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French Travel Phrases: Your Survival Kit for Smooth Trips

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If you’re reading this, you already know why you want to travel to France, be it the beauty and diversity of its landscapes, the appeal of its cuisine, or its wealth of history. But you may find yourself in need of helpful French travel phrases, and fast!

As a travel destination, France is notorious for a reason and it will delight the casual beach-goers and culture vultures alike. But to be fair, it’s not the cheapest travel destination and the language barrier can be challenging. Even though the number of English speakers has been rising rapidly over recent years, we’re still lagging behind most of our European neighbors. Even in the most touristic spots, you might bump into a waiter, a taxi driver, or a ticket seller who doesn’t speak anything but French.

This is where our French travel phrases will come in handy!

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to travel around France, from the basic daily words to specific topics such as transportation, restaurants, hotels, and much more. You’ll also find more French travel tips to help you find your way around your new favorite country with these key French travel phrases!

Without further ado, let’s move on to our list of French travel phrases.

Table of Contents

  1. Survival Basics: Simple French Travel Phrases
  2. Lost in Translation
  3. Shopping
  4. Moving Around
  5. Hotel / Hostel
  6. Restaurants
  7. Asking for Directions
  8. Emergencies
  9. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

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A Photo of Arras

Arras, in the “Hauts-de-France” region.


1. Survival Basics: Simple French Travel Phrases

In this chapter, I gathered a list of basic French travel phrases and words that can prove useful in most encounters in France. These French phrases for travel are just what you need to get started on your journey here. Later on, we’ll examine more specific scenarios and make sure you’re well-equipped for anything that could come your way! You’ll certainly be glad to know this survival French for travelers!

1- Being Polite

As I’ve mentioned in other articles, France invented the word “étiquette” and is still a place where courtesy matters…a lot. I’m not saying all French behave like white knights of exquisite politeness, but knowing how to greet and thank your French hosts and friends will take you a long way, while doing so in their language makes you instantly more likable.

Bonjour !
Bonsoir !
“Hello!”
“Good evening!”
Comment tu t’appelles ? [Casual]
Comment vous appelez-vous ? [Formal]
“What is your name?”
Enchanté. “Nice to meet you.”
Au revoir. “Goodbye.”
Merci (beaucoup). “Thank you (very much).”
Non merci. “No, thank you.”
S’il te plaît. [Casual]
S’il vous plaît. [Formal]
“Please.”
Je t’en prie. [Casual]
Je vous en prie. [Formal]
“You are welcome.”
Excuse-moi. [Casual]
Excusez-moi. [Formal]
“Excuse me.”
(Je suis) désolé. “(I am) sorry.”

These are just the ten most useful phrases. To read more on this topic or to practice some of these French travel phrases with pronunciation, please have a look at the following resources on FrenchPod101:

2- General Toolkit

Now that you’ve shown your good manners, let’s look at a few more essential French phrases for travellers. Here are some common words and expressions to gracefully make your way through France.

Oui / Non “Yes / No”
J’aime / Je n’aime pas “I like / I don’t like”
Pourquoi ? “Why?”
Quelle heure est-il ? “What time is it?”
Où sont les toilettes ? “Where are the toilets?”

This is a small sample of the most common general phrases. You can find out more on our List of 24 Key Phrases with audio recordings, on FrenchPod101.


2. Lost in Translation

Even if you’re well-prepared and almost fluent, there will be times when your interlocutor doesn’t make sense to you, and you’ll have to make them repeat. Heck, even as a native speaker, I’m helpless with the thickest cases of southern French accents! So just know that even knowing the best French travel phrases won’t always save you from the awkwardness of asking someone to repeat what they said.

It’s perfectly fine to ask someone to talk slower, repeat themselves, or rephrase what they were saying. Most French people will be happy to see you putting in the effort and will help you understand.

Tu peux répéter ? [Casual]
Pouvez-vous répéter (s’il vous plaît) ? [Formal]
“Can you repeat (please)?”
Un peu plus lentement, s’il te plaît. [Casual]
Un peu plus lentement, s’il vous plaît. [Formal]
“A bit slower, please.”
Je suis désolé, je ne comprends pas. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
Que signifie ___ ?
Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ?
“What does ___ mean?”
“What does it mean?”
Comment on dit ___ en Français ? [Casual]
Comment dire ___ en Français ? [Formal]
“How do you say ___ in French?”
“How to say ___ in French?”
Tu parles Anglais ? [Casual]
Est-ce que tu parles Anglais ? [Casual]
Vous parlez Anglais ? [Formal]
Parlez-vous Anglais ? [Formal]
“Do you speak English?”

A Person Confused By Something Someone Is Saying

Je ne comprends pas ( “I don’t understand” )


3. Shopping

From the sparkling fancy boutiques of the Champs-Elysées to the dusty antiques of a typical Brocante (”Garage sale”), from the sprawling suburban malls to the modest Bouquinistes ( “Book sellers” ) along the Seine river, France caters for all tastes and budgets.

French shopping is usually a painless experience: Prices are displayed almost everywhere and credit cards are widely accepted, even in small bakeries or convenience stores. We don’t do five hours of siesta in the middle of the day, and unless you’re strolling around the Eiffel Tower in the crowd of souvenir sellers who won’t let you leave without a dozen dust collectors, shop owners aren’t likely to jump on you.

Combien ça coûte ?
Combien coûte ce ___ ?
“How much is it?”
“How much is this __?”
Combien coûte un kilo ?
Combien ça coûte à l’unité ?
“How much is it for a kilo?”
“How much is it for one?”
J’en voudrais XX. “I would like XX of this.”
A emporter / Sur place “To take away / To eat here”
Je peux payer par carte ? “Can I pay with card?”
Je vais payer en liquide.
Je vais payer en espèce.
“I will pay with cash.”

A Fruit Stand On A Street Market

Le marché ( “The market” )

For more shopping words, check out our free Shopping vocabulary list.

While shopping in France, you’ll also need to know how to handle prices or quantities. Make sure to read my previous article about French Numbers: From 0 to Infinity, and Beyond and the complementary vocabulary list.


4. Moving Around

No list of basic French phrases for tourists would be complete without information on talking about your ride. Whether you travel by bus, train, taxi, or plane, you need to be able to ask your way around, inquire about the timetables and details of the trip, navigate until you board the correct ride, and figure out when to get off.

Here are the most popular ways to move around France:

  • Le train ( “Train” )
    This is the fastest, most comfortable, and usually most scenic way to travel from one city to another. However, compared to buses, it can be pretty expensive, especially when booked at the last minute. Although locals will often complain of the trains being late or canceled, our national network is actually pretty strong and reliable compared to those of some of our close neighbors.
  • Le bus intercité ( “Intercity bus” )
    Bus travel has been developing rapidly in recent years and offers cheap prices to compete with the train and car sharing services. For instance, you can book an overnight trip from Paris to Nice for 28€ while a train on the same date would be around 60€.
  • Moving around the city with Les transports en commun (”The public transport”): Bus, Métro, or Tram ( “Bus,metro, or Tramway” )
    The subterranean metro or Trams are only available in big cities, but you can always move around with a local bus. Without the monthly or annual card, individual trips can be purchased for around 2€ in the metro or tram station, or directly on the bus.
  • Le taxi ( “Taxi” ) is the expensive alternative to public transportation that you only want to take when you’re going to the airport in the middle of the night or going back home dead drunk after an intense night out.
  • Questionable business practices aside, Uber is a much cheaper and more convenient substitute to taxis, and it’s well-developed in France.
  • L’avion ( “Plane” )
    Keeping in mind the dire environmental cost, traveling by plane is by far the fastest way to cover long distances and the prices of the Billets d’avion ( “Plane tickets” ) have continued to drop steadily over the years. Prices are especially low if you can book around a month in advance.

A Train Passing A House

Le train ( “The train” )

Now, where do you want to go?

