In a French-learning website This hotel is on a very noisy street is translated as Cet hôtel est dans une rue très bruyante and sur la rue is not accepted.

Dans la rue does not sound illogical to me but I am almost sure it was always sur la rue up to that specific example. I felt like they abruptly changed the usage. Another guy from the website thinks the same. Many people are also confused but without referencing to past examples.

So is it possible to use sur la rue for buildings, shops, monuments etc.? What if the name of the street is specified, i.e. Cette boulangerie est sur la rue XYZ? (Maybe this is what caused the confusion)


After reading None's answer I realized that the usage I encountered in the French learning website was La boulangerie est -la- rue XYZ, with the name of the street being given.


Sur and the article la are used with avenues or squares, i.e. L'hôtel est sur l'avenue du Général de Gaulle, or Le magasin est sur la place Louis XV.

  • 2
    That was certainly *La boulangerie est rue XYZ" (no article).
    – jlliagre
    Aug 29, 2021 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


 Cet hôtel est dans une rue très bruyante  is correct and it is the usual way to express it. We would not normally have sur in this sentence.

If we give the name of the street we can have either:

  • La boulangerie est rue Lafayette.
  • La boulangerie est dans la rue Lafayette.
    I don't use this last one but I've heard people say it.

I don't like the possibility of having dans in that case because of the ambiguity the dans contributes to avoid when used properly:

  • a) La boulangerie est rue de la Gare.
    → It's the name of the street (capital G, but you don't see it when asking your way!) but the rue de la Gare isn't necessarily in the same street as the station1.

  • b) La boulangerie est dans la rue de la gare.
    → The boulangerie and the station are in the same street.

I suppose one could say:

  • La boulangerie est sur la rue Lafayette
    but I must say it sounds really weird to me and I would not use it. There might be regional variations to that.

You might have come across sur with the verb donner and maybe that's what caused your confusion:

  • Cet hôtel donne sur une rue très bruyante.
  • Cet hôtel donne sur la rue La Fayette.

It would be the same with a monument (not usually sur):

  • Le Louvre est (dans la) rue de Rivoli.

Note it would be different with Boulevard and Avenue.

  • Le Balzac de Rodin est (sur le) Boulevard Raspail.
  • L'Hôtel des Tilleuls est (sur l')Avenue des Tilleuls.
    I would not say dans in this case, some people might.

1 And the station might altogether not be there since so many small stations have long been closed, it could have been demolished but the name of the street remains. 8% of French communes have a rue de la Gare

  • Thanks a lot. Very cool answer clearing many points.
    – Xfce4
    Aug 29, 2021 at 19:24

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