Se promener, promener, marcher, aller à pied = To walk

In French, there are different ways to express the notion of "walking", depending on the context.


Marcher

Marcher is used to describe the action of walking in general, or the way a person walks:

Je marche dans la rue.I'm walking on the street.

Amélie marche très vite.Amélie walks very fast.

Il marche comme un zombie.He walks like a zombie.

 

Aller à pied

Aller à pied (literally going by foot) is used when walking is contrasted with another means of transport - walking instead of driving for example - and is always followed by the destination you're getting to:

Il va à pied au travail tous les jours.He's walking to work every day.

Je voulais prendre le bus, mais finalement j'y suis allé à pied.I wanted to take the bus, but in the end I walked there.

Martine est allée à pied jusque chez Julien !Martine walked all the way to Julien's place!


Se promener

Se promener means to take a walk / to walk, wander around.
It's literally "to walk oneself" :

Je me promène dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.

Nous nous promenons dans les bois.We're wandering around in the woods.

Tous les matins, elle se promenait dans le jardin. Every morning, she would walk around the garden.

You can also use faire une promenade or se balader

Je fais une promenade dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.

Je me balade dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.


Promener

Promener means to walk [someone/something] (i.e. a pet...):

Luc a promené son chien ce matin.Luc walked his dog this morning.

Quand j'étais petit, je promenais mon canard en bois partout.When I was small, I used to walk my wooden duck everywhere.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je fais une promenade dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.
Nous nous promenons dans les bois.We're wandering around in the woods.
Je voulais prendre le bus, mais finalement j'y suis allé à pied.I wanted to take the bus, but in the end I walked there.
Je me promène dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.
Amélie marche très vite.Amélie walks very fast.
Quand j'étais petit, je promenais mon canard en bois partout.When I was small, I used to walk my wooden duck everywhere.
Je marche dans la rue.I'm walking on the street.
Il va à pied au travail tous les jours.He's walking to work every day.
Tous les matins, elle se promenait dans le jardin. Every morning, she would walk around the garden.
Martine est allée à pied jusque chez Julien !Martine walked all the way to Julien's place!
Luc a promené son chien ce matin.Luc walked his dog this morning.
Je me balade dans le parc avec Julie.I'm taking a walk in the park with Julie.
Il marche comme un zombie.He walks like a zombie.

Q&A Forum 11 questions, 18 answers

DavidB1Kwiziq community member

Use of Des in "Ils marchent comme des danseurs."

Hello. My very first question on the forum.  In fact I have a question on the use of "des" rather than marcher, but the guidance on the question led me here.  I am not clear why it is not "les" danseurs being a generic dancer?  Probably some grammar rule that I have missed along the way, but if someone could point me in the right direction I will do my homework!

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In some contexts, French uses the definite article where in English you'd use the indefinite (or no) article. This happens with some constructions or verbs but also occurs in some idioms and often used phrases.

Ils marchent comme des danseurs. -- They walk like dancers.
J'aime le chocolat-- I like chocolat.
Dans ce film ils font l'amour. -- In this movie they have sex.

Use of Des in "Ils marchent comme des danseurs."

Hello. My very first question on the forum.  In fact I have a question on the use of "des" rather than marcher, but the guidance on the question led me here.  I am not clear why it is not "les" danseurs being a generic dancer?  Probably some grammar rule that I have missed along the way, but if someone could point me in the right direction I will do my homework!

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Pronunciation of 'marcher'

Hi could you please explain the pronunciation of Marcher

1. The 'e' at the end of Matcher is clearly pronounced. I had understood that the final e of a word was not pronounced ... could you please clarify.

2. It sounds as if the 'ch' in marcher is pronounced exactly as an English 'ch' though I'd understood that a French 'h' is not pronounced. If the 'h' is not pronounced then 'c' should, according to the pronunciation rules, be pronounced as [s] or [k] depending on circumstances ... but this is not so.

Please advise Thank you

Asked 1 month ago

Pronunciation of 'marcher'

Hi could you please explain the pronunciation of Marcher

1. The 'e' at the end of Matcher is clearly pronounced. I had understood that the final e of a word was not pronounced ... could you please clarify.

2. It sounds as if the 'ch' in marcher is pronounced exactly as an English 'ch' though I'd understood that a French 'h' is not pronounced. If the 'h' is not pronounced then 'c' should, according to the pronunciation rules, be pronounced as [s] or [k] depending on circumstances ... but this is not so.

Please advise Thank you

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RobertC1Kwiziq community member

Promener vs se Promener etc

I don't understand why "You're taking a walk with Greg - Tu promènes Greg." was marked as incorrect in the quiz. My dog Greg is very affectionate. Am I missing something or is the question wrong?

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Robert, 

If I have understood correctly it all depends who Greg is.

