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French Expressions to know when traveling

When you are traveling in Paris or in other cities where they speak the French language, it might be very useful to know some of the basics expressions and some of the most commonly used. Here you find some phrases from the easiest (like how to say good morning) to the most peculiar (like intercalary).

Also, French people are very nationalists so they love when travelers make an effort to know their language and their culture.

Essential French Expressions

These are essential to feeling at your ease in Paris or in other cities in France!


  • Bonjour!
    This stands for “Good Morning”. Just like in English, “Bon” stands for good and “jour” stands for “morning”!


  • S’il vous plait (or: s’il te plait)
    You can use this expression to say “please”. This is usually used while making a request. S’il vous plait is for when you talk to someone that you don’t know very well.


  • Oui/Non (also: Si/Non)
    Oui and Si stands for “yes”. That’s mean that now you know how to accept and refuse something in French too!


  • Comment tu t’appelles?
    If you want to know somebody’s name, that’s the way to ask him or her!


  • Excusez-moi and Pardon
    Just like in English, when you use “Excusez-moi” it means that you want to get someone’s attention. If you want to say sorry, it’s better to say “Pardon”.


  • Je ne comprends pas
    This could be a very useful phrase since it means “I don’t understand”.


If the French person who you are talking don’t speak
English, this is very good to know.


  • C’est combien?
    This is very useful in Paris, since it’s not the cheapest city. It means: “How much is it?”


  • Je ne peux pas manger…
    If you have food intollerances and people don’t understand what you are saying, try to say this sentence adding what you can’t eat in French. Most common allergies are about:

    • le gluten – gluten
    • les œufs – eggs
    • fruits de mer – shellfish
    • les produits laitiers – dairy products
    • le poisson – fish
    • le soja – soy
    • les cacahuètes – peanuts
    • les noix – nuts


  • L’addition
    This is a very useful word to know when you are in a restaurant or in a café and you want to go away, since it means “the bill”!


  • Merci beaucoup
    If you want to thank somebody, just say “merci”! It means: thaks. If you want to add “a lot”, add “beaucoup”!



Popular French expressions

If you already know the essentials of the French language, I suggest taking a look at the more colloquial phares French people use!


  • ça te dit? (or: ça vous dit?)
    You can use this expression when you want to know if everyone agree on a proposal you made. Like: “sounds good?”!


  • ça roule?
    This expression is like our “how do you do?”. French usually answer “Comme d’hab!” that stands for “Comme d’habitude”, so “as always”.


  • N’importe quoi!
    If you hear this or you are saying this, you are telling people that you don’t care about something or that it is the same. Just like “Whatever”!


  • Laisse tomber!
    If you are with somebody who is very angry about something, just tell to laisse tomber! It means that it is better to forget it and move on!


  • Bref
    Bref is a word that you can listen at the end of a long speech about something. It’s like “in a few words”, or “in a nutshell”!


  • Ouais, enfin…
    Just like “Bref”, French people use these words to fill their chats! “Ouais” is like our “well” and “enfin” is like “in the end”…