How To Speak French For Travelers – 5 Easy Lessons

Bonjour!  While planning your trip to Paris we think you should learn how to speak French, even if it's just greetings and a few useful phrases. (You'll need to find the bathroom, for instance!)

Over the past decade or so we've found that English has become more common in Paris restaurants and hotels. But, it's a good idea to try to speak some French. We think it's worth the effort.

In our experience, Parisians will be pleased and impressed when you greet them in French, or try to order in French. And we swear the service improves when we try to communicate in the local language!

Also, when you travel outside of Paris, you won't find English to be spoken universally.

Luckily there are many easy ways to learn how to speak French, especially the basic French useful for travelers. Start with the articles in this section, such as Common French Phrases. A good French phrasebook and a dictionary are great aids, and we'll tell you about our favorites. We also present our favorite way to learn French online.

Bonne chance! Good luck!

#1 French Greetings


Imagine all the ways you can say hello in French! Learn how to say hello and goodbye, as well as other salutations and introductions. You'll discover that "bonjour" and "au revoir" are a good way to start (and end) nearly every occasion in France.

Learn AboutSimple French Greetings »

#2 Common French Phrases

Common French Phrases

Get a head start by learning some common phrases before you travel. "I would like…, Not yet… I'll takeā€¦" Once you learn these simple, yet magical, phrases, you'll feel more like a Paris Insider than a tourist. And that's our goal for you!

Learn AboutCommon French Phrases »

#3 Basic French Phrases

Basic French Phrases

Once you've learned the common phrases we've taught you go deeper with other basic French phrases. You'll be able to say you're hungry, thirsty, cold or not feeling well. Learning how to say "I am, I want, I need" gives you the tools to let Parisians know what you need.

Go DeeperMore Basic French Phrases »

#4 Other Useful Phrases in French

Useful Phrases in French

Learn a few more useful French phrases to help you at the pharmacie, in a restaurant, to find your way when you're lost, or at chez la coiffure (the hairdresser). These kinds of French phrases give you a head start on feeling comfortable in Paris.

For TravelersUseful Phrases in French »

#5 French Menus & Other Needs

French Words And Phrases

French menus can be confusing and often times the English translation (if there is one) is no help. Our handy guide will help you maneouver the menus, know how to order croissants at the boulangerie, and ask questions at the hotel or pharmacy.

Learn More AboutFrench Words & Phrases »

English to French Dictionary & Phrasebooks

English to French Dictionary

There's a lot of French being spoken in Paris and you're going to want to know what's going on around you. We recommend you take a couple of books with you — a good French phrasebook and a small dictionary. Read all about our top picks.

Our Reviews Dictionaries & Phrasebooks »

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