Vacation Cheat Sheet: 22 French Phrases You Need To Know

Make the most of your upcoming trip by focusing on these French conversation topics ahead of your flight abroad.
two women exploring paris together practicing french phrases

So your French vacation is weeks away. Before jumping on a plane, you’ll want to prepare some key phrases in the local language. Whether you’re planning a getaway in Paris, Nice, Montreal or the Ivory Coast,  you’ll want to review these French phrases to ensure an authentic experience. Pro tip: all of these conversation topics are covered in Babbel’s French lessons, so you might want to download the app before you depart.

French Phrases That’ll Come In Handy On Your Trip

French cheat sheet with a number of useful phrases on it, as expanded on below.

How To Meet New People

It’s always nice to make new friends, especially if they’re international ones! For your journey to a French-speaking country, you’ll want to learn how to introduce yourself and ask your new friends about themselves. Here are a few phrases you’ll need for small talk purposes:

Bonjour. Je m’appelle ______.Hello. My name is (lit. I call myself) _______.

Enchanté. — Nice to meet you.

Vous êtes de Paris?Are you from Paris?

Je suis Américain.I am American.

How To Order Food And Drinks

One of the best parts of traveling to another country is getting to sample the local cuisine. Speaking the language will provide you access to much more authentic eating and drinking experiences than if you stick to English. When you enter that French café, stroll in with confidence and with these phrases in mind:

Je prends un café et une petite bouteille d’eau.I’ll have (lit. I take) a coffee and a small bottle of water.

Qu’est-ce que vous me recommandez?What do you recommend?

Combien ça coûte?How much does that cost?

Ça coûte ___. — That costs ____.

How To Ask For Directions

I don’t know about you, but getting hopelessly lost in a foreign country is not my idea of a good time. Some of the most important phrases you can learn in the language of a country you’re traveling to are those relating to where things are and how to get there. Start with these:

Pardon, j’ai une question.Excuse me, I have a question.

Où sont les toilettes?  — Where are the toilets?

Est-ce qu’il y a une pharmacie?Is there a pharmacy?

aller tout droitto go straight ahead

aller à gaucheto go left

tourner à droiteto turn right

How To Schedule Activities

When you’re visiting a new city, you’ll probably want to go sightseeing, visit museums and perhaps even go on a guided tour (if that’s your style). In order to better plan your trip, it’s helpful to know phrases regarding opening times of attractions and other scheduling concerns, like these:

Qu’est-ce que nous devons faire?What should we do?

À quelle heure ouvre/ferme le musée?What time does the museum open/close?

On ouvre/ferme à ____ — We open/close at ____ o’clock. (lit. hours)

Est-ce qu’il y a des visites guidées en anglais?Are there guided tours in English?

How To Fall In Love

This section might seem like a bit of a long shot, but if you set your mind to it, finding love abroad is a definite possibility. Especially if you’re visiting Paris, the “City of Love” itself! Just in case you meet an attractive and friendly stranger, come prepared by learning these flirty phrases:

Tu crois au coup de foudre?Do you believe in love at first sight?

Tu as de beaux yeux.You have beautiful eyes.

Tu peux me prendre dans tes bras?Can you take me in your arms?

Ma demande de visa est en cours de procédure au consulat. — My visa application is being processed at the consulate.

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