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Thread: French phrases

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    108

    Default French phrases

    I'm sailing to France for the first time this summer. Is there a good resource online or published for the kind of phrases French harbour masters or marina offices might expect? For example, asking for a berth for a few nights, bridge opening times etc.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    5,180

    Default Re: French phrases

    I’ve always found that the staff on the French coast ports closest to us are more than capable of sorting out the issues for berthing. You’re more likely to hit issues in the restaurants.
    Pardon?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: French phrases

    What's French for "Can I have a berth for a night?"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    A Member State of the European Union
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    4,977

    Default Re: French phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    What's French for "Can I have a berth for a night?"
    Probably not pukka French but "Vous avez une catway pour moi s'il vous plait? " seems to work.

    Be prepared for the HM asking for your boat's name and dimensions.

    I don't have much difficulty framing the questions, it's being able to understand the answers that causes me difficulty.
    Last edited by Poignard; 31-05-19 at 10:16.
    " Brexit is like watching a library being burned down by people who can't read"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Me Edinburgh, boat JWD
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    5,078

    Default Re: French phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    What's French for "Can I have a berth for a night?"
    Je voudrais réclamer l’asile politique de mon stupide pays dysfonctionnel ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Eastern Atlantic seaboard
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    3,054

    Default Re: French phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    What's French for "Can I have a berth for a night?"
    Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?
    I'd rather be tethered to a pad eye than tethered to an iPad.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,360

    Default Re: French phrases

    Getting a berth is often just a matter of following the signs marked Visiteurs.

    After that at the Capitainery you will want to say that you've just arrived and want to pay for one (or whatever) night(s). There'll be some kind of form to fill in. Know your length, breadth, draft in metric. (Eg longueur neuf metres soixante.)

    Some places you might want to pay for tokens for showers, rarer now than it used to be. (Jetons pour les douches)

    That's all. But you'll probably be met by a charming young man or woman who speaks English anyway. I do believe it's worth making an effort though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,067

    Default Re: French phrases

    I usually find that saying Bonjour followed by talking slowly and loudly in English does the job.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Gloucestershire
    Posts
    5,245

    Default Re: French phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by johnalison View Post
    I usually find that saying Bonjour followed by talking slowly and loudly in English does the job.
    You forgot the waving arms bit.
    I'd rather be naked
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Hants
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Re: French phrases

    A friend who has quite good French asked for a berth but failed to understand the resultant machine gun French replies and eventually in desperation said "Avez vous un place pour le nuit? Oui ou non?

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