If Greg is a dog you will use, 'promener son chien'

Je promène Greg ( mon chien)

If Greg is a person you will use, 'se promener avec'

Je me promène avec Greg (mon ami) 

Hope this helps

Promener vs se Promener etc

I don't understand why "You're taking a walk with Greg - Tu promènes Greg." was marked as incorrect in the quiz. My dog Greg is very affectionate. Am I missing something or is the question wrong?

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Kyaw A2Kwiziq community member

Se baladef

Bonjour,

I think I need more explanation about 'se balader' with more examples.

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Kyaw, 

You will use 'se balader' for an informal stroll. 

Vous vous êtes déjà baladés dans Paris? Have you ever had a stroll around Paris? 

Incidentally, you could also use it for an informal drive -

On va se balader en voiture / faire une balade en voiture? = Shall we go for a ride in the car?

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Se balader works just the same as se promener.

Se baladef

Bonjour,

I think I need more explanation about 'se balader' with more examples.

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LorieB2Kwiziq community member

Preposition after se promener

Looking at the sentence: "Nous nous promenons dans les bois." Is it also correct to say: "Nous nous promenons aux bois?"

Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

If you want to say that you took a walk in the woods, only dans les bois is correct.

LorieB2Kwiziq community member

OK, thank you, Chris! And if I wanted to say that we're walking "to the woods," would I use "aux bois?"

Preposition after se promener

Looking at the sentence: "Nous nous promenons dans les bois." Is it also correct to say: "Nous nous promenons aux bois?"

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StephenC1Kwiziq community member

Vous êtes censés ________ sur le trottoir. You're supposed to walk on the sidewalk.. You're supposed to walk on the sidewalk.

You are supposed to walk (ones/yourself) on the side walk. Why is the use of "se promener" incorrect? ie. Vous êtes censés te promene sur le trottoir.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stephen,

This is how the sentence goes if you were to conjugate it :

Je suis censé/e me promener ...

Tu es censé/e te promener...

Il/elle/on est censé/e se promener...

Nous sommes censés nous promener...

Vous êtes censé/s vous promener...

Ils/elles sont censés/es se promener...

But I suspect they wanted you to use the verb 'marcher'??

Hope this helps!

StephenC1Kwiziq community member

Correction:

Stephen again. ie. Vous êtes censés se promener sur le trottoir.

Vous êtes censés ________ sur le trottoir. You're supposed to walk on the sidewalk.. You're supposed to walk on the sidewalk.

You are supposed to walk (ones/yourself) on the side walk. Why is the use of "se promener" incorrect? ie. Vous êtes censés te promene sur le trottoir.

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Truc ThanhA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

About se promener et promener

Bonjour Aurélie, Laura

I was wrong when writing”Je me promène avec mon chien”. Kwiziq has  an example in the explanation :” Je me promène dans le parc avec Julie”. The différence here is la place “ dans le parc”,right? I feel confusing. Thanks a lot.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I walk my dog -- je promène mon chien. 

I take a walk with my dog. -- Je me promène avec mon chien.

There's a subtle difference. In the first sentence the dog is the direct object. In the second one it's you who is the direct object. The answer you provided is grammatically correct but not quite the proper translation. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Actually, I can't find fault with the sentence Je me promène avec mon chien. Maybe you had a typo somewhere? Or maybe there was a hint along with the question which suggested another answer?
Truc ThanhA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks for your answer. I quote here the total from the text: (Write “ I’m walking my dog”: Je ..... mon chien). The right answer from the text:”Je promène mon chien”. There is no hint along with question. Also, I don’t think I had a typo error. I really feel confused .
Truc ThanhA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I am sorry. Bonjour Chris!
Truc ThanhA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks for your clear explanation . In the meaning, I think they are the same, aren’t they? So, don’t  I need to choice which structure to say when I have a dog that takes a walk with me?The subtle difference you said here is grammatical, not in meaning,right? Thanks a lot.

About se promener et promener

Bonjour Aurélie, Laura

I was wrong when writing”Je me promène avec mon chien”. Kwiziq has  an example in the explanation :” Je me promène dans le parc avec Julie”. The différence here is la place “ dans le parc”,right? I feel confusing. Thanks a lot.

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Aller à pied...............is always followed by the destination you're getting to:

In the lesson it states that "Aller à pied (literally going by foot) is used when walking is contrasted with another means of transport - walking instead of driving for example - and is always followed by the destination you're getting to:" But an example given is: Je voulais prendre le bus, mais finalement j'y suis allé à pied. In what sense is "allé à pied" followed by the destination in this example?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Paul,

The adverbial pronoun y is standing in for à + [destination] in this example: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-y-means-there

The point is that you can't say : ... mais finalement je suis allé à pied. 

I hope this helps,
Bonne continuation !

Aller à pied...............is always followed by the destination you're getting to:

In the lesson it states that "Aller à pied (literally going by foot) is used when walking is contrasted with another means of transport - walking instead of driving for example - and is always followed by the destination you're getting to:" But an example given is: Je voulais prendre le bus, mais finalement j'y suis allé à pied. In what sense is "allé à pied" followed by the destination in this example?

