France is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. With brilliant museums in Paris, beautiful beaches in Nice, and Lyon’s gastronomic culture, there’s plenty to see no matter what’s on your schedule.

Explore different French phrases for travel

Though you can get by with English in tourist-heavy regions, knowing some French before you arrive might provide additional context for your stay and lead to more opportunities to interact with locals. There’s no need to wait until you’ve mastered every verb tense before going, but knowing a few basic French words for travel will help you get far.

100+ common French phrases for travel

This section will cover the common French phrases related to different aspects. So let’s get started!

Greetings and basic phrases

Let’s begin with the fundamental elements of discussion. Small gestures of kindness and respect include greeting individuals, asking how they are, and saying goodbye in French.

Outside of specified situations, most locations in the United States allow us to be casual with strangers. This is not the case in France. Using tu (informal form of “you”) when someone expects a vous (formal form of “you”) might be a huge mistake.

Even in a casual atmosphere, utilize vous when meeting someone for the first time. Once you’ve gotten to know the person, ask if you can use tu when speaking with them.

Allô!Hello (answering the phone)!
Bonsoir.Good evening.
Enchanté(e).Nice to meet you.
Comment allez-vous?How are you? (formal)
Comment ça va?How are you? (semi-formal)
Comment vas-tu?How are you? (informal)
Ça roule?How’s it going? (slang)
Quoi de neuf?What’s new? (slang)
Merci.Thank you.
s’il vous plaîtplease
Excusez-moi.Excuse me.
Au revoir!Goodbye!
À bientôt!See you soon!
À plus tard!See you later!
À demain!See you tomorrow!

Asking for directions

Whether you wish to take the shortest route to the Louvre or simply locate the restroom, here are some terms and phrases to help you ask for and get directions in French. Even if you are in Paris or another region where the residents speak English fluently and are accustomed to tourists, not everyone you meet can direct you in English.

Always be polite and utilize vous when asking strangers for directions. These phrases can help you find your way across France’s many attractive streets.

à côté denext to
en face deacross from
à droiteto the right
à gaucheto the left
tout droitstraight
devantto the front
près denear
loin defar
au coin deat the corner of
traversez la rue(you) cross the street
Tournez à droit.Turn right.
Prenez à gauche.Take a left.
Où est le musée?Where is the museum?
Savez où est le musée?Do you know where the museum is?


The French are well known for their French breakfast, special cuisine and hospitality. Ordering meals and communicating with restaurant staff in French demonstrates respect for the cultural institution and will likely impress your friends. Always remember to greet the personnel with s’il vous plaît (please) and merci (thank you) to show them the respect they deserve.

It’s worth noting that cultural attitudes toward customer service professionals differ between the United States and France. In France, restaurant service is highly respected and regarded as a skill people can perfect. They also regard chefs as specialists and think asking them to adjust a meal is impolite. You must learn to order food in French. It will help you place your order confidently.

le menuthe menu (formal)
la cartethe menu (informal)
une tablea table
une table pour deuxa table for two
en terraceon the terrace
Que me recommandez-vous?What do you recommend?
Installez-vous.Take a seat.
Avez-vous reservé?Do you have a reservation?
Je voudrais…I would like…
Je vais prendre…I will have…
Je n’ai pas encore choisi.I haven’t chosen yet.
apéritifa drink and/or appetizer served at the beginning of a meal
hors d’oeuvresfinger food appetizers
l’entréethe appetizer
le platthe main dish
le dessertthe dessert
Bon appétit!Enjoy!
Learn phrases related to dining


Where you stay is equally crucial to your journey as what you see. Make your stay at a hotel, hostel, or vacation rental a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember your check-in and check-out times, keep your things secure, and become acquainted with the surrounding area as you would anywhere else. Here are some keywords and phrases to help you make a reservation and enjoy your stay:

l’hôtelthe hotel
le logementthe accommodation / lodging
Je voudrais une chambre.I would like a room.
le couloirthe hallway
la rez-de-chausséethe ground floor
service de chambreroom service
le bureau d’informationthe information desk
l’ascenseurthe elevator
les toilettesthe restrooms
les escaliersthe stairs
Master French phrases for accommodation


