If you’re lucky enough to be heading for Paris soon, then you’ve got lots of look forward to. A beautiful city home to world-famous landmarks, rich art history, and luxury fashion. Discover sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Musée de Louvre, and the Champs Elysées in all their glory.
When travelling to another country, it’s always worth picking up a few local phrases before you leave. Whether you’re at the ticket office, in a restaurant or asking for directions, you never know when you might need them. So take a look at our guide to the language in Paris and learn a few quick tips and tricks to speak like a native: well, almost.
So, what language is spoken in Paris?
The official language in Paris is French, which is also the official language of France. Paris is an international destination, visited by people from all over the world. So if you’re not a fluent French speaker, don’t worry too much; you should be able to get by with English in most tourist areas and in bars and restaurants.
That said, before you arrive in Paris you should be aware that the French take things seriously when it comes to language. In fact, there’s even a governing body dedicated to protecting and promoting French (it’s called the Academie Française). With this in mind, it’s well worth picking up a few common French words and phrases ahead of your trip to Paris. If you need to speak English, when speaking to a local it’s always polite to ask whether they speak English before you dive in: ‘parlez vous Anglais?’. Any attempt on your part to speak French, no matter how dreadful your pronunciation, will be hugely appreciated by the locals.
About language in Paris
When the French Revolution took place in 1789, 75% of citizens didn’t speak French as their first language. Instead, each region had its own distinctive dialect, but this changed when language was uniformed throughout the nation.
Today, you’ll still hear regional dialects being spoken throughout the country. This includes a specific type of French in Paris, known as ‘Parisian’ or ‘Metropolitan French’. Today, this is considered as standard French, and if you’ve ever learned French as a second language it’s likely that this is what you’ll have been taught.
Not just spoken in France, it’s the official language of 29 countries, including Canada, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Cameroon, What’s more, it’s the second most widely learned foreign language in the world, and if you have an old French dictionary lying around the house, now’s the perfect time to dust it off.
Ready to learn?
To help you master the language, we’ve compiled a list of key words and phrases to help you on your way. Take a look, have a read through and click on the green icon to hear how it’s done. Then it’s time to practice key phrases like please and thank you. You never know when it might come in handy during your trip.