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The French vocab you need to get a Covid test in France

The Local France
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The French vocab you need to get a Covid test in France
France has massively expanded its testing programme since last spring. Photo: JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP

Need a Covid test but worried about your level of French? This little language guide can come in handy for foreigners who need to get tested in France.


Getting a Covid test in France is, fortunately, a pretty straightforward procedure, even for visitors.

READ ALSO: How can tourists and visitors in France get a Covid test?

However, you might not be able to find a pharmacy or testing centre where the staff speak English, especially if you are in a rural part of France.

First, some quick testing vocab:

Dépister - to test

Dépistage - testing

Un test Covid - a Covid test

Un test PCR (pronounced pay-say-air) - a PCR test

Un test antigénique - an antigen test, referred to as a lateral flow test in some countries

Un autotest - a self-test

Test salivaire - saliva test

Test sérologique - antibody test (some testing centres offer these finger-prick tests in addition to the nasal swabs, to determine if you have previously had Covid)

S’isoler - self-isolate

Une ordonnance - a prescription (you won't need this to get tested for Covid in France)

Sans rendez-vous - no appointment, ie a walk-in centre


When making an appointment to get a Covid test:

Bonjour, je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous pour faire un test Covid, s’il vous plaît - Hello, I’d like to get an appointment for a Covid test, please.

J'aimerais bien faire un test PCR / antigénique / sérologique - I'd like to do a PCR / antigen / antibody test.

Combien coûte le test ? - How much does the test cost?

Oui, j'ai une carte vitale / Non je n'ai pas de carte vitale. - Yes, I have a French health security card / No, I don't have a French health security card. [if you don' have the card you can still get a test, but you will likely have to pay for it. Costs vary but are capped at €22 for an antigen test, €54 for a PCR test]

Non, je n'ai jamais eu la Covid. - No, I've never had Covid.

Oui, j'ai déjà eu la Covid, il y a quelques mois. - Yes, I've already had Covid, a few months back.

If you're trying to get tested without an appointment:

Est-il possible de faire un test Covid sans rendez-vous ? - Is it possible to get a Covid test without an appointment?


Before getting the test, the health staff might ask you:

Presentez-vous des symptômes à la Covid-19 ? - Do you present Covid-19 symptoms? 

Some symptoms you might want to describe are;

  • Une toux - a cough
  • Un mal de tête - a headache
  • Une fièvre - a fever
  • Des difficultés à respirer - difficulty breathing
  • La fatigue - tiredness

Êtes-vous cas contact ? - Are you a contact case?

Voulez-vous un test antigénique ou PCR ? - Do you want an antigen test or a PCR test?

When getting tested, you might want to say:

Dans combien de temps arrivent les résultats ? - How long does it take for the results to arrive?

Comment allez-vous me contacter? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

Par SMS - by SMS or text message

Par mel/par courriel - by email

Est-ce que ça fait mal ? - Does it hurt?

Aïe, ça fait mal ! – Ouch, that hurt! (hopefully won't need this one).



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