Useful French Language Phrases For Travelling In France

28 February, 2011

If you are planning a trip, be it for a family holiday or personal sabbatical from work,  it is extremely important that you learn at least a couple of useful phrases. As well as being common courtesy that you make an effort, which the natives are always very impressed with, it is also much easier when you know what you’re saying and hearing.

Let’s be honest here, in general the French people have a much better grasp of the English language than we do of theirs. This is why, with a bit of effort, even if you do not fully learn the language the majority of French people you interact with will be delighted that you have made and effort and much more likely to help you and talk back to you.

Here are some basic and useful phrases for eating out in a restaurant and asking for directions:


The Basics

Hello Bonjour
Excuse me Excusez-moi
Yes Oui
No Non
Please S’il vous plaît
Sorry Pardon
Thank you Merci

Eating/Drinking Out

The menu La carte
Wine Le vin
A beer Une bière
A coffee Un café
Do you have a table for six? Avez-vous une table pour six?
I would like to order now Je voudrais commander maintenant.
To start… Comme hors d’œuvre…
For the main course… Comme plat principal…
For dessert… Comme dessert…
Waiter! Garçon!
The bill L’addition


I’m looking for… Je cherche…
Where is… Où est…
Where are… Où sont…
How do I get to… Comment vais-je à…
Can you show me on the map? Pouvez-vous me montrer sur la carte?
Turn to the left Tournez à gauche
Turn to the right Tournez à droite


Before you make your trip, you should invest in a good quality phrase book. The trick with these books is not to just open them when you’re already there and have never seen the word before. Instead you should have a good old read through and practice saying the words and phrases that you think you’re going to be likely to say.

If you are unsure of the pronunciation then have a search on the internet or buy a CD or iPhone app. This is the case with whichever country you’re visiting and most cities would offer a decent Italian, Japanese courses. If you make no effort to pronounce the words, then you will not be understood or respected by the natives.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

Comments (9)

  • JohnReply

    1 March, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Very nice site!

  • Alston J. BalkcomReply

    1 March, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    another great tip is to take your laptop and browse youtube. there are great (and free) french lessons there ….

  • JennieReply

    1 March, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Great advices!

    My name is Jennie, and I just wanted to let you and all travellers know that there now is a webpage called, where you finally can get some use out of all these photos you have, posing by different tourist attractions all over the world.

    Choose between almost 150 different attractions and typical touristic activities, upload your photos (and remember, you also have to be in every photo to prove you were actually there.. :), reach different tourist-levels and everybody over 80 points will become Ultimate Tourists.

    Good Luck!

  • nadrahanReply

    3 March, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for such a nice Post. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from it. I will wait for content from your Side. Thanks for sharing your valuable Views.

  • ChelandoReply

    7 March, 2011 at 7:14 pm


    Yes, french language is useful in France . Before i am goes to France and i don’t know the language of french and i am not understand how i can talk with people and manage everything.

  • FrenchfanReply

    28 October, 2011 at 5:46 am

    This is very useful! Thanks! Just thought I’d share a site that can also help a lot before a trip to France. It’s
    It’s different from most language courses that focus on “the boy has a red
    ball”. It teaches you the language focusing on precise situations / tasks: asking for directions, ordering at a restaurant, shopping in France.

  • moneReply

    24 December, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading
    it, you could be a great author.I will always bookmark
    your blog and will eventually come back in the foreseeable future.
    I want to encourage continue your great posts, have a nice evening!

  • TonjaReply

    2 March, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Your way off explaining everything inn this paragraph is in fact nice, every one can without difficulty understand it, Thanks a

  • DonnieReply

    18 June, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Very helpful information. Lucky me I came across
    your web site accidentally, I bookmarked it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *