Parlez-vous? No. 1: Au café

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

While at work the other day, I had an epiphany. My 101 in 1,001 list had been on my mind and I was trying to think of a way to cross off "Teach someone basic French". I've been losing touch with French lately and wanted to bring it back into my life. I felt the same way about blogging. Then, I realized, how perfect would it be to start a series where I teach you (my lovely readers) some basic French? Sometimes things are too obvious - this blog's name is French after all! So, without further ado, I bring you the first of many French lessons: Au café.


It's not a little known fact that the French love their coffee, so much so that coffee breaks are regularly incorporated into the working day. Needless to say, if you ever want to make it in France, you need to know how to "aller au café".

Let's start with the basics...
hello = bonjour (I sincerely hope you know this one)
how are you? = ça va? [sah-vah]
I'm well = ça va bien [sah-vah bee-en]

How to order...
I would like = Je voudrais [je voo-dray]
I'll have = Je prendrai [je pren-dray]
please = s'il vous plaît
how much? = c'est combien?

What to order...
coffee = un café
     --> this comes as an espresso
coffee place = un café (confusing, I know)
tea = un thé
hot chocolate = chocolat chaud [shok-o-la show]
with milk = au lait (this is the most like "american" coffee)
with sugar = avec du sucre
without sugar = sans sucre
    -->usually, hot drinks will come with sugar cubes already
*side note: any other types of coffee drinks with Italian name (i.e. cappuccino) will retain their Italian name (with a French accent, of course), and no, that fancy five-minute long order you make at Starbucks will most likely not be available at your average café. Stick to the basics, my friends.

thank you = merci
thank you very much = merci beaucoup
goodbye = au revoir
have a good day = bonne journée

Pro-tip: When speaking French, elaborate the accent more than you think you should - you'll be surprised how much more you are understood when you enunciate. It may sound weird to you, but nine times out of ten, it'll make more sense to a French person. 

À plus tard! Until next time!


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