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French Lesson: Driving In The Countryside (+ Street Signs)

A drive in the French countryside is fun, especially on a nice day.

It also allows us to learn a lot about cars, and getting around in general. We have mentioned before that you don't want to drive around in the big cities, so the countryside is the perfect place to get to know a bit about navigating a trip.

You'll need some French vocabulary and phrases if you plan on taking a road trip in France. Here are some vital road signs and useful sentences in the language for the journey.

French street/road signs

Regardez le panneau (look at the sign):

French English
travaux sur la route road work
route barree road blocked
ralenitissez slow down
ouvert open
fermé closed
gauche left
droite right
suivre follow
arrĂȘt / stop stop
sens unique one way
serrez Ă  droite keep to the right
le sens interdit no entry
cédez le passage give way
chaussée glissante slippery road
chaussée déformer road in bad condition
allumez vos feux turn on your lights
ralentir slow down
vous n'avez pas la prioritĂ© you don’t have right of way
travaux road works
fin de chantier end of works
rappel reminder
(prochaine) sortie (next) exit
péage toll road
route barre road closed
toutes directions all directions
la bande d'arrĂȘt d'urgence emergency lane
passage piétons pedestrian crossing
la limitation de vitesse speed limit
la circulation traffic
le dépassement overtake
aire de repos rest area / layby
tomber en panne break down
le pont bridge
déviation detour
autoroute motorway
le rondpont roundabout

Sample sentences for driving in the French countryside

La route est barree a cinq cent metres, a cause de travaux. Il y a une deviation. The road is blocked for five hundred meters because of road work. There is a detour.

Il faut passer par une autre route. Mais sur cette route-la, la vitesse limite est de cinquante kilometers a l'heure. En plus, il y a souvent des gendarmes sur cette route! We must take another road. But on that road, the speed limit is 50kph. In addition, there are often police on that road!

Mais nous ne sommes pas presses. De toute facon, il faut qu'on s'arrete a la prochaine station service parce qu'il n'y a presque plus d'essence. We are not in a hurry. In any case, we have to (it is necessary to) stop at the next gas station because there is hardly any gas. On devrait aussi verifier le niveau d'huile et la pression des pneus tant que nou y sommes. We can (one can) also check the oil level and the tire pressure since we are there. On fait le plein? Fill it? Ou, il vaut mieux. Yes, we'd better (it would be better). We have gotten used to the idiom "il faut", meaning one should, we must, I must, etc. It is used in two forms: "Il faut" + infinitive of the verb: Il faut conduire a droit. You must drive on the right.

Il faut se reposer souvent quand on conduit sur de grandes distances. You must rest often when driving long distances.

"Il faut que" + present tense of the verb: Il faut qu'on s'arrete a la prochaine station service. We have to stop at the next gas station.

Il faut que j'achete un litre d'huile. I have to buy a litre of oil. We also came into contact with some new negatives in our driving tour. We know ne.pas.

Il n'y a pas de station service sur cette route. There is no gas station on this road. Now look at ne.plus.

Il n'y a plus d'essence. There is no gas left.

Il n'y a presque plus d'essence. There is hardly any gas left. Remember that we substitute "en" as the pronoun in this expression.

Une station service? Il y en une sur la droite. A gas station? There is one on the right.

(En replaces station service) Il reste du lait? Is there milk left?

Non,il n'y en plus. No there isn't any.

Il reste du lait? Is there milk left?

Non,il n'y en plus. No there isn't any.

Translate these French sentences into English

  1. Oh, no, there is a detour on the road.
  2. The sign says (shows:monter) : route barree, ralenitissez!
  3. We are not in a hurry. Let's take the scenic route (route touristique).
  4. We have to stop at the next service station.
  5. We have to go to Paris tomorrow.
  6. There is no train to Paris tomorrow, it's Sunday.
  7. There are not eggs left.
  8. We have to buy eggs today.
  9. Do you have money?
  10. I have some.

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