Before Your Trip

The French Words You Need To Know Before Your Trip

I am a Communication and Design student, and I love to write about the places I travel to. I look forward to explore more on the world.

Bienvenue to your linguistic assistance during your stay in France! The Parisian streets, world-famous brands, exquisite restaurants, shops, museums, bars… France is a must-see country with its breath-taking, romantic vibe that will take you to a dreamy experience. The ultimate French experience that you have planned for yourself will be even more elevated with some basic knowledge of beginner French. To provide you a both enjoyable and knowledgeable travel, we have prepared a guide consisting of language tips suitable for different occasions.
Why should you start with the most common French words?

French words have become integral to English, and proper pronunciation is vital to understanding them. French pronunciation can be tricky as it involves a lot of nasal sounds and silent letters. The pronunciation of French words differs from English words, but once mastered, it adds an air of sophistication to your language skills.

This is the exact reason why it might be the perfect time to babystep into French words! These common phrases and sentences will literally save your life during your trip, helping you to interact with the locals and fully understand your whereabouts. Besides, who wouldn’t like to learn one of the single most beautifully sounding languages in the world?


French Words

The French language has significantly impacted the English language, with many French words and phrases becoming part of everyday English vocabulary. Some examples include “bon appétit,” “carte blanche,” and “à la mode.” French loanwords are often used to describe fashion, cuisine, art, and music. Learning French can be a great way to expand your vocabulary and improve your understanding of English.

French verbs are an integral part of the French language and are also widely used in English. Many commonly used English words such as rendezvous, sabotage, and chauffeur, have their origins in French verbs. The conjugation of French verbs is complex and depends on the tense, mood, and subject pronoun. For instance, the verb “parler” meaning “to speak” can be conjugated differently depending on whether the subject pronoun is “je,” “tu,” “il/elle/on,” “nous,” “vous,” or “ils/elles.”

French Words Before Your Trip:

Oui, je parle français: Yes, I speak French.
Non, je ne parle pas français: No, I don’t speak French.
Merci beaucoup: Thank you very much.
Je ne comprends pas: I don’t understand.
Bonsoir: Good evening.
Comment allez-vous?: How are you?
Où est…?: Where is …?
Comment vous appelez-vous?: What is your name?
Pourriez-vous m’aider?: Can you help me?

Words for politeness and greetings

Bonjour French

We all know that kindness is the key when meeting new people or a new environment. You will have much better time in France if you keep these basic phrases of politeness and greetings in mind.

Bonjour: Hello – We have now arrived at our most popular one: Bonjour. It’s basically universal to say “hello” in French, and you can always use “Bonjour” when entering a coffee shop, a restaurant, a store, a museum or to a random person walking across if it’s simply a good day.

Excusez-moi: Excuse me – Excusez-moi is probably one of the most used phrases in French. You could use it whether you want to order at a restaurant, ask about something’s price, or simply ask people to move aside on the sidewalk.

Pardon: Pardon – Much like “Excusez-moi”, “Pardon” is also a nice way of expressing your politeness, especially if you want to softly apologize. You can also use “Pardon” as in “Pardon?” to express unclarity, and if you would like other party to repeat.

S’il vous plaît: Please – When requesting something, you wouldn’t forget to say “please”, obviously. You can comfortably use “S’il vous plaît” during your stay in France, in any context where you would like to kindly ask for something. “S’il te plaît” is also another version of saying “please”, but only with a different subject: you would use this when you are talking to someone informally, practically calling them “you”. However, “S’il vous plaît” would express more of a formal attitude as in talking to elderly, or a stranger.

Note: You can use “Répétez s’il vous plaît” to say “Please repeat” when what you have been told is not very clear.

Additional phrases to get you around:

· Enchanté – Nice to meet you.
· Bien, merci! – Good, thanks.
· Au revoir  – Goodbye
· Madame / Monsieur / Mademoiselle: Mrs. / Mr. / Miss
· Bonne nuit: Good night
· Quoi de neuf?: What’s up?
· Je vous en prie: My pleasure / You are welcome

French Words for Food & Drinks

french food

When in France, you know that you will definitely give a feast to your taste buds! The French are famous for their unique cuisine including baked goods, fine wine, meats, stews, crepes, desserts, cheese and so much more. We strongly recommend trying the local French cuisine featuring a number of options from fine dining to street food.

Here are the meals:

  • Breakfast – le petit-déjeuner
  • Lunch – le déjeuner
  • Dinner – le dîner

When it comes to the food itself, well, it’s hard to list everything the rich French cuisine offers, but let’s start with the basics and the classics that you probably already know:

· Croissant – Well, croissant.
· Baguette – Long, thin type of bread; very crisp
· Coq au vin – Stew of chicken cooked with red wine and vegetables
· Escargots – Snails
· Croque-Monsieur – Sandwich made of ham, cheese, mustard, butter
· Ratatouille – Stew of vegetables

Une boisson, meaning beverage, is a whole other subject of dining when it comes to France. Here are some drinks that you will definitely encounter during your stay:

· L’eau – Water
· Un express – Espresso
· Une boisson gazeuse – Soft drink
· Le vin – Wine
· Une infusion – Herbal tea
· Le jus – Juice

How to order food in French:


The following sentence is the base that you can use when ordering food politely:

  • Je voudrais + un/une + noun + s’il vous plaît.

