French Language Blog

Sleeping Better On A French Bed Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Vocabulary

After le déménagement (moving) and changing mon adresse, it became clearer what new things I needed to buy for mon nouvel appartement (my new apartment).

Beds” by Dldriks on Flickr. Licensed under BY CC 2.0.

Getting through les cartons (the boxes) and arranging all mes affaires (my things) let me see how much space I have in mon nouveau logement (my new place).

After seeing the available space and a few uncomfortable nights on le lit (the bed) that came with appartement, I knew I had to get un nouveau lit.

Cependant (however), one look at the bed section au magasin (at the store) and I realized I didn’t know how to talk about les lits. Un employé (an employee) came up to help me, but I couldn’t explain what I wanted!

Bonjour !
Bonjour !
Alors, qu’est-ce que vous cherchez ?
Un lit…
Et est-ce que vous auriez besoin d’un matelas aussi ?
Euh… un lit pour une personne.
D’accord… C’est-à-dire que vous voulez quelle taille exactement ?
En fait, je ne connais pas les noms des tailles en français…
C’est pas grave ! Je vous l’explique.

So, what are you looking for?
A bed…
And will you be needing a mattress?
Uh… a bed for one person.
Alright… That means that you want what size exactly?
Actually, I don’t know the words for the sizes in French…
Don’t worry! I’ll explain it to you.

At first I didn’t even know what the word matelas meant, but after talking with l’employé and looking at the different mattresses and beds, I started to understand. In general la taille of le matelas is given in centimètres.

Voici (here’s) a general guide for les dimensions du matelas:

  • Single : 90 x 190cm
  • Double : 140 x 200cm
  • Queen size : 160 x 200cm
  • King size : 180 x 200cm

I wasn’t quite ready to buy un nouveau lit. I thanked l’employé and went home to do more research. Although I didn’t get un nouveau lit au magasin, knowing the different words for les tailles du matelas made it much easier to look for what I wanted.

Voici un vocabulaire des lits :

Bed” by René Gademann on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Le lit – Bed
Le futon – Futon
Le canapé – Couch
Le canapé convertible – Sofa bed, convertible sofa
Le clic-clac – Sofa bed
La banquette lit – Sofa bed, convertible sofa
Le cadre d’un lit – Bed frame
La couette – Duvet, Comforter
Le drap – Sheet
L’oreiller – Pillow (on bed)
Le coussin – Pillow (on sofa)
La taie d’oreiller – Pillow case

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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. Suzanne:

    I thought “nouveau” changed to “nouvel” before a masculine noun beginning with a vowel. Shouldn’t it be “un nouvel appartement?”

    • John Bauer:

      @Suzanne Salut Suzanne ! Merci pour votre commentaire !You’re right, thanks for pointing it out to me 😀