Our World

Travel

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Je vais en vacances! - I’m going on holiday!

But where are you going? Où vas-tu? you might ask me.

Où vas-tu? - Where are you going?

Je vais... - I’m going...

en Belgique - to Belgium

en France - to France

Some countries, like Belgium and France are FEMININE:

la Belgique - Belgium

la France - France

la Chine - China

So are:

l’Inde - India

l’Australie - Australia

l’Italie - Italy

l’Espagne - Spain

To say you go / are going to these countries you replace la or l’ (the article) with EN:

Je vais en Espagne. - I go / am going to Spain.

Je vais en Chine. - I go / am going to China.

Other countries are MASCULINE nouns:

le Royaume-Uni - the UK

le Mexique - Mexico

le Brésil - Brazil

le Portugal - Portugal

To say you go to these countries, you need to use AU (remember – this is what happens when you put à and le together).

Je vais au Royaume-Uni. - I go / am going to the UK.

Je vais au Brésil. - I go to Brazil.

The United States – les Etats-Unis – is special as it is a MASCULINE PLURAL noun so uses AUX (this is what happens when you put à and les together).

Je vais aux Etats-Unis. - I go / am going to the US.

You also use à and au when you say which part of a country you’re going to:

le nord - the north

Je vais au nord. - I go to the north.

le sud - the south

Je vais au sud. - I go to the south.

l’est - the east

Je vais à l’est. - I go to the east.

l’ouest - the west

Je vais à l’ouest. - I go to the west.

To say you’re going to a part of a country you use de (of):

Je vais au nord de la France. - I’m going to the north of France.

Je vais au sud de l’Espagne. - I’m going to the south of Spain.

Be careful with masculine nouns though - de + le = du.

Je vais à l’est du Brésil. - I’m going to the east of Brazil.

Finally, how might I get there?

en train - by train

en avion - by aeroplane

en bateau - by boat

So we could make a mega sentence now!

Je vais à l’est de l’Inde en train. - I’m going to the east of India by train.

DID YOU KNOW... There are trains in France that go very very fast? In fact the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) broke the world speed record for rail trains in 2007 reaching 574.8km/h!