Here are some more examples related to ordering:

La carte/le menu, s’il vous plait – The menu, please.
L’addition, s’il vous plait – The check, please.
Je voudrais de l’eau – I would like some water.
Nous voudrions commander maintenant – We would like to order.

o Note that “nous” is for “we”, so if you are by yourself, you can just say “je voudrais commander maintenant”.

· Avez-vous un menu en anglais? – Do you have a menu in English?
· Je vais prendre… – I’m going to take…
· Qu’est-ce que vous recommandez? – What do you recommend?

o Quel est le plat du jour? – What is the dish of the day?

In case of dietary restrictions, here are a few example sentences you can use:

Je ne peux pas manger cacahuètes — I can’t eat peanuts.
Je suis allergique à produits laitiers — I’m allergic to dairy products.
Je suis végétarien(ne) – I’m vegetarian.
Je suis végan(e). – I’m vegan.

Useful French phrases for shopping

french words for shopping

France is the ultimate destination to bring out the shopaholic inside you! The country is world famous for its fashion shows, luxury brands, galas, haute couture, and so much more. You can have a tasteful shopping adventure wandering through Parisian streets, vitrines, shops. We wouldn’t want you to get lost in translation during your tour of shopping, and we would like to make sure you are secure with your expenses! That is the exact reason why you might need a few words to catch up with the French fashion world.

S’il vous plaît / s’il te eau plaît– “Please”

Je voudrais… – I would like…
Combien coute..? – How much does… cost?
Avez vous…? – Do you have…?
C’est… – It’s…
· Trop grand – too big
· Trop petite – too small
· Parfait – perfect

Here are some examples of common phrases you can use while shopping:

Où sont les magasins? – Where are the shops?
Je vais payer en liquide. – I’m going to pay in cash.
Est-ce que je peux avoir un sac? – Can I have a bag?
Est-ce que vous avez d’autres tailles? – Do you have other sizes?
Où sont les cabines? – Where are the dressing rooms?
C’est trop cher! – It’s too expensive!
À quelle heure est-ce que s’est ouvert / fermé? – What time is it open / closed?

Phrases and vocabulary for shopping in France

If you plan on shopping in France, it’s important to know some French vocab and phrases to help you navigate the stores and markets. Some basic French words and phrases that can come in handy include “Je cherche” (I’m looking for), “Combien ça coûte?” (How much does it cost?), and “Je voudrais payer avec une carte de crédit” (I would like to pay with a credit card). Knowing these phrases will help you communicate with the locals and make your shopping experience in France more enjoyable. Additionally, learning specific latin French vocabulary related to shopping such as “la taille” (size) or “les soldes” (sales) can also be useful.

Common French Questions

useful french words

You might want to socialize during your stay in France. It’s important to know some of the beginner French words when interacting with people of France. We have previously listed most of the typical sentences and the basic french words for travel you need to know before your trip according to the occassion of dinning, shopping, greeting etc. Here is an additional summarized list of all the basic French questions you can use daily as a socializing tourist.

Note that “vous” is used in more formal situations, or when directed to a group of people; whereas “tu” is used in informal situations.

· Comment vous appelez-vous? / Comment tu t’appelles? – What’s your name?
o Je m’appelle… – My name is…

· Comment allez-vous? / Comment ça va? / Ça va? – How are you?
Je vais bien, et vous? – I’m good, and you?
Bien, merci. – Good, thanks.
Pas trop mal. – Not bad.

· D’où venez-vous? / D’où viens-tu? – Where do you come from?

· Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?

· Comment va-t-on à… ? – How do I get to… ?
o Désolé, mais je ne sais pas – I’m sorry, but I don’t know.

· Tu veux sortir avec nous ce soir? – Do you want to go out with us tonight?
o You can use moi (me) instead of nous (we) if you are asking someone by yourself.


Learning some valid French words can be extremely helpful, whether planning a trip to a French-speaking country, working with French-speaking coworkers, or just looking to broaden your linguistic horizons. You can always have a few French words in your vocabulary, from the most fundamental of greetings and expressions to more advanced terms for eating out, travelling, and discussing cultural norms and traditions. Also, you can use all of the phrases we listed while visiting Samaritaine in Paris. Make sure to check our blog!


What is the most famous nightclub in Paris?

The Moulin Rouge.

What are some cool French words?

La loose – It’s a bummer/failure. C’est chaud! – That’s crazy! La flemme – Feeling lazy. Je kiffe – I like/I’m into

What are 5 French words used in English?

Souvenir Cliche Restaurant Bachelor Omelette

What is the most popular French word?

Merci! – Thank you!

Which words and phrases will help you a lot when traveling in France?

Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English? Je suis là pour les vacances – I’m here for vacation. Où est…? - Where is…? Le bus Le train Pouvez-vous m’aider? – Can you help me?
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