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

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: 


Hello = Bonjour = bohn-zhoohr

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

It’s nice to meet you = Enchanté = 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 plaît = seal- voo- pleh

Thank you = Merci = merh-see



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

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

Yes, I speak a little french … Oui, je parle un peu français

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 répéter 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? = Où est la sortie?
ooh eh la sore-tee?



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

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

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

I’d like a coffee, please =  Je voudrais un café s’il vous plaît
zjuh voo-dreh ah cafay seel -voo -pleh

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

The check please = L’addition s’il vous plaît =
lah-dee-syon, seel voo pleh

Bon appétit ! = bohn-na-peh-tee!



Where is the post office please? = Où se trouve la poste, s’il vous plaît?

I’d like to buy stamps for the US please = J’aimerais acheter des timbres pour les États-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



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 on 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 watching a movie 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.

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