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Are you gearing up for a French holiday or just daydreaming about your next?

Either way, you’ll want to get the lingo down for one of the most common activities—walking.

In today’s guide, “Walk the Walk,” we’ll break down the phrases you’ll actually use. So, let’s dive in with a quick video then an explanation.

To Take a Walk – To Go for a Walk – To Wander Around

Navigating the streets of Paris or a charming Provencal village? The terms you use to describe your walking adventures can add different nuances. 


  • “Taking a walk” is your go-to for casual exploration. 
  • “Going for a walk” has a hint of purpose, maybe you’re heading to a specific café or landmark. 
  • “Wandering around” is for the adventurers among us, no plan required.

For these you can use: ‘Se promener’ or ‘Faire une promenade


  • J’adore faire une promenade pour voir ce qui se trouve aux alentours. (I enjoy taking a walk to see what’s around.)
  • Allons-nous promener au marché local ! (Let’s go for a walk to the local market!)
  • J’aime me promener et découvrir des endroits cachés. (I like to wander around and discover hidden spots.)


Promener vs. Se Promener

Knowing the difference between “promener” and “se promener” can come in handy if you’re telling someone in French.

“Promener” is when you’re guiding someone else (usually a baby in pram or most often a dog) on a walk, while “se promener” is when you’re enjoying the walk yourself.


  • Elle adore promener son chien au parc. (She loves taking her dog for a walk in the park.)
  • Nous aimons souvent nous promener après le dîner. (We often enjoy post-dinner strolls.)


 Aller à Pied

This phrase is your bread and butter for getting around. “Aller à pied” simply means “going on foot,” and it’s a phrase you’ll use often, especially if you’re exploring city centres where parking can be a nightmare.

When you’re travelling, you may ask if something is far away “C’est loin d’ici?” (Is it far from here?). It will be useful for the person to know if you’re driving there or walking there to best answer. 

You can say “J’y vais à pied” if you’re on foot and if you’re driving “J’y vais en voiture” ou simply “Je conduis”.


  • Je préfère aller à la boulangerie à pied le matin. (I prefer walking to the bakery in the mornings.)
  • Les voyageurs vont toujours au musée à pied, c’est tout près. (The travellers always walk to the museum; it’s just around the corner.)


The Elegance of Flâner

Even if you’re not a romantic, “flâner” is a term you’ll hear often. It’s the art of leisurely wandering, perfect for those days when you have no itinerary and want to soak in the local atmosphere. And it’s a must if you want to wake up your inner French.

So here are five touristic places for you to practice your flâner:


If you’re in Paris, welcome to the ultimate Flâneur’s Paradise. The heart of Paris is best experienced at a leisurely pace. As you wander, you’ll come across historic bridges, charming bookstalls, and get a stunning view of Notre-Dame Cathédral

Examples: Il faut absolument flâner le long de la Seine, c’est une expérience inoubliable. (Wandering along the Seine is a must, it is an unforgettable experience.)




Find yourself in Lyon aka France’s Gastronomic capital? Well Lyon is not just about food; its traboules – hidden passageways – offer a glimpse into the city’s history and are perfect for aimless wandering. You may also like to visit La cité du Vins.

Examples: Vous allez aimer flâner dans les traboules de Lyon. (You’re going to love to wander through Lyon’s traboules.)




If you’re in Marseille, go wander around the Old Port (Le Vieux-Port).

With its blend of cultures and the sea as a backdrop, the Old Port is ideal for those looking to soak in Marseille’s unique atmosphere.

Examples: Flâner au Vieux-Port est comme un voyage en soi. (Wandering around the Old Port is like a journey in itself.)



Visiting Bordeaux, make sure you take a leisurely walk along the Garonne River. This promenade offers stunning views of Bordeaux’s 18th-century architecture and is dotted with parks and cafes.

Examples: C’est vrai que flâner près de la Garonne vous fait vraiment sentir l’âme de Bordeaux. (It’s true that wandering near the Garonne really makes you feel the soul of Bordeaux.)


Explore the Promenade des Anglais if you stay in Nice. This iconic seafront is perfect for a leisurely stroll, offering panoramic views of la mer méditerranée. I’ve done a lot of flâner here in my 4 years at Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, I can tell you.

Examples: Rien n’est plus agréable que de flâner sur la Promenade des Anglais. (Nothing is more enjoyable than wandering along the Promenade des Anglais.)

marcher in french

Finally the Different Conjugations :

Marcher, Se promener, Aller à pied

For those keen on getting their grammar right, here’s how.

Verbs conjugated in the present tense: LE PRESENT

present tense table

Verbs conjugated in the past perfect tense: LE PASSE COMPOSE

past perfect tense table

Verbs conjugated in the future tense: LE FUTUR SIMPLE

future tense table

Verbs conjugated in the conditional present tense: LE CONDITIONNEL PRESENT

conditional present tense table

There you have it! 

You’re now equipped with the walking-related phrases you’ll actually use on your French holiday.

From casual strolls to purposeful walks, you’re ready to navigate the streets of Paris, Marseille and Bordeaux like a local (not sure how to pronounce the main cities in France, check my video out here)

So, as you continue your French language journey, remember: each phrase is a step closer to feeling at home, wherever your travels take you.

We’d love to help you reach your French fluency goal and here’s the link to get in touch.

Bon voyage and happy walking!