À + le = au, à + les = aux, de + le = du, de + les = des (contractions of articles)

With locations, you will use the preposition à = to/in + [a place] and de = from + [a place]. 
See also Using 'à' (to/in) and 'de' (from/of) with cities (prepositions)

However, when followed by the definite articles le or les, these prepositions "contract" with them to form one word.

Look at this summary of the rules:

Preposition + article  Contraction Example
à + le au
Je vais au cinéma. (le cinéma)
à + les aux
Je vais aux États-Unis. (Les États-Unis / USA)
de + le du 
Je viens du marché. (le marché /market)
de + les des
Je viens des Pays-Bas. (Les Pays-Bas / The Netherlands)
 
These don't contract
   
à + la  (no contraction) Je vais à la poste (the post office)
à + l' (no contraction) Je vais à l'hôtel.
de + la  (no contraction) Je viens de la piscine. (the swimming pool)
de + l' (no contraction) Je viens de l'auberge de jeunesse. (the youth hostel)
Listen to these examples :

Je vais au cinéma.
I'm going to the cinema.

Je vais aux États-Unis. 
I'm going to the United States.

Je viens du marché.
I'm coming from the market.

Je viens des Pays-Bas.
I come from the Netherlands.
I am from the Netherlands.

Je vais à la poste. 
I'm going to the post office.

Je vais à l'hôtel.
I'm going to the hotel.

Je viens de la piscine.
I come from the swimming pool.

Je viens de l'auberge de jeunesse.
I'm coming from the hostel.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


Je vais à la poste. 
I'm going to the post office.


Je viens de la piscine.
I come from the swimming pool.


Joyeux, joyeux Noël, 
Aux mille bougies, 
Qu'enchantent vers le ciel, 
Les cloches de la nuit.

Happy, happy Christmas!  
To the thousand candles,  
That enchant to the heavens,  
The night bells.


Je viens des Pays-Bas.
I come from the Netherlands.
I am from the Netherlands.


Elle va au restaurant.
She goes to the restaurant.


Je viens du marché.
I'm coming from the market.


Ils viennent du cinéma.
They're coming from the cinema.


Je vais aux États-Unis. 
I'm going to the United States.



Je vais à l'hôtel.
I'm going to the hotel.


Je viens de l'auberge de jeunesse.
I'm coming from the hostel.


Nous allons à la boulangerie.
We are going to the bakery.


Je vais au cinéma.
I'm going to the cinema.


à


Marie est à l'école.
Marie is in school.
Marie is at school.


Je vais au bureau
I'm going to the office


Alain va à la maison.
Alain is going home.
Alain is going to the house


de


Ils rentrent du restaurant.
They're coming home from the restaurant.


Q&A

Joanne

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2019

1 reply

I wrote "faire des magasins."

Is that wrong? Perhaps you can't have two infinitives together? I thought faire des was the way to express going shopping.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2019

14/04/19

Hi Joanne,

The expression is -

" faire les magasins"

akanksh

Kwiziq community member

20 March 2019

1 reply

how to differenciate between partitif and contracte articles????

Chris

Kwiziq community member

22 March 2019

22/03/19

A partitive article is just one instance when you would use a definite article, precceded by de. It contracts like it normally would in other instances:

Donnez-moi les lunettes, svp. -- Give me the glasses, please. (simple definite article)J'ai besoin des lunettes. -- I need glasses. (partitive article: des = de + les)Vous pensez des lunettes? -- Are you thinking of glasses? (normal contraction)

Dermot

Kwiziq community member

23 January 2019

4 replies

How do I type accents, please?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

24 January 2019

24/01/19

Hi Dermot ,

Have you had a look at the FAQ’s which has a section on accents?

Vanya

Kwiziq community member

2 March 2019

2/03/19

so, basically, you just press and hold let's say, for example, e. You press e and hold it, four options will appear you can choose any one option according to the sentence.

Even I had a few problems in the start :) but you'll get the hang of it. Eventually...

Dermot

Kwiziq community member

2 March 2019

2/03/19

Many thanks. I’ve now got it!

Dermot

Dermot

Kwiziq community member

2 March 2019

2/03/19

Many thanks. I’ve now got it!

Dermot

C

Kwiziq community member

9 January 2019

2 replies

How do we know when "de" refers to "from" or partitive article "some"?

For example: "Marie achète du café"

Le café is a location and a drink.

Couldn't this sentence means both "Marie buys a coffee" and "Marie buys from the cafe"?

How do we know when "de" refers to "from" and when it refers to "some"?

Thank you!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

10 January 2019

10/01/19

Hi C,

‘Marie prend un café au Café ‘ would be ‘Marie is having  a coffee in a Café.’

The use of ‘acheter’ can only mean she is a shop and buying some coffee.

Ch

Kwiziq community member

31 March 2019

31/03/19

Think of what makes more sense in the context you, the exam, or the person you are talking with uses it. 

J

Kwiziq community member

9 November 2018

1 reply

Why not

why not Olivier arrive á la piscine

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

11 November 2018

11/11/18

Hi J ,

Olivier arrive à la piscine = Olivier arrives at the swimming pool

J

Kwiziq community member

9 November 2018

1 reply

Olivier arrive de la piscine (right)

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

11 November 2018

11/11/18

Hi J,

Olivier arrive de la piscine = Olivier arrives from the swimming pool

Ann

Kwiziq community member

25 October 2018

2 replies

Why is it "nous partirons à la chasse aux friandises rather than "des friandaise"?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 October 2018

26/10/18

Hi Ann,

It is because the expression is -  'la chasse à quelque chose'

so you can have:

Une chasse à l'homme = a man hunt

La chasse à l'ours = bear hunt

La chasse au trésor = treasure hunt

La chasse aux oeufs Easter egg hunt

etc...

Hope this helps!

 

Ann

Kwiziq community member

26 October 2018

26/10/18

D'accord. Merci.

Ann

Kwiziq community member

25 October 2018

0 replies

Can one say passer par le supermarché as well as au supermarché?

Ergun

Kwiziq community member

7 October 2018

1 reply

Are u plannin to add teachin videos for every lesoon?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

8 October 2018

8/10/18

Hi Ergun - no, but if there is a lesson which you think would benefit from one, we can try...

Ergun

Kwiziq community member

7 October 2018

2 replies

You can ad

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 October 2018

8/10/18

What is your question Ergun?

Harith

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2018

27/10/18

No
Thinking...