French Transport Vocabulary: 106 Words and Phrases

Planning on traveling within a French-speaking country?

Whether you’re about to travel and need to learn particular words or phrases before you go, or you just want to brush up on the language, French transportation vocabulary is essential.

In this post, you’ll find 106 French transport words and phrases, plus some ways you can practice this vocabulary!


How Can French Transport Vocabulary Help You?

Transportation vocabulary is one of the most important French essentials to learn if you want to get around efficiently in a French-speaking region.

If you don’t at least know how to ask important questions at the ticket booth, make sense of the signs in the metro station or find the correct terminal, you can’t expect to get very far.

There may even be times when you’re abroad and don’t have a handy phrasebook with you and no one around you speaks English. So don’t waste precious travel time but make the preparations now by learning the most important transportation words and phrases below.

French transport vocabulary is also helpful even if you don’t have a trip booked. As you’ll see in the list below, many transport terms are widely-used in other contexts as well—such as directional words or movement verbs. Learning them will give your general French vocabulary an important boost.

The Essentials for All Types of Travel in French

Whether you’re on your morning metro commute or taking a taxi to meet a friend for dinner, there are just certain words that you’ll almost always need to know.

Un moyen de transport / Les transports Transportation
Voyager To travel
Aller To go
Venir To come
Prendre To take


Les directions The directions
Où est... s'il vous plaît ? Where is... please?
Au nord To the north
Au sud To the south
À l'est To the east
À l'ouest To the west
Tournez à droite. Turn right.
Tournez à gauche. Turn left.
Tout droit Straight ahead
Loin de Far from
Près de Close to
À côté de Next to
Devant In front of
Derrière Behind
Au coin de At the corner of
Au centre At the center
Là-bas Over there

Getting Your Ticket

Un billet / un ticket *A ticket
Un billet simple A one-way ticket
Un billet aller-retour A return ticket
Quel est le prix d'un billet ? What is the price of a ticket?
Le guichet The ticket booth

*In French, you use un ticket for bus and metro tickets and un billet for train and plane tickets.

Travel Time

En avance Early
À l'heure On time
En retard Late/delayed
Supprimé Canceled

Getting Around the Metro

In this section, there are both general metro words you’ll need to know and some terms that are specific to the metro system in France.

Le métro The metro
Une carte de métro A metro map
En service In service
En raison de travaux de maintenance, le trafic est interrompu. Traffic is interrupted because of maintenance work.
Bus de remplacement Replacement bus
Une perturbation est actuellement en cours. A disruption is underway.
L'écran A screen (for information about the metro)
Un carnet A pack of 10 metro tickets
Les places prioritaires Reserved seats
Le contrôle des tickets Ticket verification
Comment aller à la station ... , s'il vous plaît ? How do I get to ... station, please?
Passage interdit. Do not enter.
La correspondance The connection
La sortie The exit

Travel by Car

Here are the essential French words you need to know about traveling by car.

La voiture The car
La rue The street
Une rue à sens unique A one-way street
Conduire To drive
Le conducteur / la conductrice The driver (masculine/feminine)
Un passager / une passagère A passenger (masculine/feminine)
Le trafic / La circulation The traffic
Un feu tricolore A stop light
Un feu rouge A red light
Un panneau stop A stop sign
La limite de vitesse The speed limit
Une voiture de location A rental car
Les freins The brakes
Le moteur The engine
Le volant The steering wheel
La ceinture de sécurité The seatbelt
Les pneus The tires
Un permis de conduire A driver's license
Un taxi A taxi
Le chauffeur de taxi The taxi driver

Bus Transport

Buses are a big part of everyday life in France. Chances are you’ll use them a lot if you’re going abroad.

Le bus The bus
Le chauffeur de bus The bus driver
Le siège The seat
Un arrêt A bus stop
Valider votre billet To validate your ticket
Le prochain arrêt The next stop
Un noctilien Paris-specific night bus
Complet Full (no room for additional passengers)
Le terminus The last stop
Un itinéraire A route
L'horaire The timetable

Travel by Boat

Though you may think you’ll never travel by boat, chances are you’ll take a cruise on the Seine River if you’re ever in Paris. If so, it’ll help to know the following vocabulary.

Le bateau Boat
Un bateau touristique A sight-seeing boat
La rivière The river
Un dîner-croisière A dinner cruise
À l'intérieur Inside
Sur le pont On deck
Le quai The dock

Air Travel

Here are the most important words and phrases you need to know when traveling by airplane.

L'avion The airplane
L'aéroport The airport
Le pilote The pilot
Le décollage Take-off
L'atterrissage Landing
Le retrait des bagages The baggage claim
L'enregistrement The check-in counter
Le terminal The terminal
La porte *The gate
Le steward / l'hôtesse The steward/stewardess
Voler To fly
L'embarquement Boarding

*The French use the same word for “door” to denote an airport gate.

Train Travel

Here are some basic train words and phrases.

Le train The train
La gare The station
Le quai *The platform
La voie The tracks
En première classe In first class
En seconde classe In second class

*Note that this is the same word to denote a dock in the “Travel by Boat” section.

Two-wheel Travel

Renting a bike is a very popular way to get around in French cities. You’ll see bike shares nearly everywhere you go.

Un vélo A bike
Faire du vélo To ride a bike
Une location de vélo A bike rental
Une mobylette A moped
Une moto A motorcycle

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How to Practice French Transport Vocabulary

For many language learners, rote memorization is like traveling in circles. Here are some fun ways to fast-track your memorization of French transport vocabulary.


Now that you know the French transportation basics, you’re ready to venture out and have some fun!

And one more thing...

If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.

FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.


For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:


Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."


All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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