite French perfume for her.
Whatever the reason you need to go shopping, here are a few French phrases that will make the task easier for you.
72. Je cherche un – I am looking for
73. Je regarde pour l’instant – I’m just looking
74. Combien ça coûte? - How much does it cost?
75. C’est trop cher! - It’s too expensive!
76. C’est bon marché! - It’s a great deal!
77. Est-ce que je peux payer avec une carte de crédit? - Can I pay with a credit card?
78. Je voudrais payer en liquide/espèces – I would like to pay cash
Food and drink are an important part of French culture. Whether you are in France or just a French-speaking country, they are sure to have a rich dining tradition.
You definitely don’t want to just dine in McDonald’s, so make sure that you ask around for a good restaurant or café. While you are there, you can use these phrases to help you order.
79. Une table pour – A table for
80. La carte/le menu, s’il vous plait - The menu, please
81. Je voudrais – I would like
82. Je voudrais de l’eau - I would like some water
83. L’addition, s’il vous plait - The bill, please
On one hand, talking about the weather seems a rather “mundane” topic to start a conversation about, but it’s actually very useful to be able to ask about the weather when traveling in a foreign country. It will help you plan your activities for the day.
Here are a few French phrases and questions about the weather that you might find useful to understand.
84. Quel temps va-t-il faire aujourd’hui? – What will the weather be like today?
85. Il pleut — It’s raining
86. Il fait du soleil — It’s sunny
87. Il fait du vent — It’s windy
88. Il fait chaud — It’s hot
89. Il fait froid — It’s cold
No matter where you are, it’s always a good idea to know how to call for help in case of emergencies. Here are a few French phrases you can use to alert those around you that you need help – and not just directions.
90. À l’aide! – Help!
91. Appelez la police! – Call the police!
92. Au feu! – Fire!
93. Je ne me sens pas bien – I don’t feel well
94. J’ai besoin d’un médicin – I need a doctor
95. Je me sens menacé. – I feel threatened
Whether you are planning to travel to France or a French-speaking country for a few days, a week, or even a few months, before you go is the best time to start learning some beginner French.
What will really help the most is to book a few online tutoring sessions with a native French-speaking tutor. They can coach you on how to pronounce these phrases properly and even clue you into some slang words and turns of phrases that will make it easier for you to communicate.
Here’s one more French phrase for travel, bon voyage! Have a good trip!
Salut - Hi, Bonsoir - Good evening, Bonne nuit - Good night.
Politeness is an essential social lubricant. Being able to address someone in a way that is considered polite will go long way into making a good first impression. To that extent, memorize these phrases and use them accordingly. S’il vous plait - Please, Merci/ Merci beaucoup - Thank you/Thank you very much, Pardon, excusez-moi - Excuse me, De rien – You’re welcome.
The three phrases below are general forms of address for a French person depending on gender. If you want to be formal, add these before you say their name. Or, if you don’t know their name and just want to call their attention, you can use one of these terms to address them. Madame – Mrs., Monsieur – Mr., Madamoiselle –Ms
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