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Top French Survival Phrases

Heading off to France soon? Don’t get on the plane before you know some basic French survival phrases. It’s no secret, after all, that there is tension between the French and the English, and for that reason, speaking in English doesn’t always get you the friendliest response.

But if you make an effort to speak French, you’ll be amazed at how much friendlier people are and how willing they are to help you.

Photo by Vincent Anderlucci | Flickr

Learn some basic French Expressions

Being able to say hello, goodbye, thank you and please goes a long way in any language. It shows you’re making an effort, and helps you feel like you know at least a bit of the language. This basic expressions will allow you to greet people and respond to their questions.

Bonjour – Hello / good morning

Salut – Hi (Informal)

Bonsoir – Good night

Comment allez-vous? – How are you? (Formal)

Très bien, merci et vous?  – Well thanks and you? (Formal)

Ça va? – How are you doing? (more Informal)

Très bien, merci et toi? – Well thanks and you? (Informal)

Au revoir – Goodbye

Excusez-moi – Excuse me

S’il vous plaît  – Please

Merci – Thank you

Oui – Yes

Non – No

Feeling confident in your skills? Take a French level test to see how good your French is!

Photo by Moyan Brenn | Flickr

Photo by Moyan Brenn | Flickr

Useful Phrases

You’re going to need a bit more that yes, no, and please to get around France though. Make sure you also add these phrases to your French vocabulary.

Je ne parle pas bien le français – I don’t speak French well

Parlez anglais? – Do you speak English?

Où sont les toilettes? – Where are the toilets?

Combien ça coûte? – How much does it cost?

Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand

Plus lentement s’il vous plaît – Slower please

Puis-je avoir l’addition? – Can I have the check / bill?

Excusez-moi, où est la tour Eiffel? Excuse me, where is the Eiffel Tower?

Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? – Can you help me please?

Une verre de vin, s’il vous plaît – A glass of wine, please

Photo by Giacomo Carena | Flickr

Photo by Giacomo Carena | Flickr

Navigate Airports and Train Stations

Finally, familiarise yourself with the signs you’ll see most commonly in airports and train stations to avoid any confusion when getting around!

Arrivées – Arrivals

Départs – Departures

Livraison des Bagages – Baggage claim

Enregistrement – Check-in

La Douane – Customs

Entrée – Entrance

Sortie – Exit

La Gare – Railway station

Le quai – Platform

One day spent in France listening to the world’s most romantic language is enough to make you want to learn how to speak it properly. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to learn! Get in touch with us to find out more about French lessons tailored to meet your needs.