Long term travellers & digital nomads know it, if you’re going anywhere in Europe, you’ll need to learn basic words and phrases from local languages. Well, this is even more relevant in Paris or anywhere else in France for that matter.
Parisians are mad at foreigners, especially native english speakers, that don’t even try to introduce themselves in French. The people there have a reputation to be mean towards tourists and they very well can be, but they can be very friendly and welcoming too.
As a traveler you’re considered as a guest in the country and you are expected to be able to use the language (this is true everywhere in the world actually). The trick is that you don’t have to speak French all the way, you can just open and close the conversation with it.
Here is the 1% of French language that will help you to enjoy your time in Paris & make friends with locals.
The most important words in French Language for travelers
- Yes / No : (Oui / Non) Wee / Nohn
- Hi : (Salut) Sal-uh
- Please : (S’il vous plait) Seel-voo-play
- Thank You : (Merci) Mair-see
- Sorry : (Pardon) Pardon – very handy when you run into someone (which happens every 5 minutes there…)
- Numbers : 1 = uhn, 2 = duh, 3 = trwah, 4 = katr, 5 = sank
- Toilets : (Toilettes) Twa-let
- How much : (Combien) Kum-bee-yhun
- Where is : (Où est) Ooh-ey
- Cheers : (Santé) San-tay or (Tchin) Chin
- Do you understand English ? (Comprenez-vous l’anglais ?) kom-preh-nay-voo-lan-glay
- I don’t speak French. (Je ne parle pas Français) Juh-nuh-parl-pah-fran-say
Specific travel words for Paris
- Vélib’ : Vayleeb
This is the rental bike system of the city. It’s a lot cheaper & nicer than taking the metro (it only coasts the price of 1 ticket, about 1,70 € for 24h in 2016). It’s a “take it & drop it” from one station to another kind of system. Warning for Americans : You can buy the ticket at the Vélib’ stations but your card will need to have a chip, no Master Cards sorry… You guys might be able to buy it online though.
- Café : (coffee) Kafay
This is the national sport in paris : having a coffee at a terrace. Don’t brag about having visited Paris if you didn’t have a morning café and a croissant in one of the brasseries. This is an absolute must do.
- Apéro : (apéritif) Apayroh
During the warmer seasons, Parisians gather by the river banks or the canals by 6:00 pm everyday and open a bottle of wine with some cheese, bread and saucisson. This “Apéro” time is sacred to French people, go there with a bottle and you’ll have an amazing time meeting the locals.
- I love you : (Je t’aime) Juh-teym
Well, we never know… This is Paris after all 🙂
This is it, all the words you need to know to have an amazing time in the French capital city making some French friends !