French people need romance to be unexpected, a coup de cœur, a smack to the heart. …
« Excusez-moi de vous importunez » (EN : Sorry to bother you)
« Je suis nouveau ici… » (EN : I am new here…)
« Des endroits à me conseiller… » (EN : Any places you would like to recommend…)
« Puis-je vous offrir un verre ? » (EN : Can I offer you a drink?)
« Puis-je vous voler quelques minutes de votre précieux temps ? » (EN : Can I steal a few minutes of your precious time?)
« Mes yeux ne peuvent vous quitter… » (EN : My eyes can’t get over you…)
« Puis-je vous confier un secret, j’ai perdu la tête en vous voyant… » (EN : Can I tell you a secret, I have lost my mind when I saw you…)
« Je ne parle pas bien Français, voulez-vous m’apprendre ? » (EN : I don’t speak French very well, would you mind teaching me?)
« M’accorderez-vous cette danse ? » (EN : Shall we dance ?)
« Bonjour, puis-je vous embêter quelques secondes ? » (EN : Hi, can I bother you a few seconds ?)
« Bonjour, je cherche cette adresse, pouvez-vous m’aider ? » (EN : Hi, I am looking for this place, can you help me?)
-Don’t chat up (FR: draguer) a woman on public transport such as the Métro
-Don’t be heavy / insistent
-Be a gentleman / lady
-Speak French, even if you only know a few words… (S)he will fall for your accent
-Compliment her / him
-Be romantic (FR: être romantique)
-Play the game: If (s)he is going to play with your emotions, play with hers/his. The typical femme Française loves the chase.
-Be open to seduction in chat-friendly scenarios
We have also built a playlist with her / his favourite tunes (cliché):
-Beautiful by James Blunt
-Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye
-Let’s get it on by Marvin Gaye
-You can leave your hat on by Joe Cocker
-Angels by Robbie Williams
A pique-nique in front of the Canal Saint-Martin To surprise her/ him, contact Marion, your BFF for a night and she will deliver an amazing basket with some bubbles to make this moment unforgettable. /Contact: Marion 06 09 57 32 57/
A cruise on the River Seine A scenery you won’t forget. The captain of the cruise will also provide you champagne and petit fours. /Adresse : 6 Quai Jean Compagnon, 94200 Ivry Sur Seine/
Claus, for a « special » breakfast. /14 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 75001 Paris/
La Corte, At the bottom of a secret passage, you will find the perfect restaurant charm your date. /320 Rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris/
Le Restaurant Biotiful is a colorful and cozy in the 17th arrondissement. /18 rue Biot, Paris 75017/
Le Gravity Bar, with its warm atmosphere and its wooden desigh you can only spend a great evening. /44 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010/
Le Pas de loup, our favorite spot in Paris. We can’t tell you why.. Find out at /108 rue Amelot, Paris 75011/
About staffordshire bull terrier breed, Nissan note 2013 motorisierung, Mazda3 vs nissan qashqai
by Samia Timol
Each of the 18 000 pieces of the Tower is designed and calculated before being drawn to the tenth of a millimeter and assembled by elements of five meters. On the site, between 150 and 300 workers are involved in assembly of this gigantic Meccano .
All the pieces are fastened by rivets a well-tested method of construction at the time of the construction of the Tower. Likewise, the construction of a sentence in French is almost as logical as a Meccano…with its exceptions!
Place the subject in the sentence:
Tu as un chat. You have a cat.
Peut-être viendra-t-il ? Maybe he will come.
« Je suis contente » dit sa mère. «I am pleased », my mother said.
Le garçon dont je connais le frère. The boy whose brother I know.
Je vous demande où il travaille. I am asking you where he works.
French is a SVO language, or Subject-Verb-Object. Unlike other romance languages, French does not drop the subject in most cases. In order to build even the simplest French sentence, you will need two or three elements. If a sentence uses an intransitive verb, it will be a SV sentence:Je suis. — I am.If a sentence uses a transitive verb, it will be a SVO sentence:Tu as un chat. –– You have a cat.
a) The subject personal pronoun and the subjects pronoun “ce” and “on” are followed after the verb when the sentence begins with:
-Sans doute (no doubt, without a doubt)
-A peine (scarcely, hardly)
-Du moins (at least)
–Peut-être pourrais-tu venir avec moi ? Maybe you could come with me?
