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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