Video:20 Useful French Words and Phrases To Learn Before You Travel To France 

By  Annie André

 Useful French Words and Phrases

You Know This Embarrassing Scenario!

It’s a hot summers day and you’re out sightseeing and drinking water by the gallon. Suddenly out of nowhere, you have this uncontrollable urge to go pee pee really bad.

You ask someone where the restroom is but you don’t know the word for restroom in Swahili, Japanese or whatever language they speak. Now you really have to go pee and you resort to showing them the dreaded “PEE PEE DANCE” to get your point across..

Too late! You’re about to pee your pants. How embarrassing.

Don’t be that person who didn’t bother to learn a few simple words and phrases before you left for your trip or sabbatical abroad.

Learn AT LEAST 20 words and phrases before you go.  You don’t need to be fluent. You just need to know enough to get by (in the beginning).

Watch And Learn as my daughter teaches you 20 Useful French Words and Phrases

Yes this is my daughter in the video below when she was 4 years old. In the video, she will say 20 really useful words and phrases you should learn when travelling to France and beyond.

In case you can’t watch the video or you want to print out the 20 words here they are.

If you need help pronouncing these or other words in another language on the fly then go to www.forvo.com. It claims to be the largest pronunciation guide In the world. Pretty cool if you ask me.

20 Phrases and words


1- HelloBonjour
2- Please s’il vous plaît
3- Thank You Merci
4- You’re Welcome De rien
5- Excuse Me excusez-moi
6- Where is the toilet?Où sont les toilettes?
7- Do you take credit cards? Acceptez-Vous Les cartes de crédit (ou cartes bancaires)
8- How much does this cost? ça coûte Combien ?
9- Where is … Où est …?
10-Where can I find a train/metro/bus/taxi où puis-je trouver un train / métro / bus / taxi
11- I need a doctor. J’ai besoin d’un médecin/ doctueur
12- Where can I get something to eat? Où puis-je trouver quelque chose à manger?
13- Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?
14- I don’t understand Je ne comprends pas
15- I am lost. Can you help me? Je suis perdu. Pouvez-vous m’aider?
16- I would like to go to the airport. Je voudrais aller à l’aéroport
17- May I have a beer Puis-je avoir une bière
18- I would like a glass of red wine Je voudrais un verre de vin rouge
19- Learn to Count to 10 un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
20- I Love You MommyJe t’aime maman



If you want to learn more than a few phrases than try the world famous pimsleur method and  Learn a language in only 10 Days! Perfect for beginners who are auditory learners. What about you? Do you have some words you think would be good to know before you travel? Like “you are beautiful” or “stop or i’ll scream!”.

  1. Love your daughter. So cute! And I absolutely agree that it’s best to learn a few phrases in French before you visit. Not sure why people don’t get that!

  2. Annie,
    as a French speaker and having done extensive traveling through France I can say that it is mandatory to try to speak French with the locals, even if you know only 2 words. Their attitude will definitely change when they see a tourist trying to learn their language.

    1. Hi Mariella,
      I speak fluent French as well and I used to think the same thing but my husband who doesn’t speak any french or didn’t when we first got here was welcomed with warm wishes and no one ever batted an eye about his lack of French. It must have been the way he was flapping and motioning with his hands when he was trying to talk to someone who had no idea what he was saying.

  3. Your links to the language learning program go to an error message saying they are not active! Just thought you should know. Nice site– saw you on House Hunters and will visit again.

  4. Hey Annie,

    great idea to get Catherine to do this – she’ll kill you when she’s older!!

    Actually hopefully she’ll be proud of it – she’s super-cute & has a great accent.

    a bientot…

    p.s. next you should do the same 20 expressions in Thai

  5. Your daughter really knows her French. Great pronunciation and everything.

    I’ve never had to do the “pee pee dance” before, but I have had trouble finding the toilet and other things while traveling. In fact, I went looking for a restroom in a restaurant in Paris and the waitress had to direct me to this huge door that looked like an entrance to a storeroom. I would never have thought that was where it was. That just shows that you sometimes need to ask or else you might not find it.

    I think it’s good to learn a few phrases just as a way to get to know people. It’s like when I learned a few Thai phrases in Thailand. The locals loved it when I tried to speak it and as they correct my pronunciation we got into conversations. Language is a good way to get to know the local people.

