Basic French to survive the Pyrenees

French is the lingua franca of the Pyrenees. About 50% of the hikers are French, and many other hikers are Europeans who speak French. Many hotel/hostel/campsite owners only communicate in French. But not to worry! Here is your list of basic French words to easily get through most situations.

Customer service interactions

English French
Alone, Together Seul, Ensemble
For us Pour nous
Breakfast, lunch, dinner Petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner
Bank card (credit card or debit card) CB / carte bancaire
No payment by bank card (written on signs) Pas de CB
(Paying by) bank card (Payer par) carte bancaire
(Paying with) cash (Payer en) espece / cash
A bed for one night Un lit pour une nuit

On the trail

English French
Water Eau
Drinkable (water) Eau potable / potable
Not drinkable (water) Eau non potable / non potable
A trail that circles back Boucle
To + from (indicating time or distance) A/R ; Aller/Retour
Lake Lac

If you would like to know how to say anything specific, please send an email and we would be glad to help you.