Using 'à' (to/in) and 'de' (from/of) with cities (prepositions)

Look at these sentences using à and de:

Je vais à ParisI'm going to Paris

Il va au Havre.He's going to Le Havre

Elle est à New York.She is in New York.

Note that you use à when describing going to or being in a city.  
And you use de to indicate being, coming or returning from a city. 


ATTENTION: 
With city names containing a definite article (e.g. La Rochelle / Le Havre), you will use à La or de La for feminine nouns, and the contracted forms au or du for masculine nouns:

Il revient de LondresHe's coming back from London.

Je suis de La RochelleI'm from La Rochelle

On va à La Nouvelle-Orléans la semaine prochaine.We're going to New Orleans next week.

Mon oncle vient du Havre.My uncle comes from Le Havre.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

On va à La Nouvelle-Orléans la semaine prochaine.We're going to New Orleans next week.
Je vais à ParisI'm going to Paris
Je suis de La RochelleI'm from La Rochelle
Il revient de LondresHe's coming back from London.
Elle est à New York.She is in New York.
Il va au Havre.He's going to Le Havre
Mon oncle vient du Havre.My uncle comes from Le Havre.
Je viens de ParisI'm coming from Paris

Q&A Forum 17 questions, 38 answers

TeclaA1Kwiziq community member

city names with a definite article

How can I know whether the city contains a definite article or not? Is there some rule?

Asked 2 weeks ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi NA,

There is no rule dictating which cities take or article or not (as with any other language) so it's a case of learning which ones do, as there are far more who don't -

Le Havre, Le Caire, La Hague, etc.

Hope this helps!

Tecla asked:View original

city names with a definite article

How can I know whether the city contains a definite article or not? Is there some rule?

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AbigailA0Kwiziq community member

Prèposition

Pourquoi on dit" il vient à la canne" pas " au canne"?

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Abigail,

If you are talking about the city of Cannes, it would be -

Il vient à Cannes He is coming to Cannes

Il vient de Cannes = He comes from Cannes

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Also, à+le = au; à+la = à la.

Prèposition

Pourquoi on dit" il vient à la canne" pas " au canne"?

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BetsyA2Kwiziq community member

Venir de vs. être de

In this lesson on “venir de “ , you use the following as example 8:

Je suis de La Rochelle
I'm from La Rochelle

Why is it “Je suis de” instead of  “Je viens  de”?

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Betsy,

This particular lesson is about using the prepositions 'à' and 'de' with different cities.

It uses several verbs -

venir de, être de ( which means the same thing, to come from ) and revenir de ( to come back from), aller à ( to go to), etc.

Hope this helps!

Venir de vs. être de

In this lesson on “venir de “ , you use the following as example 8:

Je suis de La Rochelle
I'm from La Rochelle

Why is it “Je suis de” instead of  “Je viens  de”?

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LostA1Kwiziq community member

I am little cinfused,pls help me

Il va au Havre.= He's going to Le Havre. The place name start with 'h" so as per the rule infront of vowel or h we will use l'

But here it is à + le = au

Asked 9 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There's actually two kinds of "h" in French: the silent h (hash muet) and the aspirated h (hash aspiré). The former acts like a vowel and the latter like a consonant. The h in Havre is of the latter kind and hence doesn't contract with le.

LostA1Kwiziq community member

Thank you so much. 

But how do I differentiate between the silent h (hash mute)and the aspirated h (hash aspiré)

Thanks again. God bless you 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You just have to learn it when studying vocab. There's no general rule.

LostA1Kwiziq community member

Okay I got it.

Thanks again. Take care 

I am little cinfused,pls help me

Il va au Havre.= He's going to Le Havre. The place name start with 'h" so as per the rule infront of vowel or h we will use l'

But here it is à + le = au

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MichelleA1Kwiziq community member

use a or de....the second sentence uses au

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

"au" is "à + le"

use a or de....the second sentence uses au

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AndreaA2Kwiziq community member

Is there a typo?

