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How to Introduce Yourself in French — Be Unforgettable!

We all want to make a great, long-lasting first impression. Just moved to France and are eager to make new local friends? Are you traveling and looking for people to practice your French with? Or maybe you’re on the hunt for a job, anxious to outshine the competition?

The beauty of the introduction is that you don’t need to be fluent to come up with a catchy script that you can use in any social occasion, be it professional or casual, in person or in writing. No matter your level of French, if you learn the right tips and tricks, you’ll make people interested and they’ll remember you.

From situational French phrases to talking about your family in French, this complete guide will reveal all the secrets and best lines to introduce yourself in French like a boss and be unforgettable!

Table of Contents

  1. Warm Up With a Greeting!
  2. How to Learn about Each Other
  3. Specific Introduction Lines
  4. How to Leave an Impression
  5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More about Introducing Yourself

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1. Warm Up with a Greeting!

Before anything else, you want to follow the French etiquette and start with a greeting. That said, let’s go ahead and learn some greetings in French.

1- Bonjour or Salut?

Do you remember our short list of fail-proof greetings? Here’s how we start the conversation:

  • Bonjour (“Hello” or “Good day”) can be used from morning to sundown, in almost any case. Neither too formal nor too relaxed, you cannot go wrong with it.
  • Bonsoir (“Good evening”) is the night-time counterpart of bonjour and can be used professionally as well as with friends.
  • Salut (“Hi”) is the casual bonjour that you use at any time of the day, with friends and peers.

2- Tu or Vous?

French has two forms of “you.” When meeting new people, you’ll always have to figure out which one to use. Don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward!

Vous is for formal encounters and Tu is for more casual interactions. If you meet someone for the first time, there’s a good chance you’ll use Vous, unless you’re meeting friends of friends or meeting strangers in an informal context such as a bar or a club.

Here’s a simple summary:

  • Friends, peers, family, kids or teens, animals: Tu
  • Anybody else: Vous (until decided otherwise by both parties)
  • Whenever in doubt: Vous

3- Handshake or La Bise?

Another tricky question: Should you shake hands or use La bise, our typical French custom of kissing on the cheeks?

  • If you’ve used Salut and Tu and you’re greeting someone of the opposite sex, there’s a good chance you could go for La bise.
  • Otherwise or whenever in doubt, go for a firm handshake! Remember that La bise is one of the more casual greetings in French, though common.

Make sure to check out our complete guide about “How to Say Hello in French” for more vocabulary and cultural insight about the subtle art of French greetings!

You can also practice your accent using our list of Common Ways to Say Hello with audio recordings on FrenchPod101.


2. How to Learn about Each Other

Now, let’s have a look at the classic questions and answers that usually come up when you meet someone. You’ll learn not only how to answer these questions and tell about yourself, but also to inquire about the other person and learn more about them.

Most questions have two forms (casual and formal) while most answers simply have one form.

1- What’’s Your Name?

To give your name or ask someone’s in French, we use the verb S’appeler.

Casual “What’s your name?” Formal “What’s your name?”
Comment tu t’appelles ? Comment vous appelez-vous ?
Tu t’appelles comment ?
  • Je m’appelle Bob (“My name is Bob”) literally means: “I call myself Bob.”
    • This is the most common way to state your name. It works in both formal and casual situations.

Next, you can return the question:

Casual “And you?” Formal “And you?”
Et toi ? Et vous ?

When asked back, in a casual situation, you can answer:

  • Moi, c’est Bob. (“I’m Bob.”)

2- Where are You From?

Unless you’ve worked hard on your accent with FrenchPod101, your new friends will most likely guess that you’re not from France and ask you where you’re from. Here’s how:

Casual “Where are you from?” Formal “Where are you from?”
D’où tu viens ?
Tu viens d’où ?
Tu es d’où ?

(“Where are you from?”)

De quel pays tu viens ?
Tu viens de quel pays ?
Tu es de quel pays ?

(“From what country are you from?”)

Tu es de quelle nationalité ?
(“What is your nationality?”)

D’où venez-vous ?
Vous venez d’où ?
Vous êtes d’où ?

(“Where are you from?”)

De quel pays venez-vous ?
Vous venez de quel pays ?
Vous êtes d’où ?

(“From what country are you from?”)

De quelle nationalité êtes-vous ?
Quelle est votre nationalité ?

(“What is your nationality?”)

If you’re from another country, you can answer with any of these:

  • Je viens de Chine. (“I’m coming from China.”)
  • Je suis Chinois. [Male] / Je suis Chinoise. [Female] (“I am Chinese.”)

