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Basic French Words You Should Know For Your Holiday

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If you’re planning a trip to France, you’re probably really excited to get your holiday started. But if you don’t speak a word of the language, you may be a little intimidated. After all, even though a lot of people around the world now speak English, you may end up running into people at your accommodation or even out and about while sightseeing who don’t speak English. This is an especially scary scenario if you need help or directions from people.

To ease your mind, consider memorising a few key French words and phrases that will help you out while you are visiting the country on holiday. Below are just a few important and basic words and phrases to get you started.

Saying Hello and Goodbye

When visiting a foreign country, you should at least know some basic greetings to address people at all times of the day. In France, if you want to say a simple “hello” or “good day,” say “bonjour.” But if you would rather say “good evening” or “goodnight,” say “bonsoir.”

A general “hello” greeting can also be stated as “salut,” whereas “goodbye” is said “au revoir.”

Responding to Questions

If you know what someone is asking you, you will need to know how to respond. “Yes” is “oui,” while “no” is “non.” If you are unsure, you can say “I don’t know” by stating “je ne sais pas.”

“Thank you” is simply stated as “merci.” But if you need to ask someone for something and you need to say “please,” you can say either “s’il vous plait” or ” s’il te plait.” And “excuse me,” which you can say anytime to get someone’s attention, is the phrase “excusez-moi.” You can also get someone’s attention by saying something like, “I’m sorry, but…” and then finishing the phrase. In France, you would say “je regrette, mais…” instead.

If you are making a request, and you need to say, “may I…” you can properly get the message across by saying, “puis-je…” before you finish the phrase.

Asking for Directions

To ask where something is, you simply say “où?” But if you are asking about what time an event will take place or what time a special attraction opens, for example, you can ask “quand?”

If you want to purchase something but you do not know the price, you can ask “how much” or “how many” by saying “combien?”

Other Basic Tips for Travelling to a Foreign Country

No matter what country you travel to, if you don’t know the native language, it can be difficult to get around. While these basic words and phrases will certainly get you started in asking for directions or giving salutations, you should bring a small French translation book with you. A small paperback that you can keep in your purse or even in your pocket can be a great way to always have the valuable resource at hand. And in this modern world, you may even be able to download a translation app on your smartphone.

Jennifer Fletcher is a renowned author of all things travel related. When getting the latest on holiday homes to rent in France, Jennifer visits www.dordognerental.com.

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