Young woman in Paris, France looking at a map
Essential Words And Phrases To Know Before Your Trip To France
“Bonjour” (/ bohn-zhoor /) or "hello" and “au revoir” (/ oh-rev-vwha /) or "goodbye" are some of the most basic phrases you should learn before traveling to France.
Greetings in French
You can also say “à bientôt” to say “see you soon,” and “salut” is a informal way of saying “hi” or “bye.” “Au revoir” works in any setting, whether formal or informal.
Chances are you already know the word “oui” (/ we /) or “yes.” This is good to know as an affirmative to a cafe order or when confirming your name for a reservation.
Variations Of Yes
You can branch out with “absolument” for “absolutely” or “bien sûr” for “of course,” and you’ll likely hear both of these used when in France, especially between friends.
A simple “no” in France is not much different from its English counterpart. The first ‘n’ is actually silent in the French word “non” (​​/ noh /).
Variations Of No
You can also say “no thank you” with “non merci” or “non merci, c’est tout” for “no thanks, that’s all,” which can be handy when in a store or restaurant.
“Excusez-moi” (/ ex-koo-say mwa /) or “excuse me” is an easy phrase to use when navigating through crowds or trying to get someone’s attention.
French Manners
One of the most valuable words to know is “please,” or “s’il vous plaît” (/ seel-voo-play /), as no one likes a rude tourist, no matter where you are in the world.
Saying “pas de quoi” (/ Pah-de-kwah /) is an overtly casual way of saying “you’re welcome” or “don’t mention it,” and can be used informally during your interactions.
You'll likely hear “de rien” as “you’re welcome,” but this is supposed to be used with people you know well, and can be considered rude in formal situations or with older folks.
“Merci” (/ mare-see /) on its own means “thank you,” though there are a lot of variations of the phrase, the majority of which are appropriate for any occasion or audience.
Ways To Say Thank You
“Merci beaucoup” translates to “many thanks,” while “merci bien” means “thank you very much.” Be mindful of your tone so these phrases are not confused for sarcasm.