–A peine avait-il parlé qu’elle se leva. Hardly had he spoken when she got up.
b) When the subject is a noun, a demonstrative pronoun or an indefinite pronoun (quelqu’un, tout…), the subject is placed before the verb However it is taken back by a pronoun placed in this case after the verb.
A peine les élèves étaient-ils arrivés que la cloche sonna. Hardly had the students arrived when the bell rang.
c) In the colloquial language, we often avoid doing the reversal after “Peut-être”:
-Either by using Peut être que at the beginning of the sentence
-Or by avoiding placing Peut être at the the beginning of the sentence
Peut-être que la candidate pourra répondre?
Le candidate pourra peut être répondre?
d) In the reported speech, the subject is placed after the declaration verb.
« Chérie, où es-tu? » a crié mon père. « Darling, where are you? » my father shouted.
“Mademoiselle” dit-il, “vous pouvez venir”. « Mademoiselle », he said, « you may come in ».
“Oui”, répondit-elle. “Yes”, she replied.
Contrary to English, we do not do the reversal of the subject in French when the sentence begins with:
–Non seulement (Not only)
–Pas une fois (not once).
Non seulement il est venu mais il est resté. Not only did he come but he stayed.
Pas une fois son père ne lui a fait un reproche. Not once did his father reproach him.
We do not do the reversal after a negative coordination (et ne…pas…non plus).
Je ne l’ai pas salué et il ne m’a pas salué non plus.
I didn’t greet him, nor did he greet me.
To underline an increase or a decrease related with another increase (or decrease), we use the structure “plus…plus, moins…moins, plus…moins, mois…plus”.
The subject is placed immediately after “plus” or “moins”.
Plus elle est riche, moins elle est satisfaite.
The richer she is, the less she is satisfied.
(on our Facebook page next week and in the comments below)
“The most expensive part of building is the mistakes.” ― Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
“Ce qui coute le plus cher dans une construction ce sont les erreurs.”
LOST IN FRENCHLATION presents: ‘Chocolat’ (2016) with ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Lost in Frenchlation are back this Friday 18th March with ‘Chocolat’ – the much anticipated 2016 French box office hit starring Omar Sy (2012 César Award winner, Best Actor, ‘Intouchables’) ! Join them at Studio 28 in the heart of Montmartre from 8pm for cocktails before the screening starts at 9:15pm.
De L’* => is use in front of noun with a vowel or silent “h” => de l’herbe but du houx
How to express the notion of undetermined quantity?
The indefinite quantity can be indicated by the quantity of adverbial adverbs or phrases followed by the preposition “de”. In this case we use the preposition “de” free of article.
Ex: J’ai beaucoup de peine. Tu as bu trop de café. Il a assez d’argent. Il a peu de chance. Il a un peu de monnaie. Ils ont un tas de soucis.
Following the adverb of quantity “bien”, we use the partitive article singular or plural.
Ex : Tu as bien de la chance. Elle a bien des soucis.
Following « la plupart », the noun is preceded by the definite article plural contracted “des”.
Ex: La plupart des élèves sont déjà en vacances.
« La plupart » is followed by a plural noun except for the expression “La plupart du temps”.
Translate these sentences:
Complete by a partitive article or by the preposition “de” according to the situation:
How do you take your coffee? – Lots of hot milk, very little sugar, please.
Comment prenez-vous votre café? – Beaucoup de lait chaud, peu de sucre, s’il vous plait.
I had a little soup at noon. It contained lots of cream
J’ai pris une petite soupe à midi. Elle contenait beaucoup de crème.
There was so much of work to do!
Il y avait tellement de travail à faire!
Most of the shells we find are broken.
La plupart des coquillages que nous avions trouvés étaient brisés.
You will need a lot of courage.
Tu auras besoin de beaucoup de courage.
I need some flour to make this cake.