La gare (ferroviaire) “The railway station”
Le terminal de bus
La station de bus
“The bus terminal”
“The bus station”
La station de taxis /métro / tram “The taxi / metro / tramway station”
L’arrêt de bus “The bus stop”
L’aéroport “The airport”

Then, using your brand new words, find your way there:

Je voudrais aller à l’aéroport. “I would like to go to the airport.”
Pouvez-vous m’indiquer la gare ? “Could you show me where the railway station is?”
Où est la station de métro la plus proche ? “Where is the closest metro station?”
Pouvez-vous m’appeler un taxi ? “Could you call a taxi for me?”
Je cherche le terminal de bus. “I’m looking for the bus terminal.”

Now, you have to ask the right questions before buying your tickets:

Où puis-je acheter un billet ? “Where can I buy a ticket?”
Aller simple / Aller-retour “One-way trip / Round trip”
Combien coûte le billet pour Dunkerque ? “How much is the ticket to Dunkerque?”
A quelle heure part le prochain train pour Dunkerque ? “At what time is the next train to Dunkerque leaving?”

Personally, I don’t see why anyone would go to Dunkerque, but I’ll let you be the judge of that (or rather don’t!).

And finally, you’ll just have to figure out where your ride is leaving from and when you should get off:

Est-ce le bon quai pour aller vers Issy ? “Is this the right platform to go to Issy?”
Est-ce que ce train s’arrête à Issy ? “Does this train stop in Issy?”
Pouvez-vous me prévenir quand nous arriverons à Issy, s’il vous plaît ? “Could you please tell me when we’ll arrive at Issy?”
Porte d’embarquement “Boarding gate”

To learn more vocabulary about transportation, please check out our lists of vocabulary for Airplanes, Bus or Train Stations, and Crossing Borders.


5. Hotel / Hostel

Preparing For Travel

As the most visited country in the world (nothing wrong with a bit of bragging!), France has no shortage of accommodation of all shapes, sizes, and prices. You’re not likely to run out of options when looking for a place to spend the night. But you may still want a couple of French travel tips and phrases regarding your stay.

Prices vary greatly depending on the season and proximity to the tourist attractions, but considering the quality of the transport network all over the country, it’s usually fine to sleep outside of the city center.

While the Gîtes ruraux (”Rural houses” used as vacation rentals) and Chambres d’hôte ( “Bed & Breakfast” ) are popular choices among locals for their summer vacations, the most common options are still L’hôtel ( “The hotel” ) and its budget version, L’auberge de jeunesse (”The hostel” or “Youth hostel”).

The City Of Nice

Nice, on the Mediterranean coast.

Most visitors in France will book their room through the usual Booking.com or HostelWorld, but there are times when you just want to stroll around and find the perfect place all by yourself. Here’s how to ask for a room in French:

Avez-vous une chambre disponible pour XX personnes ? “Do you have a room available for XX people?”
Lits séparés / Lit double / Dortoir “Twin beds / Double bed / Dorm room”
J’ai une réservation au nom de Bob Wilson. “I have a booking in the name of Bob Wilson.”

Next step: you probably have some questions about the room.

Est-ce que la chambre a ___ ?

  • Une fenêtre
  • Un balcon
  • Une salle de bain
  • Un ventilateur
  • L’air conditionné
“Does the room have ___?”

  • “A window”
  • “A balcony”
  • “A bathroom”
  • “A fan”
  • “Air-conditioning”
Est-ce que je peux voir la chambre ? “Can I see the room?”
Combien coûte une nuit ? “How much is it for one night?”
Combien coûte une nuit par personne ? “How much is it per person for one night?”
Est-ce que le petit déjeuner est inclus ? “Is breakfast included?”
A quelle heure est le petit déjeuner ? “At what time is the breakfast?”


6. Restaurants

Survival Phrases

You’ve found a nice room with a convenient location in this cute family-run hostel. You’ve dropped your bags and are now ready for more adventures. But wait, what’s that sound? Is that the infamous Beast of Gevaudan or your growling stomach?

If there’s one thing France is acclaimed for, it has to be the food! Good food is at the heart of our friends, family, and even business meetings; alongside wine, it stands as the cornerstone of our philosophy of Art de vivre (”The Art of Living”).

Some people imagine French meals as fancy and snobbish, but this is mostly untrue. From the biggest cities to the tiniest towns, you can always find a good Brasserie ( Literally “Brewery” ) to serve you a generous portion of typical and unpretentious food such as Cassoulet (A mixture of white beans and sausage simmered in goose fat), Steak au poivre (”Pepper steak”), or Tartare de boeuf (”Beef tartare”), served with a glass of Beaujolais.

Many restaurants have the menu displayed outside, which is really convenient if you want to quietly check your options before entering. When they don’t, you can simply ask for it before sitting; if you don’t like what you see, just give it back, thank them politely, and leave.

Est-ce je peux voir le menu, s’il vous plaît ? “Can I please see the menu?”
Merci, bonne soirée ! “Thank you, have a good evening!”

Otherwise, if you like what they offer, go ahead! Most restaurants will take you to a table, while simple Brasseries, Pubs, or fast food places will let you seat yourself.

1- How to Order Drinks

Before you order the food, the first question you’ll usually hear is:

  • Voulez-vous boire quelque chose ? ( “Do you want something to drink?” )
  • Voulez-vous commander quelque chose à boire ? ( “Would you like to order a drink?” )

It’s worth noting that when you order a meal, water is always free in France (we have a law explicitly stating it). I’m talking simple tap water in a pitcher, and not sophisticated bottled sparkling water, but this is an amazing feature of French restaurants, especially if you’re on a budget! And you can get refills.

To ask for your free water, don’t just ask for water; sneaky waiters could take your order as mineral water and charge you for it. Instead, use this phrase:

Une carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît. “A jug of water, please.”

The important word here is Carafe (”Jug”), as it differentiates this from a paid order of mineral water. Also, don’t worry: water is properly filtered all over the country and it’s always fine to drink from the tap.

Oh, and you know what else is always free? Delicious French bread!

French Fries

Did you know that French Fries are not French?

2- How to Order Food

Alright, now, let’s get some food on this table!

If you have any specific diet or allergy, it’s probably best to start with this:

Je suis allergique aux cacahuètes. “I’m allergic to peanuts.”
Est-ce que ce plat contient des cacahuètes ? “Does this dish contain peanuts?”
Avez-vous des plats végétariens ?
Avez-vous des plats végans ?
“Do you have vegetarian dishes?”
“Do you have vegan dishes?”

And here’s how to order something from the menu:

Quel est le plat du jour ? “What is today’s special?”
Je voudrais un plat du jour.
Je voudrais un menu du jour.
“I would like today’s special.”
“I would like today’s menu.”
En entrée, je voudrais une salade.
En plat, un steak au poivre.
En dessert, une tarte aux pommes.
“For a starter, I would like a salad.”
“For main, a pepper steak.”
“For dessert, an apple pie.”

Your stomach has stopped growling, your belly’s full of French delicacies, and your mind is at peace. It’s time to thank the chef and ask for the bill:

C’était délicieux, merci ! “That was delicious, thank you!”
L’addition s’il vous plait.
Pouvons-nous avoir l’addition, s’il vous plait ?
“Check, please.”
“Can we get the check, please?”
Peut-on avoir des additions séparées ? “Can we have separate bills?”

You can find more vocabulary and practice your pronunciation with our vocabulary list on Restaurants and key phrases for restaurants.


7. Asking for Directions

As Mandy Hale says, “Sometimes when you lose your way, you find yourself.” But sometimes, you just get severely frustrated and waste your day trying to reach this freaking museum your GPS keeps making you circle around.

One way or another, you’ll always end up relying on the help of locals to reach well-concealed destinations. Let’s start with the most common questions:

Je cherche le Panthéon.
Où se trouve le Panthéon ?
Pouvez-vous m’indiquer le Panthéon ?
“I’m looking for the Pantheon.”
“Where is the Pantheon?”
“Could you tell me where the Pantheon is?”
Comment aller au Panthéon ? “How can I go to the Pantheon?”
Dans quelle direction se trouve le Panthéon ? “Which way is the Pantheon?”

