Cecilee Linke

I can write you a story, teach you French, sing you a song.

Understanding Directions

So let’s say you’ve finally made it over to France and you can’t wait to get out and start exploring! But as it always is with new places, you don’t really know your way around yet. And sometimes you get a little lost trying to get from point A to point B.

This lesson today will help you to find your way in French!

There are a number of expressions you can use in French to understand directions. Here are a few of them:

 

French English
Sur la gauche on the left
Sur la droite on the right
Tournez à droite turn right
Tournez à gauche turn left
Continuez tout droit Keep going straight ahead
Vous allez avoir [building name] sur votre gauche / votre droite You will see [building name] on your left / your right.
C’est la première / deuxième / troisième / quatrième bâtiment sur la droite / sur la gauche It is the first / second / third / fourth building on the right / on the left
Prenez la première / deuxième / troisième / quatrième à gauche / à droit Take the first / second / third / fourth one on the left / on the right
devant in front of
le / la voilà There it is
à côté de next to

Some examples of directions in French:

– Tournez à droite. La FNAC est sur votre droit. = Turn right. The FNAC will be on your right.

– Tournez à gauche. Continuez tout droit. Prenez la deuxième à droit. Vous allez avoir le supermarché sur votre gauche. = Turn left. Keep going straight. Take the second on your right. The supermarket will be on your left.

Tournez à droite. Continuez tout droit. Prenez la première à gauche. La boulangerie est devant le supermarché. La voilà! = Turn right. Keep going straight. Take the first on your left. The bakery is in front of the supermarket. There it is!

Let’s take a look at this imaginary map of a French town (you can click to make it bigger):

 

Street map

 

Let’s say that we are standing outside of la pâtisserie on Rue Emile Zola. And we want to go to la boutique de jeux. How might you say the directions to get there in English first?

Well there are two ways you can get there!

– You can turn right on Rue Emile Zola, take the first left, keep going straight and the destination will be on the right.

– You can turn right on Rue Emile Zola, but instead, take the second left, go up Rue Napoléon and your destination will be on the left.

Let’s think about how we can give those directions in French, and we’ll use the first one in that list.

tournez à droit = turn right

sur la rue = on [insert name of street]

prenez la première à gauche = take the first on the right

continuez tout droit = keep going straight

Vous allez avoir la boutique de jeux sur votre droit. = You will see the game store on your right.

 

So the directions written out in French would be:

Tournez à droit sur la rue Emile Zola. Prenez la première à gauche. Continuez tout droit. Vous allez avoir la boutique de jeux sur votre droit.

 

Now let’s say that perhaps you’re standing outside le supermarché facing Rue Nationale and you really want to go over to le cinéma, because you’ve bought some candies there that you want to eat during the movie!

How might you get to the movie theater from the supermarket then?

Probably the easiest way (unless you want to do some extra walking, which is not entirely a bad thing!) is to turn right on Rue Nationale, turn left on Rue Emile Zola, keep going straight and it will be on your right.

So to say those directions in French, it would be this:

Tournez à droit sur la Rue Nationale. Tournez à gauche sur la Rue Emile Zola. Continuez tout droit. Le cinéma est sur votre droite.

 

And now for some practice!

Homework:

Complete the following quiz. Remember, read your instructions carefully!

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