A day in Paris: Useful French Vocabulary to Travel

Learn useful french vocabulary so you can talk

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole world. It is and remains a global center of art, fashion, history, culture, and gastronomy. Have you ever considered visiting Paris? Did you hesitate because of the language barrier? You no longer have to think about that. The present article will give you a head start with some useful french vocabulary, expressions, and questions that you can use while in Paris. 

The first things that one have to think about while travelling is the place where to stay. In most cases, this would be in a hotel. Then, we will have to think about the different places we need to visit, the public transportation we will take, and the best places to discover and enjoy local food. In all these places and situations, we will have to communicate our expectations and desires. Of course, one could talk in English, but why do that when you can practice the language of love in the city of love, Paris? Let’s take a look at the different situations we mentioned and see the different useful french vocabulary we can use. 

Courtesy expressions:  
Courtesy french vocabulary

In the hotel, as well as in public transportation, we need to use courtesy expressions. Do not worry, we got your back. Here are some common expressions that you can use in any situation. To say hello, you can say “Bonjour”. It is in fact a combination of two words: “bon” which means good, and “jour” which means day. Although there are many ways to say hello in french, bonjour can be used in all situations, be it formal or informal. Another word that you can use is “Bonsoir” (good evening). You guessed it right, “bon” still means good, and “soir” is evening. 

Once you are at the hotel, the receptionist would say “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur, que puis-je pour vous?” (Hello madam/sir, what can I do for you) or “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur, comment puis-je vous aider?” (how can I help you?). To that you might answer, “Bonjour, j’ai une réservation de _____ chambres au nom de _____” (Hello, I have a reservation of _____ rooms under the name _____”. 

Now another important expression to be used while in Paris or any other city/country is the magical word that we always need to say while doing a request. Can you guess? Exactly, please! It is indeed very respectful and polite to use “s’il vous plaît” or “s’il te plaît” when asking something. Yes, the two expressions mean the same thing but are different. The difference lies in the personal pronoun “vous” and “te/tu” used. Both are translated to “you”, but they have different usage.

  • “Vous” is used in formal contexts. For instance, you can use it with a stranger or while talking to an older person.
  • “Tu” is used in more informal situations like when addressing a friend. 

Be careful, “vous” also means plural form of you. For example: “Vous êtes tous gentils et serviables” (you are all nice and helpful). 

Other useful french expressions are the following:
  • Il fait beau aujourd’hui – the weather is good today. 
  • Il ne fait pas beau aujourd’hui / il fait mauvais aujourd’hui – the weather is not good / bad today. 
  • Pas de soucis/Pas de problèmes – no worries.
  • Pardon? – I beg your pardon.
  • Puis-je avoir ______ ? – May I have ______ ?
  • Excusez-moi (vous) / excuse moi (tu) – excuse me 
  • Passez une agréable journée – have a pleasant day. 
  • Bonne nuit – good night. 
Au restaurant (at the restaurant):
Useful words to use at the restaurant

For the second part of the article, we have picked a special place that we often visit when we travel; restaurants. And what’s better than that! Here are some expressions and words you might need in a restaurant. 

  • Une table pour __ personnes s’il vous plait – at table for __ persons please. 
  • Le menu s’il vous plait – the menu please. 

If you are a vegetarian, you can say “je suis végétarien” (for men) or “ je suis végétarienne” (for women.) “Végan” (men) / végane (women) is sometimes used in french as well. Or, simply, you could also explain by saying: “je ne consomme pas de produits animaux” (I do not eat/consume animal product).

Once we get that out of the way, it is time to order ! Yum ! 

“Je vais avoir ______ ” (I am going to have) is the sentence you need. Or you can say “On va avoir ______ ” (we will have). The difference here between the two sentences is je (I) and on (a familiar way to say we)

At this point, you need to specify things you do not eat or are allergic to. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everybody, but for those to whom it does apply, it’s very important. The simplest way to do this is to say “je ne peux pas manger _____ ” (I can’t eat _____). To help you fill in the blanks, here are some suggestions:

  • Les cacahuètes – peanuts
  • Les noix – nuts
  • Le gluten – gluten
  • Les fruits de mer – shell fish
  • Les œufs – eggs
  • Le poisson – fish
  • Les produits laitiers – dairy products
  • Le soja – soy
  • La viande – meat
  • Une bouteille d’eau – a bottle of water 

Yes, the last expression does have nothing to do with being allergic to things, but it is definitely an expression you might need in a restaurant. And finally, 

  • “L’addition s’il vous plait” – the bill please 

Doesn’t this make you want to visit Paris even more?! Go ahead, book that plane ticket, fly to Paris, discover french culture and food. Most importantly, make the most of these useful french vocabulary to travel. You can also take french lessons to ensure you speak as you go.