Signs In France

Je suis perdu. ( “I am lost.” )

As I often noticed while traveling, asking for directions is always the easy part, but making anything of the other person’s answer can prove much more challenging. Here are some examples of the answers you could receive:

Allez tout droit, puis prenez la première rue à gauche. “Go straight, then take the first street on the left.”
Tournez à droite quand vous sortez de la gare. “Turn right when you leave the train station.”
Traversez la rue en face de la gare. “Cross the street in front of the train station.”

To understand these kinds of instructions, it all comes down to knowing the right keywords, such as Droite (”Right”), Gauche (”Left”), En face (”In front”), Tout droit (”Straight”), and a few others.

Check out our lists of vocabulary for Position Words and Direction Words on FrenchPod101 to learn more about this.

And here’s more vocabulary and recordings about Key Places in Town, as well as the French Tourist Attractions.


8. Emergencies

In case of an emergency, you don’t want the language to get in the way of you and the help you need. Let’s have a look at the main emergency words (which may just be the most important French travel phrases when you need them) and how to use them.

A l’aide !
J’ai besoin d’aide !
“Help!”
“I need help!”
Le médecin
Pouvez-vous appeler un médecin ?
Où puis-je voir un médecin ?
“The doctor”
“Can you call a doctor?”
“Where can I see a doctor?”
L’hôpital
C’est une urgence.
Je dois aller à l’hôpital.
Appelez une ambulance !
“The hospital”
“It’s an emergency.”
“I need to go to the hospital.”
“Call an ambulance!”
La pharmacie
Où est la pharmacie la plus proche ?
Des médicaments
J’ai une assurance de voyage.
“The pharmacy”
“Where is the closest pharmacy?”
“Medication”
“I have travel insurance.”
La police
Appelez la police !
Où puis-je trouver le commissariat ?
“The police”
“Call the police!”
“Where can I find the police station?”
Il n’y a plus de fromage dans le frigo ! “There is no more cheese in the fridge!”

Emergency

C’est une urgence ! ( “It’s an emergency!” )

For more words on this topic, make sure to visit our free list of vocabulary about The Words and Phrases to Help You if You are in an Emergency.

If you’re in need of medical assistance, you’ll be glad to know about the Common Health Problems and some basic vocabulary about Medicine.


9. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

French travel phrases in language learning are so important, and in this guide, you’ve learned a LOT of French travel phrases. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming! Using these travel phrases to learn French will surely benefit you, but you don’t have to remember them all, as long as you keep these phrases accessible in a notebook or on your phone.

Did I forget any important words or expressions? Are you ready to get out there and ask locals about your travel needs?

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. The vocabulary lists are also a great way to revise and listen to the words. And you’re in luck, because we have tons of lists about traveling:

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice creating French travel phrases with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, or record them for you, so you learn the correct pronunciation.

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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.

How To Post In Perfect French on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak French, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in French.

At Learn French, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your French in the process.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in French

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in French. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

François eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down François’s post.

Soirée restau entre mecs ;)
“Night out at a restaurant with the guys ;)”

1- soirée restau

First is an expression meaning “night out at the restaurant.”
In France, many people go out to eat with their friends on Fridays and Saturdays because there’s no work the following day. Students, however, like to have parties on Thursday evenings.

2- entre mecs

Then comes the phrase - “with the guys.”
In general, French men like to meet up with their male friends at least once a month to catch up and relax.

COMMENTS

In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

1- Et moi alors? :p

His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “What about me? :p”
Use this expression to joke with your partner about being excluded.

2- Ca a l’air délicieux!

His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “It looks delicious!”
Use this expression to show your appreciation of the appearance of the food.

3- Ca a l’air délicieux!

His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Where is it?”
Use this question to find out more about a location - in this case, the restaurant.

4- Bon appétit!

His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your meal!”
This is an old-fashioned wish for a good and enjoyable meal.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • soirée: “party”
  • restau: “restaurant”
  • mec: “guy”
  • moi: “me”
  • avoir l’air: “look”
  • délicieux: “delicious”
  • appétit: “appetite”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a French restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in French

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these French phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Léa shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of the two of them, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Journée shopping avec ma petite soeur adorée :D
    “Shopping day with my beloved little sister :D

    1- journée shopping

    First is an expression meaning “shopping day.”
    In France, people like to go shopping over the weekends in malls, either with their friends, their partners or by themselves, when they’re looking for something in particular.

    2- avec (ma petite soeur) adorée

    Then comes the phrase - “with my beloved (little sister).”
    Use this phrase to say that you really enjoy being with a person.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Sympa !

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “Nice!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling positive about the poster’s comment.

    2- Profitez-bien :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy :)”
    Use this expression to wish someone a good experience, short and sweet.

    3- Il faudra que tu me montres ce que tu as acheté !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You’ll have to show me what you bought!”
    Use this expression to be conversational and show interest in the poster’s activities.

    4- Par ce temps pourri ? Vous avez du courage ! :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “With this crappy weather? You’re brave :p”
    Use this expression if you want to tease the poster in a friendly manner.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • journée: “day”
  • soeur: “sister”
  • sympa: “nice”
  • profiter: “enjoy”
  • montrer: “show”
  • acheter: “buy “
  • temps: “weather”
  • courage: “courage”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in French

    Sports events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunity for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in French.

    François plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au programme d’aujourd’hui: beach-volley !
    “On today’s agenda: beach volleyball! ”

    1- Au programme d’aujourd’hui

    First is an expression meaning “on today’s agenda.”
    Use this phrase to explain your plans for the day. This phrase is generally followed by a noun but can be followed by a list if it’s a busy day.

    2- beach-volley

    Then comes the phrase - “beach volleyball.”
    In social media, nouns are often used by themselves to point out something particularly important.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Un peu de sport ne te fera pas de mal mon vieux :p

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “Some sports won’t hurt you, old boy :p”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling negative or pessimistic about the poster’s choice of sport. It could also be meant to tease the poster.

    2- Ton équipe a gagné ?

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Did your team win?”
    Ask this if you want the poster to share

    3- Amuse-toi bien :)

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun :)”
    Use this expression as a short well-wish.

    4- Trop bien, la prochaine fois je veux venir moi aussi !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “That’s (so) great. I wanna come next time!”
    Use this expression to show your excitement for the game, and to share your desire to join the next one.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • programme: “program”
  • beach-volley: “beach volleyball”
  • mon vieux: “old boy”
  • équipe: “team”
  • gagner: “win”
  • s’amuser: “have fun”
  • trop bien: “great”
  • la prochaine fois: “next time”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in French

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Léa shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    J’adore cette chanson.
    “I love this song.”

    1- J’adore

    First is an expression meaning “I love.”
    Use this phrase when you’re really into something.

    2- cette chanson

    Then comes the phrase - “this song.”
    The pronoun before the noun indicates that you’re talking about one thing in particular.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Moi aussi ! Il faut qu’on aille au concert ensemble !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Me too! We need to go to the concert together!”
    Use this expression to indicate that you share the poster’s enthusiasm for the music, and wants to be part of the group attending the concert.

    2- C’est pas trop mon genre de musique ;)

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “It’s not really my type of music ;)”
    Use this expression to share a personal opinion about the music.

    3- C’est la première fois que je l’entends mais j’aime bien :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “It’s the first time I’m listening to it, but I like it :)”
    This is another personal experience and opinion to share.

    4- Personnellement, je préfère la musique classique.

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “I prefer classical music.”
    Use this expression to share a personal preference for different music.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • adorer: “love”
  • chanson: “song”
  • ensemble: “together”
  • genre: “kind”
  • musique: “music”
  • bien aimer: “like”
  • musique classique: “classical music”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about sharing music or videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. French Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in French!

