Every country has its unique culture and language. However, most tourists struggle with the language barrier making the experience not as fun as they had in mind. To make things easier for Paris lovers, we have made a list of common French words and their pronunciation.
Paris, just like any other developed city that has quite rich heritage. Tourists love the idea of visiting Paris at least once in their lifetime. But one should must know basic dos and don’ts while visiting Paris. You must know following French words before you buy your plane ticket! So, let’s start, shall we?
Bonjour (bon zhuor): Most Common French Word
You probably have heard of this once before because it is one of the most common French words after all. ‘Bonjour’ is a formal greeting which is time specific i.e. it is used during day time. So simply put, it means ‘Good day’. In the evening, you can say “bonsoir” which means “good evening”.
The reply to the word can be bonjour back or ‘Salut’ that is an informal way of saying ‘Hello’. So, readers Bonjour, and be nice to Parisians.
Merci beaucoup (Mehr-see boh-koo)
Heard of this French word in French movies?
Another common French word “Merci” is a short way of saying “Thank you”. The phrase “Merci beaucoup” can also be used which means “Thank you very much”. The phrase is used instead of the short form when one intends to show extra respect or gratitude.
With that being said, you have successfully learned to say thank you in French.
Au revoir (O Revwar)
We are still discussing the words that have most likely reached your ears before. This one means “Good bye”. The pronunciation might seem a little tricky the first or second time you use it. Though, it gets familiar to the tongue with practice.
So do rehearse “O Revwar” with a friend or relative before you start using it in Paris.
Similarly, ‘Bon voyage’ means ‘Have a good journey’. It is one of the most common French words used in everyday life. French people never miss a chance to extend their wishes when someone leaves a place.
If you are going to visit Paris, Bon Voyage people!
‘Oui’ is pronounced as ‘we’. It means ‘yes’. This one is not only super easy to pronounce, but easy to remember as well. You will be using this word often over there specially in the shopping malls and restaurants when you would not pronounce other French words.
Am I as crazy about Paris as you? Oui, you guess it right.
Interestingly, this word has the exact meaning and pronunciation as the English word ‘no’. Good for you as you won’t have a problem saying ‘No’ to street marketers and other people who might bug you over there.
Say Non to these common tourist scams and traps in Paris.
Now the comparatively less common French words have started. Want to guess what this one means? Any random idea? No problem if you ended up guessing it incorrectly. It isn’t an easy one. ‘Fille’ means ‘girl’.
You might not need to use this one too much so it is fine if it does not stick too long in your memory. But you can surely compliment beauty of Parisian Women by saying tu es belle fille.
Want to try guessing again? Learning a new language is actually fun when you start with the basics. ‘Garcon’ is the opposite of ‘fille’ i.e ‘boy’. Adding these two common French words in the list so that when any French local uses them; you will know what they mean.
You will hear this word often there especially in French eateries. It means ‘Sir’, ‘Mister’ or ‘Gentleman’. Waiters and other attendants will use this with people all the time.
If you are a young, unmarried woman, people will use this with you instead of ‘Monsieur’. It means ‘Miss’. You probably have observed Frenchman using this word with pretty women while they flirt with them in movies.
‘De rien’ is an informal way of saying ‘You’re welcome’. You can use this word with the locals who have known you for a while or with whom you have established a friendly bond with now. Congratulations, you know one more word that is French.
Also, If you want to know about the neighborhoods in Paris, De rien 😉
Bonne Nuit (Bunn-nue)
This word can be used in both formal and informal conversations. It means ‘Good night’. You don’t necessarily have to use it but it will be nice if you do. It has a kind of warmth to it that makes other people feel welcomed or respected.
This isn’t exactly a French word but a phrase; a useful phrase. ‘Moi’ means ‘me’ and ‘Excusez’ means ‘Excuse’. It is pretty useful when you need to grab a stranger’s attention without having to say ‘Monsiur’ or ‘Madam’ for example.
This is seen as a formal phrase as when you are speaking with someone you don’t know, it is wise and polite to be respectful.
Je vous en prie (Jay-wuz-on-pi)
It’s best to know this phrase as well. It is the formal way to say ‘’You’re welcome’’. You should learn both “Je vous en prie” and ‘De rien’ and use each when suitable.
Excited to try out French cuisine? We are sure you are! You will hear this phrase when the waiter serves you your meal. It means ‘Enjoy your meal’.
Belle translates as ‘beautiful’. You can use this when you spot anything that seems pleasing to the eye like a dress for example. If a random French guy uses this word with you; it’s safe to assume that he is flirting.
This is similar to ‘Belle’ but can be used for men only. It means ‘handsome’. So if anyone uses it with you or anyone around you, get the hint.
Sil’ vous plait
This is a formal French word which can be used with friends or relatives too. It means ‘please’. It’s fine to use it with anyone.
Je suis desole(e)
“I am sorry” is a useful phrase so its encouraged to learn the French version too. “Je sui” means “I am” and ‘desole’ means ‘sorry’.
The French are known to be hopeless romantics so you should know these French words too. ‘Amour’ means ‘love’ and ‘Je t’aime’ means ‘I love you’. It can be fun to use it with your spouse over there.
Well that’s it! I would love to teach you more French words but I don’t want to make the basics too hard for you to learn. Get a grasp on these words and phrases and then you can learn even more! French is a beautiful and widely spoken language. So learning it and becoming fluent in it won’t go to waste.
For now, Bon voyage!
Can you think of any important French words and phrases for tourists to know? Let us know in the comments.