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Visit, To Visit, Visitor - Confusing French Pairs

Lesson | Test

There are a number of French equivalents for the English verb to visit and nouns visit and visitor.

I. To Visit

Aller voir is the most general French term - it literally means "to go to see," and is used only when visiting people. A somewhat more formal verb used to indicate that you are visiting people is rendre visite à.

Je vais voir Monique. I'm going to see Monique.
Elle va voir ses parents. She's going to see her parents.
Je rends visite à Anne. I'm visiting Anne.
Nous rendons visite à Luc. We're visiting Luc.

Aller à is used when you are visiting a town, museum, or other attraction. A more formal verb for this is visiter.

Je suis allé à Versailles. I went to Versailles.
Nous allons en Belgique. We're going to Belgium.
J'ai visité le Musée d'Orsay. I visited the Orsay Museum.
Il visite actuellement Cannes. He's currently visiting Cannes.

A formal visit, such as an inspection, is expressed with inspecter or faire une visite d'inspection.

II. Visit

The word visit can be translated by une visite (a tour) or un séjour (a stay with someone). 

La visite du musée dure 15 minutes.  The museum visit lasts 15 minutes.
Son séjour chez nous durera 3 jours. His visit with us will last 3 days.

III. Visitor

Une visite is the general term for a visitor who is visiting a person, while un(e) invité(e) refers to a guest at a home or party. Un(e) client(e) is at a hotel and un visiteur visits a museum or exhibition.

Je n'ai pas beaucoup de visites. I don't get many visitors.
Il y aura 100 invités à la fête. There will be 100 guests at the party.
Les clients à cet hôtel sont riches ! This hotel's visitors are rich!
Le musée reçoit 200 visiteurs par jour. The museum gets 200 visitors a day.

IV. Summary

      Visiting a...
Person Place
To visit aller voir
rendre visite
aller à
Visit un séjour une visite
Visitor un invité
une visite
un client 
un visiteur

V. Test on (to) visit/visitor     More confusing pairs


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