I have doubts. I understand from previous posts that "se rendre visite à" is for people more or less and "visiter" is for places.

From a previous post, I see it may be more complex. Anyway, I also see that in my textbook "Façon de parler de ..." when talking about visiting the Eiffel Tower the former is used without "se". the sentence is: "...plus de 6 millions de curieux lui rendent encore visite".

This seems a contradiction because it is a place.

Also, why is "se" omitted? I know "lui" refers to the Eiffel Tower.

The previous read the question "Visiter" VS "Rendre visite à" ?.

Should we just stick with the original thought of "visiter" for places and "se rendre compte" for people?

  • If you can't find the accent, you can copy/paste: éèà
    – Elikill58
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 11:48
  • The post you linked never mentioned "se rendre visite", it's only "visiter" vs "rendre visite". "Se rendre compte" is also completely different thing. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 13:59
  • For your information, many actions verbs can be made reflexive but that does not mean they are usually reflexive (pronominal, in French). visiter les lieux ou malades, rendre visite aux personnes and se visite (to be visited, passive) = to be visited, se rendre visite: to visit one another. This is not every detail but will keep you out of trouble. :). For example: Ils se sont caressés. Caresser is caress but se caresser is caress each other
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 14:51
  • @Lambie or not.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


You can use both visiter and rendre visite for people1. Theoretically for people you can use visiter only if the person you are visiting is sick.

Dictionnaire de l'académie:

Le verbe visiter s’emploie, dans certaines tournures figées, avec, comme complément d’objet, un nom de personne. Dans ce cas, les personnes désignées sont en situation de souffrance et leur rendre visite est une marque de compassion. On dit ainsi visiter les malades, visiter les prisonniers. En dehors de ces contextes précis, il est d’usage aujourd’hui d’employer des locutions verbales avec le nom visite et de conserver visiter pour des objets, des monuments.

But in reality nowadays you can hear more and more people say j'ai visité for a person who is not necessarily sick or in need. Some do not consider it correct, but languge changes and I bet this is one of the things that will evolve over the next decades2.

Rendre visite
Rendre visite is always correct for people and used very little for things/monuments/museums etc. Nevertheless it is sometimes used for monuments, etc. When used in this case it conveys an additional meaning to the verb: it helps convey the emotion carried by whoever is paying the visit.

Il passa même auparavant rendre visite à un monument du martyr juif à Paris. (J-L Mélechon talking about E. Macron).

So if anyone says il a rendu visite à la Tour Eiffel, it means he just didn't walk up and down in a hurry but that he felt something for the monument, there's some sort of spiritual connotation.

Se rendre visite a is not an option.

Se rendre visite
It is a pronominal verb, it is reciprocal.

Nous nous sommes rendu visite pendant les vacances.

This must no be confused with se visiter.

Se visiter
This is pronominal verb with a passive meaning.

La tour Eiffel se visite tous les jours de l’année3.

It is unusual to use se visiter for people but rare examples can be found. The TLF gives one:

Nana ne gardait guère que le souci de sa beauté, un soin continuel de se visiter, de se laver, de se parfumer partout (Zola, Nana, 1880, p. 1358)

It means that Nana (a female character in the novel) looked closely at every part of her body.

1 So, as you can see, I don't agree with this answer although obviously a lot of people do.
2 For example this article in Le Figaro considers it's an error to use visiter une personne in all cases. If they wrote that it means that people do say it.
3 The Eiffel Tower can be visited every day of the year. /You can visit the Eiffel Tower every day of the year.


"Se rendre" correspond to a pronominal verb. Here you can find an explanation.

It's a verb which requires a pronoun. So, in the infinitive, it will be "se rendre", and it will be conjugated like that:

  • Je me rends
  • Tu te rends
  • Il se rend
  • Nous nous rendons
  • Vous vous rendez
  • Ils se rendent

(More informations)

The "se" is omitted when "rendre" is not a pronominal verb; "se" is the third person pronoun, so for the other persons it becomes "me", "te" ...

It can also be removed because the basic verb works too. In your case, "rendre" is used without "se". And the question that you mentionned explains which one you have to choose in a given case (choose between rendre/se rendre).

  • What do you mean ? I just don't know how we can say it in english :/
    – Elikill58
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 12:39
  • Oh yes, I read too fast a website ... Sorry I just edit
    – Elikill58
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 12:46

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