Stop! Sens Interdit!: A Quick Guide to French Roadway Vocabulary Posted by mtaulier on Mar 10, 2014 in Vocabulary
If you’ve ever visited France and found yourself behind the wheel of une voiture (a car), you were most likely confronted with some signs you had never seen before. Although France and the United States share some road signs such as the ubiquitous red octagonal STOP and the sens interdit (no entry), others are not so obvious and can confuse foreign drivers.
Below you will find common words and phrases that you might encounter when navigating French roadways. Of course, most signs do not have descriptions beneath them but the descriptions below should be helpful nonetheless. It can be nerve-racking to drive in a foreign country, especially when you can’t read the signs, so hopefully learning a few of these terms will alleviate some of the pressure. Après tout, c’est pour votre sécurité (After all, it’s for your safety).
If you ever experience car trouble and need to ask for help, use the phrase “Je suis tombé en panne” (I’m having car trouble/My car broke down). Your car will be hauled to a garage (auto repair shop) by une dépanneuse (tow truck).
1. Ralentir – Slow down
2. Arrêt – Stop
3. Péage – Toll Fee
4. Rond-point – Roundabout
5. Bouchon/Embouteillage – Traffic jam
6. Feu de signalisation – Traffic light
7. Sens interdit – No entry
8. Accident – Accident
9. Limite de vitesse – Speed limit
10. Circulation – Traffic
11. Priorité à droite – Priority to the right (priority is given to traffic coming from the right)
12. Route – Road
13. Rue – Street
14. Autoroute – Highway/Freeway
15. Douane – Customs
16. Cédez le passage – Yield
17. Aire de repos – Rest area
18. Piéton – Pedestrian
19. Conducteur/Conductrice – Driver
20. Sens unique – One way
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