Useful French Travel Words and Expressions

Vocabulary "Cheatsheets" for Everyday Exchanges

Learning some basic French vocab can transform your trip.
Sergey MK/Creative Commons

Before embarking on your next trip to Paris, it's a good idea to learn some very basic French travel words and expressions. Even if language isn't your strong suit, and you're certain you can get by with English, learning a few opening greetings and polite expressions in the "Gallic tongue" will go far in easing your exchange with the locals, especially with those of an older generation who are less accustomed to English.

And for those of you with a passion for learning foreign languages, spending a few hours poring over these French vocabulary and phrase worksheets will help you to bolster your French enough to feel confident navigating a variety of everyday situations in Paris and other francophone places.

Basic Greetings and Polite Questions in French

The first step is to learn how to address people politely in French, which will often significantly improve the quality of your exchanges with Parisians. Learn more about basic polite French words and expressions, including "Bonjour" and "merci". 

Read related: 5 Ways to Avoid "Rude" Service in Paris and France

Eating Out at Restaurants : Basic Vocabulary and Phrases

Food and dining in Paris is no joking matter, and aside from restaurants that are generally (and obviously) tourist traps, most eateries in the capital won't offer English-language menus. While it's true that most waitstaff at Paris restaurants and bistros speak at least basic English and can probably help you decrypt the menu, why not enrich your understanding-- and have more fun eating out in Paris-- by studying some basic Paris restaurant vocabulary?

Also Read: How to Leave Tips in Paris and the Rest of France?

Getting Around The City: How to Navigate Like a Pro

The Paris metro can be a bit overwhelming on first use. Get acquainted with some of the signs you're likely to see around the metro, and learn basic words and expressions for getting around the city.

More: Basic Paris Metro Vocabulary in French

Expand Your French Travel Vocabulary Even Further: 

I strongly recommend checking out Sandrine de Paris: A Resource for French Language and Culture. This is an engaging, entertaining and always informative site run by my very talented Parisian friend of the same name. Her site is packed with fun and thoughtfully curated resources and exercises that involve French songs, film, and other media that allow you to learn much about French culture while you tighten your language skills.