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Basic French Words & Phrases (Perfect for Travelers!)

Perfect for beginners, here are 70 basic French words and phrases for travel inc. getting around, booking hotels, eating & drinking, etc all with phonetic pronunciation. Impress locals and enhance your experience!

When it comes to visiting France, whether you’re planning a trip to Paris, any other major French city, the French countryside (or any other French-speaking destination!), knowing some basic French words and phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience.

In this post, we’ll cover some essential French vocabulary and phrases (along with their phonetic translations!) that will help you navigate your way through France with ease.

We’ll start with some common words and phrases that are useful in everyday situations in French and English – along with their phonetic French pronunciation – then move on to words and phrases for getting around and asking for directions. We’ll also cover common French words and phrases for booking and staying in a hotel, as well as words and phrases for ordering food and drinks at restaurants or cafes.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to France, these essential words and phrases will help you communicate with locals and make the most of your time in this beautiful country. Now we don’t expect you to speak French like a native speaker – but we do hope that you are able to use your (new!) language skills to more than just survive on your trip to France!

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Basic French Words for Travel with Pronunciation

Bonjour graphic

  • Yes – Oui [wee]
  • No – Non [nohn]
  • Hello – Bonjour [bohn-zhoor]
  • Good Evening – Bonsoir / Bonne soirée [bohn-swahr]
  • Goodbye – Au revoir [oh ruh-vwahr]
  • Goodnight – Bonne nuit [bun nwee]
  • Please – s’il vous plait [see voo pleh]
  • Please (informal) – sil te plaît [see tee pleh]
  • Thank You – Merci [mehr-see]
  • Thank you very much – Merci Beaucoup [mehr-see boh-koo]
  • Excuse me – Pardon [pahr-dohn]
  • Excuse me – Excusez-moi [ehk-skew-zay mwah]
  • I’m Sorry –  Je suis désolé [zhuh swee day-zoh-lay]
  • How are you? – Comment ça va? [kom-men sah vah] / Comment allez-vous [kom-mawn-tal-ay-voo]
  • One, Two, Three – Une, Deux, Trois [Oon, duh, trwah]
  • OK – D’accord [dah-kor]
  • No Problem / It was nothing – De rien [duh ree-ehn]
  • You’re welcome / Don’t mention it – Je vous en prie [zhuh vooz on pree]
  • I don’t understand – Je ne comprends pas [zhuh nuh kohm-pren pah]
  • More slowly, please – Plus lentement, s’il vous plait [ploo lont-mahn, seel voo pleh]
  • Do you speak English? – Parlez-vous anglais? [par-lay voo on-glay]
  • What is your name? – Comment vous appelez-vous? [kuh-mohn voo zah-pleh voo]
  • I would like… – Je voudrais… [zhuh voo-dray]
  • I am… – Je suis… [zhuh swee]
  • I love you – Je t’aime [zhuh tem]
  • What time is it? – Quelle heure est-il [kell ur eh-teel]

Basic French Words and Phrases Related to Getting Directions/Getting Around

Eiffel Tower as seen through a smartphone screen Remember to always start any conversation with “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” (good morning/good afternoon/good evening). For extra points and to be particularly respectful, include Madame (f), Monsieur (m) or Mademoiselle (young female) depending on who you are talking to.

  • Where is – Où se trouve… ? [oo suh troov…]
  • Where are..? – Ou est? [oo eh..?]
  • Where are the toilets? – Où sont les toilettes? [oo sohn lay twa-let]
  • I am lost – Je suis perdue [zhuh swee pair-doo]
  • Can you help me? – Est-ce que vous pouvez m’aider ? [ess-kuh voo poo-vay may-day]
  • How can I get to…? – Comment puis-je aller à… ? [koh-mahn pweezh-juh ah-lay ah…]
  • Turn Left / Right – Tournez à gauche / droite [toor-nay ah go-sh / dwaht]
  • Go straight ahead – Allez tout droit [ah-lay too dwa]
  • Follow this street – Suivez cette rue [swee-vay set roo]
  • Do you know where (x) is located – Est-ce que vous savez où se trouve… ? [ess-kuh voo sah-vay oo suh troov…]
  • The beach – La plage [lah plahzh]
  • The museum – Le musée [leh muzee]

Basic French Phrases related to using Public Transport

Paris Metro Sign Remember to always say “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” (good morning/good afternoon/good evening) when addressing the staff.

