Whether you’re jetting off to France for the Euro2016 or to the nice beach in Nice, here are a few quintessential French words that you should probably know how to say – correctly. Note that some are pastry type words, making it well worth the vocab lesson for foodies. Happy speaking and sampling!
- ‘Hello’ or ‘Good day’ literally. Your first impression – may as well make it good, right?
- This flaky, delicious pastry is a staple on many breakfast tables. A must know and a must try. Croissants are instant buttery pillows of goodness that melt in your mouth, true love at first bite.
- A friendly informal greeting when coming or going.
S’il vous plaît: (seel/voo/pleh)
- Can’t forget your manners; what would your mother think! Better learn how to say ‘please’.
- A French delicacy. The pancake’s thinner and flatter scrumptious cousin can be topped with whatever your heart desires – sweet or savoury (yes, the French know how to live!)
- Meaning bakery, and your one stop shop for all the delicious French baguettes you could ever dream of.
- A popular meringue based French sweet. Colourful edible buttons. Not to be confused with macaroon – another pastry altogether. Although, what’s the risk?… You get a different delicious pastry…oh c’est la vie!
Merci beaucoup: (mair-see/boo-koo)
- Knowing how to properly say ‘thank you very much’ will go a long way with native speakers anywhere…Do avoid the phonetic butchery of ‘mercy buckets’ if you can.
Les toilettes: (ley/twah-let)
- Knowing where the restroom is located is always handy!
Au revoir: (oh/re-vwar)
- Saying goodbye is your last impression. Although, unlike ‘adieu’, ‘au revoir’ implies you’ll be back (for more macarons of course!).
And a bonus phrase if all else fails:
Je ne parle pas français, parlez-vous anglais?: zhuh/nhuh/parl/pa/fran-say
I do not speak French, do you speak English?