How to Pronounce Famous Places in France

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February 18, 2016

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Let’s face it. French monuments and tourist spots are about as hard to say as they are beautiful. They invite enough faux pas to make Lady Marianne cringe or the nearest hipster Parisian to laugh quietly behind his beard.

I normally don’t share pronunciations in social media because I would rather have French learners get to know the correct method for pronunciation, but for this one, I’ll make an exemption.

Why, you ask?

Because we absolutely need to put an end to all the pronunciation massacres happening every single day. And of course, I want you to be able to say these French attractions correctly the next time you discuss it with your friends… or when you’re trying to be a French poser with your date.

french-attractions-pronunciation-fb

Remember that this article is focused only on the pronunciations. The details about these top attractions are topics for other days.

So… Without much dawdling, here’s the list, with both phonetic and IPA pronunciations, for whichever method you prefer. (+ scroll down to the end of the article for a little surprise).

Learn the how to pronounce attractions and landmarks French names correctly!

1. La Tour Eiffel

eiffel tower

/ lah toor eh-fehl /
[tuʁ‿ɛfɛl]

2. Notre Dame

notre dame

/ no-tra dahm /
[nɔtʁə dam]

3. Louvre

louvre

/ LOOV-ruh/
[luvʁ]

4. Arc de Triomphe

arc de triomphe

/ark-duh-tree-AWNF/
[aʁk də tʁijɔ̃f]

5. Champs-Elysées

champs elysees

/shah(n)-zay-lee-ZAY/
[ ʃɑ̃.ze.li.ze]

6. Tuileries

tuileries

Photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) (63M Views) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

/tweel-ree/
[tɥilʁi]

7. Père-Lachaise

pere lachaise

/pehr-la-shez/
[pɛːʁ laʃɛːz]

8. Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle

Photo credit: 12thSonOfLama via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

/sah(n)t sha-pehl/
[sɛ̃t ʃapɛl]

9. Palais Garnier

palais garnier

Photo credit: D-Stanley via Visualhunt / CC BY

/pah-le gahrn-ye/
[palɛ ɡaʁnje]

10. Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau

Photo credit: RoboSchro via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

/foh(n)-ten-bloo/
[fɔ̃tɛnblo]

11. Hôtel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville

/o-tel duh-veel/
[otɛl də vil]

12. les Invalides

les invalides

/leh zhe(n) va-leed/
[lezɛ̃valid]

13. Panthéon

Pantheon_of_Paris

Via Wikimedia

/pa(n)tee-ohn/
[pɑ̃.te.ɔ̃]

14. Château de Chenonceaux

Chateau_de_Chenonceau

Via Wikimedia

/sha-to duh she-noh(n)-so/
[ʃa.to də ʃə.nɔ̃.so]

15. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

Sacre Coeur

/bah-zee-leek doo sah-kray-kohr/
[sakʁe kœʁ]

16. Musée d'Orsay

museedorsay

/myoo-seh dohr-seh/
[myze dɔʁsɛ]

17. Centre Georges Pompidou

Pompidou_center

Via Wikimedia

/saw(n)truh zhorzh pomp-ee-do/
[sɑ̃tʁ ʒɔʁʒ pɔ̃pidu]

18. Versailles

versailles

/vehr-sy/
[vɛʁsɑj]

19. Montmartre

Montmartre_street

Via Wikipedia

/moh(n)-mar-truh/
[mɔ̃.maʁtʁ]

20. Avignon

Avignon,_Palais_des_Papes

Via Wikimedia

/ah-vee-nyoh/
[a.viˈɲɔ̃]


Want to hear the spoken pronunciation of these tourist attractions? Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to download the PDF with the MP3s to learn how to pronounce landmarks and attractions the right way.

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About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • Super useful thanks Fréd! I have heard sooo many tourists pronounce Versailles as ‘Ver-say-lees’ and Avignon as ‘A-vig-non’. Love your site and newsletter especially Expressions of the Week. Have shared this post on Twitter @accessriviera

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