J’ai besoin de farine pour préparer ce gâteau.
Most people drink wine.
La plupart des gens boivent du vin.
His letter was full of mistakes.
Sa lettre était pleine d’erreurs.
She doesn’t have any imagination.
Elle n’a pas d’imagination.
This is not whisky, it’s tea
Ceci n’est pas du whisky, c’est du thé.
If you want your French to sound more advanced, one of the best ways is to understand how to use the French pronoun “en.”
Sure, you can construct proper sentences without these tiny words, but you’ll be doomed to forever sound like a beginner. And who wants that? Not us – our goal is to get you speaking fluidly as fast as possible.
So this week, we’re going to focus on how to use “en.”
EN replaces de + noun
When discussing quantities of something, “de + noun” phrases are almost inevitable. In this context, “de” represents the preposition “of”, which indicates that a quantity, number or adjective is being discussed.
The adjective, adverb or quantity is always repeated at the end, even if that amount is none. To illustrate:
Combien de tomates voulez-vous? J’en voudrais six.” (How many tomatoes do you want I would like six [of them])
Combien paires de chaussures as-tu? J’en ai beaucoup. (How many pairs of shoes do you have?I have a lot [of them])
Est-ce que Marie a des frères? Oui, elle en a deux (Does Marie have brothers? Yes, she has two [of them].)
J’ai acheté trois jolies robes, j’en ai acheté trois. (I bought three nice dresses, I bought three nice ones)
Est-ce que tu as un Euro? Oui, j’en ai un. (Do you have a Euro? Yes, I have one.)
Est-ce que vous avez une voiture? Non, nous n’en avons pas (Do you (all) have a car? No, we don’t have one.)
NOTE: It is NOT correct to say: “J’ai un” or “Non, nous n’avons pas une”. You must use “en” to indicate the quantity.
Je me souviens de ta première voiture…je m’en souviens I remember your first car… I remember it
J’ai peur de la mort…j’en ai peur I am afraid of death… I am afraid of it
Je reviens du Brésil…j’en reviens I am coming back from Brasil… I am coming back from there
Est-ce tu as besoin d’aide? Oui, j’en ai besoin Do you need some help? Yes, I need some
Ils s’occupent du projet? Non, ils n’en s’occupent pas. Jean s’en occupe Are they handling the project? No, they’re not handling it. Jean is handling it.
Paul parle-t-il de son travail? Does Paul talk about his job?
Oui, il en parle tout le temps! Yes, he talks about it all the time!
When it comes to replacing a noun of person, you keep ‘DE’ and use the tonic form of the pronoun:
J’ai peur de ce professeur…J’ai peur de lui I am afraid of this teacher…I am afraid of him
Elle est jalouse de sa soeur…elle est jalouse d’elle She is jealous of her sister…she is jealous of her.
A partitive article in French (du, de la, des) is an unknown quantity of something. In English, this translates to “some” or “any.” “En” replaces the partitive article and the noun. For example:
Avez-vous de la confiture? Oui, j’en ai. (Do you have any jam? Yes, I have some).
Boit-il du vin? Non, il n’en boit pas. (Does he drink [any] wine? No, he doesn’t drink any.)
Est-que tu as acheté du pain? Non, j’en ai oublié d’acheter. J’en peux acheter plus tarde. (Did you buy some bread? No, I forgot to buy some. I can buy some later.)
Do you have any questions about how to use the French pronoun “en”? If so, feel free to write them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you! Or, of course, you can always contact us to discuss French lessons.
by Marie Vicarini
It’s September. A time for fresh start. A different season. And new people.
Every year at this time, Paris is hit with a huge wave of new expats. We know that right now there are thousands of you out there – students, families, professionals and a lucky few just hanging out – trying to get settled into your new life here.
Of the many items on the new expat to-do list, opening a French bank account is one of the most important…and one of the most puzzling if you don’t understand the relevant vocabulary.
Let’s rectify that, shall we?