Visiting France without exploring the country’s museums, monuments, and other attractions is naive. Now that you’ve asked how to get there take in the views. Here are some useful words and names for popular French tourist attractions:

le centre-villedowntown
le muséethe museum
l’office du tourismethe tourism office
le monumentthe monument
le châteauthe castle
le bâtimentthe building
le jardinthe garden
la Tour Eiffelthe Eiffel Tower
le Musée du Louvrethe Louvre Museum
le Château Versaillesthe Versailles Palace
la côte d’azurthe French Riviera
la cathédralethe cathedral


You may need to interact with other people to get where you want to go. Whether you’re navigating a metropolis or travelling between cities, use these phrases to go forward confidently. Because French cities are far older than American cities, they are designed in a circular layout rather than a grid!

Vehicle transportation is fine. However, we encourage you to use the inexpensive, convenient public transportation that is accessible in most French cities. France also has a large intercity train network connecting to other European countries’ rail lines. The TGV, France’s famous high-speed rail, is reasonably priced and fast enough to compete with domestic aircraft.

à piedby foot
en trainby train
en busby bus
en ferryby ferry
en voitureby car
en avionby airplane
un piétona pedestrian
la garethe bus / train station
l’aeroportthe airport
le metrothe metro
un taxia taxi
le TGV (train de grand vitesse)the high speed train
la ruethe street
l’avenuethe avenue
le boulevardthe boulevard
une intersection/ Une croisementan intersection
un passage piétona crosswalk


Aidez-moi!Help me!
Emmenez-moi à l’hôpital.Take me to the hospital.
Appelez les pompiers!Call the fire department!
Appelez la police!Call the police!
Je suis blessé(e).I’m injured.
Je suis perdu(e).I’m lost.
Il y a eu une accident.There’s been an accident.
Avez-vous un téléphone?Do you have a telephone?
J’ai perdu mon passeport.I’ve lost my passport.
Emmenez-moi à l’ambassade.Take me to the embassy.

Now that you’ve learned French travel phrases for various circumstances, why not expand on your knowledge? Real life does not follow flashcards. To speak French in real life, you must improvise and adapt. A deeper understanding of French necessitates immersion and cultural and historical context. Explore italki to find the best French tutor online to build your French knowledge.

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Frequently asked questions  

What are some basic French phrases I should know for travel?

Some basic French phrases you should know for travel include “Bonjour” (Hello), “Merci” (Thank you), “S’il vous plaît” (Please), “Où est…?” (Where is…?), and “Combien ça coûte?” (How much does it cost?).

How do I ask for directions in French?

To ask for directions in French, you can say “Excusez-moi, pouvez-vous m’indiquer le chemin pour…?” (Excuse me, can you tell me the way to…?) Or simply “Où est…?” (Where is…?) followed by the name of the place you’re looking for.

What are some common phrases for ordering food in French?

Some common phrases for ordering food in French include “Je voudrais…” (I would like…), “L’addition, s’il vous plaît” (The check, please), and “Est-ce que vous avez un menu en anglais?” (Do you have a menu in English?).

What are some polite ways to interact with locals in French?

Some polite ways to interact with locals in French include using “Bonjour” (Hello) and “Au revoir” (Goodbye) when greeting and parting, saying “S’il vous plaît” (Please) and “Merci” (Thank you) when making requests or receiving help, and using “Excusez-moi” (Excuse me) to get someone’s attention.


Learning basic French phrases for travel can greatly enhance your experience in France. Whether you’re ordering food, asking for directions, or simply greeting locals, knowing a few key phrases can help you navigate your way around easily and show respect for the local culture.

Additionally, expand your language skills with italki. Hire the best French tutor online and embark on the journey of mastering this beautiful language. 

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