French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games

Learn How to Speak About Your Favorite Pastimes in French

Many people have a favorite pastime or two, including sports, games, or other hobbies. In this beginner's French lesson, you will learn how to talk about your favorites while you expand your vocabulary into the world of fun activities.

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

When you have completed this lesson, you can continue to expand your sports vocabulary and have even more fun.

Note: Many of the words below are linked to .wav files. Simply click on the link to listen to the pronunciation.

Sports, Games and 'To Play'

To begin, we will look at a few very easy sports to add to your vocabulary list. Many of them are very similar to the English word that you are already familiar with.

In order to speak about the action of playing these sports, use the verb jouer au (to play) before the name of the sport.

  • to play chess - jouer aux échecs
  • to play basketball -  jouer au basket
basketballle basket
footballle football américain
soccerle football or le foot
hockeyle hockey
tennisle tennis
chessles 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.

  • to garden - faire du jardinage
  • to ride a bike - faire du vélo

However, in some instances, you have the option to use a form of the noun itself when you speak about doing that item. Those special cases are noted in the fourth column of the chart.

For instance, you can say faire la cuisine or cuisiner and both mean 'to cook.'

EnglishFrench NounUse withOr use
bikingle cyclisme, le vélofaire de 
cookingla cuisinefairecuisiner
gardeningle jardinagefaire dejardiner
hikingla randonnéefaire de 
huntingla chassefairechasser
joggingle joggingfaire de  
readingla lecturefairelire
sailingla voilefaire 
skiingle skifaire de skier
swimmingla natationfaire denager
television (TV)la télévision (la télé)regarder  
wrestlingla luttefaire de lutter

Other Hobbies and Verbs

The following activities use verbs other than jouer au and faire. The same rules apply with this set as has been discussed for the others.

  • to go fishing - aller à pêcher or pêcher
EnglishFrench NounUse with Or use
dancingla dansedanser 
fishingla pêchealler à (to go)pêcher
television (TV)la télévision (la télé)regarder (to watch) 
a movieun filmregarder (to watch) 
musicla musiqueécouter (to listen), jouer de (to play) 
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Your Citation
ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games. Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary: Hobbies, Sports, and Games." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).