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Nick A2Kwiziq community member

Walking like dancers not Dancing With Wolves

Why when in the questions is the translation for saying the people walk like dancers is it not "vont a pied"? it feels like we are trying the emphasise the method of movement.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Nick !

Thanks to your message, I decided to clarify the lesson, especially on the distinction between aller à pied and marcher :)

So you usually use "aller à pied" with a destination, because you emphasise how you're getting to that destination, as opposed to another means of transport.

Je vais à l'école à pied, tu prends le bus.
I walk to school, you take the bus.

"Marcher" is used in a more general context, and to indicate the way someone walks.

Elle marche bizarrement.
She walks funny.

So in the case of "walking like dancers", it's about their general way of walking, hence the use of marcher.

I hope that's helpful! 

À bientôt !

Nick asked:View original

Walking like dancers not Dancing With Wolves

Why when in the questions is the translation for saying the people walk like dancers is it not "vont a pied"? it feels like we are trying the emphasise the method of movement.

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HéctorB1Kwiziq community member

Hello. Can you make a more clear distinction on when to use marcher and when to use aller a pied?

I just got wrong this sentence in a quiz: "Tu marches à l'école". Its suppose to be "Tu vas à pied" but I dont understand why. I know that "aller a pied" makes reference to go to a destination, but Is "Tu marches à l'école" really grammatically incorrect? Why?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Héctor !

We use the expression "aller à pied" when we want to make a contrast with another means of transport, i.e. he's walking, as opposed to getting the bus for example.

So you usually use "aller à pied" with a destination, because you emphasise how you're getting to that destination.

Je vais à l'école à pied, tu prends le bus.
I walk to school, you take the bus.

"Marcher" is used in a more general context, and to indicate the way someone walks.

Elle marche bizarrement.
She walks funny.

Thanks to you, I've clarified the lesson accordingly :)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
De temps en temps, je trouve ce que certains autres sites de référence peuvent être très utile quand ils vous donnent une opinion différente sur la façon de regarder quelque chose. Voila: Marcher à pied Les expressions marcher à pied et marche à pied sont des enchaînements pléonastiques répandus dans la langue courante. De façon générale, on doit éviter d'utiliser les pléonasmes marcher à pied et marche à pied, puisque la locution à pied, qui signifie « en marchant », n'ajoute rien de particulier au sens du verbe marcher ou du nom marche, qui signifient respectivement « se déplacer sur ses pieds » et « action de marcher ». Selon le contexte, on peut simplement les remplacer par marcher ou marche, ou par d'autres expressions comme aller à pied, se promener à pied ou faire de la marche. Exemples fautifs : - Marcher à pied est un bon moyen de garder la forme tout en respirant le grand air. - J'aime bien marcher à pied dans le brouillard. - Ce programme de mise en forme comprend 30 minutes de marche à pied par jour. On pourra dire : - Marcher est un bon moyen de garder la forme tout en respirant le grand air. (ou : Faire de la marche) - J'aime bien marcher dans le brouillard. (ou : me promener à pied) - Ce programme de mise en forme comprend 30 minutes de marche par jour. Cependant, les expressions marcher à pied et marche à pied ne sont pas considérées comme pléonastiques dans tous les contextes. En effet, de la même façon qu'on emploie course à pied pour parler d'un type de course en particulier, il est possible d'utiliser les expressions marcher à pied ou marche à pied lorsqu'on veut insister sur la façon dont on marche, et surtout lorsqu'on veut les opposer à une autre façon de marcher, comme marcher sur les mains, sur les genoux, à quatre pattes, avec des raquettes, etc. Dans ce cas, la redondance est utilisée pour produire un effet d'insistance. Exemples : - Marcher sur les mains semble aussi facile pour ce funambule que de marcher à pied. - Ils ont décidé de troquer la marche à pied contre une promenade en raquettes. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderez. Ron

Hello. Can you make a more clear distinction on when to use marcher and when to use aller a pied?

I just got wrong this sentence in a quiz: "Tu marches à l'école". Its suppose to be "Tu vas à pied" but I dont understand why. I know that "aller a pied" makes reference to go to a destination, but Is "Tu marches à l'école" really grammatically incorrect? Why?

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AlexandraB2Kwiziq community member

Write "I'm walking my dog": Je ________ mon chien.

I thought that the answer for this gap is promené, but it’s actually promène. Is it promène because of the word ‘am’ in I’m ? Would it be promené if the sentence was ‘I walk my dog’ ?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Alexandra ! No, "je promène" is the present form of "promener", and in French it means either "I walk" or "I'm walking" depending on the context. "Promené" is the past participle of that verb (= I have *walked*), and it's used in compound tenses (with "avoir") such as Le Passé Composé : "J'ai promené mon chien." (I walked my dog.) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Write "I'm walking my dog": Je ________ mon chien.

I thought that the answer for this gap is promené, but it’s actually promène. Is it promène because of the word ‘am’ in I’m ? Would it be promené if the sentence was ‘I walk my dog’ ?

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