    François goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au concert tant attendu :D
    “At the long-awaited concert :D

    1- au concert

    First is an expression meaning “at the concert.”
    Sometimes, to answer the question “Where are you?”, you can respond briefly by using a preposition followed by the name of the place you’re at.

    2- tant attendu

    Then comes the phrase - “long awaited.”
    In France, people generally enjoy going to concerts, especially when their favorite singer is in town. The most popular music genres are pop and rock, but France has a wide variety of bands that play different kinds of music. American music is also very popular in France.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- J’ai hâte que ça commence !

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait for it to start!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling enthusiastic and impatient for the event to start.

    2- Vous êtes au concert de qui ?

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Awesome :)”
    Use this expression to indicate your positive feelings in a short manner.

    3- Vous êtes au concert de qui ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Whose concert are you at?”
    Use this question for more details about the location of the concert.

    4- Prends plein de photos !

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Take lots of pictures!”
    Use this expression to show your interest in the topic, and instruct the poster to keep an image record of the event.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • concert: “concert”
  • avoir hâte: “look forward”
  • commencer: “start”
  • génial: “awesome”
  • de qui: “whose”
  • plein de: “a lot of”
  • photos: “pictures”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert , which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in French

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these French phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Léa accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Mon téléphone est cassé ! :’(
    “My phone is broken! :’(”

    1- mon téléphone

    First is an expression meaning “my phone.”
    In France, smartphones are becoming increasingly popular. There are many brands, colors and sizes suited for different people’s preferences.

    2- est cassé

    Then comes the phrase - “is broken.”
    This phrase is used to express that something is not working anymore. It can be used with different objects: electronic devices, toys, kitchenware, etc.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Oh non :(

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Oh no :(”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sympathetic with the poster’s poor luck.

    2- On va aller faire du shopping ce week-end !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s go shopping this weekend!”
    Use this phrase to suggest that you will accompany the poster to a shop for a new phone.

    3- Comment tu as réussi à faire ça ? :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “How did you manage to do that? :p”
    Use this expression if you want to know how the phone broke, but not in an interrogative manner.

    4- Tu as perdu beaucoup de données importantes ?

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “Did you lose a lot of important data?”
    Use this expression to show your concern about what the poster might have lost from the phone.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • téléphone: “phone”
  • casser: “break”
  • shopping: “shopping”
  • week-end: “weekend”
  • réussir: “manage”
  • perdre: “lose”
  • donnée: “data”
  • important: “important”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to describe an accident in French. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in French

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in French!

    François gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Pfff… rien à faire à la maison… des idées ?
    “Pfff… nothing to do at home… any ideas?”

    1- Pfff… rien à faire à la maison

    First is an expression meaning “pfff… nothing to do at home.”
    In French social media, onomatopoeias can be written down, and the verb is omitted to emphasize the main idea.

    2- des idées?

    Then comes the phrase - “any ideas?.”
    During their free time, French people often enjoy relaxing at home, hanging out with friends, watching TV, playing video games, reading books, going to the cinema, playing sports or doing other kinds of activities.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Non désolé :p

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “No, sorry :p”
    Use this expression to show you are void of any ideas to relieve boredom.

    2- On sort ce soir ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “You wanna go out tonight?”
    This is an invitation to go out with the poster in order to keep busy.

    3- Je suis sûre que tu trouveras quelque chose d’intéressant à faire ;)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m sure you’ll find something interesting to do ;)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic that the poster will soon be busy.

    4- Et si vous lisiez un livre ?

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “How about reading a book?”
    This is a suggestion or idea to combat boredom.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • rien: “nothing”
  • maison: “home”
  • idée: “idea”
  • désolé(e): “sorry”
  • sortir: “go out”
  • quelque chose: “something”
  • lire: “read”
  • livre: “book”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in French

    Sitting in public transport after work, feeling like chatting online? Well, converse in French about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Léa feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    La journée était longue, je suis morte…
    “It was a long day, I’m dead…”

    1- La journée était longue

    First is an expression meaning “It was a long day.”
    In France, people can legally work 35 hours per week (generally from Monday to Friday) and are entitled to five weeks of paid leave per year, which they can take whenever they want. Families with children generally go on vacation for a few weeks during the summer when their children are on holiday and don’t have to go to school.

    2- je suis morte

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m dead.”
    Sometimes people express themselves in strong, exaggerated language to convey their feelings.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Reposez-vous bien, nous avons une réunion importante demain.

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Rest well. We have an important meeting tomorrow.”
    These phrases convey plans for the next day at work, relevant to the poster.

    2- ça va?

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Are you ok?”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling concern for the poster.

    3- Vivement ce week-end ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait for this weekend ^^”
    Use this expression to be encouraging, implying that rest is in sight for everyone.

    4- Moi aussiiiiii !

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Me tooooooo!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling the same as the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • journée: “day”
  • long: “long”
  • mort(e): “dead”
  • se reposer: “rest”
  • réunion: “meeting”
  • vivement: “can’t wait for”
  • aussi: “too”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to say you’re exhausted in French! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in French

    So life happens, and you manage to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in French.

    François suffers a painful injury, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    J’ai super mal à la cheville :(
    “My ankle hurts really badly :(”

    1- J’ai super mal

    First is an expression meaning “It hurts really bad.”
    To talk about pain in French, the speaker begins his sentence with a personal pronoun because he’s talking about his own feelings.

    2- à la cheville

    Then comes the phrase - “at my ankle.”
    To talk about where something hurts, you generally use this preposition, then the noun (preceded by the corresponding article).

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu es allé chez le médecin ?

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Have you seen a doctor?”
    Use this question to obtain more information about the action the poster has taken regarding their injury. It also shows concern.

    2- Mon pauvre…

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Poor you…”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sympathy with the poster.

    3- Ça arrive, c’est pas la fin du monde !

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “It happens. It’s not the end of the world!”
    Use this expression to remind the poster that it is not the worst injury.

    4- Tu guériras sûrement rapidement :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “You’ll probably recover soon :)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic about the poster’s prospects of speedy recovery.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • avoir mal : “be hurting”
  • cheville: “ankle”
  • médecin: “doctor”
  • pauvre: “poor”
  • ça arrive: “it happens”
  • fin: “end”
  • monde: “world”
  • guérir: “recover”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in French

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Léa feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Ce temps est déprimant.
    “This weather is depressing.”

    1- Ce temps

    First is an expression meaning “This weather.”
    The weather varies greatly depending on where you are in France. In Paris, which is in the north of France, it is often cloudy, rainy or cold. In the south, temperatures are generally warmer.

    2- est déprimant

    Then comes the phrase - “is depressing.”
    On rainy days, people generally like to stay at home, relax and not do much. Instead of going out, they prefer watching TV, reading, cooking, playing video games or board games etc.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Moi j’aime la pluie :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “I like the rain :)”
    Use this phrase to express a preference for rainy weather.

    2- Au moins il n’y a pas besoin d’arroser les plantes :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “At least there’s no need to water the plants :p”
    Use this expression if you are being frivolous and wish to keep the conversation light.

    3- C’est parfait pour une soirée film ;)

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “It’s perfect for a movie night ;)”
    Use this expression as a suggestion to comfort the poster.

    4- Moi aussi je ne suis pas motivé pour faire quoi que ce soit.

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “I’m not motivated to do anything either.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling the same as the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • temps: “weather”
  • déprimant: “depressing”
  • pluie: “rain”
  • arroser: “water”
  • plante: “plant”
  • soirée film: “movie night”
  • motivé(e): “motivated”
  • quoi que ce soit: “anything”
  • How would you comment in French when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about a negative feeling, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in French

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    François changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Léa together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    “En couple avec Léa”.
    “”In a relationship with Léa.”"

    1- En couple

    First is an expression meaning “In a relationship.”
    In France, it’s common to post about relationship statuses when something changes to see how everyone reacts.

