Learn French When You Travel in France

i travel in french

France offers almost the entirety of western Europe within its borders; from Flemish-influenced northern cities like Brussels and Antwerp all the way down through Germanic Alsace and Celtic Brittany that wraps itself around the Mediterranean coast, learning some basic French phrases will only make your trip that much more pleasurable!

1. Introductions

An adventure to France (le voyage) can require eating, shopping, staying in hotels and meeting people; therefore it is vital that you acquire some basic French travel phrases before heading out on your travels. Knowing these French words will allow for easier communication with locals during your adventures and ensure an unforgettable journey!

Welcome is always a good starting point. From directions, restaurant selection or grocery purchases, knowing how to say hello and goodbye in French will come in handy for most situations. Additionally, knowing the language helps one become more polite if they wish. For the more polite among us it may also prove useful learning thank you in French as well.

Introduce yourself effectively is another essential skill. A common greeting to others when greeting strangers would be Bonjour, je m’appelle followed by your name; however if speaking to people that you do not know well yet you could use a more formal phrase such as Je vous presente Marie; alternatively depending on the circumstances it may even suffice with simply “Hello, tu es tres bien.”

2. Directions

As it’s essential that tourists interact with locals, it is also vital that they learn French so that they can ask for directions in French. This can assist them when dealing with those trying to scam them (e.g. giving you a Metro ticket that already exists or distracting while someone picks your pocket).

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As well as asking for directions, knowing the French phrase for “Other Questions?” (other questions?) will enable you to make the most out of your travel experience! Adding this step allows for maximum personalization!

Many French cities, towns and even tiny villages host weekly or even daily markets where you can sample fresh produce, sun-ripened cheeses, breads, charcuterie, olive oils, wines and other regional specialties. Don’t miss this vital component of life in France: make sure your visit includes one!

3. Getting Around

Learning French will make your travels through France much smoother; from Bonjour and S’il vous plait to Pardon and Merci, even the basic phrases can go a long way toward making the trip enjoyable.

The national railway system (SNCF) offers fast and reliable travel throughout France’s larger cities. You can even use it to reach neighboring countries – for the best deals book your tickets early online!

Buses can also provide an economical method of traveling throughout France; most towns feature bus stations that link major cities. For longer journeys, however, car rental is often the more ideal solution; airports or train stations typically have them available but it may be less costly if reserved ahead through websites like BlaBlaCar.

Note the phone number for the US embassy just in case any French strikes or political unrest interrupt your travel plans – their staff can assist in replacing lost passports or ID cards.

4. Accommodations

France offers accommodation options that range from compact rooms with basic sleeping facilities, but nothing else; functional furniture often dominates. Hotels located nearby often provide affordable accommodations; just don’t expect luxury suites!


Spending the night with a local host family is another cost-cutting way of experiencing French culture while saving money on your accommodation costs. Couchsurfing lists hosts throughout France.

As is common with tourist centers worldwide, hotels tend to overbook. When booking with credit card, always add several hours onto your expected arrival date and time in order to ensure they will hold onto your room. Furthermore, be sure to keep hold of your online confirmation for future reference.

5. Food

France is world-renowned for its delicious cuisine and learning some key phrases will only enhance your dining experience there. Alongside Je voudrais (I would like), other useful French phrases include Ou sont les toilettes? (Where are the restrooms?) and Quelle heure est-ce que cela ouvre? (What time does it open?) — keep in mind that French operates on 24-hour clock system so “10 p.m.” means 5 p.m!!

Other helpful phrases when eating out include La carte/le menu, s’il vous plait (The menu, please) and I am allergic to _____ (I am allergic to). Enjoy your journey with these easy-to-use french words!

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