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Shopping in French

Shopping : how to store in French

Whether it's for fun or for necessity, shopping is a must on your to-do list while abroad. However, it can be a very pleasant activity or a very tedious one when you don't understand what the salesperson is trying to tell you or what department you are in. It will be essential for you to know the basic vocabulary and some useful French expressions for shopping in French in order to communicate with the staff and thus avoid any bad surprise and misunderstandings !

Shopping: French Vocabulary

Before using common expressions, it is important to know some useful words that will help you communicate and understand your surroundings when shopping in an French-speaking country.


Faire du shopping = to go shopping

Porter un vêtement = to wear a garment

Payer par carte = to pay by card

Payer en espèces = to pay with cash

Acheter = to buy

The people

Client(e) = customer

Caissier(ère)= cashier

Un gérant = manager

Le vendeur / la vendeuse = Salesman/ saleswoman

The clothes

Un jean = a blue jean

Une robe = a dress

Une jupe = a skirt

Une veste = a jacket

Une chemise = a shirt

Une botte = a boot

Une chaussette = a sock

Un pullover = a sweater / a jumper (UK)

Les sous-vêtements = underwear

Un tee shirt = a tee-shirt

Un manteau = a coat

Un pantalon = a pair of trousers

Une basket de sport = sneakers (US) / trainers (UK)


Une écharpe = a scarf

Des gants = gloves

Un bonnet = a hat

Une ceinture = a belt

Un sac à main = handbag

Un portefeuille = a wallet

Special words

Les soldes = sales

L’étiquette = a tag

La cabine d'essayage = The fitting room

La taille (de vêtements) = size

Un code-barres = a barcode

Une réduction = discount

Un article = an item

Useful situations / expressions for shopping in French

Now you know more about the world and the words used for shopping. Super! Now it's time to use these words in situations.

Finding a store to shop in

Bonjour, excusez-moi, savez-vous où se trouve le centre commercial ? → Hi/Hello, excuse me, do you know where the mall (US)/shopping center (UK) is?

Excusez-moi, savez-vous où se trouve le centre commercial le plus proche ? →Excuse me, do you know where the nearest shopping center (US)/ center (UK) is?

Responding to a salesperson in French

Often, the salesperson will offer to help you.

Puis-je vous aider ? → May I help you?

Vous cherchez quelque chose en particulier ? → Are you looking for something in particular?

Depending on your needs, you can answer :

Non merci, je ne fais que regarder. → No thanks, I'm just browsing/looking.

Oui, je cherche _ → Yes, I'm looking for

Ask a salesperson for information

Excusez-moi, je cherche le rayon des jeans. →Excuse me, I'm looking for the blue jeans department.

Excusez-moi, où se trouvent les caisses ? → Excuse me, where is the cash register?

Pourriez-vous me dire où se trouve la cabine d’essayage ? →Could you tell me where the fitting room is?

Combien ça coûte ? →How much does this cost?

Ceci est-il soldé ? →Is this on sale?

When it's time to pay

Est-ce que je peux payer par carte ? → Can I pay by card?

Puis-je payer en espèces ? → Can I pay with cash?

Pouvez-vous l’emballer ? → Can you wrap it?

Si ça ne va pas, puis-je le ramener et me faire rembourser ? → If it doesn't fit, can I bring it back and get a refund?

Est-il possible de rendre l’article ? → Is it possible to return the item?

Size guide: charts and conversion of English and American sizes

Now that you're up to speed on the words and phrases useful for shopping in French, it's important to know that each country has its own system of measurement. Although they are usually written on the label, it's always a good idea to be prepared to avoid any uncertainty.

European size English size American size
32 6 2
34 8 4
36 10 6
38 12 8
40 14 10
42 16 12
44 18 14

You now know the basics to shop with peace of mind. Don't forget the rules of politeness when addressing salespeople and don't be afraid to talk to them, even if it may seem difficult at first with the bustle that often reigns in a store! On our blog, you can find even more tips and vocabulary cards to prepare you for the different situations you may encounter abroad. And now, what if you discover how to order food in French?

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