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Traveling to France? These Basic French Words and Phrases Will Help

Mary Anthony Oct 4, 2019
Planning to soak in the fresh crisp air of the French Riviera, taking long strolls on the Champs-Elysees, or dining with an amazing view from the Eiffel Tower and tasting the exquisite French cuisine? Then this piece will help you converse in basic, easy phrases in French, to help you travel around in France with relative ease.

It's Never Adieu!

While in France, avoid using Adieu when saying goodbye even to strangers, because its literal translation means 'to God'. It is also considered rude and as a kind of insult.
The French are very particular about their language, and while in France, it's best to be polite and nice while speaking. Make a point to say 'hello' with the appropriate use of the title and with courtesy. While on the street, watch your tongue when you bump into someone and say 'pardon', 'Au revoir' is the best way to say goodbye to strangers.
While pronouncing, the stress is always on the last syllable of the word. Be careful not to shout and speak while speaking English, and make sure you speak slowly, as the French know very little of it. Learn these basic French words and phrases, that will help you in navigating your way around France with ease.

The Basics

✦ Yes - Oui
✦ No - Non
✦ Please - S'il vous plaît
✦ Thank you/Thank you very much - Merci/ Merci Beaucoup
✦ Excuse me/Excuse - Excusez-moi/Pardon
✦ Of course! - Bien sûr
✦ Sorry - Je suis désolé
✦ You're welcome - Je vous en prie
✦ What is your name? - Comment tu t'appelles?
✦ My name is - Je m'appelle

Basic and Seasonal Greetings

✦ Hello! Good morning - Bonjour!
✦ Hello! Good evening - Bonsoir!
✦ Bye - Au revoir!
✦ See you later - à plus tard
✦ See you in a while - à tout à l'heure
✦ See you soon - à bientôt!
✦ See you tomorrow - à demain!
✦ Laters - à plus!
✦ Have a good day - Bonne journée!
✦ Have a good evening - Bonne soirée!
✦ Good luck - Bonne chance!
✦ Have a good trip - Bon voyage!
✦ Enjoy your meal - Bon appétit!
✦ Cheers! - Santé!
✦ Merry Christmas - Joyeux noël!
✦ Happy New Year - Bonne année!


✦ Police - Police
✦ Hospital - L'hôpital
✦ Fire Department - Les pompiers
✦ Embassy - Ambassade
✦ Police Officer - Un policier
✦ Fireman - Un pompier
✦ Emergency! - Urgence!
✦ Fire! - Au feu!
✦ Thief! - Au voleur!
✦ Watch out! - Attention!
✦ Accident - Un accident
✦ Crash - Une collision
✦ Help - Aider
✦ Call a doctor - Appeler un médecin
✦ Call an ambulance - Appeler une ambulance
✦ I'm lost - Je suis perdu

At the Airport

✦ Airport - Aéroport
✦ Entrance - Entrée
✦ Exit - Sortie
✦ Departure hall - Hall d'arrivée
✦ Customs - Douane
✦ Gate - Porte
✦ How long is the flight? - Combien de temps dure le vol?
✦ How many pieces of luggage can I take? - Combien de valises est-ce que je peux prendre?
✦ When do I have to be at the gate? - Quand est-ce que je dois être a la porte?
✦ Is the flight very busy? - Est-ce que le vol est complet?
✦ How long is the visa valid for? - Pour combien de temps le visa est-il valide?
✦ Will you serve a hot meal? - Est-ce-que vous servirez un plat chaud?

While Traveling by Cab/Car

✦ How much do I own you? - Combien est-ce que je vous dois?
✦ Can you take me to... - Est-ce que vous pouvez m'emmener à
✦ I'm in a hurry - Je suis pressé
✦ I'd like to go to... - Je voudrais aller à
✦ Can you wait for me? - Pouvez-vous m'attendre?
✦ Turn right/left - Tourner à gauche/droite
✦ I'd like to rent a car please - Je voudrais louer un voiture s'il vous plaît
✦ Where is the closest gas station? - Où est le station-service le plus proche?

For Accommodation

✦ I'll pay cash - Je vais payer en espèces
✦ I'd like a room with two beds - Je voudrais une chambre à deux lits
✦ I'd like a room that has a shower in it - Je voudrais une chambre avec une douche dans la chambre
✦ When is the check-out? - Quelle est l'heure limite d'occupation?

While Traveling by Train

✦ Is this the right platform for the train to... - Est-ce que c'est le bon quai pour le train de
✦ I'd like the schedule - Je voudrais l'horaire
✦ I'd like a round trip ticket to - Je voudrais un billet en aller retour pour
✦ I'd like a one way ticket to - Je voudrais un billet en aller simple pour
✦ Where's the ticket counter? - Où est le guichet?
✦ Where are we? - Où sommes-nous?

While Dining Out

✦ I am finished - J'ai terminé
✦ I'll have - Je vais prendre
✦ I would like - Je voudrais
✦ The check please - L'addition, s'il vous plaît
✦ Where can you find a good restaurant? - Où y-a-t-il un bon restaurant?
✦ A table for two, please - Une table pour deux, s'il vous plaît
✦ I would like something to drink - Je voudrais boire quelque chose
✦ A glass of water, please - Un verre d'eau, s'il vous plaît
✦ Do you have vegetarian dishes? - Avez-vous des plats végétariens?
✦ Is the tip included? - Est-ce que le service est compris?


✦ Supermarket - Un hypermarché
✦ Bakery - La boulangerie
✦ Diary - La crémerie
✦ Cheese Shop -La fromagerie
✦ Bank - La banque
✦ Post Office - La poste
✦ Museum - Musée
✦ Library - Bibliothèque

Some More Basic Phrases

✦ I speak little French - Je parle (un peu de) français
✦ Do you speak English? - Parlez-vous anglais?
✦ What? - Comment?
✦ I don't understand - Je ne comprends pas
✦ Repeat, please - Répétez, s'il vous plaît
✦ One more time - Encore une fois
✦ I have a question - J'ai une question
✦ I don't know - Je ne sais pas
✦ I'm looking for... - Je cherche
✦ Can you help me? - Pouvez-vous m'aider?

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Learning a new language is always fun. With the help of these, you may not end up as a pro, but these basic phrases will allow you to make your trip easier, safe, and a happy one. Bon Voyage!