Prepositions that go with Habiter/Vivre/Etre in French

prepositions adress french where do you live

Is telling your address in French becoming a problem because you never know which preposition to use?

In this lesson, you’ll learn what French prepositions go with cities, towns, streets, boulevards, and avenues.

French Prepositions of Place

Prepositions of place are little words that indicate where someone or something is located. The proposition of place can introduce a geographical place like a country, a city, or a region.

Telling Your Adress in French

This frequently asked question can require different answers, from telling just the country or city, to telling your full address, such as street and number. As you know, all French nouns (including country names) come with gender, masculine or feminine. It all affects the preposition you should be using.

Luckily, when giving a full address, the preposition can be omitted entirely. Whenever you mention the street name, you can omit the preposition and start like this.

J’habite rue/ avenue … Pasteur.

 I live in street/ avenue Pasteur. 

The same goes if you are telling where is your hotel located.

L’hôtel est rue Pasteur. or  L’hôtel est 26 rue Pasteur”

Hotel is in Pasteur street.

However, if there’s uncertainty about the hotel’s address,  and it requires clarification, then you’ll need to use the preposition.

Est-ce que l’hôtel est dans cette avenue?

Is the hotel on this street?

you probably want to answer

L’hôtel est dans la rue Pasteur.

The hotel is on Pasteur street.

Cities and Towns

For all cities and towns, the preposition you need is à. The good news with cities is that you are liberated from learning the gender of cities, as they are neutral.

Moi, j’habite à Paris. Et toi ?

I live in Paris. And you?

You may have read or heard that you should use “en” instead of à when referring to the French towns of Avignon and Arles. But this is an obsolete concept that may appear in some literature, not in everyday communication.

Learn more about French Preposition à here.

Avenue, Boulevard, Route

Use sur with avenue, boulevard, and places. The logic is that they are seen as wider spaces without borders, as opposed to streets.

L’hôtel est sur cette avenue/ ce boulevard/ la place/ le chemin.

The hotel is in this avenue, this boulevard, this place, this route.

However for “la rue”, never use sur, but instead, use dans (in). In the case of the street, we see the whole environment as ‘the street’ and you’re situated in it.

Ils marchent dans la rue. 

They’re walking on the street.

Learn the difference between French Preposition Mistake we Often Make : Sur vs Sous

States, Provinces, Location

Similarly to streets, countries, and provinces also have boundaries and therefore the preposition used will be dans.

Dans + article + noun / means “in” a location.

If a masculine region/state/province starts with a vowel or a mute h – use dans l’ or en.

Je vais dans l’État de New York.

I am going to the state of New York.

en can also be used because it is easier to pronounce some places using this preposition

Je vais en Alberta.

I am going to Alberta.

In case of feminine region/state/province – use en.

dans is also used before some states and provinces.

J’habite dans le Maine.

I live in Maine.

So far, we explained that the preposition dans is used whenever the space is limited or has boundaries. That’s also the case with a house.

Il est dans la maison.

He’s in the house.

Choose Between Dans, En, A, Sur

French prepositions can seem overwhelming at first. Once you understand the logic, everything falls into place.

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