Let me guess: you’re about to take a trip to France and know almost no French besides Bonjour and Merci, and you really don’t want to be the “stupid American” that doesn’t know anything else? I can totally relate. That was me only a few months ago. I knew I couldn’t learn the entire language or even enough to carry on a conversation in a week, but I did want to know a few key phrases before my trip.
Below, I have created a list for you of the 14 French phrases I learned that helped me to get around France with ease. Let’s get started so you can feel a little more savvy when taking on your French adventure!
- Bonjour! – Good morning
- Bonsoir! – Good evening
- S’il vous plait – Please (formal)
- Parlez nous anglais – Do you speak English?
- Je voudrais – I would like… (for ordering food)
- Merci – Thank you
- Au revoir – Goodbye
- Oui – Yes
- Non – No
- Le Bus – Bus
- Le Train – Train
- Où est….? – Where is…?
- Où je suis? – Where am I?
- Comment je peux me rendre a….? – How do I get to…?
Feeling a little intimidated?
If some of the sayings or words seem intimidating, don’t worry! You can search the phrases you are struggling with in Google Translate. When you type in the phrase, there is a little speaker icon that provides you the option to hear how it is pronounced. Try listening to it a few times, and then try saying it along with the audio.
Keep in mind that any new language is hard, and French is no exception. When you are in France with native speakers, it may feel intimidating to try to speak to them. Here’s the thing: They are not judging you! In fact, they appreciate that you are trying to speak their language. Even if you only know how to say hello, thank you, or just to ask them if they speak English; it makes it way less awkward to start a conversation or ask a question.
I have never taken a French class. These few sayings alone helped me so much when it came to getting around France and not feeling overwhelmed. And I know they will help you too!
If you know of any other French sayings that are important to know, and helped you – please feel free to share them below!
Remember that practice makes perfect, and all you have to do is start with these few phrases today. Bonne chance et bon apprentissage! (Good luck and happy learning)
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