French Language

70 Must-Know French Words for Smooth Travel in 2023


France tops amongst all when it comes to the most visited country in the world. 89.4 million visitors in 2018 is a big number that proves the popularity of the place among travellers. The place has a rich history, food and scenic beauty.  Well! will it not be great if you know certain basic French words before you travel.

Bollywood has had a special love for France for a long time back. France is a central and popular shooting spot for Bollywood movies. A few movies like – ‘An Evening in Paris’ (1967), ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ (2007), ‘Queen’(2013), ‘Befikre’ (2016), ‘Ae Dil hai Mushkil’ (2016) and many others will virtually take you to the beautiful locations in France. It’s a treat watching France on screen.

Is visiting France on your bucket list?

Is your ticket to France booked? Are you planning to learn a few basic French language words before you travel? Congratulations! Finally, you have reached the right place to learn basic French words. Learning French is not difficult at all. English speakers can quickly pick up basic French language words since French has a much more similar vocabulary to English. Learning keywords will double your adventure during your trip to France. Before you pack your bags, get used to these 70 basic french words:

70 Basic French Words You Need to Know Before You Travel:

A. Common French Words:

  1. Bonjour (Hello)

It is made by combining two words- Bon and Jour. Bon means good, and jour means day. Hence, It means ‘good day’.  It’s a general greeting used while meeting someone during the day.  In simple words, it’s another word for a Hello or Good Morning. 

To respond to the greetings, just say ‘Bonjour’ back or Salut. Salut is considered an informal way to greet. 

  1. Au revoir (Goodbye)

It means Goodbye. It’s used when someone leaves with good wishes. You can respond by saying ‘Au Revoir back to them. 

  1. Bonsoir (Good Evening)

It is made by combining two words- Bon and Soir. Bon means good, and soir means evening. Hence, it means ‘good evening’. It’s a general greeting when you meet someone in the evening. 

You can respond by saying ‘Bonsoir’ back. 

  1. Bonne nuit (Good Night)

You say Bonne nuit when you go to bed for sleep.

  1. Merci (Thank you)

When someone helps you and you say ‘Merci’ to express your gratitude. 

You can reply by saying ‘de rien’ which means ‘You’re Welcome’. 

  1.  Bon (Good)

It means ‘good’ used to describe a person, object or state of being.

  1. Oui (Yes)
  1. Non (No)
  1. Je (I)

‘Je’ is the shortest word in the French language which means ‘I’. 

  1. Vous (You)
  1. Belle (Beautiful)

The word ‘Belle’ is used in context to the beauty of an attractive girl or a woman.

  1. Beau (Handsome)

The word ‘beau’ is for a boy or a man which means good looking or handsome.

  1. Désolé (Sorry)

The word ‘désolé’ is used to apologize to your friend, a loved one or a young person.

  1. Madame/Mademoiselle (Mrs/Ms)

‘Madame’ is used with respect to addressing an old lady or a married woman. It is equivalent to ‘Mrs’ in English, used before the name of a woman. Mademoiselle is used for a young girl or an unmarried woman. 

  1. Monsieur (Mr.)

‘Monsieur’ is used to show respect before the name of a man. It is equivalent to ‘Mr.’ used in English. 

  1. Garçon (Boy)
  2. Gille (Girl)
  • You should be aware of what the days of the week are called in french. Have a glimpse:
  1. Lundi (Monday) 
  2. Mardi (Tuesday)
  3. Mercredi (Wednesday)
  4. Jeudi (Thursday)
  5. Vendredi (Friday) 
  6. Samedi (Saturday)
  7. Dimanche (Sunday)
  • Other Phrases
  1. Aujourd’hui (Today)
  2. Demain (Tomorrow)
  3. Hier (Yesterday)
  4. Avant-hier (The day before yesterday)
  5. Après-demain (The day after tomorrow)
  • Do you know the names of twelve months in French? Have a look:
  1. Janvier (January)
  2. Février (February)
  3.  Mars (March)
  4.  Avril (April) 
  5.  Mai (May)
  6.  Juin (June)
  7.  Juillet (July)
  8.  Août (August) 
  9.  Septembre (September) 
  10.  Octobre (October)
  11.  Novembre (November)
  12.  Decembre (December)
  • If you encounter counting numbers in your trip, how will you identify the correct numbers from 0-10? You don’t need to worry. Below are the numbers from ‘zero to ten’ in the French language:
  1. Zéro (Zero)
  2. Un (One)
  3. Deux (Two)
  4. Trois (Three)
  5. Quatre (Four)
  6. Cinq (Five)
  7. Six (Six)
  8. Sept (Seven)
  9. Huit (Eight)
  10. Neuf (Nine)
  11. Dix (Ten)
  • When you travel, you should obviously have some basic items with you. Below is the french language words of those basic items:
  1. Savon (Soap)
  2. brosse à dents (Toothbrush)
  3. Dentifrice (Toothpaste)
  4. Serviette (Towel)
  5. Vêtements (Clothes)
  • Other words that are commonly used are:
  1. Stylo (pen)
  2. Livre (book)
  3. Café (Coffee)
  4. Aliments (Food)
  5. Téléphone (Phone)
  6. Lait (Milk)
  7. Autobus (Bus)
  8. Voiture (Car)
  9. Chocolat (Chocolate)
  10. I’amour (Love)
  11. Français (French)
  12. Chat (Cat)
  13. Chien (Dog)
  • A few essential ‘question words’ in french:
  1. Quoi (What)
  2. Qui (Who)
  3. (Where)
  4. Pourquoi (Why)
  5. Comment (How)
  6. Quand (When)
  • When you visit any restaurant, get across the following French words:
  1. Salade (Salad)
  2. Soupe (Soup)
  3. Légume (Vegetable)
  4. Riz (Rice)
  5. Pain (Bread)
  6. Beurre (Butter)
  7. Biscuit (Cookie)
  8. Gâteau (Cake)
  9. Jus (Juice)
  10. Thé (Tea)
  • Family relations in french are called:
  1. Père (Father)
  2. Mère (Mother)
  3. Frère (Brother)
  4. Sœur (Sister)
  5. Mari (Husband)
  6. Femme (Wife)
  7. Fils (Son)
  8. Fille (Daughter)
  • Common French phrases that will help you during your travel:
  1. Comment allez-vous? 

