Essential French vocabulary for travel include words such as “bonjour” (meaning hello, pronunciation bɔ̃ʒuʀ), “au revoir” (meaning goodbye, pronunciation o ʀvwaʀ), “s’il vous plait” (meaning please, pronunciation s-il vu plɛ) and “merci” (meaning thank you, pronunciation mɛʀsi). On this page you’ll learn all the important words you’ll need to know for a trip to France. Keep reading!
Ways to say hello in French
There are many ways to say “hello” in French, which we cover in detail on this page. Here, we’ll look at the most common words.
The most common and formal way to say hello in French is “bonjour“, pronounced bɔ̃ʒuʀ. This word can also be used for “good morning”.
The second most common ways to say “hello” in French is “salut” (pronounced sal-oo).
This word is much less formal and means both “hi” and “bye”. It should only be used with closer acquaintances and friends.
Ways to say goodbye in French
At the end of the day it will be necessary to say “good night”, which is “bonne nuit” (pronounced bun nwee).
This page on our site covers how to say “good night”, as well as the difference between “bonne nuit” and “bonsoir“ (good evening).
Yes and no in French
It is essential that you know the correct pronunciation of yes and no before a trip to France. The word for yes is “oui”, which is pronounced “wee”.
Please and thank you
It is essential that you learn how to say please, thank you as well as you’re welcome for your trip to France.
S’il vous plaît / s’il te plaît
In French, there are two ways to say please: Use “s’il vous plaît” in formal situations and “s’il te plaît” in informal situations. This page on our site covers various ways to say “please” in French.
The word for “you’re welcome” in French is “de rien”. The pronunciation is a bit difficult as the “en” is a nasal “ɛ̃” sound as in the word “inviter” (to invite).
How are you?
In French there are several ways to ask, “How are you?”. In formal situations, say: “Comment allez-vous?”.
In informal situations, you can say both: “Comment vas-tu?” and “Ça va?”. This page on our site covers various ways of asking “How are you?”. This page observes the expression “ça va” in depth.
It is absolutely essential that you learn how to introduce yourself and tell somebody your name and “nice to meet you?
In French, to tell somebody your name, say: “Je m’appelle”, which means “my name is”.
This page on our site covers how to say “my name is” in French in detail.
Comment vous appelez-vous? / Comment t’appelles-tu?
There are two ways to ask somebody’s name: Use “Comment vous appelez-vous?” in formal situations and “Comment t’appelles-tu?” in informal situations.
The French word for “nice to meet you” is: “enchanté”. Another way of saying “nice to meet you” is: “Ravi de faire votre connaissance”. This page on our site explains the various ways of saying “nice to meet you” in French.
You will undoubtedly have some language difficulties on your trip to France. The following two phrases should come in very handy.
Je ne comprends pas
To say, “I don’t understand” in French, say: “Je ne comprends pas”.
Répétez, s’il vous plaît
If you need somebody to repeat, simply say: “Répétez, s’il vous plaît”.