If you want to state the city where you’re currently living, it would be:

  • Je viens de Paris. (“I’m coming from Paris.”)
  • J’habite à Paris. (“I’m living in Paris.”)

Check out our extensive list of Vocabulary for Nationalities and learn how to state where you’re from. It’s so important to learn useful contextual French phrases like this!

3- What’s Your Profession?

It’s common in France to ask about the other person’s job early in the conversation. It usually comes before what we see as more personal details, such as age, marital status, or family. If your new friend has a cool profession and you can follow-up with more questions, this can also be a great ice-breaker! Here’s what you’ll need to know about talking about your profession in French!

Casual “What is your profession?” Formal “What is your profession?”
Tu fais quoi dans la vie ?
(“What are you doing in life?”)
Tu fais quoi comme travail ?
Tu fais quel métier ?

(“What is your job?”)
Quel est votre métier ?
Quelle est votre profession ?
Quel travail faites-vous ?

(“What is your occupation?”)

Possible answers are:

  • Je suis étudiant(e). (“I’m a student.”)
  • J’étudie la biologie. (“I’m studying biology.”)
  • Je travaille dans l’informatique. (“I’m working in IT.”)
  • Je suis dans la finance. (“I’m working in finance.”)
  • Je suis charpentier. (“I’m a carpenter.”)

A bit of slang: Travail or Métier (“Occupation” or “Profession”) are often replaced in casual conversations with any of these slang alternatives:

  • Boulot; Taf; Job

Find more job names on our list of jobs in French with translations and audio recording. And if you’re a student, you can find another list about School Subjects.

4- Tell Me about Your Family!

This isn’t likely to come up right away when meeting new people, but as you get to know more about them, this conversation topic is perfectly fine. Below you’ll find information on talking about your family in French.

Casual “Tell me about your family.” Formal “Tell me about your family.”
Tu es marié(e) ?
(“Are you married?”)

Tu as des enfants ?
(“Do you have kids?”)

Tu as des frères et soeurs ?
(“Do you have brothers and sisters?”)

Vous êtes marié(e) ?
(“Are you married?”)

Vous avez des enfants ?
(“Do you have kids?”)

Vous avez des frères et soeurs ?
(“Do you have brothers and sisters?”)

Some possible answers are:

  • Oui, je suis marié(e). (“Yes, I’m married.”)
  • Non, je suis célibataire. (“No, I’m single.”)
  • Non, je suis divorcé(e). (“No, I’m divorced.”)
  • J’ai deux enfants. (“I have two kids.”)
  • J’ai un petit frère et une grande soeur. (“I have a little brother and a big sister.”)

Learn more on talking about your family in French with our list of Must-know French Terms for Family Members.

5- How Old are You?

The French are a bit more demanding on politeness than other countries. For instance, it can be seen as rude or insensitive to ask a woman about her age, unless you’re talking to a young girl or woman that would obviously not shy away from the question.

In most cases, it’s absolutely fine, though. Don’t let us scare you with French etiquette! Talking about your age in French really just comes down to the information below.

Casual “How old are you?” Formal “How old are you?”
Tu as quel age ? Quel age avez-vous ?

You can answer with:

  • J’ai 30 ans. (“I’m 30 years old.”)

As you grow older, it’s perfectly acceptable to start lying about your age. ;)

Shake Hands

6- What are Your Hobbies?

Now that we’ve got the mundanities out of the way, let’s share more personal information by talking about our hobbies and passions in French.

Casual “What are your hobbies?” Formal “What are your hobbies?”
C’est quoi tes hobbies / passe-temps?
(“What are your hobbies?”)

Tu fais quoi dans ton temps libre ?
Tu fais quoi pendant tes loisirs ?

(“What do you do with your free time?”)

Quels sont vos hobbies ?
(“What are your hobbies?”)

Que faites-vous de votre temps libre ?
Quels sont vos loisirs ?

(“What do you do with your free time?”)

You could answer virtually anything, but here are some examples:

  • Je joue au tennis. (“I’m playing tennis.”)
  • Je joue du piano. (“I’m playing piano.”)
  • Je passe mes nuits sur HBO. (“I spend my nights on HBO.”)
  • J’écris un journal de voyage. (“I’m writing a travel diary.”)

We have a vocabulary list about hobbies with translations and recordings, as well as a free PDF lesson with even more words for you to learn!

The best way to learn how to pronounce all these introduction sentences? Check our list of 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself and practice your French pronunciation!


