French Transport Vocabulary: 106 Words and Phrases for Stress-free Travel
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?
- The Essentials for All Types of Travel in French
- Getting Around the Metro
- Travel by Car
- Bus Transport
- Travel by Boat
- Air Travel
- Train Travel
- Two-wheel Travel
- How to Practice French Transport Vocabulary
- And one more thing...
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
|Où est... s'il vous plaît ?
|Where is... please?
|To the north
|To the south
|To the east
|To the west
|Tournez à droite.
|Tournez à gauche.
|À côté de
|In front of
|Au coin de
|At the corner of
|At the center
Getting Your Ticket
|Un billet / un 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?
|The ticket booth
*In French, you use un ticket for bus and metro tickets and un billet for train and plane tickets.
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.
|Une carte de métro
|A metro map
|En raison de travaux de maintenance, le trafic est interrompu.
|Traffic is interrupted because of maintenance work.
|Bus de remplacement
|Une perturbation est actuellement en cours.
|A disruption is underway.
|A screen (for information about the metro)
|A pack of 10 metro tickets
|Les places prioritaires
|Le contrôle des tickets
|Comment aller à la station ... , s'il vous plaît ?
|How do I get to ... station, please?
|Do not enter.
Travel by Car
Here are the essential French words you need to know about traveling by car.
|Une rue à sens unique
|A one-way street
|Le conducteur / la conductrice
|The driver (masculine/feminine)
|Un passager / une passagère
|A passenger (masculine/feminine)
|Le trafic / La circulation
|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
|The steering wheel
|La ceinture de sécurité
|Un permis de conduire
|A driver's license
|Le chauffeur de taxi
|The taxi driver
Buses are a big part of everyday life in France. Chances are you’ll use them a lot if you’re going abroad.
|Le chauffeur de bus
|The bus driver
|A bus stop
|Valider votre billet
|To validate your ticket
|Le prochain arrêt
|The next stop
|Paris-specific night bus
|Full (no room for additional passengers)
|The last stop
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.
|Un bateau touristique
|A sight-seeing boat
|A dinner cruise
|Sur le pont
Here are the most important words and phrases you need to know when traveling by airplane.
|Le retrait des bagages
|The baggage claim
|The check-in counter
|La porte *
|Le steward / l'hôtesse
*The French use the same word for “door” to denote an airport gate.
Here are some basic train words and phrases.
|Le quai *
|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.
Renting a bike is a very popular way to get around in French cities. You’ll see bike shares nearly everywhere you go.
|Faire du vélo
|To ride a bike
|Une location de vélo
|A bike rental
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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.
- You could study the vocabulary in this flashcard set on Quizlet or practice transport vocabulary on french-games.net, a resource that turns vocabulary into catchy online games.
- The YouTube channel YouLearnFrench has a great video covering the different types of transport in French. You can also watch Easy Language’s interview with French citizens about public transportation.
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.
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