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Learn French: Phrases to Use in the Hotel

Learn French: Phrases to Use in the Hotel

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Trying to speak the language in a foreign country can be frustrating and stressful, but with a few key phrases you can make yourself understood and get the information you need. French is a tricky language, but mastering a few important phrase is easy. In this guide you will learn French phrases that will be most helpful in hotels. Ready? Allons-y!

Where to Stay

A U.S. travel agent can help you find accommodations and make reservations that suit both your needs and your budget, no matter where you go in the French-speaking world. Should you have a spur-of-the-moment change of plans, you can always go to a Syndicat d’initiative (saN-dee-kah dee-nee-see-yah-teev) or an Office du Tourisme (oh-fees dew too-rees-muh) to procure a room.

You can expect to find the following types of lodgings in your travels:

It’s always a good idea to check with your travel agency or with the hotel’s management before leaving home to make sure all the amenities you require are available. Depending on your needs, you’ll want to know the words for everything from bathroom to swimming pool. Be prepared for some surprises—even with reservations and assurances from your agent. Remember that it never hurts to ask questions when you’re making arrangements or when you’re in doubt. Note, too, that in French buildings the ground floor is called le rez-de-chaussée (abbreviated rez-de-ch) and the basement is called le sous-sol (abbreviated s-s). The “first floor” is really on the second story of any building.

Hotel Amenities

English French Pronunciation
bar le bar luh bahr
bellhop le bagagiste luh bah-gah-zheest
business center le centre d’affaires luh sahNtr dah-fehr
concierge (caretaker) le (la) concierge luh (lah) kohN-syehrzh
doorman le portier luh pohr-tyay
elevator l’ascenseur m. lah-sahN-suhr
fitness center le club santé luh klewb sahN-tay
gift shop la boutique lah boo-teek
maid service la gouvernante lah goo-vehr-nahNt
restaurant le restaurant luh rehs-toh-rahN
staircase l’escalier m. lehs-kahl-yay
swimming pool la piscine lah pee-seen
valet parking l’attendance du garage f. lah-tahN-dahNs dew gah-rahzh

Getting What You Want

Is something missing? Are you dissatisfied with your accommodations? If you need something to make your stay more enjoyable, don’t be afraid to speak up. Here are a few items you might want or need:

I would like … Je voudrais … zhuh voo-dreh
I need … Il me faut … eel muh foh
I need … J’ai besoin de (d’) … zhay buh zwaN duh
Please send me … Veuillez m’envoyer … vuh-yay mahN-vwah-yay
There isn’t (aren’t) … Il n’y a pas de … eel nyah pah duh

Don’t forget to show good manners by using the following phrases:

please s’il vous plaît seel voo pleh
thank you very much merci beaucoup mehr-see bo-koo
you’re welcome de rien duh ryaN
you’re welcome pas de quoi pahd kwah
don’t mention it Je vous en prie zhuh voo zahN pree

Wants and Needs

English French Pronunciation
air conditioning la climatisation lah klee-mah-tee-zah-syohN
an ashtray un cendrier uhN sahN-dree-yay
a balcony un balcon uhN bahl-kohN
a bar of soap une savonnette ewn sah-voh-neht
a bathroom une salle de bains ewn sahl duh baN
a blanket une couverture ewn koo-vehr-tewr
a hair dryer un sèche-cheveux uhN sehsh shuh-vuh
hangers des cintres day saNtr
a key une clé ewn klay
ice cubes des glaçons deh glah-sohN
some mineral water de l’eau minérale duh lo mee-nay-rahl
a pillow un oreiller uhN noh-reh-yay
a safe (deposit box) un coffre uhN kohfr
a shower une douche ewn doosh
a single (double) room une chambre à un (deux) lit(s) ewn shahNbr ah uhN (duh) lee
on the courtyard côté cour koh-tay koor
on the garden côté jardin koh-tay zhahr-daN
on the sea côté mer koh-tay mehra
telephone un téléphone uhN tay-lay-fohn
a television une télévision ewn tay-lay-vee-zyohN
(color) (en couleurs) (ahN koo-luhr)
(flat screen) (écran plat) (ay-krahN plah)
(large screen) (grand écran) (grahN tay-krahN)
tissues des mouchoirs en papier day moo-shwahr ahN pah-pyay
toilet paper (roll) un rouleau de papier hygiénique uhN roo-lo duh pah-pyay ee-zhyay-neek
a towel une serviette ewn sehr-vyeht
a beach towel un drap de bain uhN drah duh baN
a transformer un transformateur uhN trahNz-fohr-mah-tuhr

Elevator Speak

I’d bet that like most of us, you’ve had an elevator experience—either in a hotel or elsewhere—in which you’ve felt like a large sardine in a small can. When you’re pushed to the back or squished to the side, you have to hope that a kind and gentle soul will wiggle a hand free and ask: “Quel étage, s’il vous plaît?” (kehl ay-tahzh seel voo pleh)—in other words, “Which floor, please?” You will need the ordinal numbers in the following table to give a correct answer, such as: “Le troisième étage, s’il vous plaît” (luh trwah-zyehm ay-tahzh seel voo pleh).

French Pronunciation English
premier (première) pruh-myay (pruh-myehr) 1st
deuxième (second[e]) duh-zyehm (suh-gohN[d]) 2nd
troisième trwah-zyehm 3rd
quatrième kah-tree-yehm 4th
cinquième saN-kyehm 5th
sixième see-zyehm 6th
septième seh-tyehm 7th
huitième wee-tyehm 8th
neuvième nuh-vyehm 9th
dixième dee-zyehm 10th
onzième ohN-zyehm 11th
douzième doo-zyehm 12th
vingtième vaN-tyehm 20th
vingt et un(e)ième vaN-tay-uhN (ewn)-nyehm 21st
soixante-douzième swah-sahNt doo-zyehm 72nd
centième sahN-tyehm 100th

With these helpful French phrases you’ll have no trouble getting what you need in your hotel! For more helpful travel information, check out our Video Quick Guide How to Handle a Taxi Driver in a Foreign Country. Have fun, and bonne chance!

From The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to French Phrases, Third Edition, by Gail Stein