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How to Learn French for Travel with Useful Resources

learn french for travel

Your trip to France is getting closer, and let’s face it, you don’t have enough time to renew your French.

Don’t worry.

You can learn French quickly if you focus on the right things. As you prepare for your vacation, take some time to learn a few travelling essentials of French.  You’ll find a handful of  important topics to learn first.

Today, we’ll help you master French for Travel faster than you think.

learn a language by travelling

Survival Topics to Learn in French

Before you travel, it’s a wise idea to stock up on a few essential phrases.  That’s why a reliable French phrasebook can do wonders for your French learning curve.

Even though we will prepare you with plenty of useful, common French travel phrases, a phrasebook will serve as a great backup if anything goes wrong.

If you are short in time, we gathered essential topics to learn, so you could cover the most common daily conversations, and not waste your time on excessive learning.

Learn Polite French terms

Manners are extremely significant to French, and if you’re meeting someone for the first time, or conversing with a stranger, you should address them correctly.

Try to make yourself known to someone by saying

Bonjour monsieur/madame (hello sir/madam), or

Excusez-moi monsieur/madame (excuse me sir/madam).

Likewise, when entering a shop, it is always nice to greet the shopkeeper by saying hello or good morning.

Learn to Greet in French

This is perhaps the first important thing to learn. Greeting the right way is very significant in France and shows the other person respect.

Make sure to properly use formal and informal greetings in French.

To learn how to greet properly in French, click here. 

Learn to Shop in French

If you are travelling to France, then shopping will definitely be on your list.

Start off by learning the basic shopping vocabulary you’ll need. Keep the general words around shopping like “to buy”, “to return”, “sale”, “to try on” be on the top of your list.

Basic Shopping vocabulary

acheter – to buy

chercher – to look for

dépenser – to spend

essayer – to try on

rendre – to return (an item)

trouver – to find

vendre – to sell

les soldes – sale

faire les courses – shopping

Bon marché- cheap

To learn French vocabulary related to food, click here.

To learn basic shopping vocabulary in French, learn here. 

Learn to Order Food in French

Logically, you must eat, wherever you are. So, immediately, this is the must-have lesson if you want to survive in France.

Here, you can focus on learning the basic vocabulary around food, some ingredients, or common dishes you prefer.

Also, if you are short in time,  keep your life simple, just learn the food vocabulary you intend on eating in France and don’t go crazy with learning “Bouillabaisse” or “Choucroute Garnie“.

To learn French vocabulary related to food, click here.

However, it’s always a good idea to do a little research beforehand, and perhaps find a couple of French national dishes you’d like to try. Check out The top 10 French foods to try when in France.

Another important lesson is learning how to order food in a restaurant. Even if your French is broken, everyone will appreciate your effort to communicate in French. Don’t mind the mistakes.

Here is a great video, showing you how to order coffee in a French café.

Learn to Get Directions in French

Let’s face it. In a foreign country, almost everyone gets lost at one point. Even with GPS and Google Maps, you’ll probably need to ask someone to help you find the way. Specially if you are looking for hidden gems only locals know about.

That’s why be sure to learn how to ask for directions, and also critical, how to understand the instructions, once you hear them.

If you are a complete beginner in French, then focus on remembering the most basic words, such as left, right, turn, street, etc. You’ll be able to guess the meaning by understanding the keywords only.

Alexa will help you ask for directions in French, in the video down below.

Learn to Talk About Weather

French, and especially Parisian, adore chatting about the weather. Parisian are obsessed with weather, as the city is known for its rainy days.

This is the phrase you may hear or ask often.

Quel temps va-t-il faire aujourd’hui?

What will the weather be like today?

Remember that in France, the weather is typically described with the verb faire.

 Il fait beau aujourd’hui.

It means the weather is beautiful.

Before heading out, it’s a good idea to learn some vocabulary for the weather.

Try learning the keywords first, before you dive deeper into meteorology. Learning just the basics will be enough if you are just a beginner in French.

To learn to speak about the weather in French, click here.

Learn to Find Accommodation

Unless you are staying with your relatives, this is another important lesson to learn.

The vocabulary around finding the right accommodation includes making a reservation in either hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel, or Airbnb.

You should become familiar with making a reservation in French, choosing the room or apartment for 1 or more people, paying with a credit card or cash, deciding if you want breakfast included or not, and the length of your stay.

Here, you can learn all the needed vocabulary or phrases to make a successful booking, either online or offline.

All Set

Passport ready, lessons checked, and you are all set for your trip to France.

One last thing we’d like to say is “Don’t shy away from speaking French “. It’s your unique occasion to speak French, so take it, even if your French doesn’t sound so good.

Take your French phrasebook with you, if necessary, and keep it open when you need to ask about a certain thing. Having it by your side will make you feel confident, even if it’s just in your pocket.

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