    2- avec Léa.

    Then comes the phrase - “with Léa..”
    French people also like to add the name of whom they are with. Not only to satisfy their friend’s curiosity, but also to show that they are proud to be with that person.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Je m’en doutais.

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “I suspected it.”
    Use this expression to show the announcement is not surprising.

    2- C’est pas trop tôt !

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “It’s about time!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling positive about the relationship.

    3- Bien joué mon vieux ;)

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Well done, buddy ;)”
    Use this expression to congratulate the poster.

    4- Vous formez un beau couple :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “You’re a nice couple :)”
    Use this expression to compliment the couple.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • en couple: “in a relationship”
  • se douter de: “suspect”
  • C’est pas trop tôt: “It’s about time”
  • bien joué: “well done”
  • mon vieux: “buddy”
  • former: “form”
  • couple: “couple”
  • What would you say in French when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in French

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in French.

    Léa is getting married today, so she eaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Je me marie aujourd’hui :D
    “I’m getting married today :D

    1- Je me marie

    First is an expression meaning “I’m getting married.”
    Nowadays, with the PACS system (a contractual form of civil union), fewer people are getting married than in previous generations. For those who do, they typically get married later in life. In France, it’s socially acceptable to have children without being married.

    2- aujourd’hui

    Then comes the phrase - “today.”
    The date is optional but can be used to emphasize that it’s a very special day.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “I wish you tons of happiness :)”
    Use this expression as a warmhearted well-wish to the couple.

    2- Tu as l’air magnifique dans cette robe !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You look gorgeous in that dress!”
    Use this expression to compliment the bride.

    3- Je suis super contente pour vous 2 :)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m really happy for you two :)”
    Use this expression to show that you are pleased for the sake of the couple.

    4- Vive les mariés ! :D

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Long live the newlyweds! :D
    This is an uncommon way to congratulate the couple and wish them a long marriage.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • se marier: “get married”
  • beaucoup: “a lot”
  • bonheur: “happiness”
  • magnifique: “gorgeous”
  • robe: “dress”
  • content: “happy”
  • vive les mariés: “long live the newlyweds”
  • How would you respond in French to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in French

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in French.

    François finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an image of the two of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Dans quelques mois nous serons 3 ;)
    “In a couple of months there will be 3 of us ;)”

    1- Dans quelques mois

    First is an expression meaning “In a couple of months.”
    To show that you’re excitedly awaiting something, you’ll often start by talking about the date.

    2- nous serons 3

    Then comes the phrase - “there will be 3 of us.”
    In French, sometimes people don’t always write exactly what they mean. Instead, they will hide the meaning a bit, inviting others to interact.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu vas être papa ? :o

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “You’re gonna be a dad? :o
    Use this expression if you feel humorous and pretend to be unbelieving.

    2- C’est une fille ou un garçon ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Is it a girl or a boy?”
    Use this question to gather more information.

    3- Je suis sûre que vous serez des parents géniaux :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m sure you’ll be great parents :)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic about the couple’s parenting skills.

    4- Félicitations :D

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations :D
    Use this expression to congratulate the couple in a traditional, understated way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • mois: “month”
  • papa: “dad”
  • fille: “girl”
  • garçon: “boy”
  • être sûr(e): “be sure”
  • parents: “parents”
  • félicitations: “congratulations”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting French Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in French.

    Léa plays with her baby, posts an image of the little angel, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Ma petite princesse.
    “My little princess.”

    1- Ma petite

    First is an expression meaning “my little.”
    Nowadays many women focus on their careers and may delay having children until they’re 30 years old.

    2- princesse

    Then comes the phrase - “princess.”
    French people often use a variety of cute nicknames or terms of endeardment like “sweetie” or “honey”. Some nicknames that might sound strange to English speakers include “my cabbage” or “my flea”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Elle est trop chou !

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “She’s so cute!”
    Use this phrase to agree with the poster about the baby’s powers of charm.

    2- Je viens faire du baby-sitting n’importe quand ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I’ll come to babysit anytime ^^”
    Use this expression to be helpful.

    3- Quel beau sourire!

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “What a beautiful smile!”
    Use this expression to pay the baby a compliment.

    4- Elle est le portrait craché de son papa :)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “She’s the spitting image of her daddy :)”
    This phrase is a neutral comment which relates to the baby’s resemblance to the father.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • petit(e): “little”
  • princesse: “princess”
  • chou: “cute”
  • baby-sitting: “babysitting”
  • n’importe quand: “anytime”
  • beau: “beautiful”
  • sourire: “smile”
  • portrait craché: “spitting image”
  • If your friend is the mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in French! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. French Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    François goes to a family gathering, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Pique-nique avec la famille :)
    “Picnic with the family :)”

    1- Pique-nique

    First is an expression meaning “picnic.”
    Starting a sentence with a noun shows that it’s the most important part of what you want to say.

    2- avec la famille

    Then comes the phrase - “with the family.”
    In France, people have family reunions that can last for hours. There are many dishes in a typical French course, and family gatherings are a great opportunity to catch up with relatives you don’t see that often.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Passe le bonjour à tout le monde de ma part stp !

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Say hi to everyone please!”
    Use this expression if you know the family and wish to send them greetings.

    2- J’ai une tête affreuse sur cette photo !

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “I look horrible in this picture!”
    Use this expression to be self-deprecating about your own appearance.

    3- Super! Le temps est idéal pour un pique-nique :)

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Great! The weather is perfect for a picnic :)”
    Use this expression to share your enthusiasm for the good weather.

    4- Profitez-bien de votre week-end !

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your weekend!”
    Use this expression as a traditional wish that the poster enjoy their time with the famly over the weekend.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • pique-nique: “picnic”
  • famille: “family”
  • passer le bonjour: “say hello”
  • tout le monde: “everyone”
  • tête: “head”
  • affreux: “horrible”
  • idéal: “ideal”
  • profiter: “enjoy”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in French

    So, the family are going on holiday. Do you know how to post and leave comments in French about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Léa waits at the airport for her flight, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Départ dans une heure :)
    “Departure in an hour :)”

    1- Départ

    First is an expression meaning “departure.”
    French people typically go to southern France or to other warm places in Europe during their holidays. Most European countries are close to each other and don’t require visas for EU citizens, which makes it easier to go to different places.

    2- dans une heure

    Then comes the phrase - “in an hour.”
    French airlines are usually on time. Delays or cancellations can happen but are not that common.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Bon voyage !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Have a nice trip!”
    Use this expression to be old fashioned.

    2- Tu vas où exactement ?

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Where exactly are you going? ”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted.

    3- Je veux un souvenir !

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “I want a souvenir!”
    Use this expression if you demand a gift from the poster, bought at the holiday destination.

    4- La chance ! Moi aussi je veux y aller !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You’re so lucky! I wanna go too!”
    Use this expression to indicate that you envy the poster and wants to join them. You’re not seriously asking to go; it’s just an expression that emphasizes envy in a nice way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • départ: “departure”
  • heure: “hour”
  • bon voyage: “have a nice trip”
  • où: “where”
  • exactement: “exactly”
  • souvenir: “souvenir”
  • chance: “luck”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in French!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in French

    So maybe you’re strolling around at a local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy French phrases!

    François finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Je me demande à quoi ça sert…
    “I wonder what this is for…”

    1- Je me demande

    First is an expression meaning “I wonder.”
    Use this expression when you aren’t sure about something.

    2- à quoi ça sert

    Then comes the phrase - “what this is for.”
    In France, people sell all kinds of things at flea markets. Sellers are usually trying to get rid of old stuff they don’t use anymore by selling them for cheap rather than throwing them away.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Aucune idée !

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “No idea!”
    Use this expression when you have not clue regarding the identity of the find.

    2- C’est joli :)

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Where did you find that?”
    Use this question if you wish to know where the item was found.