Un justificatif de domicile = a proof of address
You’ll need this critical piece for most administrative procedures. They can be: electricity bill (facture d’électricité), a receipt of the payment of your rent (quittance de loyer), income tax receipt (avis d’imposition sur le revenu), tenant insurance receipt (certificat d’assurance locative). Usually, the bill must be less than three months old. Note: phone bill are in general not accepted.
Un compte bancaire = a bank account.
This general term covers a variety of accounts, including checking/current accounts (compte à vue/ compte courante), savings accounts (compte d’épargne), and fixed term saving accounts (compte d’ terme).
Un compte joint = a joint bank account.
With this type of account, a couple may have equal access to the bank account. But when signing up, pay particular attention to whether the account is for X “ou” Y, or X “et” Y. With an “ou” account, either partner may sign legally check. If it’s an “et” account, both partners must sign each check for it to be valid.
Un compte sur livret = a government-regulated savings account.
Unlike other savings accounts, livret accounts usually have a deposit maximum, but the interest rates may be slightly higher. Most livret accounts are tax-free.
Une carte bancaire = A bank card. Upon opening your account, you will receive your carte bancaire. This card is used to withdraw money from the bank from a distributeur automatique (ATM). It also serves as a debit card, with payments either being withdrawn from your account immediately, or in a lump sum at specific date.
Les frais bancaires = Bank Charges/Fees.
When signing up for your account, be careful. Most French banks will hit you with a dazzling array of frais bancaires. This may include account administration fees, direct deposit fees, and foreign currency transfer fees. At most banks there’s even a charge for having a carte bancaire! Be sure to about fees and charges associated with your account in advance. Fees pile up if you accept a bank’s “package” even if the basic checking account is free.
Relevé d’Identité Bancaire (RIB) = Bank account details. This is a handy slip of paper that contains your – surprise, surprise – relevant bank account details, such as your bank number, branch code and account number. RIBs are used for prélèvements (direct debits) from your account or virements (transfers) to your account. You’ll be asked for a RIB to set up automatic bill payment deductions for gas, electric, telephone, etc., or if your employer wants to make direct deposits into your account. RIBs are usually found at the back of your checkbook, but some banks allow you to print them at ATM machines or print them online.
• I would like to open a checking account
Je voudrais ouvrir un compte.
• What are the charges and fees for this account?
Quels sont les frais et charges pour ce compte ?
• How much must I deposit to open an account?
Combien dois-je déposer pour ouvrir un compte?
• How long will it take to receive my checkbook ?
Combien de temps faut-il pour recevoir mon chéquier (carnet de chèques)?
• Puis-je avoir une pièce d’identité ?
May I have your identity card /proof of identity ?
• J’ai besoin d’une facture d’EDF ou gaz….
I need (to see) an electricity or gas bill…
• Vous devez remplir ces formulaires.
You must fill out these forms.
• Combien voulez-vous déposer pour commencer ?
How much do you want to deposit to start ?
If you need help with French bank account vocabulary or speaking with your banker, contact us! We can help you practice the specific conversations you need to know to settle into your life in France!
Sometimes it’s the simple things that trip you up when speaking French. Saying goodbye, for example, might seem like an easy enough thing to do. But there are numerous phrases for it and, believe it or not, it is possible to use the wrong one!
Here are 10 ways to say goodbye (or otherwise end a conversation) in French:
Have any questions about how to say goodbye in French? Ask us below!
In this month’s verb spotlight, we’re going to focus on the French “bring / take” verbs. It’s no surprise that these verbs – amener, emmener, apporter and emporter – can prove troublesome for Anglophones as there are very subtle distinctions between them and none has a direct translation into English.
In French, the correct use of a “take/bring” verb depends on two or three factors:
Let’s take a closer look at each verb:
Definition: To bring.
What? A person, animal or any object capable of movement on its own.
How? The person or object is driven, guided or led, not carried.
What next? The person or object is left at the destination without the speaker.
The verb amener is based on the verb “mener” which means to lead. So when you use this verb, imagine leading a person, animal or mobile object to a certain destination and then leaving them there.
• J’amène mon fils à l’école = I bring my son to school.
• Amènes ta petite amie chez nous = Bring your girlfriend to our place (Drop off your girlfriend at our place).
