Hobbies and Leisure Activities in French: A Guide for English Speakers


Diving into the world of hobbies and leisure activities in French is an exciting step towards broadening your conversational topics. This lesson focuses on introducing a variety of pastimes, providing you with the vocabulary and phrases needed to discuss your interests and inquire about others’ in French.

French free lesson

Key Vocabulary and Phrases

Common Hobbies

  • La lecture (Reading)
    • J’aime lire des romans. (I like to read novels.)
  • Le sport (Sports)
    • Je joue au football le weekend. (I play soccer on weekends.)
    • J’aime jouer au baseball avec mes amis. I like playing baseball with my friends.”
  • La musique (Music)
    • Elle joue du piano. (She plays the piano.)
  • Le cinéma (Movies/Cinema)
    • Nous allons souvent au cinéma. (We often go to the movies.)
  • La cuisine (Cooking)
    • Il adore cuisiner des plats italiens. (He loves to cook Italian dishes.)
    • J’aime beaucoup faire de la pâtisserie. ( I like baking. )
  • Le voyage (Traveling)
    • Ils voyagent chaque année en Espagne. (They travel to Spain every year.)

Expressing Likes and Dislikes

  • J’adore… (I love…)
  • J’aime… (I like…)
  • Je n’aime pas… (I don’t like…)
  • Je déteste… (I hate…)

Asking About Hobbies

  • Quel est ton passe-temps préféré ? (What is your favorite hobby?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu aimes faire pendant ton temps libre ? (What do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Tu joues d’un instrument de musique ? (Do you play a musical instrument?)

Verbs Related to Hobbies and Preferences

French Verb English Translation
aimer to like/love
adorer to love/adore
détester to hate
préférer to prefer
voyager to travel
cuisiner to cook
lire to read
jouer to play
nager to swim
courir to run
faire de la pâtisserie to bake
aller au cinéma to go to the movies
peindre to paint
écrire to write

Nouns Related to Hobbies and Activities

French Noun English Translation
la musique music
le sport sports
la lecture reading
la pâtisserie baking/pastry
le cinéma cinema/movies
la randonnée hiking
le dessin drawing
la danse dance
le football soccer/football
le baseball baseball
la marche walking
le vélo biking/cycling

This structured approach provides a clear division between actions (verbs) you might enjoy or dislike and the subjects or activities (nouns) you might be talking about. Adding verbs like “faire de la pâtisserie” (to bake) and “aller au cinéma” (to go to the movies) alongside hobbies such as “le football” (soccer/football) and “la marche” (walking) enriches your ability to discuss a wide range of leisure activities in French.

In French, expressing preferences, likes, and dislikes involves using the expressions “j’adore” (I love), “j’aime” (I like), “je n’aime pas” (I don’t like), and “je déteste” (I hate). These expressions can be followed by either a noun or a verb in the infinitive form, depending on what you’re referring to. Here’s how to use them grammatically:

➡︎ Followed by a Noun

When followed by a noun, these expressions directly state your preference towards a specific thing, activity, or concept.

  • J’adore le chocolat. (I love chocolate.)
  • J’aime la musique. (I like music.)
  • Je n’aime pas le froid. (I don’t like the cold.)
  • Je déteste les mensonges. (I hate lies.)

➡︎ Followed by a Verb in the Infinitive

When followed by a verb in the infinitive form, these expressions describe your feeling about an action or activity.

  • J’adore voyager. (I love to travel.)
  • J’aime lire. (I like to read.)
  • Je n’aime pas courir. (I don’t like to run.)
  • Je déteste attendre. (I hate to wait.)

📌 Key Points to Remember

  • When expressing likes or dislikes about a general activity or concept, use the infinitive form of the verb.
  • To talk about specific items, people, or concepts, follow the expressions with a noun.
  • The verb “aimer” can also be used in a more nuanced way to express love towards people, in which case it’s often used in the simple present tense (e.g., “J’aime mes amis” – I love my friends).

By understanding how to correctly use these expressions with both nouns and verbs, you can more accurately and richly express your preferences and feelings in French.


Exercise 1: Translate to French

Translate the following sentences into French.

  1. I love to travel during my vacation.
  2. She hates cooking, but she loves baking.
  3. We like to watch movies on Friday nights.
  1. J’adore voyager pendant mes vacances.
  2. Elle déteste cuisiner, mais elle adore faire de la pâtisserie.
  3. Nous aimons regarder des films les vendredis soirs.

Exercise 2: Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blanks with an appropriate hobby or leisure activity.

  1. J’adore _______ les magazines de mode. (I love reading fashion magazines.)
  2. Il déteste _______ mais adore _______ à la plage. (He hates swimming but loves sunbathing at the beach.)
  3. Nous aimons _______ dans les parcs. (We like walking in local parks.)
  1. J’adore lire les magazines de mode. (I love reading fashion magazines.)
  2. Il déteste nager mais adore bronzer à la plage. (He hates swimming but loves sunbathing at the beach.)
  3. Nous aimons marcher dans les parcs. (We like walking in parks)

Exercise 3: Expressing Your Interests

Using the vocabulary provided, write sentences expressing your hobbies or asking someone about theirs.

  1. Write a sentence about a hobby you love.
  2. Ask a question about someone’s leisure activities.

Exemples :

  1. J’aime lire.
  2. Est-ce que tu aimes lire ?


Discussing hobbies and leisure activities in French not only enriches your vocabulary but also opens up new avenues for engaging conversations. Practice these phrases and exercises to confidently talk about your interests and inquire about others’. Remember, sharing hobbies can be a great way to connect with native speakers and other learners alike. Bonne chance!