Essential French 2

Asking “Where is…? questions in French…

Metro sign in Paris, France

And now -as you’ve already learned and practiced Essential French 1, you’re ready to tackle 12 more French essentials.
These are words and phrases that’ll help you ask “Where …” questions – if you’re looking for the bathroom, a pharmacy, a bus stop, or the subway or railway station, a bank or an ATM.

The Next 12 French Phrases: Where is…?

Learn and Practice Tips

> Click the black arrow to hear the French speaker.
> Click the red dot once to record yourself, click the black square to stop recording.
> When you click the black arrow again, you’ll hear the native speaker and then yourself.
> Do it several times until you sound like the French speaker.
> Then “Choose a Study Mode” and test yourself with one of the Quizlet games! (You may need to adjust your Options with the top right icon .)

Asking “Where…?” Questions in French

You’ll have noticed that you can use both “Où se trouve… ?” and “Où est… ?” to ask “Where is..?”. The first is slightly more elegant, but that’s it.
Note that in French, it’s polite to always use the plural form (literally) “Where are the toilets?”
And, a little grammar note: to make a question out of “je peux” (I can), you say “puis-je ?” (“Peux-je ?” is not used, which is good because it’s harder to say.) So, “Where can I find…?” is “Où puis-je trouver… ?”

“Where…?”-Questions Answered…

Asking “Where”- questions in French may let the person you are asking assume that you speak French.
The result will often be an answer and a stream of words you’ll probably not understand.
It would therefore be good to know some basic directional words and phrases in French – left, right, straight ahead, etc. and a way to say: “Please speak more slowly.”
You’ll find these and other directional words and phrases on Essential French 3.

Getting Around in Paris

The public transport system in Paris is quite extensive. In 2019 a Métro ticket cost Euro 1.90. You can use it not only on the Métro, but also on the RER lines and on buses.
Like in many other large cities, you can also purchase multi-day tickets for tourists which allow you to visit various sights as well, and avoid long lines. You can just buy a carnet of ten tickets as well. The ticket machines take some time to get used to.
A good site for learning about the options and to figure out what works best for you is Paris for Visitors.

Author: Ulrike Rettig

Ulrike S. Rettig holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. After a teaching career she worked for Pimsleur Language Programs and co-founded GamesforLanguage.com in 2011. Now, with Lingo-Late.com she offers her experience and insights to language lovers before they travel.

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