French Pronunciation Guide - Learn Fast to Order in French with Audio

French Pronunciation Guide


Have you ever wanted to order from a French menu with a perfect pronunciation? The trick is to first see the words in French and in context – on a menu. This is just what the hungry traveler needs; a French pronunciation guide in order to see and hear the most important and common French words found on menus. Just tap or click the blue play buttons below and listen to the pronunciation, spoken with a Parisian accent.

This French pronunciation guide includes 100 of the most important words you will need in a French restaurant, whether they are on the menu or not.

Listen to the words. Repeat. Close your eyes and imagine chocolate, wine, fabulous sauces, and yourself ordering these delectables. Hit that play button as many times as needed! And remember to repeat the words out loud before you go.


Getting Started

toilettes/WC ‐ bathroom
hommes/messieurs ‐ men
mesdames/femmes ‐ women
bonjour ‐ hello
s'il vous plaît ‐ please
merci ‐ thanks

At the Boulangerie

la boulangerie ‐ the bakery
brioche ‐ egg and butter bread, sometimes topped with sugar
croque monsieur ‐ an open faced sandwich of bread, ham and cheese, dipped in beaten egg and then sautéed in butter
croque madame ‐ a croque monsieur with a fried egg on top
jambon ‐ ham
pain au chocolat ‐ croissant with a ribbon of dark chocolate inside
pain de campagne ‐ country style bread
quiche ‐ same as in English

At the Pâtisserie

la pâtisserie ‐ pastry
cerise ‐ cherry
chantilly ‐ whipped cream
chocolat ‐ chocolat
fraise ‐ strawberry
framboise ‐ raspberry
gâteau ‐ cake

At the Charcuterie

confit ‐ duck or pork (and other things too) that is cooked and covered with its own fat
paté ‐ a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste
rillettes ‐ meat that has been cooked and torn or minced into a spread
saucisson ‐ cured sausage that comes sliced or in a link that you can slice
terrine ‐ a pâté made in a pottery container

Meat Doneness / Temperature

bleu ‐ really rare
saignant ‐ rare
à point ‐ medium-rare
cuit ‐ medium medium
bien cuit ‐ well done
rose ‐ pink

The French are not ones to cook steaks more than bloody rare. They may call it, “medium,” but…. anything more ruins the meat. Also some places think medium is bloody – like you have never seen in a U.S. restaurant. Think about that before you order.

For veal, lamb, pigeon, duck (and fowl other than chicken) they have an extra, or substitute, term: rose. Like it sounds, the meat comes out a beautiful rosy color. Enjoy!

At the Restaurant

We use different words for our courses – imagine that! But, for an appetizer, they use a word we know. So, it’s a little confusing.

On a menu, you will see the French words for appetizers, salads, main courses, dessert, drinks, and more. Many English speaking tourists visit Paris, so they may have an English menu. But, if you have a French menu, here are the words to remember.

Dining Events

petit-déjeuner ‐ breakfast
déjeuner ‐ lunch
dîner ‐ dinner


monsieur ‐ male waiter
madame ‐ female waiter who is married (how do you know if she is married?)
mademoiselle ‐ female waiter who is not married (how do you know if she is married? I don’t know how to tell, so I always start with this.)


If the waiter uses sign language when he asks you what you would like to drink, he will make a fist and put his thumb to his mouth and tilt his fist back.

Boissons Fraîche ‐ Cool Drinks
eau minérale avec gaz ‐ sparkling mineral water
eau minérale sans gaz ‐ still mineral water
carafe d’eau ‐ pitcher of Parisian tap water
jus d’orange ‐ orange juice
bière ‐ beer
bière pression ‐ beer on tap
apéritif ‐ an alcoholic drink before dinner, maybe a glass of white wine or a kir
Boissons Chaud ‐ Hot Drinks
café ‐ single espresso
thé ‐ tea
chocolat ‐ hot chocolate


carte de vins ‐ wine menu
vins rouges ‐ red wines
vins blancs ‐ white wines
vins rosés ‐ rosé wine
Champagne ‐ Champagne
vin de la maison ‐ house wine, white or red
comptoir ‐ counter or bar

On the Menu

la carte ‐ menu
entrée ‐ appetizer
hors d’œuvre ‐ little snacks served before or outside of the meal
plats ‐ main course
pain ‐ bread
beurre ‐ butter
frites ‐ French fries

Other Terms at the Restaurant

viande ‐ meat
bœuf ‐ beef
agneau ‐ lamb
porc ‐ porc
poulet ‐ chicken
veau ‐ veal
lapin ‐ rabbit
poisson ‐ fish
canard ‐ duck
pigeon ‐ pigeon
crustacés ‐ shellfish
crevette ‐ shrimp
coquille St. Jacque ‐ scallop
huître ‐ oyster
moules ‐ mussels
palourdes ‐ clams
pâtes ‐ pasta
riz ‐ rice
légume ‐ vegetable


ris de veau ‐ sweetbreads
rognons ‐ kidneys
foie ‐ liver (foie de volaille – chicken liver, foie gras – goose liver)
foie de veau ‐ veal liver
cocotte ‐ an individual casserole, usually delivered to the table burning hot!
végétarien ‐ vegetarian
bio ‐ biologically or organically grown


dessert ‐ dessert
crème brûlée ‐ creme brulee
soufflé ‐ baked egg dish; crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside
mousse au chocolat ‐ mousse made with bitter dark chocolate

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