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Useful Phrases When Driving in French Speaking Countries

May 13, 2008
Sometimes one wants to ask people how to get to somewhere, or where is this or that, and without knowing how to say it, life can be a little difficult.
Here are a series of likely phrases which may help in typical situations.

Excuse me, but can you tell me where I can find a petrol station? ( Excusez moi, mais pouvez vous me dire ou je peux trouver une station service?)
Your car may need some attention and you wish to ask:
I need a mechanic to look at the car ( J'ai besoin d'un mechanici en a regarder ma voiture)

It may be a Sunday and you want to ask: Is there a garage open on a Sunday here? (Y at-il un garage ouvert le dimanche ici?)
If you have a flat battery you may need to ask: I have a flat battery have you a charger? ( La batterie est a plat avez-vous un chargeur?)

You are on your way to Paris and you want to know how far it is: How long does it take to Paris from here? ( Combien de temps faut-il pour Paris d'ici?)

You may want to be sure they take a credit card: Can we pay by credit card, we have not enough cash?( Pouvons nous vous payer par la carte de credit nous n'avons pas assez d'argent?)

You are looking for a toilet and say: Excuse me are there any toilets near here? (Excusez moi,y at-il des toilettes pres d'ici?)

You see a policeman (un agent de police) and you want to ask him: Is this the right way for the motorway?( C'est bien la direction pour l'autoroute?) Or you may ask him: Is there a motel nearby? ( Y at-it un motel pres d'ici?}.

You have arrived late at the hotel and you want to say: There were a lot of delays on the road ( Il y avait trops de bouchons sur la route) . You may wish to add :
On top of that the car stalled several times (En plus, la voiture a cale plusieurs fois.

The car may be dirty so you are looking for somewhere to have it washed and you ask: Is there a place to wash the car: Y at-il une place pour laver la voiture?

If you see a sign that says: Impasse then it means a No Through Road. You may wish to know that (faire demi tour) means to turn back. Just in case you get a parking ticket, it is called (la contravention) and the traffic warden is called ( le contractuel).
The fog (le brouillard) can be a nuisance and the flood (l'inondation) is another hazard. You may want to know that mud is called (la boue).

When people tell you to keep going straight on, they say (Tout droit).When they tell you to turn left: ( Tournez a gauche, when they say turn right: (Tournez a droite) and when they say turn right at the next lights: (Tournez a droite au prochains feux).

You may need to find a bank and ask, is there a bank here? (Y at-il une banque ici?)

You may need to know the exchange rate (Le cours du change).

Sometimes, one wants to confirm one is on the right road for Paris let us say: Is this the right road to Paris: (C'est bien la route pour Paris?) If you want to say: I am sorry to trouble you: (Je suis desole de vous deranger).
In case you want to know what the rush hour is in French, it is (les heures d'affluence).

You will not need your medical insurance (une assurance maladie) if having the flu (avoir la grippe), but you may, if you have a heart attack ( une crise cardiaque ).

In case you need to find a local pub, you will have to ask for (le bistro du coin).
About the Author
Paul Dubsky is director of Foreign Currency Exchange & Transfers Ltd. The company is focused on being able to offer really friendly currency exchange rates and international money transfers. We believe we are the only Foreign Currency Exchange company which offers special rates to Senior Citizens.
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