A French Vacation

If you want to go on holiday in France, without knowing a word of French, then you need a plan. The natural thing you think you will need to know are phrases like 'How are you?' and 'My name is..' Resist the urge to learn such things and instead learn what you need to know to get by. If you don't know how to speak French then don't learn the words to start a conversation that will never materialise, due to your lack of words. Instead learn a handful of words and a handful of phrases that you need to survive.

At the end of the day, words that will help you get by and help you 'survive' are the key to enjoying your short time abroad.

People may tell you that the French are rude if you destroy their language with your bad French. However, in my experience, this theory is more the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. Even if you make an attempt and fail miserably, if you do it with a smile and sincerity then 99.9% of French people will try their best to interact with you and help you. Despite what some people will say, if you succeed to try your best in the French language then the French will try their best in what knowledge they have of your native language.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. - Nelson Mandela.

Les phrases (sentences)

1. Je voudrais = I would like.

2. J'ai réservé une chambre pour deux personnes = I booked a room for two.

3. Où est? = Where is?

4. Je viens d'Irlande =  I am from Ireland.

5. J'aime bien cette ville = I love this town.

6. Je suis complètement perdu = I am completely lost.

7. Les gens sont très gentils ici =  The people are very friendly here.

8. J'ai besoin d'aide = I need help.

9. L'hôtel est très agréable =  The hotel is very nice.

10. Je voudrais louer une voiture = I want to rent a car.

11. Avez-vous une carte? = Have you a map?

French people use the verb 'aimer' more frequently than the verb 'adorer'. In fact, to say I love you the French say 'Je t'aime' and not 'Je t'adore'.

Le vocabulaire à savoir (the vocabulary to know):

1. s'il vous plaît (formal) s'il te plaît (informal) = please

2. une bière = a beer

3. une bouteille de vin = a bottle of wine

4. le restaurant = restaurant

5. les directions = directions

6. la plage = beach

7. le soleil = sun

8. une voiture = a car

9. l'eau = water

10. le magasin  = shop

11. le cinéma =  cinema

12. la pluie = rain

13. ça = that

14. là-bas = over there

15. par là =  that way

16. à droite =  right

17. à gauche = left

18. tout droit = straight ahead

19. la côte = coast

20. la rue = street

21. la route = highway

22. l'essence = petrol/diesel/gas

23. l'office du tourisme =  tourist office

In France, there are 2 greetings you will use as a tourist:

Bonjour = Good Morning, Hello.

Bonsoir = Good evening, Hello.

(Bonne nuite is only used when you are going to bed).