June 19, 2024

The Basics Phrases You Need to Know


Courtesy is 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. Here are a few key words and phrases you need in France.

  • 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 it either way if you bump into someone or make your way through a crowd.
  • Au revoir: Goodbye
  • Bonne journée!: Have a good day!
  • Oui: Yes
  • Non: No
  • 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

  • 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

The transit system is the main mode of transport in the country. These phrases will help you navigate the system.

  • 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
  • Le Métro: Subway
  • Un Avion: Airplane
  • Une Voiture: Car
  • Un Billet: Ticket
  • Le Guichet: Ticket window
  • Quelle est l’horaire?: What is the schedule?
  • L’aéroport: Airport
  • La gare: Bus/ train station

Directions Phrases

  • 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
  • Ici: Here
  • Là-bas: There

Places Or Accommodations Terms

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.

  • L’hôtel: Hotel
  • J’aimerais faire une réservation: I’d like to make a reservation.
  • Je voudrais une chambre pour deux: I would like a double room.
  • La plage: The beach
  • Les Magasins: Shops
  • Centre commercial: Shopping mall
  • Le supermarché: Supermarket
  • La pâtisserie: Pastry shop

Asking For Help

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…
  • Où sont les toilettes?: Where is the restroom?
  • 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.
  • Combien ça coûte?: How much does this cost?
  • Je vous dois combien?: How much do I owe you?

Food And Ordering

France will surely make your mouth water with its myriad choice of cheese and pastries, not to forget its unique dishes! Most menus are not offered in English, so a few basic culinary words will make your dining experience more productive.

  • Le menu, s’il vous plaît: The menu, please.
  • Quels sont les plats du jour: What are today’s specials?
  • L’addition: The bill
  • C’est trop bon!: This is so good!
  • Le Pain: Bread
  • Un Fromage: Cheese
  • La viande: Meat


  • Du thé: Tea
  • Un café: a coffee
  • Une bière: a beer
  • Du jus de fruit: Some fruit juice
  • De l’eau: Some water

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