• Si Marie avait les temps, elle aurait amené sa voiture au garage avant de partir. =
If Marie had the time, she would have brought her car to the garage before leaving.
BUT: Naturally, this being the French language, there’s an exception to the ‘leaving the object at the destination’ rule. Amener is also appropriate to use in circumstances when you’re bringing someone along. So:
• Est-ce que tu l’ameneras à dîner demain? Are you bringing her to dinner tomorrow?
Definition: To take
What: a person, animal or any object capable of movement on its own.
How: The person or object is driven, guided or led, not carried.
What next: The speaker stays with the object at the destination.
Emmener is also rooted in the verb “mener.” So this verb is appropriate if you’ve led, driven or physically guided someone/something to a destination. But this one is only appropriate if you plan on staying with the person upon arrival.
Definition: To bring, to take
What: An object that’s incapable of going anywhere on its own
How: By carrying it.
Apporter is rooted in the verb “porter,” which means to carry. The prefix “a-“ signifies that something is being physically carried to another place. For example:
BUT: In a few circumstances, it’s acceptable to use amener although apporter is the technically correct verb. For example when invited to a dinner, it wouldn’t be unusual to ask:
Qu’est-ce que je devrais amener? or Qu’est-ce que j’amène? (What should I bring?) instead of “Qu’est-ce que je devrais apporter?”
Definition: To take away (with you)
What: An object incapable of going anywhere on its own
Again, we’ve got the base verb “porter” which indicates that something is being carried. In this case, however, the emphasis is on the fact that the object is going away with you, as opposed to that you’re taking it to somewhere else.
You may find it helpful to remember that “emporter” is the French equivalent of the term “take out” or “take-away,” with respect to meals taken from a restaurant.
• J’ai emporté mon parapluie ce matin mais il n’a pas plu. I took my umbrella (with me) this morning but it didn’t rain.
• Emporte ces papiers. Take away those papers.
• Tu emportes toujours un livre. = You always take along a book.
• Repas à emporter . = Take-away food.
Note that the reflexive form of the verb is an expression:
S’emporter: Marie s’est emportée = Marie lost her temper.
If you’re still confused or have further questions, drop us a line below or contact us! We’re ready to help you learn the French that you really need.
Yes, you must even learn these when you are in France. Nothing’s more embarrassing than repeating something that you’ve often heard in French, thinking it’s no more than a harmless interjection…. only to learn (regretfully late) that you’re actually turning the air blue with vulgarities.
I once knew an American lawyer who said that she repeatedly used “je m’en fous” in client meetings for years, thinking she was saying: “I don’t care.” Somehow no one told her until much later that she was actually saying: “I don’t give a f***.”
French swear words are called “gros mots” – big words – and they’re sometimes a tricky thing to master. Sometimes these words are perfectly acceptable. But when said in a certain way or context, they are extremely harsh, disrespectful and rude.
Before throwing out any gros mots, foreigners should be sure of what they’re saying and how it’ll come across. When swearing in another language, it can be difficult to judge the intensity of your words or how they’ll be taken. So use with caution, if at all.
These are the ones that are said in times of frustration or anger. Definitely not for use in any kind of professional or formal setting.
Putain! Literally this means whore but it’s the equivalent of “fuck!”
Merde! Translates as “shit!” It’s probably the most commonly used curse word in French.
Mince! Roughly the equivalent of “damn!” It’s milder than the two exclamations above, but still be cautious using it in polite company.
Zut! Means “darn!” or “heck!” – This is not a gros mot and is acceptable in general society.
Punaise! This means “bed bug.” It’s an acceptable way to avoid saying “putain.”
Con/conne/connard! This word can have a variety of meanings and intent, depending on context. It’s generally a very vulgar word meaning ‘”asshole” or a part of the female anatomy, but can also mean “jerk” or “idiot.” However, if you say: “C’est con…” It means: “It’s dumb” and it’s generally acceptable. When in doubt, however, avoid using the word “con” as you might seem ill-mannered.
Salope! This translates as “bitch” with the same vulgarity level.
