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How To Read French Addresses: 9 Easy Steps

Would you like to know precisely how to read French addresses? The French address format might be challenging for those unfamiliar with it, and ultimately, if you want to know how to read the addresses in France, you should also know how to write them.

Finding a street address can be very useful if you visit France, as well as understanding the postal codes for writing letters or sending postcards.

This article goes over reading and writing addresses in French.

How To Read French Addresses And Their Structure

The structure of the French addresses can be summarized in a few points based on the type of address (companies or individuals).

Here are some of the basics rules:

  1. The structure starts with the name and ends with the destination city and address.
  2. A maximum of 6 lines can be used (7 for international mail).
  3. Blank lines are not allowed.
  4. No more than 38 characters are allowed per line (including spaces); it is a post office rule.
  5. A space must separate all words.
  6. Punctuation marks underlining or characters written in italics in the line dedicated to the address are not allowed.
  7. The comma must not be used to separate the house number and the address.
  8. The last line (number 6) must always be written in CAPITAL LETTERS as well as lines 4 and 5 ( but it is not mandatory for those last two lines)
  9. The address must be aligned to the left.
  10. The content of lines 1 and 2 can change according to the address type (private or company).

Here is an example of an address structure for private recipients when you write a personal letter :

  • Line 1 – Name
  • Line 2 – DOOR / PO BOX NUMBER / FLOOR / STAIRWAY / INTERNAL
  • Line 3 – DELIVERY POINT (BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION, ETC.)
  • Line 4 – HOUSE NUMBER AND TOPONYM
  • Line 5 – DELIVERY CARRIER / DELIVERY AGENCY
  • Line 6 – POSTAL CODE AND LOCATION

You do not have to write an address with six lines, but know that French people might use all six lines depending on the situation.

Here is an example address that can be written using only a few lines or many lines:

1) 1st example:

Line 1: Monsieur le Directeur Jean-luc DURAND

Line 4: 25 REU DE LA BASTILLE

Line 6: 33500 LIBOURNE

2) 2nd example:

Line 1: Monsieur le Directeur Jean-luc DURAND

Line 2: Chez Mirelle Coupeau apartment 2

Line 3: Entree a Batiment Les Lonquilles

Line 4: 25 REU DE LA BASTILLE

Line 6: 33500 LIBOURNE

How To Write a French Address In Detail

How To Read French Addresses: 9 Easy Steps

Follow French customs when writing the recipient’s name.

This means:

  • Write the recipient’s full name on the text’s top line near the envelope’s center.
  • Include his title; this means you should use “Madame” for a woman, “Monsieur” for a man, and “Mademoiselle” is often used for an unmarried young woman.
  • You can also use title abbreviations: “M.” for “Monsieur,” “Mme” for “Madame,” and “Mlle” for “Mademoiselle.”

In France, people usually write their surnames in capital letters to avoid any possible misunderstanding. So, for example, you should address your letter to John LE CARRE and not John Le Carre.

Write the company name on the second line if you send a business letter.

Write your address on the back. Once you’ve put the letter in the envelope and sealed it, you should write your name and address on the back.

The French people prefer to have the return address on the side of the envelope with the closure to show that it has not been opened or tampered with.

You should include the following information:

  • Name and surname, with the surname all capitalized (first line)
  • Address (second line)
  • City, province, and French postal code (third line)
  • Country (fourth row)

How To Ask For The Address In French?

One of the information that is often asked of us is the address, the name, and the street number we live in.

In French, when you write or say the address, you should first tell the house number and then the street’s name.

For example:

  • Question: Quelle est votre adresse? – What is your address?
  • Answer: 21, rue du Tintorêt. Rue du Tintorêt, 21

French Postal Codes Basic Rules

French postal codes (French: Cap) consist of five digits, of which the first two digits indicate the “Department” (département) in which the city is located.

The following three numbers identify the post office from which mail is delivered. Postal codes usually end with a 0, except in Paris, Lyon, and Marseille. In Paris, the last two digits indicate the arrondissement.

An example address in the 8th arrondissement of Paris would look like this:

8, Rue Chambiges

75008 PARIS

The departments of France are territorial subdivisions of the country, after the regions, and are 101, of which 96 are metropolitan and five overseas. If you need to send business letters, French post offices have special services, especially if you need to send a registered letter or need a mail forwarding service.

How To Write Letters Following The French Rules

How To Read French Addresses: 9 Easy Steps

If you don’t know the recipients’ names or write to a group of people, you can use the formula “À qui de droit,” the French equivalent of “To whom it belongs.”

If you know the recipient and it is a formal letter then use the recipient’s official title, such as “Monsieur le Directeur” or “Madame la directrice.”

At the beginning of the letter, you can use the French word “cher,” which is the equivalent of “dear.”

You can write “Cher Monsieur” for a man or “Chère Madame” for a woman.

If you are writing to more than one person, you can say “Chers Mesdames et Messieurs,” which means “Dear ladies and gentlemen.”

If you don’t know the recipients’ names or write to a group of people, you can use the formula “À qui de droit,” the French equivalent of “To whom it belongs.”

Remember that if you are writing the letter in French, you should always use the formal “Vous” instead of the informal “tu” (you).

Remembers that the French are a rather formal people, so a letter addressed to one of them requires a little colloquial closure.

In the case of a very formal or professional letter, you can write:

  • Je vous prie d’agréer l’expression de mes salutations distinguées

Which means:

  • Please accept the expression of my best regards

In the case of slightly less formal letters but still with professional messages, you can write:

  • Cordialemen – Cordially
  • Bien à vous – Best regards

For a letter to a friend or family member, you can write:

  • Affectueusement – With affection
  • Gros bisous – Kisses and hugs

Would you like to know more about French?

Learn French With Ling App

Would you like to get some help in learning French? In this case, you can use the Ling App.

This is a language learning tool that can assist you in learning verbs, grammar, pronunciation, and many other things about French culture and tradition. Additionally, the Ling App has 60+ language learning options if you want to visit other countries.

Meanwhile, you can learn more about France and the language by reading how to say French Numbers And Counting and Ask How Are You In French.

What are you waiting for? Download it from App Store and Play Store for free!

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