Montréal has oodles of cosmopolitan chic and European flavour. But did you know that our fair North American city is also the world’s second-largest French-speaking metropolis after Paris? Conversation here flows easily — in English, French and many other languages.
While nearly everyone you cross paths with in Montréal will be able to assist you in English, it’s always fun to have a few French phrases in your tool belt!
Hello (literal translation: “Good day”)
De rien (duh ree-en)
You’re welcome (literal translation: “of nothing”)
S’il vous plaît (seel voo play)
Bienvenue à Montréal (bee-en-ven-ew)
Welcome to Montréal
Je ne parle pas très bien français. (juh nah parl pah tray bee-en fran-say)
I don’t speak French very well.
D’où venez-vous ? (doo ven-ay voo)
Where are you from?
Je viens de … Chicago. (juh vee-en duh …)
I come from Chicago.
UNIQUELY FROM QUÉBEC
The local word for “patio.” And anytime the sun is shining (and it’s not winter), you’ll find locals swarming to terrasses across the city.
From the French verb “dépanner” — which means to help out or to fix — this is the common term for corner stores.
Pronounced “sank-ah-set,” the term roughly translates as “happy hour” going from 5 pm to 7 pm — or beyond, if everyone’s having a good time!
In short it means “ouch.” But it’s also the quintessential Quebec expression of surprise. Pronounced eye-yoy.
Read this next: Give the gift of Montréal with these locally designed souvenirs