French Culture: Small Talk on the Street

Bonjour !

Engaging in a small talk in French with strangers can make you happier. And it’s a great way to practice your French as well! But it’s not always easy. How can you break the ice? Can you use your dog as a conversation starter?

How can you chat in French?

Today I’m going to give you general rules, as well as specific french conversation scripts and French sentences – so you can make new friends as you walk, even if only for a few minutes.

You may also like our lesson on: How to Make Small Talk in French: The Weather

Et toi ?

What did you last chat about in such situations?
Are you going to try and make small talk with a stranger today?
Can you tell us how it went?

Bonne journée,

Géraldine

Join the conversation!

  • Pendant ma randonee l’autre jour, j’ai entendu un couple qui parlaient francais. j’ai arrete et j’ai parle avec eux pendant quelques minutes. Ca me faisait beaucoup de plaisir. A cause de Covid peut-etre je ne les vois pas encore. Tant pis. Pardon je ne peux pas faire les accents.

  • Bonjour Geraldine ! Je vous remercie pour cela. Mon mari et moi viens de rentrer de deux semaines dans la région de Verdun, en l’honneur de mon grand-père qui a servi, là, il y a 100 ans. 40 ans plus tard je suis né là-bas, mais ont passé la majeure partie de ma vie aux Etats-Unis et suis toujours moi-même enseignant Français. Je n’ai pas de mal à parler avec mes amis Français, surtout quand j’ai été passionné par le sujet. Mais une conversation avec un étranger était si difficile ! Je souhaite que j’avais vu cela avant d’aller !

  • Merci beaucoup. I just joined a french meet up group here in Los Angeles, a group for francophiles to practice their french. So, this is very helpful.

  • Near the end of our long séjour in Paris, I was walking past a taxidermy shop when a young, well-dressed man walking by me happened to glance in the window. He shrieked and turned to me: Qu’est-ce que c’est ça? He was horrified. We proceeded to have a long conversation about animals– I understood about 2/3rds of his comments– and the Parisian’s apparent love of taxidermy. Thank you, Geraldine, for giving me the confidence to hold up my end of that casual chat with a Parisian stranger.

  • C’est dommage que j’aie visité la France avant avoir vu cette vidéo. J’y suis allée la semaine dernière et ça s’est passé extrêmement bien. J’étais en Alsace, j’ai eu l’occasion de parler français chaque jour. J’ai gardé pour moi des moments (et des places) inoubliables, mais – de temps en temps – il m’est arrivé d’oublier un mot ou de commetre une faute de grammaire… comme maintenant 🙂

  • Géraldine! J’adore vos vidéos et j’avais beaucoup appris – merci mille fois! J’aimerais bien savoir un peu de plus à propos de “tutoyer” et “vousvoyer” – comment savoir si on doit tutoyer ou vousvoyer quelqu’un?

  • Comment terminez- vous poliment une conversation. Je parle a ma voisine a la campagne chaque jour et normalement je dis “ah bonne continuation” ou “bon repas” mais je voudrais des autres idees.

    • Bonjour Janet.

      Great!

      However, “Bonne continuation” is only for people you almost will never see again.
      And “Bon repas” is awkward.

      Try “Bonne journée” (or “Bonne soirée” after 6PM)
      And “Bon appétit” if you’re leaving right before her lunch.

      These will make wonders!

  • In Australia, we might make small talk in a shop by asking the shop-keeper if it has been busy today? I have tried this in Normandie and in Poitou with “êtes-vous occupé aujourd’hui?” and I have received some very strange looks…
    But the weather seems safe, “Il fait beau aujour’dui, non?” seems to go down okay.

    • Bonjour Joshua,

      Well tried! It’s just that “Etes-vous occupé aujourd’hui ?” isn’t the proper translation. 🙂 It doesn’t mean anything.
      Try “Vous avez beaucoup de monde aujourd’hui ?” . BUT unless you know the shop keeper a little, it’s a bit strange to ask this. 🙂

  • In Australia, we might make small talk in a shop by asking the shop-keeper if it has been busy today? I have tried this in Normandie and in Poitou with “êtes-vous occupé aujourd’hui?” and I have received some very strange looks…
    But the weather seems safe, “Il fait beau aujour’dui, non?” seems to go down alright.

  • Double Your Frenchness

    Crash Course

    Enroll in in my free 10-lesson course that has helped thousands like you 2x their Everyday French in 10 days!

    Share this post!

    Share on facebook
    Share on google
    Share on twitter
    Share on linkedin
    >

    Download this lesson as a PDF!

    Please enter your name and email address to get the lesson as a free PDF!