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Towns and cities

  • 1 Towns and cities

    Occasionally the gender of a town is clear because the name includes the definite article, e.g. Le Havre or La Rochelle. In most other cases, there is some hesitation, and it is always safer to avoid the problem by using la ville de:
    Toulouse is beautiful
    = la ville de Toulouse est belle
    In, to and from somewhere
    For in and to with the name of a town, use à in French ; if the French name includes the definite article, à will become au, à la, à l’ or aux:
    to live in Toulouse
    = vivre à Toulouse
    to go to Toulouse
    = aller à Toulouse
    to live in Le Havre
    = vivre au Havre
    to go to Le Havre
    = aller au Havre
    to live in La Rochelle
    = vivre à La Rochelle
    to go to La Rochelle
    = aller à La Rochelle
    to live in Les Arcs
    = vivre aux Arcs
    to go to Les Arcs
    = aller aux Arcs
    Similarly, from is de, becoming du, de la, de l’ or des when it combines with the definite article in town names:
    to come from Toulouse
    = venir de Toulouse
    to come from Le Havre
    = venir du Havre
    to come from La Rochelle
    = venir de La Rochelle
    to come from Les Arcs
    = venir des Arcs
    Belonging to a town or city
    English sometimes has specific words for people of a certain city or town, such as Londoners, New Yorkers or Parisians, but mostly we talk of the people of Leeds or the inhabitants of San Francisco. On the other hand, most towns in French-speaking countries have a corresponding adjective and noun, and a list of the best-known of these is given at the end of this note.
    The noun forms, spelt with a capital letter, mean a person from X:
    the inhabitants of Bordeaux
    = les Bordelais mpl
    the people of Strasbourg
    = les Strasbourgeois mpl
    The adjective forms, spelt with a small letter, are often used where in English the town name is used as an adjective:
    Paris shops
    = les magasins parisiens
    However, some of these French words are fairly rare, and it is always safe to say les habitants de X, or, for the adjective, simply de X. Here are examples of this, using some of the nouns that commonly combine with the names of towns:
    a Bordeaux accent
    = un accent de Bordeaux
    Toulouse airport
    = l’aéroport de Toulouse
    the La Rochelle area
    = la région de La Rochelle
    Limoges buses
    = les autobus de Limoges
    the Le Havre City Council
    = le conseil municipal du Havre
    Lille representatives
    = les représentants de Lille
    Les Arcs restaurants
    = les restaurants des Arcs
    the Geneva road
    = la route de Genève
    Brussels streets
    = les rues de Bruxelles
    the Angers team
    = l’équipe d’Angers
    the Avignon train
    = le train d’Avignon
    but note
    Orleans traffic
    = la circulation à Orléans
    Names of cities and towns in French-speaking countries and their adjectives
    Remember that when these adjectives are used as nouns, meaning a person from X or the people of X, they are spelt with capital letters.
    Aix-en-Provence = aixois(e)
    Alger = algérois(e)
    Angers = angevin(e)
    Arles = arlésien(ne)
    Auxerre = auxerrois(e)
    Avignon = avignonnais(e)
    Bastia = bastiais(e)
    Bayonne = bayonnais(e)
    Belfort = belfortain(e)
    Berne = bernois(e)
    Besançon = bisontin(e)
    Béziers = biterrois(e)
    Biarritz = biarrot(e)
    Bordeaux = bordelais(e)
    Boulogne-sur-Mer = boulonnais(e)
    Bourges = berruyer(-ère)
    Brest = brestois(e)
    Bruges = brugeois(e)
    Bruxelles = bruxellois(e)
    Calais = calaisien(ne)
    Cannes = cannais(e)
    Carcassonne = carcassonnais(e)
    Chambéry = chambérien(ne)
    Chamonix = chamoniard(e)
    Clermont-Ferrand = clermontois(e)
    Die = diois(e)
    Dieppe = dieppois(e)
    Dijon = dijonnais(e)
    Dunkerque = dunkerquois(e)
    Fontainebleau = bellifontain(e)
    Gap = gapençais(e)
    Genève = genevois(e)
    Grenoble = grenoblois(e)
    Havre, Le = havrais(e)
    Lens = lensois(e)
    Liège = liégeois(e)
    Lille = lillois(e)
    Lourdes = lourdais(e)
    Luxembourg = luxembourgeois(e)
    Lyon = lyonnais(e)
    Mâcon = mâconnais(e)
    Marseille = marseillais(e) or phocéen(ne)
    Metz = messin(e)
    Modane = modanais(e)
    Montpellier = montpelliérain(e)
    Montréal = montréalais(e)
    Moulins = moulinois(e)
    Mulhouse = mulhousien(ne)
    Nancy = nancéien(ne)
    Nantes = nantais(e)
    Narbonne = narbonnais(e)
    Nevers = nivernais(e)
    Nice = niçois(e)
    Nîmes = nîmois(e)
    Orléans = orléanais(e)
    Paris = parisien(ne)
    Pau = palois(e)
    Périgueux = périgourdin(e)
    Perpignan = perpignanais(e)
    Poitiers = poitevin(e)
    Pont-à-Mousson = mussipontain(e)
    Québec = québécois(e)
    Reims = rémois(e)
    Rennes = rennais(e)
    Roanne = roannais(e)
    Rouen = rouennais(e)
    Saint-Étienne = stéphanois(e)
    Saint-Malo = malouin(e)
    Saint-Tropez = tropézien(ne)
    Sancerre = sancerrois(e)
    Sète = sétois(e)
    Sochaux = sochalien(ne)
    Strasbourg = strasbourgeois(e)
    Tarascon = tarasconnais(e)
    Tarbes = tarbais(e)
    Toulon = toulonnais(e)
    Toulouse = toulousain(e)
    Tours = tourangeau(-elle)
    Tunis = tunisois(e)
    Valence = valentinois(e)
    Valenciennes = valenciennois(e)
    Versailles = versaillais(e)
    Vichy = vichyssois(e)

    Big English-French dictionary > Towns and cities

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