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#1 Guide: How To Ask For & Give Directions In French

September 5, 2022

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You're in or planning a trip to a foreign country that speaks French! Excellent choice. The next step is to figure out how to get around. As we all know, getting lost sucks, so we've created this handy guide to help you ask for, understand directions or give directions in French.

Let's go memorize French directions!

 

Why Should You Learn How To Give Directions In French?

Did you ever learn French in school? That's because it's the official language of thirteen countries and a secondary official language in fourteen others. If you did learn French then you no doubt remember this phrase:

  • Where is the library?
  • Où est la bibliothèque?

I've never been exactly sure why où est la bibliothèque is always one of the first directional questions taught in French classes, but it is! The French must love reading.

Besides that, the French people also love people who can speak French - with a perfect accent preferably! Trust me, knowing even just a little bit of French will get you so much farther with the locals, especially in France. They appreciate that you're trying as opposed to being a typical tourist.

Let's take a look at some famous sites you may like to know how to get to when you visit France. Sorry if we're assuming that's where you're headed, but Paris is the most popular French-speaking tourist destination!

 

Top 5 Sites To Visit In France

Famous places in France
  1. Gorges du Verdon (The Grand Canyon of France)
  2. Mont Saint-Michel (UNESCO Site)
  3. Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park
  4. Corsica
  5. Eifel Tower, Paris

 

How To Ask For Directions In French

How to ask for directions in French

Here are some useful questions and phrases in French that you can use to ask for help with the locals to avoid getting lost. The first four suggestions will get you off on the right foot, so to speak.

  • Excuse me. I'm lost Excusez moi. Je suis perdu
  • Excuse me. I don't come from here... Excusez moi. Je ne viens pas d'ici
  • Excuse me. I can't find.... Excusez moi. Je ne trouve pas...
  • Excuse me. Can you help me please? Excusez moi. Pouvez-vous m'aider s'il vous plaît?

You'll notice that all of those questions began with a pleasantry. This is very much appreciated in France and any French-speaking city, so remember to start any interactions with strangers with excusez moi.

Let's continue with the 'where' questions you will no doubt find yourself asking to get directions in French.

English QuestionFrench QuestionPronunciation
Where can I find...?Où est-ce que je peux trouver...
Where is...? où est ceOù est ce
Where is the bathroom?Où sont les toilettes
Where is the train station?Où est la gare?
Where is the bus station?Où est l'arrêt de bus?
Which direction is it?C'est dans quelle direction ?
Where are the stairs?Où sont les escaliers ?
Where is the post office?Où est le bureau de poste?
Where are we?Où sommes-nous?
Where is this street? (Point to map)Où est cette rue?
Do you know where (insert place ) is? Est-ce que vous savez où estEst-ce que vous savez où ... est?

Here are some other questions you may ask to get directions in French.

English QuestionFrench QuestionPronunciation
Can you show me?Peux-tu me montrer?
How do I get to...?Comment puis-je aller à...?
How do I get there?Comment puis-je y arriver?
How long does it take to get there?Combien de temps faut-il pour y arriver?
Is it close to here?C'est près d'ici ?
Is it far from here?Est-ce loin d 'ici?
Is there a (insert place) nearby?Est-ce qu’il y a…près d’ici
Is it within walking distance?/Can I walk there?Est-ce que je peux y aller à pied ?
Please show me on the mapVeuillez me montrer sur la carte

 

Directions In French Locals May Say To You

These are some common responses that you may hear in French to help you get where you want to be!

English WordGerman WordPronunciation
It's very closeC'est très proche
It's far awayC'est loin
It's over the bridgeC'est sur le pont
Come with meViens avec moi
I'll show youJe vais te montrer
May I assist (help) you?Puis-je vous assister?
At the cornerAu coin de
At the end of the streetAu bout de la rue
To the leftà gauche
To the rightà droite
It's far from hereC'est loin d'ici
It's near here c'est près d'iciC'est près d'ici
Go straightallez tout droit /continuez tout droit
Walk...aller à pied
Turn lefttournez à gauche
Turn righttournez à droite
Closeprès de

 

Give Directions In French

How to give directions in French

These are some essential French directional words and phrases you should know in case you feel confident giving someone else directions in French, which would be great!

Prepositions

English WordFrench WordPronunciation
AcrossDe l'autre côté
Behinden arrière
BetweenEntre
DownVers le bas
DownstairsEn bas
FarLoin
InDans
InsideÀ l'intérieur
NearÀ proximité
NearbyTout près d'ici
OnSur
OutsideÀ l'extérieur
OverPlus de
Straightdroit
Undersous
UpstairsEn haut

Prepositional Phrases

EnglishFrenchPronunciation
Across fromEn face de
Over thereLà bas
Across the streetDe l'autre côté de la rue
Around the cornerAu coin de la rue
Before the...Avant le
Down the hallwayDans le couloir
Far awayLoin
In front ofDevant de
On the...Sue le/la...
On top ofAu dessus de
Past the...Après le/la...
Straight ahead/Go straightTout droit
Towards the...En direction de...

Compass Directions

EnglishFrenchPronunciation
NorthLe nord
SouthLe sud
EastL’est
WestL’ouest

 

Useful Apps That Can Help You When You Are Lost!

Apps for directions in French

Sometimes it's just easier to use technology. Here are some apps that can help you get around in France.

  1. Citymapper - maps at your fingertips!
  2. Tigets - Get last-minute tickets to local attractions.
  3. Flush - find public toilets anywhere!
  4. Waze- operates similarly to Google Maps except will show you where any travel pain points will be or delays that may hinder your travel plans.
  5. Google Maps - is probably the most well-known navigation app, it will be your best friend in finding the places on your travel list

 

Navigate Your Way In French With Ling App!

It's said learning French is the gateway to quickly learning other languages such as Spanish and Italian!

We'd love for you to continue to learn French and we can't recommend Ling App more.

Learning with Ling is fun and easy. It's got games, interactive quizzes, and listening activities too. It's also incredibly handy if you're planning to travel elsewhere in Europe - it has over 60 languages in addition to French!

Whether you want to learn how to speak French, be fluent in German, or even Swedish, the Ling App is here to help!

Download the Ling App today and get started with learning languages now. Available on Google Play and the Apple Store.

 

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