French Language Blog

French Vocabulary – Drinks Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 in Culture, Vocabulary

Everyone knows the French love to eat. But they also love to drink. John’s recent post on sharing a drink with friends got me thinking about vocabulary for drinks.

Commençons avec un peu de vocabulaire (Let’s begin with a little vocabulary)

Quand j’ai* soif, je bois. (When I’m thirsty, I drink). The verb for to drink is boire. Boire is an irregular verb conjucated** in the pressent tense as:

je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez, ils/elles boivent

My go-to beverage on a hot day in France is the Diabolo menthe. But there are lots of other choices. Here are the French words for some common boissons (drinks).

l'eauwaterun verrea glass
l'eau platestill waterune bouteillea bottle
l'eau gazeusesparkling waterune tassea cup
le laitmilkun goblet en plastiquea plastic cup
le jus d'orangeorange juice
le sodasodaun verre à vin^a wine glass
le vinwineun verre de vin^a glass of wine
le vin blancwhite wine
le vin rougered wineun verre à eau^a water glass
la bièrebeerun verre d'eau^a glass of water
le champagnechampagne
le cidrehard/sparkling ciderune bouteille de vina bottle of wine
le théteaune bouteille d'eaua bottle of water
le cafécoffee

^ Be sure to pay attention to the two different constructions here so you know the difference between a glass of something vs. a glass made for drinking that same thing.

Continuons avec une petite histoire (Let’s continue with a little story)

When we arrived in France for our vacation this summer, ma belle-fille (my step-daughter) Anne kindly left us a basket of local treats to tide us over until we could faire les courses (go shopping). Along with the panier (basket) of crêpes, pâtés, fromages, pain, et jambon (crepes, pates, cheeses, bread, and ham), she also left us quelques boissons – de l’eau, du vin, de la bière, du cidre, et … Breizh Cola. Breizh (the Breton*** word for Brittany) Cola was created in 2002 by deux amis (two friends). Aux aires de Coca-Cola (With an air of Coke), this “Cola du Phare Ouest” (the name of the company and a play on “far west”; un phare is a lighthouse and the phrase Il était une fois dans l’ouest . . . /Once upon a time in the west . . . evokes tales of the old cowboys and indians of the American West) has become a top selling soda in France.

You can learn more about Breizh Cola and Phare Ouest on their web site or in the short video below (which will let you practice your listening comprehension skills and see some lovely scenes of the lovely southern Morbihan area of Brittany.

* Remember that in French you use the verb avoir to express thirst (avoir soif) and hunger (avoir faim) as well as your age (J’ai 48 ans. / I am 48 years old.)
** You can always visit this useful site to see all the conjugations of almost any verb in French.
*** Breton, a Celtic language related to Welsh, is the local language of Brittany. It is no longer widely spoken, but has seen a bit of a ressurgence over the past few years. In many parts of the region you will see town names in both modern French and Breton.

Image Credits:
Beverage photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels
Breizh Cola photos by Tim Hildreth

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.