It means ‘How are you?’ It’s used in a more formal way. 

  1. Comment vas-tu? 

It means ‘How are you?’ It’s used in an informal way. 

  1. Comment vous appelez-vous? 

It means ‘What is your name?’ It’s used in a more formal way.  

  1. Comment tu t’appelles

It means ‘What is your name?’ It’s used in an informal way. 

  1. Vous me manquez 

It means ‘I miss you’. It’s used in a more formal way.  

  1. Tu me manques 

It means ‘I miss you’ that’s used in an informal way. 

  1. Pardon

It means ‘Excuse Me’

  1. Je ne sais pas

It means ‘I don’t know’. 

  1. Je suis désolé

It means ‘I’m sorry’. 

  1. Je m’appelle

It means ‘My name is’. 

  1. Je t’aime

It means ‘I love you’. 

  1. À toute à l’heure!

It means ‘See you later’.

  1. ça va bien, et vous?

It means ‘I’m well, and you?

  1. Pouvez-vous-m’aider

It means ‘Can you help me’.

B. Why you need to learn basic French words before travel:

You need to learn basic French words before travel due to the following reasons:

  1. Navigation: 

Since you are entering a new country, all the cities and locations are unknown to you. In order to save you from getting lost a few basic French words are necessary. Then, you can plan your schedule and communicate with the people on your way to get the right directions. 

  1. Local Communication:

If you speak the French language, the local people will welcome you and come forward to help you. You will be able to explore things better if you can communicate with the local people around you.

  1. Culture:

We have read in history about the rich culture of French and it’s altogether a different and first-hand experience to know the history directly from its countryman. You will not understand until you are not aware of the essential french language words. Language has a major role in knowing the culture of any country. If you have no idea about the basic French words, it’s difficult to enjoy the rich culture of France.

C. Interesting facts about the French Language:

  1. French is a romance language.
  2. Approximately 45% of modern English words are taken from the French language. 
  3. It is the official language of 29 countries. 

D. Tips to learn the French language:

  1. Firstly, you need to believe that the French language is not difficult to learn. If you have your heart in it, you will definitely learn it. 
  2. Start with basic french words. Then use longer sentences. Go through the google search. You will find various articles/blogs that will acquaint you with the basic words.
  3. Watch a few good films in french. It will help you with your pronunciation and improve your vocabulary. Try to watch it with subtitles in french.  
  4. Listen to French songs. If you are a music lover, you will pick it up faster. After listening to it a couple of times, try to sing along.
  5. French language apps can make you practice basic French words. 
  6. If you are not able to follow any of the above, it is best to enrol in a good short term French language course. 

Henry Harvin Education is a renowned name for offering french language courses for beginners. 

If you wish to enrol in this course, check the following details:

Henry Harvin Language Academy:

Henry Harvin Education is a leading Institute that equips you with skill-based education. It is a renowned name among quality education providers. 

Henry Harvin offers French Language courses from basic to advanced levels. 

You can enrol with this course just 2 months prior to your trip so that you learn and practice basic french language words. By the time you board your flight, you will feel confident to communicate at a basic level with local people in France.

Since the French language course offered by Henry Harvin starts with the basic level and goes up to an advanced level, those who are planning to upgrade their skills for better job opportunities can also enrol. There are multiple demands for french speaking employees in multinational companies. 

Key features about this course:

 9 in 1 course:

This unique 9 in 1 has its key feature. The services that are covered under this are (a) Training the students with the best resources and resource person.. (b) Assigning projects during the course and proper guidance by the mentor. (c) Providing Internship support to the students post the completion of the french language course. (d) Certification is issued to the students which add value to their resume (e) E-learning platform for 1 year helps the students to access the learning material during the course and even after completing the course. (f) Bootcamps are conducted every month that work on adding other important skills. (g) 100% placement support is ensured. (h) hackathons (i) Gold membership. 

