Visiter vs rendre visite à = To visit a place vs a person

Look at these sentences:

J'ai visité Paris.
I visited Paris.

Il a visité le Musée d'Orsay.
He visited the Museum of Orsay.

J'ai rendu visite à ma soeur.
I visited / went to see my sister.

Il rend visite à ses parents.
He's paying a visit to his parents.

Note that the verb visiter is used with places.  

When visiting people (friends, family...), we use the expression rendre visite à [quelqu'un] and never visiter alone.
(This is similar to the English to pay a visit to [someone].)

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

rendre visite à


Je vais rendre visite à mes cousins.
I'm going to visit my cousins.


J'ai rendu visite à ma soeur.
I visited / went to see my sister.


Il rend visite à ses parents.
He's paying a visit to his parents.


J'ai rendu visite à ma grand-mère hier.
I visited my grandmother yesterday.


visiter


J'ai visité Paris.
I visited Paris.


Je vais visiter Londres.
I'm going to visit London.


Il a visité le Musée d'Orsay.
He visited the Museum of Orsay.


Q&A

Carol

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2019

1 reply

Is it not also correct to use "aller voir" for visiting people?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

13 February 2019

13/02/19

Hi Carol,

Yes, you are correct you can use ‘aller voir’ as in English for, to visit people:

Je vais aller voir mes parents samedi = I am going to go and see my parents on Saturday 

Claudia

Kwiziq community member

4 February 2019

1 reply

Gerard’s House writing A-1

In the first sentence Emma: Today I am visiting Gérard’s House your answer is Aujourd’hui je visite la maison de Gérard.

I thought visite is for museums, not peoplés house. For people we should use rendre visite. Please explain 

Also, la maison de Gérard, = chez Gérard? 

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

4 February 2019

4/02/19

Bonjour Claudia !

Here it's about the nuance between visiting someone (at their place), and visiting the house that belongs to them :)

When you say "I'm visiting Gérard's house", you mean visiting the building, the house that belongs to Gérard, hence using "visiter".

If you were to visit your friend Gérard (who lives in a house), then you'd say "I'm visiting Gérard", and in French you'd say "Je rends visite à Gérard".

You wouldn't be able to say "Je rends visite chez Gérard" nor "Je visite chez Gérard" : these sentences sound off in French, a bit like saying "I'm visiting at Gerard's house".

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Hoi Lam

Kwiziq community member

18 October 2018

1 reply

Question on this sentence, " J'ai visité Paris. "

Is this an exception case that we omit the "à", do you have other similar example? 

Thank you.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

18 October 2018

18/10/18

Hi Carine,

There is no need for the 'à' here as the verb is simply: 

to visit + town

e.g. J'ai visité Paris, Rome et Berlin.

but if you said:

 I went to ...

it would be - Je suis allée à Paris, à Rome et à Berlin.

Hope this helps!

Rebecca

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2018

1 reply

A bit of a tangent - I thought in a sentence like "J'ai rendu visite à mon ami dimanche dernier," you would say "LE dimanche dernier?"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 September 2018

24/09/18

You would use the article in conjunction with a weekday in one of two cases:

1) if you are talking about a series of days, e.g.:
Le dimanche je rend visite à ma mère. -- Sundays I visit my mother. (meaning all Sundays)

2) if you are talking about a weekday in general, e.g.:
Je déteste le lundi. -- I hate Mondays.

In your example you are referring to a particular Sunday, hence no article:
J'ai rendu visite à mon ami dimanche dernier.

stephen

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

3 replies

I understood that the second and third consecutive verbs were in the infinitive

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

28/05/18

I don't get your question. Can you rephrase it? -- Chris.

stephen

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

28/05/18

My answer contained ´vais rendre visiter’, I was told the second and third consecutive verbs should be in the infinitive.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 May 2018

29/05/18

Hi Stephen,

The expression is rendre visite à quelqu'un (to visit someone) and visite is a noun not a verb in this instance.. Think of to pay someone a visit in English.

Hope this helps!

Frank

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

3 replies

I was taught "faire une visite" and it was in textbooks. What happened to this expression?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

There are several ways in French to express that you visited someone.

Marie rend visite à sa copine. -- Marie pays a visit to her friend.
Marie vas voir sa copine. -- Marie goes to see her friend.

Personally, I am not sure about "faire une visite". I guess it is OK but I don't know for sure. Aurélie would have to chime in on that.

-- Chris.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

Correction of a typo: "Marie va voir..." (not vas voir).

Sorry about that.....

-- Chris.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 August 2018

21/08/18

Hi Frank,

'Faire une visite' is mostly used for touristy visits of attractions or monuments.

Nous avons fait une visite guidée du Louvre We had a conducted tour of the Louvre Museum

You can use 'faire une visite à quelqu'un' for to visit someone, but you are more likely to use 'rendre visite à quelqu'un' or simply 'aller voir quelqu'un'.

You might say, "J'ai  fait une petite visite à ma soeur en passant.", meaning, "I dropped in to my sister's while I was passing."

Hope this helps!

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

7 August 2017

2 replies

Can you say rendre visite chez someone

Or does it have to be à not chez...

Ron

Kwiziq community member

8 August 2017

8/08/17

Bonjour Lisa, Une très bonne question. If I am understanding your question correctly, the use of chez vs à is the query. Chez indicates someones place, i.e. chez ma sœur, chez Marc, etc.; while à indicates a person, i.e. à ma sœur, à mon père, etc. It appears to me that given the definitions in the lesson: »Notice that the verb visiter is used with places. When visiting people (friends and family) the expression rendre visite à quelqu'un is used and never visiter alone. (This is similar to the English "to pay a visit to someone".)« that using chez . . . one would use visiter instead of rendre visite,. Bonne chance,

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

9 August 2017

9/08/17

Merci buckets!

zsuzsa

Kwiziq community member

4 November 2016

3 replies

Bonjour,

zsuzsa

Kwiziq community member

4 November 2016

4/11/16

Bonjour, I think I've found a small mistake in the following sentence: J'ai rendu visite à ma grand-mère. I visited my grandmother yesterday. 'Hier' is missing from the French sentence. Merci, bonne journée!

Daniel

Kwiziq community member

29 December 2017

29/12/17

They haven't fix it yet :)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 January 2019

2/01/19

Bonjour à tous les deux !

Thanks very much for letting us know (again): this one had slipped through, but it has now been fixed, thanks to you two :)

Merci encore et Bonne Année !

Let me take a look at that...