French Language Blog

How To Find A Hardware Store in French Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Vocabulary

My computer problems quickly led to hardware problems, which meant finding a hardware store. Les problèmes were that my hardware vocabulary isn’t very good in English never mind in French, and that it was still incredibly hot. I needed a very small screwdriver to take off the screws on the bottom of my laptop and get to its insides.

My original thought was to just go to le magasin d’informatique (the computer store) and ask them for what I needed, but on the way there I ran into un ami (a friend) and we had a brief conversation.

– Ça va ?
– Oui, ça va. Je vais au magasin d’informatique. Mon disque dur a planté et donc j’ai besoin de le remplacer.
– Ah ouais ? tu sait comment faire tout ça ?
– Oui, il faut juste enlever les petites choses en bas et puis c’est simple à faire.
– Les petites choses ? Ah tu veux dire les vis ! Demande aux gens du spuermarché ! J’imagine qu’ils ont ce que tu veux.

Hey, how’s it going?
It’s going alright. I’m going to the computer store. My hard drive broke and so I need to replace it.
Ah yeah? You know how to do all that?
Yes, you just have to take out the little things on the bottom and then doing it is easy.
The little things? Ah you mean the screws! Ask the people at the supermarket! They probably have what you want.

So I went to le supermarché and asked:

– Excusez-moi, est-ce que vous avez la chose pour enlever les vis ?
– Un tournevis ?
– Oui c’est ça !
– Oui, suivez-moi.

– Voilà toutes les tournevis qu’on a.
– Vous n’en avez pas des plus petits ?
– Non, désolé. Tout ce qu’on a est ici.

Excuse me, do you have the thing for taking out screws?
A screwdriver?
Yes that’s it!
Yes, follow me.

Here’s all the screwdrivers that we have.
Do you have any smaller ones?
No, sorry. Everything we have is here.

Dans une ultime tentative (In a last ditch effort) I decided to ask another shop I passed, une bijouterie (a jewelry store).

– Bonjour Monsieur.
– Bonjour.
– Est-ce que vous avez des très petits tournevis ?
– Non, je suis désolé.
– Et bien, est-ce que vous savez où je pourrais en acheter ?
– Oui ! Allez au magasin de bricolage. Ils en ont j’en suis sûr.

Hello Sir.
Do you have any very small screwdrivers?
No, I’m sorry.
Well, do you know where I could buy some?
Yes! Go to the hardware store. They have some I’m sure of it.

And after asking a few people along the way where exactly le magasin de bricolage is located I found mon tournevis (my screwdriver)!

I learned trois nouveaux mots (three new words)! Now to learn the difference between un tournevis plat (a flathead screwdriver) and un tournevis cruciformes (a Philip’s head screwdriver)!

Voici un petit vocabulaire :

La vis screw
Le tournevis screwdriver
Le clou nail
Le marteau hammer
Le magasin de bricolage hardware store
Le matériel informatique hardware (computer)
Le hardware hardware (computer)
La quincaillerie hardware (tools)

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Marcia Whitney-Schenck:

    J’adore vos essais drôle. D’ailleurs, j’apprends des nouveaux mots. Bon travail. Marcia de Chicago