Basic French Phrases For Travelers – Je Suis, Je Veut, J'ai Besoin

I am. I want. I need. You'll have extra fun on your trip, and feel like you're fitting in a bit more, if you learn to express yourself with basic phrases in French like "I am, I want, I need."

It's a bit disconcerting feeling tongue-tied when entering a Paris shop or restaurant. But by memorizing just a few basic French phrases, you'll be able to order a meal, make a reservation and find the bathroom. Bon Courage! Good luck!


The Best Evenings in Paris

Dinner & Cabaret at the Moulin Rouge
Take your seats at the world’s most famous cabaret – delight in the spectacular show while enjoying a traditional French multi-course dinner. Choose the Belle Epoque Menu for the best experience.
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VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, wine & a classic meal. Choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, best meal, and the ultimate experience.
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The Three Verbs to Know

The Three Verbs to Know

In French, as in most other languages, the two most important verbs are avoir (to have) and etre (to be).


I Am…

Je suis is the first person ("I am") of etre.
You'll use je suis to communicate basic information about yourself.

Je suis (jzeu swee) — I am.
Je suis Americaine — I'm American (woman).
Je suis docteur — I am a doctor.
Je suis vegetarienne — I'm a vegetarian.


I Want…

Je veut… — I want…
Je voudrais… — I would like… (the more polite way of asking)
Je voudrais une boisson, s'il vous plait — I'd like a drink please.


I Need…

J'ai besoin de… (jzay beh/zwan deh) — I need…
J'ai besoin de quelque chose a boire — I need something to drink.
J'en ai besoin — I need some.


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Eiffel Priority-Access Tour
For the ultimate Eiffel Tower experience, this guided tour walks you past the long lines, into the elevator, and up to the very top of the tower for stunning birds-eye views of Paris
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Eiffel Tower Guided Tour to Level 2
Why waste your precious time in Paris standing in line? Take our Insiders advice and book this skip-the-line, guided tour of the Eiffel Tower. While others wait in line, you'll be enjoying the views.
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Other Basic French Phrases

Other Basic French Phrases

Tout suite! — Right away!
Depechez-vous, s'il vous plait! — Hurry up please!
Allons-y — Let's go!

Aide-moi! — Help me!
Pouvez-vous m'aider? — Can you help me?
Je suis perdu — I'm lost.

J'ai faim — I'm hungry.
J'ai soif — I'm thirsty.

Basic French Phrases in the Restaurant

Basic French Phrases in the Restaurant

Avez-vous une table ce soir? — Do you have a table for tonight?

J'ai une reservation — I have a reservation.

Je voudrais une table pres de la fenetre — I'd like a table close to the window.

Je voudrais une coupe de champagne — I'd like a glass of champagne.
Encore — Another one.
Ou sont les toilettes? — Where is the bathroom?
Qu'est-ce que c'est? — What is it?
Pas encore — Not yet.
Je voudrais un cafe, s'il vous plait — I'd like a coffee, please.
L'addition, s'il vous plait — The bill please.
Acceptez-vous les cartes bancaire? — Do you accept credit cards?


Problem Solving at the Restaurant

Ce n'est pas ce que j'ai commande. — I didn't order this.
Le service est-il compris? — Is the tip included? [By the way, the tip is always included in the menu prices.]
C'est trop froid — It's too cold.
C'est trop chaud — It's too hot.
C'est pas frais — It's not fresh.
C'est saignant — It's rare.
C'est trop cuit — It's overcooked.
C'est delicieux — It's delicious.


The Most Popular Ways to Visit Versailles

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Skip the long lines to experience the grandeur of Versailles on a guided tour. Stroll through the stunning gardens then meet up for lunch on the Grand Canal. Hotel pick-up is included.
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Your Own Private Versailles – Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Experience Versailles on an exclusive private tour with access to areas seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences, as well as the magnificent gardens.
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Basic French Phrases – Weather & Time

Weather & Time

In French, when describing the weather, the verb faire (to make or do) is used, literally translated to something like, "It makes nice".

Quel temps fait-il? — How's the weather?
Il fait beau — It's nice.
Il fait froid — It's cold.
Il fait du vent — It's windy.
Il fait chaud — It's hot.

Note these French weather expressions that do not use faire
Il neige. — It's snowing.
Il pleut. — It's raining.

In France, the 24 hour clock is the most common way to tell time. 20:00 is 8 PM, 14:00 is 2 PM, etc.
Quelle heure est-il? — What time is it?
Il est midi — It's noon.
Il est minuit — It's midnight.
Il est 14:00 moins quart — It's 1:45 pm. ("2:00 pm minus a quarter.")

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