If you're learning French for a trip to Paris, you probably know some of the basics—but some words have surprising or specific meanings when you're in the city of lights!

Here are eight phrases you'll use all the time in Paris.

Rive gauche and Rive droite

You might recognize gauche (left) and droite (right) from lessons about directions and getting around town, but they have an additional meaning in Paris: which side of the Seine river you're on!

Rive gauche means "left bank," and it includes the arrondissements (Paris neighborhoods) south of the Seine. You'll be on the rive gauche if you visit the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, or the Eiffel Tower.

The rive droite, or "right bank," includes the arrondissements north of the Seine, like the neighborhood Le Marais, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe.

Eau gazeuse and eau plate

When ordering water at a Parisian restaurant, you'll want to let the server know whether you want eau gazeuse (carbonated water) or eau plate (still water). It's standard to get a bottle of water when you order, so if you want to avoid the fancy stuff, opt for une carafe d'eau plate: A carafe of water is free!

Bonne journée and bonne soirée

Bonjour (good morning, good afternoon) and bonsoir (good evening) are how you greet people in French—and they are more important than you might think! When it's time to tell someone goodbye, there's another pair of words to know: bonne journée for "have a nice day" and bonne soirée for "have a nice evening."

Sur place and à emporter

At bakeries and cafés that have tables where you can sit and eat your goodies, you might be asked whether you want to order them sur place (to eat at the venue) or à emporter (to go, for takeaway). Sometimes eating sur place means you'll pay a slightly higher price. If you'll be picnicking at one of Paris's beautiful gardens or plazas, you'll get a lot of practice ordering food à emporter!

Vous êtes prets ?

Are you reading for your trip to Paris? There are other simple French phrases you can practice to make the most of your experience in France, and for the more ambitious travelers, you can become conversational in French in less time than you think!