Tips and linguistic basics to travel in France
At the airport :
When you arrive, you will have to choose the right line for costums. There is a specific line for the Europeans and another one for the other nationalities.
If you arrive in Paris, you can take a taxi to go to the city-center, but it can be very expensive. So the RER is the cheapest option.
You also have the possibilty to take specific trains such as Orlyval or CDGval.
This is a link which can be useful, if you want to choose the most suitable possibilty.
Video sur la France :
Linguistic basics :
- De rien
Comment allez-vous ? Je vais bien.
Comment vas-tu ? Je vais très bien.
Comment ça va ? Ca va bien.
Au revoir !
Bonne journée !
Bonne soirée !
– Bonjour, je m’appelle Philippe. Et vous ? Comment vous appelez-vous ?
– Je m’appelle Gérard. Enchanté. Comment allez-vous ?
– Je vais bien. Merci. Et vous ?
– Je vais très bien.
– Quelle est votre nationalité ?
– Je suis américain. Et vous ?
– Je suis français.
Je parle un peu français.
Je ne parle pas français.
Au restaurant :
Une table pour une personne, s’il vous plaît.
Une table pour deux/ trois/ quatre/ cinq/ six personnes, s’il vous plaît.
Pour commander / to order : Je voudrais = I would like
En entrée, je voudrais…
En plat principal, je voudrais …
En dessert, …
Je voudrais… et ……, s’il vous plaît.
Les boissons / the beverages :
Comme boisson, je voudrais …
Une carafe d’eau = water from the tap (you’re allowed to have at least one for free in France)
De l’eau plate = still water (Evian)
De l’eau gazeuse = sparkling water (Perrier, San Pelegrino)
Du vin rouge = red wine
Du vin blanc = white wine
Une bouteille de vin rouge/ blanc/ rosé.
Un verre de vin rouge/ blanc/ rosé.
Un Coca Cola
Un jus d’orange
Un jus de pomme
All the drinks are served fresh, but you if you don’t ask for ice cubes, you will not receive some automatically. Des glaçons (= ice-cubes), s’il vous plaît.
You must ask for the bill, otherwise the waiter or the waitress will not give it to you.
L’addition, s’il vous plaît.
Le pourboire = tipping
In France, the tip is already included in the price indicated in the menu. So you may leave how much you want on the table : fifty cents, one euro, two euros, even more, it depends on how you appreciated the service.
Quelques mots utiles au restaurant / useful vocabulary at the restaurant :
The vegetables / Les légumes :
|Peas||Des petits pois|
|Potato||Des pommes de terre|
|Beans||Des haricots blancs|
|French beans||Des haricots verts|
The fruits / Les fruits:
La cuisson de la viande / The cooking of the meat
|Medium rare||A point|
La viande / meat :
|Minced beef||Un steak haché|
|Frog||De la grenouille|
Le poisson / fish :
|Coley||Le colin / Lieu noir|
|Seafood||Les fruits de mer|
Autres mots et expressions utiles au restaurant / other useful words and expressions in a restaurant
|The waiter/ the waitress||Le serveur/ La serveuse|
|The chef||Le chef|
|The tip||Le pourboire|
|The menu||La carte|
|The wine list||La carte des vins|
|Where’s the restroom ?||Où sont les toilettes ?|
|Can I see the menu ?||La carte, s’il vous plaît.|
|I’ll pay by card.||Je vais payer par carte.|
Un café, s’il vous plaît :
In France, when you ask for a cup of coffee, you’ll receive this :
It’s a small cup and the coffee is very strong. In general, one is enough to wake you up ! You will not find the big cups that you have in the US, except if you go to Starbucks (there are some in Paris).
If you don’t understand a word, when you read the menu, you can use the app Wordreference or http://www.wordreference.com/
To check the pronunciation : http://fr.forvo.com/
The restaurants are open from 11.30 to 14.00 and from 18.30 to 23.00. But the kitchen is usually open until 21.00 or 22.00.
Some restaurants are open later in big cities such as Paris.
Do you crave for a snack?
What about a croque-monsieur ?
You can find this dish made of bread, cheese and ham in most restaurants and brasseries in France.
You can buy delicious sandwiches in bakeries:
Le sandwich jambon-beurre:
Faire les courses / Going shopping :
You have different possibilities :
You can go shopping until 7 pm in supermarkets/ shops. Hypermarkets which are located outside the cities are open until 9 pm. Shops are closed on Sundays.
Louer une voiture/Renting a car :
You may think it’s the solution to leave big cities and discover traditional villages. But it’s important to know that there are tolls on the freeways. Moreover, the price of gas is more expensive than in the US. You can simulate the cost of your driving with this website : http://fr.mappy.com/
In general, in companies where they rent cars, the employees speak English. You just need your driving licence and your passport. You can reserve your car before going to Europe on websites such as http://www.kayak.com/
It can be smart to do that, if you want to have your rental car, immediately when you arrive at the airport. It’s important to know that most of the European cars are manual. You can rent an automatic car but you will pay more because automatic cars are more comfortable and bigger than the cheapest ones.