    1. Steve,
      You’re so right Steve. Learning to say a few things and then speaking with locals is a great way to start some conversations. It’s really disarming too.

      You are a responsible and thoughtful traveller Steve.

  6. Hi Annie, My first comment on your blog! I’m enjoy reading such blogs like this. Lovely video.

  7. Hi Annie
    What a great video and your daughter is such a cutie :)
    I always think that whichever country you visit the local people will appreciate it if you try a few words of their language (even if you get it wrong at least you have tried!) and they will be more helpful. I moved to live on a Greek island from the UK and am slowly learning the language and our neighbours are a great help.

    1. Ahh thank you Pauline,
      my daughter is a gift. especially since she came 10 years after my first two children who are both boys.

      I have never been to Greece but my husband has and he said he loved it. It must be such a change for you from the UK.. So much sun and the food is out of this world. I think part of the fun of living abroad is just learning the language and trying new foods.. Hopefully you are learning how to cook like Greek Godess…

  8. I ALWAYS make sure I’ve figured out how to ask where the bathroom is before I arrive at my destination! Otherwise I’d be spending way too much time doing that dance you describe!

    Nowadays there’s no excuse not to know some basic phrases since there’s an app or online dictionary for just about every language. Although if I’m staying more than a week, I still like to have the little book of phrases…Great info here Annie, thanks!

    1. A book of phrases is an excellent idea. My husband carries one around with him. You would be surprised at how many people i’ve met that didn’t bother to learn one word for their trip or extended stay abroad. It’s shocking..but understandable If you’ve not travelled a lot.

  9. Annie – This was awesome, and i loved the video. Your daughter has done a great job at it, and she is indeed very cute.

    Thanks for sharing. Great idea and nicely put forth.

  10. Hi Annie,

    what a lovely video. And very important because travelling to France can be tough if you don’t speak any French. Speaking it at least a little can open doors, on the other hand. The challenge is to understand the French once they think that you speak French, they don’t stop talking anymore, do they ?

    Thanks for sharing this little survival kit.



    1. So true Oliver,
      It does take a while to get used to the accent. I actually had a conversation the other day with my banker and she said she has a hard time understanding some Parisians. I chuckled because my husband has a hard time understanding the people with a Scottish accent.
      It’s all just a matter of getting your ear used to the music of a certain language.

  11. Hi Annie,
    This was so cute! Language is one of my challenges. I took 4 years of Spanish and cannot speak a word. It just doesn’t click with my brain.
    I admire people speaking different languages. I do believe you have to start young where it is easier to learn.
    Thanks for sharing this enjoyable post.

    1. Donna,
      I think that a lot of people in this world think they cannot speak a language but it’s really hard to learn a language in the classroom with little to no real interaction with native speakers on a regular basis.
      I guarantee if you spend a month somewhere, you would speak better than if you learned that language in your home country for years.
      Total immersion is the key.

  12. So, so cute the video, Annie!

    What I love is that she says it like people on the street say it, not the books. You know when people here in the US say: Parlez-vous Francais? We don’t really say that, do we, in France? Especially in Marseille LOL!

    We say more like… Vous parlez francais? Love that little French lesson. Thanks :)

    1. So true Sylviane,
      Everyday French at it’s finest. Catherine wants to give more french lessons. Apparently she loves being in front of the camera. LOL..

  13. Ah, you’ve taught her very well Annie. I loved the video and she did an excellent job.

    I agree with Daniel, how funny she knew those. That’s okay, I know you taught her this just for this particular exercise! (((wink, wink))).

    Loved it…


    1. I did have to coach her a bit for certain things. I got the idea when we were in a restaurant and she asked me if i wanted a glass of red wine. Mind you, my daughter only speaks french to me so i had to teach her how to say it in english so she i could say it on video on english first and have her understand. LOL.

  14. My daughter has to know how to say a lot of stuff because she does a lot of translating for my husband who speaks not so much french.

    I’m scared to know what other phrases she might learn… like “daddy can i have 20 euros”

  15. Annie,
    What’s most disturbing about the video is that while she may hesitated slightly on some of the tougher ones…she knew immediately how to ask “Do you take credit cards?” AND “May I have a beer?” Hmmm?

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