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How To Pronounce Names of 7 American Cities in French

How To Pronounce Names of 7 American Cities in French

Many times over the years students have asked me, “How do the French pronounce names of American cities?” In today’s lesson we’ll answer that question. To do this, I had Marie, our native speaker voice over artist, think of how a typical French person would pronounce the names of seven major cities. Then, I came up with fun example sentences to match the city names. Enjoy – this is fun!

les villes américaines

American cities

French pronunciation for major American cities

Pronunciation of American cities in French

Cities & Example Sentences

This first example sentence uses the personal pronoun on, which has many translations including “we”, “you” and “people in general”. In additon to using aller (to go) for “going” to places, the French also use the verb partir (to leave). This lesson covers été, which means both summer and was/have been.

New York. Cet été on part à New York pour visiter la Statue de la Liberte.

New York. This summer we’re going to New York to visit the Statue of Liberty.

For the pronunciation of Los Angeles, I’ve also heard French people completely drop the final -s. Notice too that the -H on Hollywood is completely silent. Californie takes the preposition en as the state name is feminine.

Los Angeles. On part en Californie pour visiter Los Angeles et Hollywood.

Los Angeles. We’re going to California to visit Los Angeles and Hollywood.

For Chicago, the –Ch is pronounced like the English “sh”. This lesson on our site covers the French reading rules in detail. Vent means wind in French. This lesson covers French weather terms.

Chicago. Souvent on appelle Chicago “la ville des vents”.

Chicago. People often call Chicago “the Windy City”.

The -an in San Francisco is a nasal sound. Native speaker and Parisian, Camille, at French Today does a great job explaining the French nasal sounds.

San Francisco. On va à San Francisco pour voir le pont “Golden Gate”.

San Francisco. We’re going to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate bridge.

For this next example sentence, la Maison Blanche means the White House. This lesson on our site covers vocabulary for colors and this lesson explains French adjectives.

Washington DC. On va a Washington DC pour visiter la Maison Blanche.

Washington DC. We’re going to Washington DC to visit the White House.

Note that while European French speakers tend to pronounce the final -on on Boston, French Canadian speakers tend to use the nasal -on sound. Hence, Boston (Source: Forvo).

Boston. On visite Boston pour mieux comprendre l’histoire des États-Unis.

Boston. We’re visiting Boston to get a better understanding of the history of the United States.

For New Orleans, Nouvelle-Orléans is preceded by the feminine singular definite aritcle la (the).

La Nouvelle-Orléans. On visite la Nouvelle-Orléans pour écouter la musique jazz.

New Orleans. We’re visiting New Orleans to listen to jazz music.


Et voilà ! Now you know the French pronunciation for seven major cities in the United States. Prepositions for places (countries, states/provinces, cities) can be very difficult in French. This post on site explores French geographical prepositions in detail. In a seperate lesson, you can also learn how to pronounce les États-Unis (the United States) in French.

Les villes américaines = American cities
Les villes américaines = American cities

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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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