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 basket
football le football américain
soccer le football or le foot
hockey le hockey
tennis le tennis
chess les échecs

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 cyclisme, le vélo faire de  
cooking la cuisine faire cuisiner
gardening le jardinage faire de jardiner
hiking la randonnée faire de  
hunting la chasse faire chasser
jogging le jogging faire de  
reading la lecture faire lire
sailing la voile faire  
skiing le ski faire de skier
swimming la natation faire de nager
television (TV) la télévision (la télé) regarder  
wrestling la lutte 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 danse danser
fishing la pêche aller à (to go) pêcher
television (TV) la télévision (la télé) regarder (to watch)
a movie un film regarder (to watch)
music la musique écouter (to listen), jouer de (to play)
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).