visiter/rendre visite

What’s the difference between visiter and rendre visite?

In French, the verb visiter and the phrase rendre visite are easy to mix up: they look similar but have different meanings. Keep reading to learn when to use visiter and rendre visite, then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Example

Je regarde dans mon agenda ce que j’ai prévu de faire aujourd’hui.

À 11 heures, je vais visiter le musée du Louvre avec des amis.

À 18 heures, je vais rendre visite à mon grand-père.

visiter

We use the verb visiter when we visit somewhere; it talks about visits to a place or location.

Examples:
Nous avons visité un bel appartement hier.We visited a beautiful flat yesterday.
Cet été, Pierre et Florence vont visiter les châteaux de la Loire.This summer, Pierre and Florence are going to visit the castles of the Loire Valley.

rendre visite

We use the phrase rendre visite when we visit someone; it talks about visits to a person. We introduce this person with the preposition à (rendre visite à quelqu’un).

Examples:
Le médecin va rendre visite à ses patients.The doctor is going to visit his patients.
—Où vas-tu ?Where are you going?
—Je vais rendre visite à Jeanne.I’m going to visit Jeanne.

To see the conjugations of visiter and rendre, go to our French Verb Conjugator. To learn about some more confusing word pairs, check out our pages on parler/dire and voir/regarder.