Où = where AND when (relative pronouns)

Look at these straightforward examples of  as a relative pronoun:

La maison  j'ai grandi a été démolie.The house where I grew up has been demolished.

La ville il habite a beaucoup de charme.The town where he lives is very charming.

Here  simply means where and introduces an action taking place in a previously mentioned location.

See also Dans lequel / laquelle : alternative to où with places (relative pronouns)

 

Now look at these sentences using  in a different context:

Le jour  il a gagné le match.The day (when/that) he won the game.

La semaine ils sont restés à l’hôtel s’est vite terminée.The week (in which) they stayed at the hotel went quickly.

L’époque il vivait était dangereuse.The era (in which) he lived was dangerous.
The era he lived in was dangerous.

In sentences where the relative pronoun introduces actions taking place during a previously mentioned time frame, you will also use  to express when or that/in which.

This can lead to completely different ways to express things than in English:

Le jour  j'ai eu vingt ans...The day (when/that) I turned twenty...

Note that you cannot omit the  the way you can the when/that/which in English.

You can never use quand  or  que in this context!

ATTENTION: 

When used in a question,  always means where? and quand always means when?

vas-tu ce weekend ?Where are you going this weekend?

Quand vous êtes-vous rencontrés ?When did you meet?

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Examples and resources

Le jour  il a gagné le match.The day (when/that) he won the game.
Quand vous êtes-vous rencontrés ?When did you meet?
L’époque il vivait était dangereuse.The era (in which) he lived was dangerous.
The era he lived in was dangerous.
vas-tu ce weekend ?Where are you going this weekend?
La semaine ils sont restés à l’hôtel s’est vite terminée.The week (in which) they stayed at the hotel went quickly.
La maison  j'ai grandi a été démolie.The house where I grew up has been demolished.
Le jour  j'ai eu vingt ans...The day (when/that) I turned twenty...
La ville il habite a beaucoup de charme.The town where he lives is very charming.
C'est l'heure tout est sage,
Et l'ombre danse au coin du feu.
It's the time when everyone is good,
And the shadow dances near the fire.
Clever stuff underway!