Comprehensive Curriculum:

The curriculum of the French language course is designed as per the standards of the European framework of references. The curriculum is designed keeping in mind the exam pattern of DALF, DILF, DELF, DCL, & TCF (Important exams conducted by the French Ministry of Education). 

Practical Training:

Practical training is the core of learning any language. Unless you speak, you will never learn a language. Less theory and more practice make you learn the french language in a short time. Learning by doing is the methodology that is strictly followed by Henry Harvin language Academy. 

 24*7 Lifetime Support

Henry Harvin is prompt and active in replying to your query. There is a dedicated team that is working 24*7 to provide you with assistance. 

Expert mentors

The mentors/trainers delivering the french language courses have command over their subject and possess a long experience in the relevant field. 

There are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2 levels in the French language course. Below is the course duration and fee structure:

  1. A1 level, 30 hours, 300 USD
  2. A2 level, 30 hours, 300 USD
  3. B1 level, 40 hours, 500 USD
  4. B2 level, 40 hours, 500 USD
  5. C1 level, 40 hours, 800 USD
  6. C2 level, 40 hours, 800 USD

Learning outcomes:

You will be able to initiate conversation, describe feelings, learn the basics of word building, express opinion; and learn French grammar. 

E. Weather and climate of France. 

The tourists visit France mostly during Spring (April- May), Summer (June- August), and Autumn (September- October). There is a difference in climate and weather in the North and South region of France. There is less crowd during winters. If you plan to visit France with a lesser crowd and enjoy it, then winter is the best time to plan your trip. You will get to witness the Christmas events during December month which is a must-have experience. 

F. Not-to-be-missed places in France:

  1. Eiffel Tower: The astonishing tower situated on Champ de Mars in Paris, will attract all your attention. It is listed among the Seven Wonders of the World for a reason. 
  2. Louver Museum: The iconic museum in Paris has a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and archaeological finds. 
  3. Dune of Pilat: The tallest sand dunes in Europe is located in the Arcachon Bay area.  Enjoy the breathtaking top-view from Dune of Pilat. 
  4. Loire Valley: It should be on your top 10 list for a trip to France. It’s located in the middle stretch of the Loire River. It is listed under the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’, also known as ‘Garden of France’.
  5. Rocamadour: A village at the clifftop is a beautiful village having sanctuaries and black virgins. The place is famous as a pilgrimage site. 
  6. Cirque de Gavarnie: Cirque in the heart of Pyrenees national park, will take you to the breathtaking scenery. 


You should have got an idea by now about a few common French language words. Bonjour, Merci, Bon, Bonsoir, Bonne Nuit, etc. are a few words that you can learn easily and use during your France trip. Don’t you get overwhelmed when you meet any foreigners in India, who try to put all his/her efforts into speaking the Hindi language? Yes. Even if he/she speaks ‘Namaste’, you welcome him/her with a smiling face. Similarly, French people will be delighted to receive you in their country if you respect their language and are eager to learn. No matter whether you speak wrong, make mistakes, the knowledge of the basic French language words will smoothen your journey and double your fun. 

Without a second thought, France is a beautiful place to visit. 

Since you are travelling to a foreign country, respect their people and culture. Be polite and humble.  

I hope this blog will help you in making your trip comfortable and happier. All the best wishes for your trip to France. Enjoy your vacation!


Q1. What do you mean by romance language?

A language that is derived from Latin is called a romance language.

Q2. Is French a romance language?

Yes, French is a romance language.

Q3. Which sport is most popular in France?

French loves football. Football is the most popular sport in France.

Q4. Name a few UNESCO world heritage sites in France.

A huge number of sites in France have been awarded the status of UNESCO world heritage. Canal du Midi, Palace and Park of Fontainebleau, The Loire Valley, Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay, The Banks of the Seine River, The Palace and Park of Versailles, Provins- A Town of Medieval Fairs are some of the UNESCO world heritage sites in France. 

Q5. What are some good restaurants in Delhi, India, to explore French food?

You can find many french food restaurants in Delhi: 
1. Le Cirque, The Leela Palace Hotel, Chanakyapuri
2. The Big Chill Cakery shop, DLF Mall of India, Noida
3. Housefull, Hudson Lane, GTB Nagar
4. French Heart, Crown Plaza, New Delhi
5. L’Opera, Khan Market, New Delhi
6. Elma’s Brasserie, Meherchand Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi

Q6. Name a few festivals and celebrations in France?

Epiphany, Candlemas, Europe’s day, Feast of Saint John, Mothers Day, World Music Day, Mardi-Gras & Carnivals are some of the popular festivals and celebrations in France. 

Kritika Singh Bawaniwal
Content Writer| Blogger| Professional Social Worker

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