Note that you use à when describing going to or being in a city.  And you use de to indicate being, coming or returning from a city. 

Does this mean that de can also be used to describe being IN a city? 

I also want to say how much I have learned in the short time I have become a subscriber to Kwiziq- " Votre site est excellent !"

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Andrea, 

If you mean the use of 'de' in -

Je viens/suis  de Paris/ de la Rochelle = I  come/am from ....

it means 'from' in that instance.

Thank you also for your kind comments....

Is there a typo?

Note that you use à when describing going to or being in a city.  And you use de to indicate being, coming or returning from a city. 

Does this mean that de can also be used to describe being IN a city? 

I also want to say how much I have learned in the short time I have become a subscriber to Kwiziq- " Votre site est excellent !"

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DiogenesA1Kwiziq community member

Why sometimes we use only 'à' and sometimes we use 'au' :

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Diagenes, 

Because most towns and cities don't have an article (le, la , les) in front of them, you will just use : 'à '

Je vais à Paris, à Rome, à Madrid, à Londres, à Calcutta, etc...

N.B. With some towns, cities and villages which have an article in front of them as Le Havre , Le Caire (Cairo) it will follow the rule - 

à + le = au 

Je vais au Havre, au Caire, etc...

Countries have an article in front of them so it will depend whether they are feminine ( La France) or masculine ( Le Brésil) , or plural (Les États-Unis).

e.g. Je vais en France, au Brésil, aux États-Unis...

Take a look at the following lesson which will give you more examples - 

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/use-en-with-feminine-countries-and-aux-with-masculine-countries-to-say-in-or-to-prepositions

Hope this helps!

 

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Martin, 

Dont' believe everything you read on Google translate -

London is Londres!

So :

Je vais à Londres is correct .

DiogenesA1Kwiziq community member

For example:      Je vais au Brésil

                              Je vais à Paris

MartinB2Kwiziq community member

Google translate says that Londres is masculine: le Londres.

So it should be au Londres, shouldn't it?

Why sometimes we use only 'à' and sometimes we use 'au' :

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TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member

How can we differentiate between feminine words and masculine words?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
There is a lesson on this. You miht want to browse the library. 
TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member
While constructing a sentence, how can I  find out whether this is a feminine word or masculine word??
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
You can use Google translator, for example.

How can we differentiate between feminine words and masculine words?

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TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member

Can I say"Mon oncle vient du havre" as both my uncle comes from have and my uncle is coming from Havre??

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Tanusree, 

'My uncle comes from Le Havre' (originates from) and

'My uncle is coming from le Havre today' would both be:

'Mon oncle vient du Havre' in French  

but the context would clarify which meaning applies...

Hope this helps!

TanusreeA0Kwiziq community member
My uncle comes from Havre and my uncle is coming from Havre?
ToleA0Kwiziq community member

Bonjour,

What are the contracted forms of  au and/or du,in response to "du Havre" and not "de Havre?"

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Tole,

If I have understood your question correctly -

à + le = au

de + le = du

 

Je vais au Havre

Je viens du Havre

Hope this helps!

 

Can I say"Mon oncle vient du havre" as both my uncle comes from have and my uncle is coming from Havre??

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AyushiA0Kwiziq community member

Which one is correct?

Which would be the correct preposition to use for this sentence:
"Aurélie is on the train to London."

Aurélie est dans le train à London.

Aurélie est dans le train pour London.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Aurélie est dans le train pour Londres. -- Aurélie is on the train to London.

I am not entirely sure if you can say à Londres as well and have it mean the same thing. But I am positive you can say pour Londres in this context.

BernardA0Kwiziq community member

I think you would go to catch the train "pour Londres" but not when you were on one. 

Which one is correct?

Which would be the correct preposition to use for this sentence:
"Aurélie is on the train to London."

Aurélie est dans le train à London.

Aurélie est dans le train pour London.

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DebraA2Kwiziq community member

Je viens de Paris. Is it both: I come from Paris AND I am coming from Paris

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Debra, 

Indeed,  it means both but you would know which from the context I think...