3. Specific Introduction Lines

Now that we’ve seen the most common questions and answers, let’s see how to introduce yourself with useful French phrases in more targeted situations with short conversation examples:

1- When You Travel (Meeting Friendly Locals)

  • Tu voyages depuis longtemps ? (“Have you been travelling for a long time?”)
    • Je voyage depuis deux mois. (“I have been travelling for two months.”)
  • Tu as visité quels autres pays ? (“What other countries did you visit?”)
    • Je suis allé(e) en Espagne et en Italie. (“I have been to Spain and Italy.”)

Find more vocabulary and recordings in our Travel and Traveling vocabulary lists.

2- At Work (Meeting Your Coworkers)

  • Tu travailles dans quel service ? (“In which division are you working?”)
    • Je travaille aux ressources humaines. (“I’m working with HR.”)
  • Tu bosses sur quoi en ce moment ? (“What are you working on right now?”)
    • Je viens de commencer un nouveau projet. (“I have just started working on a new project.”)

Cheers

3- In a Casual Social Event (Meeting Friends, a Date)

  • Tu fais quoi demain soir ? (“What are you doing tomorrow night?”)
    • Je vais au cinéma avec un pote. (“I’m going to a movie with a pal.”)
  • Tu as un copain ? / Tu as une copine ? (“Do you have a boyfriend / girlfriend?”)
    • Non, on a rompu il y a deux semaines. (“No, we broke up two weeks ago.”)

4- Family Meetings (Meeting Your Parents-in-law)

  • Vous vous êtes rencontrés comment ? (“How did you meet?”)
    • J’ai rencontré Julie à l’université. (“I have met Julie at the university.”)
  • Comment tu connais Bastien ? (“How do you know Bastien?”)
    • On travaille ensemble. (“We work together.”)


4. How to Leave an Impression

1- Less is More!

Don’t make it all about yourself. As tempting as it is to talk about your dancing eyebrows talent, snail-watching hobby, or any of your groundbreaking achievements, try to keep it to yourself and keep some mystery alive. When someone asks something about you, you don’t have to divulge a whole chapter of your biography. Just throw some juicy teasers and play hard-to-get. It’ll make you more interesting and appealing.

In the meantime, talking less about yourself will leave you more time to inquire about the other person, ask them questions, and learn more about their culture and passions! Listen to what they have to say; don’t think about what you want to say next.

2- Show Your Interest

When meeting someone for the first time, it’s customary in France to drop a word of appreciation once you’ve learned that person’s name. This can take different forms:

  • Enchanté(e) (“Delighted”) is the easiest and most common.
  • Ravi(e) de vous rencontrer or Heureux / Heureuse de vous rencontrer (“Happy to meet you”)
  • C’est un plaisir de vous rencontrer (“It’s a pleasure to meet you”)
    You can cut it down to Un plaisir de vous rencontrer (“Pleased to meet you”) or even Un plaisir (“A pleasure”).

But there are many other ways to show your interest when you greet in French:

  • Je m’appelle Julie. (“My name is Julie.”)
    • C’est un très joli prénom. (“It’s a really pretty name.”)
  • Je suis photographe. (“I’m a photographer.”)
    • Génial ! Quel genre de photos ? (“Great! What kind of photos?”)
  • J’ai 40 ans. (“I’m 40 years old.”)
    • Vraiment ? Tu fais beaucoup plus jeune. (“Really? You look so much younger.”)

3- Start the Conversation in French

French people love to hear French. This is partly because we’re terrible at foreign languages, but the fact is that even if you only babble a few words of French to your new local friends before switching to English, you’re likely to make a good first impression!

Whatever your level is, even if you’re a complete beginner, our advice is to always start the conversation in French. It doesn’t matter if you only know how to say Bonjour (“Hello”) or Je ne parle pas français. (“I don’t speak French.”). Starting the conversation in French will get you off to a much better start than if you open with English.


5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More about Introducing Yourself

In this guide, you’ve learned how to introduce yourself in French, from greeting to talking about your job and passions. You’ve also seen how to learn more about them while showing your interest.

Do you feel ready to introduce yourself to your new French friends and make sure nobody ever forgets about you? How would you introduce yourself to your colleague or to a girl you like? And what would you ask?

A good exercise is to write down your presentation and tell as much as you want about you. Following this guide, you already have everything you need to write a great introduction. But if you want to go further, FrenchPod101 has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and vocabulary!

Go further with MyTeacher for one-on-one guidance tailored to your needs. Practice introducing yourself to your private teacher and get personalized feedback and advice!

We hope you learned a lot of practical greetings in French, along with useful contextual French phrases to help you as you start out your travels in France. Best wishes!

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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