    3- C’est joli :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “It’s pretty :)”
    Use this expression to indicate your liking of the item.

    4- Ca a l’air vieux.

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “It looks old.”
    This is an opnion regarding the item’s appearance - in this case, it looks aged.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • se demander: “wonder”
  • quoi: “what”
  • servir à: “be used for”
  • aucun : “no”
  • trouver: “find”
  • joli: “pretty”
  • avoir l’air: “look”
  • vieux: “old”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in French

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in French, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Léa visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Où suis-je ? ^^
    “Where am I? ^^”

    1- Où

    First is an expression meaning “Where.”
    When French people travel, they love seeing touristy stuff. Everyone who goes to Paris has certainly been to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

    2- suis-je?

    Then comes the phrase - “am I?.”
    It’s common on social media for people to add obscure pictures of where they are so that others can guess and share their opinions about that place.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu t’amuses à ce que je vois ;)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Too easy ;)”
    Use this expression if you think the location is easily identifiable. Or you could be bluffing!

    2- Sur la photo ! lol

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “On the picture! lol”
    Use this expression if you are in a joking, frivolous mood.

    3- Tu t’amuses à ce que je vois ;)

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I see that you’re having fun ;)”
    Use this expression just to comment in a positive way.

    4- C’est une très belle ville, n’est-ce pas ?

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “It’s a beautiful city, isn’t it?”
    Use this to make conversation by stating a fact and asking for agreement. Often, this is a rhetorical question, but it could be a good conversation starter too.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • trop: “too”
  • facile: “easy”
  • sur: “on”
  • à ce que je vois: “from what I can see”
  • ville: “city”
  • n’est-ce pas: “isn’t it”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in French

    So you’re doing nothing yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in French!

    François relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Moment de détente :)
    “A moment of relaxation :)”

    1- Moment

    First is an expression meaning “Moment.”
    On French social media, it’s a common practice to shorten sentences by starting with a noun that expresses duration to explain what you’re doing.

    2- de détente

    Then comes the phrase - “of relaxation.”
    To relax, people in France enjoy walking in the park, sunbathing, going to the spa, and other such activities.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu le mérites ;)

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “You deserve it ;)”
    Use this phrase to express warm feelings towards the poster.

    2- C’est le même endroit où tu vas chaque année ?

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Is it the same place you’ve been going to every year?”
    Use this question to garner more information from the poster.

    3- J’arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiive :D

    His wife’s high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I envy you :p”
    Use this expression if you feel envious of the poster.

    4- J’arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiive :D

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Comiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing :D
    Use this expression if you are feeling frivolous, and wish to join the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • moment: “moment”
  • détente: “relaxation”
  • mériter: “deserve”
  • même: “same”
  • endroit: “place”
  • année: “year”
  • envier: “envy”
  • arriver: “arrive”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in French When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Léa returns home after a vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Qu’on est bien chez soi !
    “How nice it is at home!”

    1- Qu’on est bien

    First is an expression meaning “How nice it is.”
    This phrase is equivalent to “home sweet home,” but cannot be translated literally into English. It’s typically used when speaking to oneself.

    2- chez soi

    Then comes the phrase - “at home.”
    When French people travel, they either like to bring souvenirs from where they went or write postcards to their family and friends.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Contente de te revoir ! :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Welcome back! :)”
    This is a traditional welcoming phrase when someone returns from a trip away from home.

    2- Tu nous as manqué.

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “We missed you.”
    Use this expression to indicate your feelings to the poster about missing them.

    3- Prochaine étape: défaire la valise… amuse-toi bien :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Next step: unpack the suitcase… have fun :p”
    Use this comment to make conversation in a playful way.

    4- C’était comment ? ^^

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “How was it? ^^”
    Use this question if you want to know more about the trip.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • chez soi: “at home”
  • content(e) de te revoir: “welcome back”
  • manquer: “miss”
  • prochain: “next”
  • étape: “step”
  • défaire: “unpack”
  • valise: “suitcase”
  • comment: “how”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What do you post on social media during a public celebration day such as Candlemas?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in French

    It’s a national celebratory day and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    François leaves this comment about the meal served on Candlemas.

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au menu du jour: des crêpes pour la Chandeleur :D
    “On the menu today: crepes for Candlemas :D

    1- Au menu du jour:

    First is an expression meaning “On the menu today:.”
    Beginning with this phrase shows that you are offering something different than usual.

    2- des crêpes pour la Chandleur

    Then comes the phrase - “crepes for Candlemas.”
    Candlemas takes place 40 days after Christmas. It used to be a Christian celebration and a symbol of prosperity for the coming year. Now, however, it’s just a day where you make crepes; no one really cares about the origin. People generally eat their crepes with Nutella, jam, honey, sugar, etc. But in some recipes you don’t add sugar to the dough, so you can make salty crepes like ham and cheese.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ouaaaaaais ! Merci.

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Yaaaaay! Thanks.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling good about the food.

    2- Je peux passer ? J’ai de la confiture faite maison ;)

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Can I stop by? I have homemade jam ;)”
    Use these phrases to make arrangements with the poster.

    3- Tu en as raté combien en essayant de les retourner ? :p

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “How many did you mess up trying to flip them? :p”
    Use this expression to joke with the poster.

    4- Moi aussi j’en veux !

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “I want some too!”
    Use this expression to show you think the food looks desirable.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • menu: “menu”
  • crêpe: “crepe”
  • Chandeleur: “Candlemas”
  • confiture: “jam”
  • fait maison: “homemade”
  • rater: “mess up”
  • retourner: “flip”
  • If a friend posted something about a holiday, which phrase would you use?

    Candlemas Day and other public celebration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in French

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Léa goes to her birthday party, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Merci à tous d’être venus :)
    “Thank you all for coming :)”

    1- Merci à tous

    First is an expression meaning “Thank you all.”
    This is a polite expression to show one’s gratitude.

    2- d’être venus

    Then comes the phrase - “for coming.”
    In France, house parties with sweets, cakes, presents and games are popular among children. Adults also enjoy house parties and invite their friends over for food, music and conversation. Otherwise, they meet up with their friends somewhere else to do something special.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Joyeux anniversaire !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday!”
    This is the simple and traditional birthday wish.

    2- Tu as été gâtée ? ;)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Have you been spoiled? ;)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted.

    3- Tu ne rajeunis pas :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “You’re not getting younger :p”
    Use this expression to make playful fun of the poster’s age.

    4- Merci pour l’invitation ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Thanks for the invitation ^^”
    Use this expression to be ironic and a bit sarcastic, if you were not really invited, or to really thank the poster for the invitation to the party.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Merci: “thank you “
  • joyeux anniversaire: “happy birthday”
  • gâter: “spoil”
  • rajeunir: “rejuvenate”
  • invitation: “invitation”
  • If a friend posted something about birthday greetings, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in French

    Impress your friends with your French New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    François celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Bonne année à tous !
    “Happy New Year, everyone!”

    1- Bonne année

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year.”
    In France, people light fireworks at midnight to celebrate the New Year. Some New Year’s gatherings happen at big places in big cities. Some people celebrate with their friends at home by having a nice dinner and following the countdown on TV. Afterwards, people wish their friends a happy new year by texting or writing on social media.

    2- à tous

    Then comes the phrase - “to everyone.”
    It’s considered courteous to wish people a happy new year on social media where everybody can read the post.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Bonne année à toi aussi :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year to you too :)”
    This is the traditional reply to a New Year wish from anyone.

    2- Bonne santé !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Good health!”
    This is another common wish appropriate to this time of year.

    3- Meilleurs Voeux !

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Best wishes!”
    Yet another traditional New Year wish, that’s also appropriate for other special occasions.

    4- Quelles sont tes bonnes résolutions ? ^^

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “What are your New Year’s resolutions? ^^”
    Ask this question if you want to start the conversation about this favorite topic.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Bonne année: “Happy New Year”
  • santé: “health”
  • meilleur: “best”
  • voeu: “wish”
  • bonne résolution: “New Year’s resolution”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in French

    What will you say in French about Christmas?

