Eiffel tower

Vital French for visitors

Simple French words and phrases, with audio
About-France.com  -  the connoisseur's guide to France

Survive in France...   If you don't speak any French, be reassured; here's the good news! Lots of people in France speak English, specially young people, and people working in tourism in Paris and the main holiday regions.  Now for the bad news there are also lots who do not - even working in the travel and hospitality business.  
Here therefore are twenty-five of the most important French words to learn, and twenty-five simple French phrases that  could well come in useful during a trip to France.

25 vital French words and simple expressions to learn before travelling

(The pronunciation of each word is indicated in brackets).

The sound represented  below as "eu" is the "er" sound in the British pronunciation of the word her, or the "ur" of fur.  So French Je more or less rhymes with English her, or with the word the before a consonant (as in What's the matter?).
 To listen to each word or phrase, just click the symbol  
Audio provided by https://www.frenchlearner.com - video and podcast
lessons for French phrases, grammar and vocabulary
Find hotels in France

Click for best online rates for hotels near the following towns on main  routes in France.
About-France.com is partnered with Europe's leading hotel booking portal, Booking.com, to bring you the best online prices

  1. S’il vous plaît (see-voo-play) - please   Listen
  2. Je suis  (zheu swee) I am    Listen
  3. Je cherche (zheu share-sh) I’m looking for   Listen
  4. Je veux (zheu veu) – I want   Listen
  5. Un hôtel (ern otell)A hotel   Listen
  6. Une chambre (une shombre)  - A room   Listen
  7. Manger (mon-zhay)  - To eat    Listen
  8. Boire (bwar)to drink   Listen
  9. Payer (pay-yeh) to pay   Listen
  10. Acheter (ash-tay)to buy     Listen
  11. Petit-déjeuner (peuti – dayzheurnay) - Breakfast     Listen
  12. Diner (dee-nay) - Dinner   Listen
  13. Un demi (ern deu-mee)A half pint of draught beer   Listen
  14. Un verre (ern vair)  - a glass    Listen
  15. De l’eau (deu-lo)  - some water   Listen
  16. Un thé (au lait)(ern tay olay)  - a tea (with milk)     Listen
  17. La toilette (lar twa-lette)  - the washroom, toilet.    Listen
  18. Prix (pree) - price     Listen
  19. Carte de crédit (kart deu cray-dee)  - Credit card     Listen
  20. Une banque (une bonk) – A bank   Listen
  21. Des magasins (day magga-zan) - Shops   Listen
  22. Un supermarché (ern supair-mar-shay) – A supermarket    
  23. La gare (lar gar)The train station   Listen
  24. L’aeroport (l’aero-por) the airport   Listen
  25. Une voiture (une vwa-tiure) a car.    Listen

France as it really is ►  Guide to Paris The regions of France
Best small towns The south of France Heritage cities

And 25 most useful French phrases
(Sometimes incorporating essential words from the list above)
  1. Bonjour. (bon-zhour) Hello   Listen
  2. Merci.  (mair-see) Thankyou    Listen
  3. Au revoir. (oh-reu-vwar) Goodbye    Listen
  4. Je ne comprends pas. (zheu neu kompron par )
    I don’t understand    
  5. Je ne parle pas français. (zheu neu parl par fron-say )  
    I don’t speak French    Listen
  6. Pouvez vous parler plus lentement, s’il vous plait
    (poo-vay-voo par-lay ploo lontermon)  
    Could you speak more slowly, please.    Listen
  7. Pouvez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît.  (poo-vay-voo ray-pay-tay, see-voo-play)  
     Could you repeat that please.     Listen
  8. S’il vous plaît, je cherche……  (see-voo-play, zheu share-sh ......)
    Please, I’m looking for (whatever you are looking for).   Listen
  9. Avez-vous…. (avay -voo)   Do you have…. ?     Listen
  10. Avez-vous une chambre pour deux personnes? (avay -voo une shombre poor deuh pair-sonn)  Do you have a room for two ?    Listen
  11. A quelle heure est-ce que cela ferme ?
     (a kel eure esk slar fairme)   When does it shut ?    Listen
  12. Combien ça coûte ?  (kom-bjanne sar coot)   How much is it ?    Listen
  13. Où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plaît ?   ( oo son lay twar-let, see-voo-play  
    Where is the toilet / washroom, please ?   
  14. Où est-ce qu’on peut trouver des restaurants, s’il vous plaît?
    ( oo esk on peu troo-vay day resto-ron, see-voo-play)  
    Where are there some restaurants, please ?  
  15. Un café et un café au lait, s’il vous plaît.   (ern caffay ay ern caffay olay, see-voo-play)  
    One black coffee, and one white coffee please.   
  16. L’addition, s’il vous plaît. 
    (lad-eesi-on see-voo-play)   Could I have the bill please.   Listen
  17. A l’aeroport, s’il vous plaît.  (ar l'aeropor see-voo-play)
    To the airport, please.   Listen
  18. Une table pour deux / quatre personnes.   (oon tarbleu poor deuh /cat-r pair-son)
    A table for two / for four.    Listen
  19.  Je ne me sens pas bien.(zheu neu meu son par bjanne)
      I’m not feeling very well.   Listen
  20. Nous sommes perdus.(noo som pair-dju)
    We’re lost.  Listen
  21. Nous voulons aller à …….  (noo voolon allay are...)
    We want to go to (wherever you want to go).   Listen
  22. Je cherche un distributeur de billets.
    (zheu share-sh ern dee-stree-beaut-eur deu bee-ay)
    I’m looking for an ATM / cash dispenser.  Listen
  23. Pouvez-vous m’appeler un taxi, s’il vous plaît ; 
    (poovay voo maplay ern taxi see-voo-play)
    Could you please call me a cab.   Listen
  24. Nous sommes très pressés / en retard. 
    (noo som tray pressay / on retar)
    We’re in a great hurry / late.    Listen
  25. Quel temps va-t-il faire aujourd’hui?
    (kel tom vartil fair oh-zhour-dwee)
    What’s the weather going to be like today ?    Listen

Vital French in your pocket.... Rather than a complicated phrasebook, just print out our PDF vital French page or save this page to your mobile-phone before you go.
More French language with About-France.com :

Copyright © About-France.com 2007 - 2019 except where otherwise stated.  
About-France.com   Home page -  Site search  -  Regions  -  Maps of France  -  Contact

Heritage map of France

Other places to stay

Apart from its well-known hotel chains, France has a wide variety of accommodation options

For students
The About-France.com
Online French Grammar
Free, full , clear explanations and lots of examples

xmas shopping
Shop safely for Christmas.
Gifts from France
, fashion,  souvenirs, food and wine
and more.
A choice of French stores & brands that deliver abroad

Click here for
low-cost car hire in France

Website text and photos © copyright About-France.com 2004 - 2019
unless otherwise stated

About-France.com uses cookies to offer you a complete service. If you are OK with this, click otherwise request more details