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Pays Pronunciation & Meaning – Country in French

Pays Pronunciation & Meaning – Country in French

Today we’ll look at a word that’s been on our radar for a long time: Pays, meaning country. The reason we’re doing a lesson on this word is that many students have a hard time with the pronunciation. Pays has two syllables and sounds like pay-ee. Pronouncing pays with just one syllable like the English word “pay” would be wrong.



Frenchl lesson teaching how to use pays (country) in French with audio prounciation and example sentences.

Pays – Country in French

Word origin

The French noun pays (country) comes from the Latin pāgus (country district and community, canton).

Example sentences

In the example sentence below, notice that the country name “France” is preceded by la, the feminine definite article for “the”. All countries in French have a masculine or feminine gender. This post on our site provides an extensive list of country names in French.

La France est un très beau pays.

France is a very beautiful country.

In French, the expression avoir le mal du pays means “to be homesick”. This next example sentence uses the preposition chez, which means “at the home of”. This lesson on our site covers chez in detail.

J’ai le mal du pays et je veux rentrer chez moi.

I’m homesick and want to go home.


In French, paysage (masculine noun) means landscape. Just as pays has two syllables, the pays within the word paysage also must be sounded with two syllables. Hence, the pronunciation of paysage [pe-i-zaʒ]. Many students confuse the word paysage (landscape) with campagne (countryside). This example sentence rhymes with itself!

Je découvre de nouveaux paysages quand je voyage.

I discover new landscapes when I travel.


Et voilà ! Now you know how to use pays (country) in French! Now check out another lesson covering a word that might be tricky to pronounce: vacances (vacation).

Example of how to use "pays" (country) in French: La France est un pays. = France is a country.
La France est un pays. = France is a country.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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