Basic French Phrases
Learning a few basic French phrases before you go to France will serve you well. Most French people genuinely appreciate an attempt to speak their language, even if your pronunciation is off or your grammar is lacking.
It's likely while you're in France that you're going to need to ask where something is. To ask about something's location ask Où se trouve. . . (more formal) or Où est. . . and then the location:
- la salle de bain (the bathroom)
- l'hôtel (the hotel)
- le commissariat (the police station)
- le parc (the park)
- le musée (the museum)
Of course being able to ask where doesn't do you any good unless you understand the answer. Someone might answer your question about where with C'est or Il est:
- à gauche (to the left)
- à droite (to the right)
- près de (nearby the)
- loin de (far away from the)
- à côté de (next to the)
- tout droit (straight ahead)
Do You Speak. . .?
If you are traveling in France, you will find that if you at least attempt a minimum of French, you will get much further even if you cannot carry on an entire conversation. Try asking someone if they speak English, or, conversely, learn how to say that you don't speak French.Parlez-vous anglais? Do you speak English?
Je ne parle pas bien le français. I don't speak French well.
So what do you do if you need help? Ask of course!J'ai besoin d'aide. . . I need help
Je ne peux pas trouver. . .I can't find. . .
Je suis perdu. I am lost.
Pouvez-vous m'aider? Can you help me?
Au secours! Help! (This would imply some type of emergency as opposed to simply getting lost or needing directions.)
Expressing Want. . .
When you are ordering in a restaurant, or in a store, make sure you express yourself politely:Je voudrais I would like (to have). . . (more polite than simply saying "je veux". . .)
J'aimerais I would like. . .
Je vais prendre I am going to have. . .
A Little French Goes a Long Way
The French really do consider it polite on the part of foreigners to at least attempt speaking French. Learning a few basic French phrases, or even embracing a French phrase book will help you navigate your travels more smoothly. While in France, try speaking as much French as you can by learning some French greeting words to use in daily interactions.