Je viens de Paris. Is it both: I come from Paris AND I am coming from Paris

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MaxineA1Kwiziq community member

Is there a Alexa lesson on à au de du I just can't get this one

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Maxine !

Here's a link to our related lesson:

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/contractions-of-articles-a-le-au-a-les-aux-de-le-du-de-les-des

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Is there a Alexa lesson on à au de du I just can't get this one

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of sur ?

In 'Lawless French - Grammar Lessons there is the following example denoting 'going to' that uses SUR not À.

un vol SUR Paris > a flight to Paris

'sur' is not mentioned in the lesson above, could you please explain.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stewart ,

Yes you can also say "Un vol pour Paris" or "un vol sur Paris" .

It reminds me of the film/book  'Un taxi pour Tobrouk'.

I personally think of 'sur' as 'in the direction of' -

i.e. "Demain je vais sur Paris."

Just another way of expressing where you are going.

Hope this helps!

StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks Cécile.

Presumably you can also say 'Un vol à Paris.'

CécileKwiziq team member

Not really, in this case, you would have to say 'Un vol de Londres à Paris" which is often abbreviated to 'Londres-Paris'.

The à in your example (and in the lesson) stands for 'in' .

Hope this helps!

StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Cécile

From reading the lesson I had thought that because you could say: Je vais à Paris (I'm going to Paris), you could also say Un vol à Paris (a flight to Paris ... which in a complete sentence might read "the next day I took a flight to Paris) which I can now see would not be correct.

Thanks

Stewart

CécileKwiziq team member

...It would be  "Le jour suivant j'ai pris un vol pour Paris"

"J'ai acheté mon vol à Paris" would be "I bought my flight in Paris."

Bonne continuation!

Use of sur ?

In 'Lawless French - Grammar Lessons there is the following example denoting 'going to' that uses SUR not À.

un vol SUR Paris > a flight to Paris

'sur' is not mentioned in the lesson above, could you please explain.

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EmilyA1Kwiziq community member

How do you know whether to use à or de in front of the place name?

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Bonsoir Emily,

«à» is used to denote GOING TO a place,
i.e. je vais à Paris or je vais au cinéma.

«de» is used to express COMING FROM a place,
i.e je viens de Paris or je viens du cinéma.

Je vais de Londres à Paris.
I'm going from London to Paris.
SharmilaA1Kwiziq community member
Following the verbs venir or aller

How do you know whether to use à or de in front of the place name?

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ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Micro quiz -

There doesn't seem to be a micro quiz in this lesson.
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Is there a green bar where the quiz usually is? The quiz shows on my PC for the lesson
ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Ron, merci pour votre réponse. It doesn't show on my Smartphone, but I just tried it on my laptop and I can see the micro-quiz. I'll keep this in mind next time a micro-quiz "disappears". :-)
GruffKwiziq team member

You'll be pleased to know micro kwizzes have been restored. You can read more here:

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/blog/micro-kwizzes-back/

Micro quiz -

There doesn't seem to be a micro quiz in this lesson.

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JohnnyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

City name that has an article?

Is there a way to know which city has an article in its name? Is there a list? Are Los Angeles and Las Vegas considered cities with an article?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
No, they're not, because those aren't French articles (they're Spanish), so they're just considered part of the name. I looked, but couldn't find a definitive list.

City name that has an article?

Is there a way to know which city has an article in its name? Is there a list? Are Los Angeles and Las Vegas considered cities with an article?

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JaniceC1Kwiziq community member

Hello, I'm struggling with these preopositions! So you say

Asked 3 years ago
JaniceC1Kwiziq community member
Sorry - pressed enter and posted too soon :-) So, you say... Il est en Angleterre maintenant = He's in England now. Yet Elle est à New York = She is in New York I can't see the difference! They are both IN somewhere. Thanks
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Janice, This is just a particularity of French: you need à with cities, but au or en with countries, depending on their gender.

Hello, I'm struggling with these preopositions! So you say

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