Learn Basic French Phrases Before Your Trip and Speak Like a Pro

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Learning a foreign language is never easy. And trying to learn basic French words is no exception. But with a little practice, I’m sure you’ll do just fine!

if you need extra help, we can practice together.

These phrases will help you learn basic French for travel. Although it may seem daunting at first, persevere and in no time you’ll feel confident about communicating on your trip to France!

Many shops and restaurants know at least some basic English, but it’s always nice to say a few french words when you visit France.

Learning common french phrases can go a long way. 

Below find the phrases that you’ll hear most often and probably use throughout your stay. 

Don’t forget to practice 5-10 minutes per day to make great progress.


Let’s get started with the most common words and phrases: 


LEARN BASIC FRENCH INTRODUCTIONS

Hello = Bonjour = bohn-zhoohr

My name is .. = Je m’appelle … = jzuh mah-pehl



It’s nice to meet you = Enchante = ahn – shan- tey


How are you? = Comment allez vous? = koh-mahn-tah-leh-voo

Good thanks = Ca va bien, merci = sa va byen mer-see


Have a nice day = Bonne journée = bohn-zhoohr-nay

Have a good evening = Bonne soirée = bohn – swahray


Good evening = Bonsoir = bohn – swahr

Goodnight = Bonne nuit

Goodbye = Au revoir = aw-rev-waar

Please = S’il vous plait = seal- voo- pleh

Thank you = Merci = merh-see

USEFUL PHRASES

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I’m on vacation.. = Je suis en vacances…
jzuh – suee -on- vack-ance


No, I don’t speak french… Non je ne parle pas francais

Yes, I speak a little french … Oui, Je parle un peu francais


Do you speak English?  = Parlez vous anglais?
par – leh- voo- an -gleh ?


Speak slowly please = Parlez lentement s’il vous plait
pahr-ley plew – lant-mahn, seal voo pleh


Sorry, but I don’t understand = Desolé, mais je ne comprends pas
desz -oh – lay, jen kom-prohn-pah


Can you please repeat it please? = Pouvez vous repeter s’il vous plait?
Poo-vay-voo rey-pey-tey, seel voo pleh?


Can you help me? = Pouvez vous m’aider ?=
pooh-vay voo mey-deh?

Where is the exit? = Ou est la sortie?
ooh eh la sore-tee?

AT A CAFE

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Need suggestions for great cafes in the port area of Nice?



Can I have a menu, please? = Le menu s’il vous plait =
luh muh-new, seel voo pleh

Please, I’d like to order = Je voudrais commander s’il vous plait =
jze voo-dray kom-an-day seel voo pleh


I’d like a coffee, please =  je voudrais un cafe s’il vous plait
zjuh voo-dreh ah cafay seel -voo -pleh


Where is the bathroom? = Ou sont les toilettes?
ooh sohn ley twah-let



The check please = L’addition svp =
lah-dee-syon, seel voo pleh


Bon appétit! = bohn-na-peh-tee!

LEARN BASIC FRENCH AT THE POST OFFICE

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Where is the post office please? = Ou se trouve la poste, s’il vous plait?
ooh


I’d like to buy stamps for the US please = J’aimerais des timbres pour les Etats Unis s’il vous plait.
zhuh-voo-dray day tam-breh poor lays aytaz-uni


Window = guichet = ghee -sheh

Air Mail = par avion = par ah-vee-ohn

An envelope = une enveloppe

THE BEST WAY TO PRACTICE

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When learning a new language, we often think we sound terrible. But don’t let that stop you as it’s part of the process! The only way to learn is to practice.

Locals appreciate when people try to speak their language, even if it’s not correct. So go for it and give it a try!


Read a Book

Depending your level of french, try reading a book. Even simple ones for children are an excellent way to learn basic french.

One of my favorite French books is Le Petit Prince, known worldwide, but if you take the time to understand each page, it’s really so full of wisdom.

Watch a french movie

I know what you’re thinking, but it really helps even if you don’t fully understand what you’re hearing.

Try it. If the story is familiar then it’s even better! You can then watch the movie without the subtitles.

However, if it’s a brand new movie, then turn on the English subtitles if it helps. When watching a series, you can also put on the french subtitles. Everything helps!

Movies that you may enjoy and learn at the same time include:

  • Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain
  • Le Chateau de Ma Mere
  • Intouchables

Talk to others

If possible, try hooking up with other people who either want to learn french like you, or are interested in exchanging language practice.

Alliance Francaise is well known in most major cities. They host events such as film sessions, and debates. Research if there are other venues to practice french with others in your city and try to attend.

If all else fails, then talk to yourself! Yes sounds strange, but it’s very effective. When you’re doing something as simple as walking, try thinking in french. Repeat the phrases you’ve learned and try to extend your vocabulary.

Write it down

When you don’t know something, write it down. Then look it up. Then practice it by repeating the word or phrase along with what you already know.

Keep a little notebook with you, nothing fancy, just something practical where you can jot down words you’d like to learn.

If you’d like a practice partner, then join me for french conversation lessons via Skype.