  • I would like a ticket for… – Je voudrais un billet pour… [juh voo-dreh uh bee-yeh poor]
  • One-way ticket – Aller simple [al-lay san-pluh]
  • Round Trip Ticket – Aller-retour [al-lay ruh-tour]
  • What is the fare? – Quel est le tarif ? [kel eh luh tah-reef]
  • Excuse me, where is the metro station?” – Excusez-moi, où est la station de métro? [ex-kew-zay mwah, oo eh lah sta-see-yon duh may-tro?]
  • When does the train/bus/metro arrive?” – Quand est-ce que le train/bus/métro arrive ? [kahnd eh-skuh luh trahn/boos/may-tro ah-reev?]
  • Is this the right platform for the train to (destination)?” – Est-ce que c’est le bon quai pour le train en direction de (destination)? [ess-kuh say luh bawn keh pour luh trahn ahn dee-rek-see-yon duh…]
  • Excuse me, can you tell me when to get off for (destination)?” – Excusez-moi, pouvez-vous me dire quand descendre pour (destination)? [ex-kew-zay mwah, puh-vay voo muh deer kahnd dahn-druh pour…]
  • – Is this the right stop to go to…? – Est-ce que c’est le bon arrêt pour aller à…? [ess kuh say luh bohn ah-reh pour ah-lay ah…]
  • Where is the exit? – Où est la sortie ? [oo eh lah sohr-tee]
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Basic French Phrases related to Food: Eating, Drinking, Ordering, etc.

Four tables full of people dining outside a restaurant in Paris at night, the table umbrellas lit by hanging lights

  • How much does it cost? – Combien ça coûte? [kohm-bee-yehn sah koot]
  • The menu, please – La carte [lah kahrt, see voo pleh]
  • Can I see the menu, please? – Puis-je voir le menu, s’il vous plaît? [pwee zhuh vwahr luh meh-nu sil voo play]
  • I would like to order, please – Je voudrais commander, s’il vous plaît [zhuh voo-dreh koh-mahn-deh sil voo play]
  • What do you recommend? – Qu’est-ce que vous recommandez? [kesk voo ruh-kuh-man-day]
  • I would like… – Je voudrais… [zhuh voo-dreh]
  • Enjoy your food – Bon Appetit [bohn ap-pe-tite]
  • A croissant, please – Un croissant, s’il vous plaît [uhn kruh-sahn sil voo play] 
    A staple of French food…
  • A baguette, please – Une baguette, s’il vous plaît [ewn bah-get sil voo play]
  • A glass of red/white wine, please – Un verre de vin rouge/blanc, s’il vous plaît [uhn vehr duh vahn rooj/blahnk sil voo play]
  • A jug of tap water please – Une carafe d’eau [ewn kah-raf doh]
  • The bill, please – L’addition, s’il vous plaît [lah-dee-see-on sil voo play]
  • Excuse me, could we have the check/bill? – Excusez-moi, pourrions-nous avoir l’addition ? [eks-kyoo-zay mwa poor-ree-ohn noo zah-vwar lah-dee-see-on]
  • Do you have a reservation? – Avez-vous une réservation ? [ah-veh-voo ewn rey-zer-vah-syon]
  • Could we have a table for two, please? – Pourrions-nous avoir une table pour deux, s’il vous plaît? [poor-ree-ohn noo zah-vwar ewn tahbl poor duh sil voo play]

Basic French Phrases related to Booking and Staying in a Hotel

View out of an open window of a hotel in Paris

  • I have a reservation, please. – J’ai une réservation, s’il vous plaît. [zhay ewn rez-air-vay-syon, seel voo play]
  • Can I see the room first? – Puis-je voir la chambre d’abord? [pwee zhuh vwahr lah shahmbruh dah-bor]
  • What time is breakfast served? – À quelle heure est servi le petit-déjeuner? [ah kell ur ay ser-vee luh puh-tee day-zhuh-nay]
  • Can I have a wake-up call at [time]? – Pouvez-vous me réveiller à [heure], s’il vous plaît? [poo-vay voo muh ray-vay-lay ah [ur], seel voo play]
  • What time is check-out – À quelle heure est le check-out ?” [Ah kell-er uhr ay luh check-out?]
  • I need an extra pillow/blanket/towel. – J’ai besoin d’un oreiller/couverture/serviette supplémentaire. [zhay buh-zwan doo-nuh-ray-yuh/koo-vair-too/sair-vyet soo-play-mahn-tair]
  • Where is the elevator/stairs? – Où se trouvent l’ascenseur/les escaliers? [oo suh troo-vuh lah-sawn-sur/layz-es-kal-yay]
  • Is there a safe in the room? – Y a-t-il un coffre-fort dans la chambre? [ee-air-teel oon koffr-for dahns lah shahmbruh]
  • Can you recommend a good restaurant nearby? – Pouvez-vous me recommander un bon restaurant à proximité? [poo-vay voo muh rah-koh-mahn-day oon bohn reh-stoh-rahn ah prok-see-mee-tay]

Final Thoughts on 70+ Basic French Words and Phrases for Travel

We hope these basic French words and phrases for travel help you do more than just introduce yourself, ask the time or say hello in French (although the basics are a great place to start.) Having a little bit of French language on your side while you are traveling in France (or any French-speaking country) can be one of your best assets and as such, we hope these useful French phrases can help you in a variety of situations and make your travels easier, safer and more enjoyable.

If you liked learning these common French phrases, or know someone heading to France that needs to learn French, please be sure to share on social media: Facebook, Flipboard, Twitter or grab the image from below for Pinterest. And remember – sharing is caring (and we thank you in advance!)

Cover photo of 70 Basic French Words and Phrases for Travel post featuring a lightbox with the words: Do You Speak French?


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