easy french sentences

10 Random French Sentences for Emergencies (Plus Essential Vocabulary)

You have everything packed for your French vacation, but you’ve forgotten something.

You’ve got to bring along French phrases for emergencies!

Luckily, even French beginners can master these phrases for emergencies in France.

Here’s hoping this is the best guide to French vocabulary that you’ll never have to use!


French Phrases for the Hospital or Injuries


It’s a worst-case scenario and one that I hope you’ll never encounter. But on your travels in France, you might find yourself needing to communicate an injury or find a doctor or hospital, and that’s not a time for miming or searching through your phrasebook or French app on your phone.

Before diving into those conversations, let’s get you started with some specifics. With these phrases, you’ll easily be able to communicate what’s wrong and take a quick step towards making it all better!

1. J’ai mal… (My … hurts.)

This sentence directly translates to “I have badness…” but what it really means is “I hurt.” Finish the sentence with a body part, and you’ll be able to say “My ____ hurts.”

Of course, to do that, you’ll need the body parts… and a little preposition (admittedly not everyone’s favorite part of mastering French grammar, but you’ll see—it’ll be easy!)

J’ai mal is used with the à la/au/aux/à l’ series of prepositions. To know which one to use, you’ll need to know the gender and number of the noun you need. Here are a few examples:

Here are some more body part words that can be used with this construction:

Le dos back
Le ventre stomach
La main hand
La jambe leg
Le genou knee
L'œil eye
Le cou neck

2. Je suis allergique à…  (I am allergic to…)

Now that you know how to say what’s hurting, you can also easily say what you’re allergic to! Allergies use the same à la/au/aux/à l’ construction as the above sentence, and what’s more, most medications are the same or nearly the same word in French or in English.

If your allergy is not a medication, here are a few common allergens in French:

Les abeilles bees
Les fruits de mer / les coquillages seafood/shellfish
Le blé wheat
Les noix et les fruits secs nuts and dried fruits
Les cacahuètes peanuts
Les fraises strawberries
Le gluten gluten

Note: Gluten-free dining is relatively new in France. If gluten-free foods are a necessity for your health, it would be a good idea to detail the things that you cannot eat on a card and give it to your server. Things on the list could/should include:

Le pain bread
La farine flour
La bière beer
L'orge barley
Le seigle rye

These sentences can all help avoid a medical emergency, but if the situation is more dire, know that you have several options in France.

If you need to get to the hospital but do not need to travel by ambulance, a simple question concerning the location of the hospital may be enough:

3. Où est l’hôpital ?  (Where is the hospital?)

That being said, taxis are forbidden by law from taking passengers with a medical emergency, and if you have travel insurance, ambulance transport is usually covered. To have an ambulance come pick you up, use this sentence:

4. Il me faut une ambulance. (I need an ambulance.)

Of course, there are some medical emergencies best suited to a doctor or physician, not a hospital. For these situations, use the following sentence:

5. J’ai besoin d’un médecin. (I need a doctor.)

The above sentence can be modified in several ways. You can change the general word médecin to ask for a type of doctor in particular:

Un dentiste a dentist
Un gynécologue a gynecologist
Un kinésithérapeute
(often shortened to kiné )
a chiropractor
Un cardiologue a cardiologist

If you would like your doctor to speak English, simply say the word anglophone (English-speaking) at the end of the sentence.

For more medical vocabulary, check out this post.

French Phrases for Robbery and Theft


When visiting a foreign country, the last thing you want is to be the victim of a robbery or theft. That being said, should you find yourself in this situation, you must act quickly. These sentences will help you communicate your predicament quickly and simply.

6. Quelqu’un m’a pris… (Someone took (from me)…)

As prendre  is a transitive verb, all you need to follow up this sentence with is the noun of the object that has been stolen preceded by the correct form of “my”: ma / mon / mes :

Here are a few other words that can be used with this construction:

L'argent money
Un ordinateur computer
Une voiture car
Un collier necklace
Une bague ring
Un appareil photo camera
Un porte-feuille wallet
Un passeport passport

7. J’ai une assurance voyage. (I have traveler’s insurance.)

Once you have declared the stolen object at the local police préfecture (prefecture), you may need to let them know about your insurance, making this sentence very useful.

Make sure you ask for a simple translation of the terms and conditions of your policy so that you can show them to concerned parties and make sure that you can get back to your vacation as soon as possible.

Other Emergencies


Some other emergencies you might encounter require specific phrases to take care of them. These phrases are a bit like magic keys—once you know them, the situation will seem far less dire.

8. J’ai perdu / On m’a volé mon passeport. Où est le consulat… ? (I lost/Someone stole my passport. Where is the consulate?)

When traveling in a foreign country, losing your passport poses several problems, not the least of which is the fact that you’ll need to replace it in order to get home. To do this, you’ll need to visit l’ambassade  (the embassy) or le consulat  (the consulate) of your native country, meaning you’ll need to know the French adjective that describes your homeland. Here are a few:

américain / américaine American
australien / australienne Australian
britannique British
irlandais / irlandaise Irish
sud-africain / sud-africaine South African
néo-zélandais / néo-zélandaise New Zealand

9. Je sens… (I smell…)

There are some things that you just don’t think about having to say until you need them… for example, the above sentence.

Why is this a travel emergency?

Imagine if you wanted to follow it up with either gas or smoke!

Je sens du gaz. (I smell gas.)
Je sens de la fumée.
(I smell smoke.)

10. Au secours ! (Help!)

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you can’t explain the exact nature of the help you need. Maybe it’s too complex and requires too many details. Or maybe the situation is in process, and all you need is to get someone’s attention so that they can help. For these situations—and many others when you’re just too frazzled to remember the above sentences—the phrase above is a catch-all: “Help!”

Prepare with More Resources

In case of an emergency, break open your backpack and pull out a phrasebook. Lonely Planet has a brilliant collection of French phrasebooks that can help you out. The Lonely Planet travel guides should also give you any necessary information about seeking medical attention while abroad.

You can also use language learning apps to work on picking up some common phrases that will help you be ready for the unexpected. It particularly helps to learn important phrases and terms in context, such as with a language learning program like FluentU that turns authentic French videos into language learning lessons.

With the help of FluentU’s curated library of videos covering all kinds of topics, you can learn French for all sorts of situations and hear how it’s pronounced by native speakers in their own media. To get prepared, you can practice what you learn with personalized quizzes and flashcards.

Also, you may want to consider taking a basic conversational French course before going abroad. Ed2go offers Beginning Conversational French, which focuses on real, practical French that you’ll actually be able to use (and that’s good to have on hand) before you head off to the airport.


Now that you know how to make yourself understood in French emergencies, I hope you’re quite a bit less worried about your trip to France… meaning you can focus even more on perfecting your French.

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