French fast: 20 phrases you need to know if you're coming to Montreal

May 9 2022, 8:04 pm

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of French in Montreal.

With nearly four million French speakers on the island, Montreal is the fourth-largest French-speaking city in the world and obviously, the largest in Canada.

If you have a Montreal trip in the cards and a quick crash course in Duolingo seems too daunting, here’s a handy little guide on a few key phrases that can get you pretty far.

Take note that English is still prominent in Montreal and you don’t need to know French to get around, especially in the downtown core.

But throwing around a few French words will definitely enhance your cultural experience here. Plus hey, if you learn 15 new French phrases, you’ll essentially be considered bilingual in Toronto.

(Sorry, TO, we’ll take swipes at you as often as we can…)

Here are 20 phrases and their phonetic sounds to add to your language repertoire before touching down in Montreal.

The easy ones


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  • Bonjour (bon-zhoor): Hello (literally translates to: “good day”)
  • Bonsoir (bon-swahr): Good evening
  • Merci (mair-see): Thank you
  • S’il vous plaît (seel voo pleh): Please
  • De rien (duh ree-en): You’re welcome (literally translates to: “of nothing”)
  • Désolé (day-zo-lay): I am sorry

Useful longer sentences

  • Bienvenue à Montréal (bee-en-ven-ew) Welcome to Montréal
  • Je ne parle pas français (juh nah parl pah fran-seh) I don’t speak French
  • Je viens de … Vancouver (juh vee-en duh …) I come from…
  • Parlez vous anglais? (par-lay voo ung-leh) Do you speak English?
  • Où sont les toilettes? (ooh sow lay twoil-lets)  Where is the restroom?
  • C’est combien? (say comb-byen) How much is it?
  • L’addition, s’il-vous-plaît (la-diss-syon seel voo pleh) Check, please
  • Peux-tu m’aider (phoo two may-day) Can you help me? (informal)
  • Enchanté (ohn-shan-tay) Pleased to meet you
  • Un autre s’il vous plaît (uhn oh-trey seel voo pleh): Another, please

Unique to Quebec


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  • Terrace (tare-ess): The local word for “patio.”
  • Dépanneur (day-pa-nawr): The common term for convenience stores
  • 5-à-7 (sank ah set): The Quebec term for “happy hour”
  • Guichet (gee sheh): Local term for “ATMs”
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