    Léa celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Noël en famille :D
    “Christmas with the family :D

    1- Noël

    First is an expression meaning “Christmas .”
    On the 24th of December, people usually enjoy a big meal in the evening. Then they go to bed and in the morning they open the presents that Santa Claus brought. Some families have another big meal on the 25th for lunch as well. Afterwards, they spend the rest of the day with their families.

    2- en famille

    Then comes the phrase - “with the family.”
    In France, Christmas is the most important family event of the year. Many shops are closed because it’s the one time of the year that everyone in France is spending time with their families.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Joyeux Noël :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Merry Christmas :)”
    This is the traditional Christmas wish.

    2- Le père Noël t’a apporté beaucoup de cadeaux cette année ? :p

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Did Santa Claus bring you many presents this year? :p”
    Use this expression to make conversation about receiving gifts, which is a common tradition over Christmas.

    3- Le père Noël t’a apporté beaucoup de cadeaux cette année ? :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t eat too much :p”
    Use this expression if you want to playfully warn your friend about their eating habits. Usually not meant seriously.

    4- Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Happy Holidays!”
    This is another traditional wish appropriate to this time of year.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Noël: “Christmas”
  • Joyeux Noël: “Merry Christmas”
  • Père Noël: “Santa Claus”
  • cadeau: “present”
  • manger: “eat”
  • bonnes fêtes de fin d’année: “happy holidays”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in French

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which French phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    François celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Dîner en amoureux pour nos 1 an de mariage.
    “Candelit dinner for our one-year wedding anniversary.”

    1- dîner en amoureux

    First is an expression meaning “candelit dinner.”
    In France, people don’t eat out at nice restaurants that often as they can be expensive. But on special occasions, like a wedding anniversary, couples usually enjoy a nice dinner and other fancy activities afterwards.

    2- pour nos un an de mariage

    Then comes the phrase - “for our one-year wedding anniversary.”
    Anniversaries are a big deal in France. Couples often celebrate their love by doing something special together as well as by giving each other gifts like jewelry, perfume, flowers etc…

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- J’ai hâte.

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait.”
    Use this expression to show you eagerly anticipate the occasion.

    2- Comme c’est romantique !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “How romantic!”
    Use this comment to express your positive opinion of the anniversary.

    3- Déjà? Le temps passe super vite !

    His wife’s high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Already? Time flies so fast!”
    Use this expression to make conversation in a humorous way.

    4- Joyeux anniversaire de mariage les amoureux :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Happy wedding anniversary you lovebirds :)”
    This is a traditional wish for a wedding anniversary, used with a term of endearment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • dîner: “dinner”
  • en amoureux: “romantic”
  • mariage: “wedding”
  • romantique: “romantic”
  • temps: “time”
  • vite: “fast”
  • anniversaire de mariage: “wedding anniversary”
  • amoureux: “lovebirds”
  • If a friend posted something about Anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn French! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

    Apologize in French: How to Say Sorry in French

    Thumbnail

    “An apology is the super glue of life. It can repair just about anything.” (Lynn Johnston)

    Whatever our reasons are, it’s never easy nor pleasant to apologize. Even in our native language where we can express all the subtleties needed to tone things down and smooth off the rough edges, “Sorry” still seems to be the hardest word.

    Now, imagine you have to offer your apologies in another language, like French. Would you know how to say “sorry” in French? Of course, you won’t want to risk any further mishap or an unfortunate choice of words that could put you in a tougher spot.

    Learning how to say “sorry” in French will not only help you go through delicate situations when you’ve made a mistake or behaved poorly. It will also provide you with a collection of ready-made formulas that you can use as a polite lubricant in everyday interactions. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how to tell someone you’re sorry in basic French. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your French Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    1. The 3 Most Important Words
    2. Take Responsibility
    3. Sorry Gestures
    4. How to Accept an Apology
    5. Make it Official
    6. French Culture of Apologies
    7. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Apologizing

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

    Man Saying Sorry


    1. The 3 Most Important Words

    When it comes to learning how to say “sorry” in French, vocabulary is, of course, a huge player. Although they can take many different forms, apologies in France mainly come down to only three words:

    • Excuse (“Apology”)
    • Désolé (“Sorry”)
    • Pardon (“Pardon”)

    Once you start practicing their variations, outlined below, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. As you’ll see, there are variations for saying a formal apology in French, as well as casual variations.

    1- S’excuser (“To apologize”)

    Here are Casual and Formal variants of “Excuse me” with their literal translations:

    Casual “Excuse me” Formal “Excuse me”
    Je m’excuse. (“I excuse myself.”) Je m’excuse. (“I excuse myself.”)
    Excuse-moi. (“Excuse me.”) Excusez-moi. (“Excuse me.”)
    Veuillez m’excuser. (“Please, excuse me.”)
    Toutes mes excuses. (“All my apologies.”)
    Je vous présente mes excuses. (“I present you my apologies.”)

    Je m’excuse (“I excuse myself”) may sound weird once literally translated, but this is the most popular way to say that you’re sorry. In French, it doesn’t actually sound like you’re asking for forgiveness and forgiving yourself in the same sentence!

    2- Pardonner (“To forgive”)

    Here are Casual and Formal variants of “Forgive me” with their literal translations.

    Casual “Forgive me” Formal “Forgive me”
    Pardon. (“Forgiveness.”) Pardonne-moi. (“Forgive me.”)
    Je te demande pardon. (“I ask for your forgiveness.”) Pardon. (“Forgiveness.”)
    Pardonnez-moi. (“Forgive me.”) Je vous demande pardon. (“I ask for your forgiveness.”)

    How to use it:

    Sentences with S’excuser (“to apologize”) or Pardonner (“to forgive”) can all be used to express that you’re sorry about your actions or the situation.

    For example: If you accidentally bump into someone and spill their coffee, you could say: Oh, toutes mes excuses ! or Je vous demande pardon !

    Excuse-moi and Excusez-moi are two common polite formulas that you can use in everyday situations, just as their English counterpart, “Excuse me.”

    Pardon (“forgiveness”) works just as well for casual or formal encounters.

    For example: You want to reach for your cheese in the fridge and someone you don’t know is standing in the way. You could say: Excusez-moi to catch his attention.

    With a friend, you would use the casual Excuse-moi for the same result.

    In both cases, you could also say: Pardon (“forgiveness”).

    3- Être désolé (“To be sorry”)

    Last but not least, Désolé (“Sorry”) is another cornerstone of the French apologies and works for casual and formal situations.

    • Désolé [Male] / Désolée [Female] (“Sorry”)
    • Je suis désolé(e) (“I am sorry”)

    Now, depending on the gravity of the situation, you may not want to sound overly laid-back when saying “I’m sorry” in French. Here are some ways to emphasize your apologies along with how to combine that apology with Désolé.

    • Vraiment (“Really”) — Je suis vraiment désolé. (“I am really sorry.”)
    • Sincèrement (“Sincerely”) — Je suis sincèrement désolé. (“I am sincerely sorry.”)
    • Réellement (“Truly”) — Je suis réellement désolé. (“I am truly sorry.”)
    • Tellement (“So”) — Je suis tellement désolé. (“I am so sorry.”)

    On the other hand, if the incident is so trivial that it doesn’t even deserve Désolé, you might want to go for our super-casual Oups (“Oops”).

    Not sure when you should say “Sorry?” Have a look at our list of phrases to say when you are angry on FrenchPod101. If you hear some of these directed at you, there’s a good chance you might want to apologize for something!

