What to say in the lift

When you are in the lift in France, with your charming old French neighboor with white hair, you have no idea, what you are supposed to tell her. So you stay mute and watch the ceiling or your boots. She thinks you’re deaf or mute, or very impolite. These are the very classical everyday scripts of what French say in the lift. Sounds dead easy but as we say « Ca ne s’invente pas! ».

Basic vocabulary

L’ascenseur (the lift)
Le bouton (the button)
Appeler l’ascenseur (call the lift)
Prendre l’ascenseur (take the lift)
Entrer / sortir de l’ascenseur
Les étages
Descendre / Monter (Going up and down)

Classic dialogue

– Bonjour
– Bonjour. Quel étage? (Which floor? ok everywhere) OR Vous allez au combien ? (Which floor? very French/a little familiar)
– Cinquième. Merci. // Au cinquième. Merci.

Note: We don’t speak in the lift during the « journey ». Start again when the lift is at your floor.

– Bonne journée. // Bonne soirée. (if after 18h)
– Bonne journée. // Bonne soirée. (if after 18h)

There is no space left in the lift

Je vais prendre les escaliers, ça va aller (ou : ne vous inquiétez pas).

I’ll take the stairs, it’s ok. (or: don’t worry).

Je prendrai le suivant. Merci. (ou : ça va aller // ne vous inquiétez pas)

I’ll take the next one. Thanks.

Somebody is hanging the door for you

Je prends les escaliers, merci.

I’ll take the stairs, thanks.

Je vais sortir le courrier, allez-y. Merci.

I have to pick up the mail, go ahead. Thanks.

Bad luck

L’ascenseur est en panne.

The lift is broken.

Very bad luck

Je suis coincée dans l’ascenseur. Vous pouvez intervenir dans combien de temps?

I’m stuck in the lift. How long will it take you to intervene?

Bonne chance !


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