French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games

Learn to speak about your favorite pastimes in French

Many people have a favorite pastime or two, including sports, games, or other hobbies. Since you are studying French, learn how to talk about your favorites as you expand your vocabulary in the realm of fun activities. When you have completed this lesson, continue to expand your sports vocabulary and have even more fun.

Hobby, Sports, and Games

The specific translations for the terms hobby, sports, and games are as follows:

  • Hobby > le passe-temps favoris
  • Sports > des sports
  • Games >  jeux

Expand your French vocabulary related to these terms by perusing the tables below. In the tables, the word is presented first in English in the left column to make it easier to find the term you need. The French translation for each term is listed in the right column. Many of the French words are linked to audio files. Simply click on the link to listen to the correct pronunciation of the term.

Sports, Games and "To Play"

Many of the terms in this section are similar to the English words with which you are already familiar. To speak about the action of playing these sports, use the verb  jouer au (to play) before the name of the sport, as in:

  • To play chess > jouer aux échecs
  • To play basketball >  jouer au basket
English French
basketball le
football le
soccer le or le
hockey le
tennis le
chess les

Hobbies and "To Make/Do"

This next set of activities includes sports, hobbies, and other things you might do in your free time. The one thing that they have in common is that they use the verb faire (to make or to do). In most cases, you will combine the verb faire de with the noun, as in:

  • To garden > faire du jardinage
  • To ride a bike > faire du vélo

However, in some instances, you have the option of using a form of the noun itself when you speak about performing that activity. Those special cases are noted in the fourth column of the chart. For instance, you can say faire la cuisine or cuisiner, which both mean "to cook."

English French Noun Use with Or use
biking le , le faire de
cooking la faire cuisiner
gardening le faire de jardiner
hiking la faire de
hunting la faire chasser
jogging le faire de
reading la faire lire
sailing la faire
skiing le faire de skier
swimming la faire de nager
television (TV) la (la ) regarder
wrestling la faire de lutter

Other Hobbies and Verbs

The following activities use verbs other than jouer au and faire. The same rules apply to this set as has been discussed previously, as in this phrase:

  • To go fishing >- aller à pêcher or pêcher
English French Noun Use with Or use
dancing la danser
fishing la aller à (to go) pêcher
television (TV) la (la ) regarder (to watch)
a movie un regarder (to watch)
music la écouter (to listen), jouer de (to play)