    Not Sure To Say Sorry


    2. Take Responsibility

    3 Ways To Say Sorry

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s see how to go a step further. If you ask for forgiveness, you may want to accept the blame and acknowledge that you’re guilty of your bad deeds. Here’s how:

    • Je regrette. (“I regret.”)
    • Je suis navré. (“I’m sorry.”)
    • C’est ma faute. (“It’s my fault.”)
    • Je ne le ferai plus. (“I won’t do it again.”)
    • Je n’aurais pas dû dire ça. (“I should not have said that.”)
    • Comment puis-je me faire pardonner ? (“How can I be forgiven?”)

    In an informal setting, you could use a bit of slang (with care, as both of these terms are very familiar):

    • J’ai merdé. (“I’ve messed up.”)
    • J’ai déconné. (“I’ve screwed up.”)

    You can find more examples and useful phrases on our list of Common ways to say Sorry, as well as an audio recording to practice your accent.


    3. Sorry Gestures

    When working on your apology in learning French, gestures are an important aspect to consider. Although there’s no ‘official’ gesture to express that you’re sorry or to ask for forgiveness, having your body language in line with your words never hurts. In France, here are a few gestures to pick up:

    • Hold your hands up, as if you’re held at gunpoint.
    • Place one hand over your heart.
    • Open your hands in front of your hips, palms up or down.
    • Slightly extend one hand, palm up, toward the other person.
    • Hold your hands together perpendicularly in front of you.

    Remember to look at the other person in the eyes while apologizing. Keeping eye contact inspires trust and evokes a deeper connection. The other person will be more likely to believe in the sincerity of your apologies with a straight and confident look than with shifty eyes.

    Eye Contact


    4. How to Accept an Apology

    Now, what do you do when you’re on the other side of the apology? If you believe in the sincerity of the other person and feel ready to accept their apologies, you need to know how to proceed. And if you’re apologizing to someone, you need to understand what they might say in reply.

    In the case of a trivial matter that didn’t really require an apology:

    • C’est rien. (“It’s nothing.”)
    • C’est pas grave. (“It’s nothing serious.”)
    • Pas de soucis. (“No worries.”)

    For something more serious, here are a few examples:

    • J’accepte tes excuses. / J’accepte vos excuses. (“I accept your apologies.”)
    • Merci de t’être excusé. / Merci de vous être excusé. (“Thank you for apologizing.”)
    • Ne t’en fais pas. / Ne vous en faites pas. (“Don’t worry.”)
    • Je comprends. (“I understand.”)


    5. Make it Official

    Saying Sorry

    While most situations allow you to show some creativity with your apologies, there are some cases where it’s codified and doesn’t leave much room for improvisation.

    1- Condoléances (“Condolences”)

    Expressing your condolences is just as socially codified in France as anywhere else in the world. Here are a few examples of condolences sentences that you may want to use, should the need arise:

    • Je vous présente mes sincères condoléances.
      (“I offer you my sincere condolences.”)
    • En ces moments difficiles, je vous apporte tout mon soutien.
      (“During these difficult moments, I offer you my full support.”)
    • Je partage votre douleur et vous adresse mes sincères condoléances.
      (“I feel your pain and offer my sincere condolences.”)

    On a personal note, while these are certainly appropriate as a token of respect toward strangers or distant acquaintances, I would recommend something warmer and more personal for your friends.

    Unfortunately, there’s no prefabricated formulas for this but you can find some resources in our free vocabulary list for the Day of the Dead.

    Pink Roses

    2- Professional Apologies

    Any company is eventually bound to present apologies, be it toward customers, partners, or investors. Once again, professional apologies are highly codified and are usually expressed with formulas without too much soul.

    There’s no strict template but they usually look like these:

    • Veuillez nous excuser de la gêne occasionnée.
      (“Please, excuse us for any inconvenience.”)
    • Je suis au regret de vous informer que ___
      (“I’m sorry to inform you that ___”)
    • Nous vous présentons nos excuses pour ce désagrément.
      (“We offer you our apologies for this inconvenience.”)
    • Je vous prie de nous pardonner pour ___
      (“Please, forgive us for ___”)


    6. French Culture of Apologies

    We’ve all heard before how the French are rude or insensitive, and especially if you’re coming from a country where the customer-centric approach reigns supreme, you’re bound to miss the exquisite courtesy you’ve been lulled by before coming to France.

    1- The French VS The Customers

    “And then, he slammed in on the table like an angry French waiter!”

    As much as it makes me laugh, it also saddens me a little that my compatriots are mainly famous for their bad manners and rough tempers. And it’s not just waiters; it applies to most of our daily interactions as customers, from the supermarket to the bank, the phone company or the tickets booth in the subway.

    Being born and bred in France, it never struck me as a problem or even an oddity. But when I traveled to countries with a strong customer-centric philosophy such as Australia or Japan, I immediately noticed the difference:

    • In Australia, I was being called “Sweetheart” or “Love” by a cashier I was seeing for the first time.
    • In Japan, it seemed to me that the staff would apologize for bringing me the bill, then apologize for taking my money, and apologize again for giving the change back.
    • In France, I consider myself lucky when they look me in the eyes and I’d be shocked if they ever thank me for anything, even more so apologize.

    All things considered, this is just a different approach to customer interactions and it shouldn’t be taken as an offensive behavior or a lack of empathy. French professionals are just not as inclined to apologize as in other countries.

    Tables and Chairs

    2- The French VS The Feelings

    Now, outside of these artificial business constructions, and more generally speaking: Why is it difficult for French people to apologize?

    To understand this, you need to consider the balance between “Reason” and “Feelings.” It varies wildly from one culture to the next and to keep it simple, let’s say that the French tend to overvalue rationality at the expense of their emotional landscape.

    As I mentioned in another article, our body language is more restrained, our gestures aren’t as exuberant as those in North America, and our intonation isn’t as loud and assertive as those in Latin America.

    Being rational creatures, the French are less likely to apologize for what they might see as “wrong reasons.” One such reason being to calm someone down or to alleviate their resentment.

    We tend to think that it’s more important to be right than kind and won’t apologize unless we sincerely believe that we’ve done or said something wrong. On one hand, it’s a positive trait, as we keep things straight and honest. On the other hand, this isn’t the best way to handle emotional people who care more about their connection with you than your quest for the truth.

    “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.” (Mark Matthews)


    How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Apologizing

    In this guide, you’ve learned how to say “sorry” in French, as well as when you want to make amends for your bad deeds or in everyday situations as polite formulas. We’ve also seen how to take the blame and recognize our fault.

    Do you have anything you need to apologize for? Don’t wait any longer and offer a heartbreaking apology using what you’ve learned today!

    A good exercise is to write an apology about an imaginary blunder, trying to combine the different sentences that we’ve seen. Also make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and vocabulary!

    Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher answer any of your questions or give you feedback on your “apology essay!”

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

    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.

    Painless French Grammar!

    Just as an engine helps a car move, mastering basic grammar helps you express yourself and communicate your ideas clearly. The more you know about the engine parts, the more you can improve your engine’s capacity. Similarly, the more youknow grammar, the better your French will be!

    French grammar has the reputation of being boring and complicated, but it’s not so terrible. The main difficulties are the word genders and the conjugation system (shared by All romance languages). It is just a matter of remembering some basic rules that will reduce your chances of making the most common French grammar mistakes. The most common one is gender.

    In French, all nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine.
    Here is a basic chart with noun endings for feminine and masculine nouns, but remember there are always exceptions!

    Masculine Feminine
    -age
    -al
    -ier
    -isme
    -ment
    -oir
    -ance, -ence
    -ée
    -eur
    -ie
    -ion, -sion, -tion,
    -xion

    -té
    -ure

    Noun genders, though a difficult concept, is unavoidable to learn! Getting the gender of a word wrong can lead to confusion or worse; completely give a different meaning to your sentence. Keep in mind that it is just a matter of learning and perseverance. Like a car engine, learn the parts and how to use them for a smooth side!

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From FrenchPod101.com!

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at FrenchPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn French together!

    And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study French with FrenchPod101.com!

    Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

    From Celine, Sam, Angele and the whole FrenchPod101.com Team!