Basic French Words, Phrases, and Sayings Every Traveler Should Know

These are the basic French words, phrases, and slang to know for your next trip to France.

Paris cafe
Photo: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Anyone who has spent even the shortest amount of time in France — particularly in Paris — knows the importance of being able to speak a little français, so we've rounded up some common French phrases, words, and even French slang you should learn before your next trip — whether it's in six months or six years.

Locals will quickly warm to travelers who at least make an effort to speak their language. Whether it's saying "bonjour" when you enter a shop or ordering politely in a café, the French will take note of your courtesy. Any useful French words, sayings, or phrases you can commit to memory will help you navigate the country, interact with residents, and make the most of your trip.

And, as a rule, remember that it's always safer to use the "vous," or formal version, of French, unless you're speaking to a child. Here are the basic French words and phrases to learn before you visit France.

Basic French Words

Hello: Bonjour

Goodbye: Au revoir

Goodnight: Bonne soirée, or bonne nuit

Please: S'il vous plaît (formal), s'il te plaît (informal)

Thank you: Merci

You're welcome: De rien

Yes: Oui

No: Non

Good: Bien

Beautiful: Beau (masculine), belle (feminine)

Common French Phrases

How are you?: Comment allez-vous? (formal), Comment vas-tu? (informal)

I am well, and you?: Je vais bien, et vous?

What is your name?: Comment vous appelez-vous? (formal), Comment tu t'appelles? (informal)

My name is...: Je m'appelle...

I love you: Je vous aime (formal), Je t'aime (informal)

I miss you: Vous me manquez (formal), Tu me manques (informal)

Excuse me: Pardon

I don't know: Je ne sais pas

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas

Basic French Phrases for Travelers

Do you speak English: Parlez-vous anglais?

I'm lost: Je suis perdu(e), adding an e if you identify as female.

I'm sorry: Je suis désolé(e)

Where is...: Où est... (For example, "Where is the Louvre?" translates to "Où est le musée du Louvre?")

Where is the bathroom?: Où sont les toilettes?

How much is...: Combien coûte... (For example, "Combien coûte cette robe?" means "How much is this dress?")

I would like...: Je voudrais...

A beer: Une bière

A glass of wine: Un verre de vin

A coffee: Un café

Water: Eau

Common French Sayings and French Slang

Hello: Salut (informal)

I love Paris: J'adore Paris

Have a nice trip: Bon voyage

Forget it or drop it: Laisse tomber

Come on or let's go: Allez

That's life: C'est la vie

Long live the Republic and long live France!: Vive la république et vive la France!

French food is the best in the world: La cuisine française est la meilleure du monde

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