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

Look at these sentences using à and de:

Je vais à Paris
I'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 Londres
He's coming back from London.

Je suis de La Rochelle
I'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 Paris
I'm going to Paris


Je suis de La Rochelle
I'm from La Rochelle


Il revient de Londres
He'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 Paris
I'm coming from Paris


Q&A

Michelle

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2019

1 reply

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 April 2019

14/04/19

"au" is "à + le"

Andrea

Kwiziq community member

2 March 2019

1 reply

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 !"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

2 March 2019

2/03/19

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....

Diogenes

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

2 replies

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

Diogenes

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

24/02/19

For example:      Je vais au Brésil

                              Je vais à Paris

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

24 February 2019

24/02/19

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

Hope this helps!

 

Anita

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2019

0 replies

I am Still Confuse..when to use such words?

Tanusree

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2018

3 replies

How can we differentiate between feminine words and masculine words?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2018

2/12/18

There is a lesson on this. You miht want to browse the library. 

Tanusree

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2018

2/12/18

While constructing a sentence, how can I  find out whether this is a feminine word or masculine word??

Chris

Kwiziq community member

3 December 2018

3/12/18

You can use Google translator, for example.

Tanusree

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2018

4 replies

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

Tanusree

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2018

2/12/18

My uncle comes from Havre and my uncle is coming from Havre?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

3 December 2018

3/12/18

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!

Tole

Kwiziq community member

7 February 2019

7/02/19

Bonjour,

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 February 2019

8/02/19

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!

 

Ayushi

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2018

2 replies

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.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2018

23/10/18

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.

Bernard

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2018

17/12/18

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

Debra

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2018

1 reply

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 October 2018

16/10/18

Hi Debra, 

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

Maxine

Kwiziq community member

30 August 2018

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2018

30/08/18

Bonjour Maxine !

Here's a link to our related lesson:

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.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 !

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

23 June 2018

5 replies

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.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

3 July 2018

3/07/18

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!

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

3 July 2018

3/07/18

Thanks Cécile.

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

4 July 2018

4/07/18

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!

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

4 July 2018

4/07/18

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

5 July 2018

5/07/18

...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!

Clever stuff underway!