When touring Paris on Les Cars Rouge, I saw my bus begin to pull away from the bus stop. I wanted to call out to the driver to hold the bus for me as there wouldn’t be another bus for quite a while. Is there a French equivalent to “hold the bus”?

  • "Hold the bus" to wait someone else or just you ? What would be the difference with "please wait for me" or something like that?
    – XouDo
    Jan 19, 2022 at 6:25
  • @XouDo Even though it appears ambiguous, for some reason we do indeed say "hold the bus" even when it's just us. Might make an interesting question in pragmatics...
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jan 19, 2022 at 9:43
  • Related: french.stackexchange.com/questions/24900/…
    – jlliagre
    Jan 19, 2022 at 11:02
  • @XouDo Please wait for me (Attendez) could be ambiguous and not make the point who you are talking to. In a similar situation in France I'd say Ne démarrez-pas tout de suite which is also asking for the driver to interact with the bus without having to name the vehicle. Démarrer is clear enough in French without having to specify le bus.
    – None
    Jan 20, 2022 at 16:48
  • @None En réfléchissant, je ne vois pas vraiment de cas où "ne démarrez pas" est utile. D'une part, "Démarrer" est un peu ambigu entre le fait de mettre le contact et de partir vraiment. Ensuite, si le chauffeur doit quitter son arrêt, on n'a pas à lui ordonner ça. Si on le fait, c'est en mentionnant la raison : attendre soi-même ou une autre personne, auquel cas "Attendez-moi, s'il vous plaît" ou bien "Attendez la dame s'il vous plaît" convient très bien.
    – XouDo
    Jan 20, 2022 at 17:55

3 Answers 3


A spontaneous shout to the driver would be "Attendez !" or "Attendez-moi !"

If you want to ask people to keep the bus from pulling away, eg by informing the driver, you can say "Retenez le bus !"

  • 2
    En France je pense qu'on n'utiliserait pas retenir dans ce contexte mais plutôt Ne démarrez pas tout de suite, « Attendez s'il vous plaît, ne démarrez pas tout de suite ! ». ¶ In France I expect people would not use retenir here but ne pas démarrer : Attendez s'il vous plaît, ne démarrez pas tout de suite !
    – None
    Jan 19, 2022 at 12:03
  • 6
    @None: the "retenez le bus!" is correct if aimed at people around/near the bus, in hope that they signal the chauffeur (who, being inside a closed bus, is very likely to not hear the one trying to get to the bus). Jan 19, 2022 at 14:10
  • @OlivierDulac The question says: " I wanted to call out to the driver to hold the bus ".
    – None
    Jan 19, 2022 at 14:46
  • Attendez-moi, oui. retenir, non.
    – Lambie
    Jan 19, 2022 at 15:39

There's no equivalent or designated expression for this particular situation. What i would've say is "Attendez!" or "Attendez moi!" Just like you would say "Wait for me!" in english.

  • Ne démarrez-pas tout de suite is an equivalent, it is not ambiguous as attendez could be, and, like the English "hold the bus" is pointing to the driver's interacting with their vehicle.
    – None
    Jan 20, 2022 at 17:00

You can also shout "CONDUCTEUR ! ATTENDEZ s'il vous plait !".

  • 3
    « Monsieur» rather than conducteur, it's more polite.
    – None
    Jan 19, 2022 at 12:07
  • 3
    If not politeness, a breach of idiomaticity. If you want to make clear who you are talking to, that would be Chauffeur ! Attendez s'il vous plait ! The word conducteur is too formal to be used in such a situation.
    – jlliagre
    Jan 19, 2022 at 21:36
  • 2
    @LPH La question n’est pas la définition, c’est juste qu’il n’est pas idiomatique de dire « conducteur » pour s’adresser au chauffeur. Ça reste compréhensible mais c’est bizarre.
    – Didier L
    Jan 19, 2022 at 22:40
  • 1
    @Didier On pourrait aussi dire, pour surprendre encore plus le chauffeur: Machiniste ! Attendez s'il vous plaît ! ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Jan 19, 2022 at 22:43
  • 2
    Là, il ne risque pas d'attendre. C'est le contraire de ce qui est demandé.
    – jlliagre
    Jan 19, 2022 at 22:46

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