Trou de cul. This means hole of the ass, which, of course, means asshole.
Fils de pute – Translates as son of whore!” As you might suspect, this has no neutral or polite interpretation.
Je m’en fous – This is the equivalent of “I don’t give a fuck!” A less crude way of saying this would be “Je m’en fiche.” (I don’t care) or “Ça m’est egal” (It’s all the same to me).
Ça me fait chier – A polite interpretation is “that annoys me.” A more common interpretation is “that pisses me off!” If you want to be on the safe side, better to say: “Ça m’énerve.” Or “Tu m’énerve” (That gets on my nerves).
Casse-toi – It’s generally understood to mean “Fuck off!” or “Piss off!” It’s even worse if you combine it with another insult. You may remember that a number years ago, former President Sarkozy got into hot water by saying “Casse-toi pauvre con” to a constituent who had refused to shake his hand.
Ta gueule – A very rude way of saying shut up. It’s like saying: “Shut your trap/hole!”
C’est chiant – “That’s shitty.” It’s sometimes interpreted as “that’s annoying” but in a formal setting, assume that your listener will hear it as shitty. To be on the safe side, say: “c’est enervant” or “c’est irritant.”
Have you had any situations where you used a “gros mot” without realizing it? Share below in the comments!
When you imagine a word that has no direct translation into another language, it’s easy to imagine the existence of some exotic, complex word.
For example, take the French verb “entarter.” This means, “to hit someone in the face with a pie”. Somehow that seems like exactly the kind of word that would have no direct translation into English (or possibly any other language).
But how about the verb “to kick?” “To hug”?
Seemingly basic English verbs such as these have no direct counterpart in French. The concept exists in French, of course, but there is no single French verb that covers the meaning in the same way as in English.
Because there’s no single word equivalent of these verbs, their French meanings sometimes don’t appear on standard vocabulary lists. In fact, you might not realize you can’t express these concepts until you’re halted mid-tracks in your conversation, racking your brains for a word that you feel must exist, but doesn’t.
To save you the trouble, here are 7 commonly used English verbs that have no direct equivalent in French – and the French phrases you need to express them properly.
Example: Je n’aime pas Marc. Il donne des coups de pied à son chien.
I don’t like Marc. He kicks his dog.
Example: Ne laissez pas tomber cette vase! Elle est très chère!
Don’t drop that vase! It’s very expensive.
Note: A drop in value translates to “baisser” (lower) “diminuer” (diminish) or “chuter” (plunge).
Example: Après son retour de l’étranger, il a serré sa petite amie dans ses bras étroitement.
After returning from abroad, he hugged his girlfriend tightly.
Note: Many people think that “calîner” (calîn, noun) is the equivalent of to hug, but it’s actually “to cuddle.” Embrasser is also often mistakenly believed to be the translation of “to hug” but it means “to kiss.”
While there’s no single word for the verb “to hug,” as a noun, “a hug” is translated as “accolade.” (e.g. Après son retour de l’etranger, il a donné une accolade à sa petite amie = after his return from abroad, he gave his girlfriend a hug.)
As hugging is not the cultural norm in France, “hug” as a verb or noun isn’t frequently employed.
Faire mal is used to indicate when someone has hurt you emotionally or physically.
Example 1: Il me fait mal quand je déplace mon bras comme ça.
It hurts when I move my arm like this.
Example 2: Ça m’a fait mal quand elle a cessé de me parler.
It hurt me when she stopped speaking to me.
Note: If you want to say that someone caused you a physical wound or injury then use the verbs “blesser” or “injurer.”
Faire confiance and avoir confiance are used to express your confidence in a person.
Faire confiance usually requires use of the preposition “à”, while avoir confiance requires use of the preposition “en”.
Example 1: Je fais confiance à mon copain
I trust my friend.
Example 2: Je te fais confiance
I trust you.
Example 3: Ils ont confiance en toi
They trust you. / They have confidence in you.
Note: When you want to express trust of something that’s not a person, you’d use the verb phrase: “pouvoir compter sur” (“to be able to count on”)
Paul peut compter sur sa voiture même si elle est très vieille.