Parking in big cities can be a problem. The spots are usually short when you find one ! You can park in the street for free from 7.00pm Otherwise you pay for street parking with meters. In Paris, you need a credit card with a chip if you want to use them. If you don’t have this type of credit card, you can go to covered parking lots which can be quite expensive per hour.
Prendre le train / Taking the train :
Taking the train can be very practical in France because you directly arrive in the city-center, where you can usually walk, take the bus, the tram or the metro (depending on the cities).
You can buy and print your ticket thanks to the website of the SNCF : http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
Or you can buy your tickets directly at the train stations, you can use machines or you can wait in line to speak to somebody who will give you the right ticket. In general, the staff speaks English in big cities but it’s not always the case, so it’s better to say :
Bonjour, je voudrais un billet de train de Paris à Marseille, s’il vous plaît.
You have the choice between Première classe ou seconde classe (less expensive). It’s important to explain that when you buy your ticket.
It’s important to know that at the last minute, the price of the tickets can be very expensive, especially if you want to have a long journey. So it’s better to reserve your tickets on the internet early (3 months earlier to have the best prices).
If you want to travel in several countries in Europe, it’s more convenient and most of the time cheaper to take the plane. Some low-cost airline companies offer inexpensive fares to the most popular European capitals.
Prendre l’avion / Taking the plane :
Domestic flights can be expensive in France, except if you take low-cost airline companies such as Volotea or Hop (a branch of Air France).
Compare the price of the train ticket and of the plane ticket, sometimes it’s worth it.
If you want to travel in Europe, you can use other low-cost airline companies such as Volotea, Hop, Ryanair, Easy Jet…
Reserve your tickets as early as you can to have the best prices.
Traveling by plane is worth it because, you will save time and it’s the most comfortable way to travel. You can take a shuttle from the airport to go to the city center of the city that you want to visit or a taxi.
Means of transport in Paris :
You can take the taxi but it can be expensive.
The best is taking the metro. You can buy your tickets directly at the metro stations, you can use the machines (there is an English version) or you can wait in line to speak to somebody who will give you the right ticket. In general, the staff speaks English in big cities but it’s not always the case, so it’s better to say :
Bonjour, je voudrais un billet de métro pour un trajet dans le centre de Paris.
It’s also possible to buy a ticket for 1 or 3 days. Use the machines to buy them. If you don’t have a credit card with a chip, you can pay with cash. So have enough cash on you !
If you want to go to the suburb of Paris, you can take the RER. You buy the tickets in the same way at the RER station.
Be careful, RER is different from the metro. You have to go to different stations, They are all indicated by signs.
The app Google Maps will help you find the best itinary to go from one place to another.
Téléphone and wifi / Telephone and wifi :
T-Mobile for example allows you to have data and send free texts in France.
You can also go to a French provider such as Orange, SFR, Free or Bouygue (they have stores verywhere in the country) to have a SIM card to use your smartphone where you want. You will need your passport.
Wifi is not as common is the US. The public places which have wifi advertise it.
McDonald’s is a place where you can always go to have wifi for example.
L’argent / Money :
It’s better to have euros on you before leaving the airport. You can use an ATM in the airport.
You will pay fewer fees if you use ATM’s rather than if you go to a currency exchange counter. Besides, these counters have disappeared a lot since the beginning of the use of the euro in January 2002.
L’hébergement / accomodation :
It depends on the type of holiday that you want to have.
If you want to rent a house or an apartment : http://www.gites-de-france.com/
Bonjour, je voudrais réserver une chambre double du 20 juillet au 25 juillet.
Une chambre simple.
Une chambre double avec lit enfant.
Bonjour, j’ai réservé une chambre au nom de …. pour 3 nuits du 20 juillet au 25 juillet.
|Nom (Last name)|
|Prénom (First name)|
|Numéro de téléphone (Phone number)|
|Date de naissance (Date of birth)|
|Vos coordonnées = Contact information|
|Votre adresse email/ mél (e-mail address)|
Les chiffres / The figures :
L’alphabet / the alphabet :
Les médicaments / the medicines :
If you need medicines, you can go to a pharmacy and explain your symptoms. The pharmacist will give you the best treatment. You don’t especially need a prescription to have medicines. Only a specific list of medicines requires a prescription. The pharmacists usually speak English. You can pay with cash.
Contrary to the US, not many medicines are on the shelves, you will have to speak with the pharmacist who has access to the medicines.
Emergency phone number in Europe : 112
In general, doctors understand English.
Appareils éléctriques et adaptateurs / Electrical appliances and adaptor :
You may have problems to use your hairdryer, because in France, they use 220 volts but you may be able to use your other appliances (laptop plug if you use an adaptor). Check the voltage on the plug itself or the box of your appliance.
You should buy an adaptor before going to Europe.
A French plug: