woman playing the guitar at home

Hobbies in French: 50+ Words and Phrases for Talking About Your Favorite Activities

Have you read any good books lately?

Do you prefer pickin’ and grinnin’ to hummin’ and strummin’?

Have you watched the director’s cuts of all your favorite films?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a hobby.

Let’s find out how you can increase your French language skills by talking about hobbies in French.

Contents

How to Say “Hobbies” in French

There are actually two French words for talking about hobbies.

In casual conversations, you’d usually say passe-temps , which means activities that you do simply because you like them:  

Mon passe-temps favori, c’est la lecture. (My favorite hobby is reading.)

Elle a plusieurs passe-temps, dont la peinture et le yoga. (She has several hobbies, including painting and yoga.)

The other word is loisirs , which is a bit more formal and includes all activities that you do in your free time:

Dans ce questionnaire, veuillez lister vos loisirs. (In this questionnaire, please list your leisure activities.)

Les loisirs en plein air sont mes préférés. (Outdoor leisure activities are my favorite.)

Now let’s go into the specific vocabulary for different hobbies!

French Vocabulary for Hobbies

Sports and Physical Activities

talking-about-hobbies-in-french

Roll a ball, hit a target or take to the hills. Whichever one you like the most, there are a lot of physical activities to choose from:

English
Le badminton Badminton
Le basket-ball Basketball
L'escalade de bloc Bouldering
Le bowling Bowling
Le cyclisme Cycling
Les fléchettes Darts
La pêche Fishing
Le jardinage Gardening
Le golf Golf
Le handball Handball
La randonnée Hiking
Le jogging Jogging
L'escalade Rock climbing
Le rugby Rugby
La course à pied Running
Le ski Skiing
Le snowboard Snowboarding
Le football Soccer
La natation Swimming
Le tennis Tennis
Le volley-ball Volleyball
La musculation Weightlifting
Le yoga Yoga

When talking about sports, especially if they’re ball games or involve teams, you’d typically use the verb jouer (to play) + the preposition à

Je joue au basketball. (I play basketball.)

Some sports are paired with the verb faire (to do) instead.

Je fais de la natation tous les week-ends. (I go swimming every weekend.)

Games

friends playing board games in french

Aside from sports, you might also be into games that are less physical, like card games and video games:

FrenchEnglish
Le billard Billiards
Les jeux de société Board games
Le bridge Bridge
Le jeu de cartes Card games
Le jeu de dames Checkers
Les échecs Chess
Le poker Poker
Les puzzles Puzzles
Le jeu de rôle Role-playing games (RPG)
Les jeux vidéo Video gaming

The most common verb for games is jouer as well:

Je joue aux jeux vidéo. (I play video games.)

Elle joue au poker. (She plays poker.)

An exception is with puzzles:

Nous faisons des puzzles. (We do puzzles.) 

Music

woman singing in shower

Music is known as the universal language; its melodies and rhythms speak to people from all walks of life, all over the world. If you spend some of your leisure time singing or playing tunes, this vocabulary will keep you rapping about your harmonious hobby:

FrenchEnglish
Le violoncelle Cello
La danse Dancing
La batterie Drums
La flûte Flute
Aller à des concerts Going to concerts
La guitare Guitar
La harpe Harp
Écouter de la musique Listening to music
Le piano Piano
Le saxophone Saxophone
Le chant Singing
La trompette Trumpet
Le violon Violin
Le ukulélé Ukulele

If you play a musical instrument, the phrase for that would be jouer + the preposition de:

Je joue de la guitare. (I play guitar.)

Elle joue du violon. (She plays the violin.)

Creative Activities

man painting on canvas

Artistic hobbies are some of the best-loved, with an enduring popularity around the world.

FrenchEnglish
La pâtisserie Baking
La calligraphie Calligraphy
Le crochet Crochet
La cuisine Cooking
Le dessin Drawing
La décoration intérieure Interior decorating
La création de bijoux Jewelry making
Le tricot Knitting
La peinture Painting
La photographie Photography
La poésie Poetry
La poterie Pottery
La sculpture Sculpture
La couture Sewing
L'aquarelle Watercolor painting
La menuiserie Woodworking
L'écriture Writing

For these types of hobbies, the standard verb is faire:

Je fais de la peinture. (I do painting.)

Some hobbies might use the verb pratique (to practice):

Je pratique le tricot. (I practice knitting.)

Other Hobbies

woman watching a tv show at home

With new novels, texts and films coming out all the time, being a bookworm or a movie buff is a hobby that will never get boring. Here are some additional French vocabulary for hobbies: 

FrenchEnglish
L'observation des oiseaux Birdwatching
Le camping Camping
La dégustation de vin / de fromage / de café / de chocolat Cheese / Coffee / Chocolate / Wine tasting
Apprendre une langue Learning a language
La méditation Meditation
La lecture Reading
Le voyage Traveling
Le bénévolat Volunteering
Regarder des films / des séries Watching movies / TV series

To get more practice with talking about hobbies (and other conversational topics), it helps to immerse in French media and get to know the culture better. 

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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Describing Your Hobbies in French

So you already know the French names for different hobbies! Here are some important grammar points that’ll let you describe your hobbies even further: 

Likes and Dislikes

You can express that you like (or even love) a hobby with the verbs aimer and adorer:

J’aime lire. (I like to read.)

Nous adorons faire de la randonnée. (We love hiking very much.)

Of course these verbs can apply to people, but you can also gush about your hobbies too (and even food!) with them.

Another phrase is etre passionné(e) de / par…., which is for expressing that you’re deeply passionate about something and you’ve invested a lot into it: 

Je suis passionné de photographie. (I am passionate about photography.)

Alternatively, you might want to say that you’re not interested in a specific hobby. For this, you would use the negative form ne… pas

Je n’aime pas faire de la randonnée. (I don’t like hiking.)

Je ne fais pas de sport. (I don’t do sports.)

Here’s a detailed guide on the negative form if you need to brush up!

Frequency 

Of course, you can also talk about how often you do your hobby. That’s where these adverbs come in: 

FrenchEnglishExample
Toujours AlwaysElle joue toujours au tennis le week-end. (She always plays tennis on the weekend.)
Souvent OftenIl va souvent à la salle de sport. (He often goes to the gym.)
Parfois Sometimes Nous regardons parfois des films le vendredi soir. (We sometimes watch movies on Friday evenings.)
Rarement RarelyJe lis rarement des bandes dessinées. (I rarely read comics.)
Jamais NeverTu ne joues jamais au football. (You never play football.)

As you might have noticed from the examples, these are all placed after the verb (unlike in English). 

Try out these other phrases too if you want to be more specific:  

FrenchEnglishExample
Tous les jours Every dayElle écrit dans son journal tous les jours. (She writes in her journal every day.)
Une fois par semaine Once a weekNous allons à des cours de poterie une fois par semaine. (We go to pottery classes once a week.)
Deux fois par mois Twice a monthJe visite le musée deux fois par mois. (I visit the museum twice a month.)
Chaque année Every yearNous faisons du camping chaque année.
(We go camping every year.)

Practice Resources

Hobbies aren’t just a way to kill time; they’re also a way to connect with other people. Share les plaisirs des loisirs (the pleasures of hobbies) with your French-speaking friends, whether you simply talk about your pastimes or participate in them together.

To practice your hobby-related French vocabulary in stimulating and entertaining ways, try these online exercises, quizzes and games.

Hobbies in French

French-Games.net offers topic-focused, colorful lessons and games for learning simple French hobby vocabulary. European-style road signs lead you through a series of vocabulary cards, exercises and classic games like Memory (Pelmanism) and Hangman.

French Vocabulary: Sports and Hobbies

Either study or play with Quizlet: Take your pick of flashcards, writing or spelling exercises to help you master sports and hobby vocabulary. Test your knowledge or race the clock in a hobby word matching game.

Vocabulaire: Les loisirs

Take a deep dive into your favorite leisure activity with these detailed sets of French hobby words. Escape the executioner’s noose by divining the hidden words to beat Hangman, match the correct word to its picture or successfully complete a listening comprehension exercise.

 

However you like to spend your free time, make sure you spend some of it discussing your leisure pursuits in French.

After all, language learning is a very satisfying hobby.

And one more thing...

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

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.

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

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FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.

You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.

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

learn-french-with-movie-trailers

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

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As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% 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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