Paul can trust his car even though it’s very old.
Example: Elle n’a que 50 ans mais elle a déjà pris sa retraite.
She’s only 50 but she’s already retired.
There’s no single word in French that covers all the various meaning that “to care” does in English. You have to learn the right verb or verb phrase in the right context to express yourself properly.
To care about someone = avoir de l’affection (pour quelqu’un)
Example: Elle n’est pas amoureuse de lui mais elle a de l’affection pour lui.
She isn’t in love with him but she cares for him.
To take care of someone = prendre soin de qulequ’un
Example: Quand Marie était dans l’hôpital Paul a pris soin de ses enfants.
When Marie was in the hospital Paul took care of her children.
To care about a cause = se sentir concerné
Example: Si vous vous sentez concerné par les baleines, vous ferez un don à la cause.
If you care about whales, you will donate to the cause.
Can you think of any other verbs that have no direct translation? Share them below!
The French – Parisians, in particular – have a reputation for being rude. But the behavior that foreigners perceive as rudeness is often the result of a cultural misunderstanding. France has its own standards of politeness and these may differ from those of your home country. In fact, when a Parisian seems rude, he or she might actually be reacting to a perceived rudeness on your part, even though in your eyes you’ve acted perfectly normally.
To avoid any such misunderstandings – and experience the best side of Parisians – learn the following 7 French phrases before visiting Paris. These phrases will show that you’re polite, respectful and have some understanding of French culture. In return, we think you’ll come to see that Parisians are much more friendly than they’re reputed to be!
Seems obvious, right? But many people don’t realize that “bonjour” is probably the most important phrase in the French language. In France, you should say bonjour to whenever you enter a store, restaurant, elevator, or bus (to the driver; whenever you start a conversation with a stranger (i.e., asking for direction, asking for help at a store), or when you encounter a neighbor or hotel staff. For extra points, you can say: Bonjour Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle.
Pronunciation: Ex-kue-zay / mwa /duh /voo /dey-rahn-zhay
If you’re asking a question or making a request of a stranger, preface your request with this phrase. Use especially if the person is engaged in another activity at the time of your request, such as talking to someone, reading, etc. You would not use this phrase with waitstaff or a salesperson at a store. In those cases you would simply say: “Excusez-moi…”
Pronunciation: Say /trehay / zhawn-tee / mare-si
Use this phrase when someone does something especially nice for you. This may include giving you directions on the street, helping you (or offering to help) in some way, or giving you a compliment.
Pronunciation: Pahr-lay /voo / anhn-glay?
Want to get on a Parisian’s bad side? Start yammering away in English before asking whether or not he or she speaks the language. You’re in France. The national language is French. It’s what’s taught in schools. It’s what spoken at home. Many Parisians do speak English, but not everyone does. And of those that do speak English, not everyone speaks it very well. So, even if you feel in your bones that the person speaks English, just be polite and ask first. If you show this courtesy, you’re likely to get a warmer, more thoughtful response to your query.
Pronunciation: Deh-zo-ley / zhe /nuh /pahrl /pa/ frahn-say /(treh bee-ahn).
Another way of getting into a Parisian’s good graces is by apologizing for not being able to speak French very well. The French do not expect the entire world to speak the language. Still, it’s nice to hear someone making the effort to speak it and apologizing for not being able to do more.
Pronunciation: Poo-vey /voo /muh /dear /oo /ay…
If you need help in a store or on the street, this phrase will certainly come in handy. Of course, you’ll need to fill in the blank with the name of the place or street you’re looking for. And it’s almost always a good idea to preface the phrase with “Excusez-moi…”.
Pronunciation: Say /et-tay /treh /bohn.
Get that Parisian waiter to smile by complimenting the fine meal you’ve had (if it’s deserving, of course!). Often after you’ve eaten, your server might say: “Ça a été?” meaning “How was it?” If you liked it, deliver your compliments in French and with a smile. Remember that “bon” is always used for food, never “bien”.
Is there a French phrase you’d like to use during your trip to France, but don’t know how to express it? Ask us in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!