French Words & Phrases For Travelers – Le Clé, S'il Vous Plait

In the previous articles you learned how to say "please" and "thank you", "hello" and "goodbye". (If you need to review, go back and revisit French greetings.) Now we'll teach you a few more French words and phrases to help you on your trip, including basic vocabulary for the hotel and pharmacy.

We also tell you how to order some interesting French dishes that you'll want to try. (And a few you might want to avoid!) Finally, if you're struck with a maladie (illness), we give you some basic vocabulary to communicate with your local pharmacie.

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French Words and Phrases – Le Restaurant

Le Restaurant

In our experience, the French seem to be very fond of wild game. If you're lucky enough to be in Paris during the fall and winter be on the lookout for these menu items. Wild game is often cooked slowly in wine and the meat is tender and delicious.

  • biche — deer
  • cerf — venison
  • sanglier — wild boar

Parisians prefer their meat cooked a saignant, rare. So if you prefer your steak cooked a little more, here's how to order —

  • a saignant — cooked rare
  • a point — cooked medium rare (our preference), a-PWANT
  • bien cuit — well done
  • Je voudrais un steak, a point, s'il vous plait? — I'd like the steak cooked medium, please.

To some of us rabbit seems… challenging. However, rabbit is a lovely, tender meat, much like chicken. (Don't they always say that?) Guinea fowl, too, is often served in French restaurants and it is also a delicous small game hen. We recommend you order it whenever possible.

  • lapereau — bunny
  • lapin — rabbit
  • pintade — guinea fowl
  • caille — quail
  • faisan — pheasant

The "Other" Foods

Other Foods

Parisian, and the French in general, are adventurous when it comes to food. Although it's not as common as it once was, offal (organ meats) and challenging dishes like andouilette (grizzly sausage) can still be found on menus. Here are some advanced menu items that you might want to memorize before you go to Paris.

  • rognons — kidneys
  • rognons blanc — testicles
  • andouille — big tripe (as in cow stomach) sausage
  • andouillette — small tripe sausage
  • fromage de tete — head cheese
  • cervelles — brains
  • cervalas — seasoned brain sausage
  • boudin noir — blood sausage
  • grenouille — frog
  • tripe — slowly stewed cow stomach
  • gesier — gizzard
  • bifteck de cheval — horse steak

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More French Phrases for Le Pharmacie

Le Pharmacie

  • J'ai l'indigestion — I have indigestion.
  • le rhume — a cold
  • la constipation — constipation
  • un mal de gorge — a sore throat
  • mal au ventre — stomach ache
  • J'ai mal de tête — I have a headache.

l'Hotel

The Hotel

  • le prix — price
  • la salle de bain — bathroom
  • la reservation — reservation
  • reserver — to reserve
  • le clé, s'il vous plait — the key, please
  • le passeport — passport
  • l'employé — clerk
  • la porte — door
  • la femme de chambre — chambermaid
  • la fenêtre — window
  • Excusez-moi, monsieur. J'ai reservé deux chambres pour ce soir — Excuse me, I reserved two rooms for tonight.
  • …il ya six semaines — …six weeks ago.

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Date & Time

  • aujourd'hui — today
  • hier — yesterday
  • demain — tomorrow
  • A quelle heure est-t-il? — What time is it?
  • la semaine prochaine — next week
  • la semaine derniere — last week
  • le mois prochaine — next month
  • le mois dernier — last month

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