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Complete Travelers Guide To Asking Directions In French

Complete Travelers Guide To Asking Directions In French

How do you ask directions in French?

To ask directions in French simply say, “Où est?”. For example “Où est la gare?” (Where is the train station). For a plural place, ask “sont?”. For example, “Où sont les toilettes?”. This page offers an extensive guide for asking and understanding directions, covering vocabulary for various places around town, specific words for directions as well as verbs covering directions.

Guide to asking directions in French

Asking directions

Here’s a list of some sample questions for asking directions. Remember to use the formal ‘s’il vous plaît’ (please in French) with strangers in the street!

  • I’m looking for the train station, please.
    S’il vous plaît, je cherche la gare.
  • Where’s the stadium, please?
    S’il vous plaît, où est le stade?
  • Excuse me, I’d like to go the school.
    Pardon, je voudrais aller à l’école.
  • Excuse me, ma’am, where is the library?
    Pardon madame, où est la bibliothèque?
  • I want to go the the Eiffel Tower. Where is it? Is it far from here?
    Je veux aller à la tour Eiffel, c’est par où? C’est près d’ici?
  • Can you show me where’s Marseille Street?
    Vous pouvez m’indiquer la rue de Marseille?
  • I think I’m lost. I’m looking for the train station, please.
    Je pense que je suis perdu. Je cherche la gare, s’il vous plaît.

Giving directions

Here’s a list of answers you might hear when somebody gives you directions.

  • Take the street going straight. After the school, it’s 20 meters on the right.
    Prenez la rue tout droit, après l’école, c’est sur la droite à 20 mètres.
  • It’s in the city square, across from McDonald’s. It takes ten minutes.
    Il se trouve dans la place, en face du McDo. C’est à 10 minutes.
  • It’s at the end of the street, near city hall.
    C’est à la fin de la rue, près de la marie.
  • Cross the bridge and take the third street on the left. The store is 25 meters from there.
    Traversez le pont et prenez la troisième rue à gauche. Le magasin est à 25 mètres.
  • Go until the bridge and walk along the river. The university is a bit further. You need 15 minutes on foot.
    Allez jusqu’au pont et longez la rivière. L’université est un peu plus loin. Il faut un quart heure à pied.
  • Continue on Marseille Street and it’s on the second street on the right.
    Continuez la rue de Marseille et c’est la deuxième rue à droite.
  • Take this street. Pass in front of the school and it’s right across from the church.
    Prenez cette rue, passez devant l’école et c’est juste en face de l’église.

Names of places around town

Here’s a list of basic places you’ll find in most towns. Pay close attention to the gender (masculine, feminine) of the words!

  • avenue une avenue
  • boulevard un boulevard
  • bridge un pont
  • church l’église
  • city hall la marie
  • city square une place
  • high school le lycée
  • intersection un carrefour
  • library la bibliothèque
  • mall un centre commercial
  • movie theater le cinéma
  • park un parc
  • police station le commissariat de police
  • pool la piscine
  • post office la poste
  • river la rivière
  • school l’école
  • stadium le stade
  • store un magasin
  • street une rue
  • theater le théâtre
  • traffic light un feu (rouge)
  • train station la gare
  • university l’université

French direction words

Here’s a list of words you’ll need to memorize for both describing and understanding directions.

  • straight ahead tout droit
  • the right (of) (on your right) à droit de (sur votre droite)
  • to the left (of) (on your left) à gauche (de) (sur votre gauche)
  • in front of the, opposite en face (de)
  • on the other side of de l’autre côté de
  • in front of devant
  • behind the derrière
  • near près de
  • far from loin de
  • before avant
  • after après
  • next to à côte de
  • between A and B entre A et B
  • at the corner of A and B streets au coin/à l’angle de la rue A et de la rue B
  • at the end of the street au bout de la rue
  • at the end of the street à la fin de la rue
  • on A boulevard/avenue sur le boulevard A/l’avenue A
  • in A street dans la rue A
  • au bord de (la plage) beside (the beach)
  • to the north (of) au nord (de)
  • to the south (of) au sud (de)
  • to the east (of) à l’est (de)
  • to the west (of) à l’ouest (de)

Verbs for directions

Here’s a list of specific verbs necessary for both describing and understanding directions.

  • go (until the) aller (jusqu’a/au)
  • continue (until the) continue (jusqu’a/au)
  • go by the… passer devant le/la/les
  • go along the… longer
  • turn right, left tourner, prendre (à droite, à gauche)
  • take the first, second third street to the right, left prendre la première, deuxième, troisième rue à droite, à gauche
  • cross (the steet, bridge, city square) traverser (la rue, le pont, la place)
  • go back revenir, retourner (en arrière)
  • go up the street remonter la rue
  • go down the street redescendre la rue
  • to be located se trouver
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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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