Getting Around France: Most common French phrases to help you navigate

Getting Around France

Are you planning a trip to France? Do you wish to travel around France to explore the rich cultural diversity of France? Getting around France can become a lot easier if you learn some basic phrases related to travel and food that will come in handy.  Though France is geographically close to England, a native English-speaking country, it would be difficult for you to survive with only English as the French take a lot of pride in communicating in their mother tongue: French. This blog is a collection of French phrases for travel, that help you get around a city or region and guide you to speak French like a native!

Most common French phrases used for getting around France

Here are some of the fundamental French phrases which help you communicate well while travelling in France with no nervousness, speak French confidently and make your travel enjoyable!

Où est…? – “Where is…?”

Do not get panic if you cannot find your way around. You can ask someone for help just by asking “où est” meaning “Where is?” For example, if you want to know the way to a nearby restaurant, you can ask “où est le restaurant?” which means “Where is the restaurant?”  If you are unsure where you are, you can ask “Où sommes-nous?” to know your current location as “Où sommes-nous?” stands for “Where are we?”

Où sont les magasins? –“Where are the shops?”

Can’t find a particular shop you are looking for?  You can get information regarding shops from a French native by asking “Où sont les magasins?” which translates to “Where are the shops/stores?” To be more specific, if you wish to go to jewellery shops, you can ask “où sont les bijouteries?” which means “Where are the jewellery shops?” in English. 

Où est un bon restaurant? – “Where is a good restaurant?”

French travel phrases would be incomplete if you do not learn essential phrases used to help you get some good food! Will it not be a wonderful experience to visit a French restaurant and enjoy French cuisine? You can enquire a French speaker regarding a good restaurant as “Où est un bon French restaurant?” which means “Where is a good French restaurant?” 

L’addition, s’il vous plaît – “The bill, please.”

Enjoyed a glass of wine and traditional French Baguettes from the local restaurant?  You can pay the bill easily without any confusion by knowing simple handy phrases like “L’addition, s’il vous plaît” which means “The bill, please”. 

Est-ce que je peux payer avec une carte de crédit? – “Can I pay with a credit card?”

Paying with your international credit cards will be a first choice for many when it comes to making payments and hence it is good to know how to enquire about the acceptance of credit cards. You can use the expression, “Est-ce que je peux payer avec une carte de crédit?” which means “Can I pay with a credit card?” .

Où se trouve la station de métro la plus proche? – “Where is the closest metro station?”

Using the Metro to travel around France is a great option for a tourist and you can enquire about the closest metro station as “Où se trouve la station de métro la plus proche?” (“Where is the closest/nearest metro station?”). You can also gather information regarding train tickets, by asking “Je voudrais acheter un billet”, which means  “I would like to buy a ticket”  and in case you want a one-way ticket, you can ask “un billet aller simple”  (one way ticket)or a round-trip ticket by asking “un billet aller retour”. 

Je ne comprends pas –“I don’t understand”

 If you are having a coversation with someone or if you are part of a guided tour for example and you don’t follow what the other person is saying, you can use the phrase “Je ne comprends pas”, meaning ” I don’t understand” to make him/her aware that you can not comprehend them.  

Où sont les toilettes? –“Where are the toilets?”

We all have been in a situation where we have to use a public toilet while visiting a place. You can ask about the availability of toilets at a place using the phrase “Où sont les toilettes?’ meaning “Where are the toilets?”

Pourriez-vous m’aider? – “Can you help me?”

There are chances you might find yourself in trouble sometime or lose your way or come across an emergency when you are in a foreign land. So it is essential for you to learn how to ask for help. You can use the phrase “Pourriez-vous m’aider?” which means “Can you help me?” while dealing with such circumstances. Always remember to thank them for their service once they have helped you. 

Parlez lentement, s’il vous plaît -“Speak slowly, please.”

For a beginner, it would take time to catch up with the speaking speed of a native. You can tell them to speak slowly and make it attainable by asking them “Parlez lentement, s’il vous plaît” (“Speak slowly, please.” It is always nice to tell them rather than stand in the midst without understanding.  

Je cherche-“I am looking for”

If you are visiting France for the first time, “Je cherche” is one of the most required phrases you need, which means “I am searching for.” You may not be familiar with the places where essential services are available, so you can ask people for help like “Je cherche un restaurant (“I am looking for a restaurant”), “Je cherche la banque” (“I am looking for the bank”) or “Je cherche un Hôpital” (“I am looking for a hospital”) etc

Je suis là pour les vacances -“I’m here for vacation”

You can make a great bond with the natives if you have informed them about your purpose of visit to the country after the initial introduction is made. It would help you  gather additional information about the land and culture. If you are in France for a vacation, you can say”Je suis là pour les vacances”, which means “I am here for vacation”. Or your visit to France was for your work, you can tell that as “Je suis là pour le travail”, meaning “I am here for work.”  

Before heading to France, learn these French travel phrases and make your travel a memorable experience by getting around France with ease!





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