Property Words and Phrases

A guide to useful words, terms and phrases used in French property-related classified advertisements relating to buying or renting a house or apartment in France...

Property for sale (à vendre) or to let (à louer) is advertised in free property magazines, websites and newspapers. When searching for rental property, look for "locations de maisons, appartements" or "maisons, appartements à louer".

Description of property

"Rooms" such as bedrooms, studies, sitting rooms and reception rooms are described as "pièces". An advertisement will describe the total number of "pièces" in a property (this excludes utility rooms, kitchen, bathrooms) - no distinction is made between "bedrooms" and other rooms.

French English explanation
2, 3, 4 pièces 2, 3 or 4 rooms (plus kitchen and bathroom)
maison 4 pièces 4 roomed house plus kitchen and bathroom
T1, T2, F1, F2 etc. Technically, an apartment (T) or house (F) with the specified number of rooms (pièces), not including kitchen or bathroom(s), although you can find T being used for houses and F for apartments too.
Example: F2 (maison deux-pièces) = one-bedroom apartment
Example: T2 (appartement deux-pièces) = one-bedroom apartment
à rafraichir to be redone / needs decorating
ancien (anc.) old building (built more than 20 years ago)
année de la construction year built
appartement meublé à louer furnished flat/apartment to rent
appartement à vendre apartment for sale
arrondissement (arr) district/borough
ascenseur (asc) lift
assurance habitation home insurance
balcon (blc) balcony
buanderie utility room/laundry room
belles prestations attractive/quality fittings/fixtures
box covered parking space
branchement lave-linge washing machine outlet
bureau(x) office(s)
cabanon shed / stone building with a roof on it (local usage)
calme quiet
caution damage deposit (rental property)
cave cellar
cellier storeroom/still room
+ charges rental price excludes building charges / outgoings
chambre (ch, chbr) bedroom
charges comprises (cc) including building charges / outgoings
charges locatives service and maintenance fees for collective amenities
chauffage collectif (shared) heating included in building charges
chauffage au gaz gas heating
chauffage au mazout oil heating
cheminée fireplace
concierge/gardien superintendent/caretaker
copropriété shared property (apartments)
coin cuisine breakfast nook / kitchenette
commerce commercial space/shop
cuisine (cuis) kitchen
cuisine americaine open-plan kitchen
cuisine équipée equipped kitchen
cuisine aménagée fitted kitchen
de plain pied single storey/bungalow
dépendances outbuildings
dépot de garantie rental deposit
digicode security door (lock) keypad/keycode
dossier de candidature rental application form
douche (dche) shower
en 3 niveaux 3 storey
en bon état in good condition/repair
entrée (ent) entry
étage (et.) floor (level of a building)
état des lieux condition of property report completed on moving in and referred to on leaving
exclusivité available with this agent only / sole agency
exposé sud south facing
frais d'agence inclus (FAI) inclusive of agency fees
frais de Notaire notary's  fees
garage (gge)/box garage
gardien (gard) caretaker
Genoise(s) the layer of roof tiles as seen from the edge. The more layers the better
gîte a gîte or gîte rural is a house, cottage or self-contained accommodation available to rent for a few days, a weekend, weekly or a period of several weeks
hauteur sous plafond (HSP) ceiling height
honoraires d'agence agency fees
immeuble (imm) building or residence
immobilier real estate
jardin (jard.) garden
jumelé semi-detached
largeur (larg.) width
logement meublé furnished rental or property
logement vide unfurnished rental or property
longère agglomeration of buildings in a line, normally only 6 metres deep (typical to Brittany)
loyer rent
maison d'amis separate guest house
maison meublé à louer furnished house to rent
mazet (or maset) separate cottage (usually the original on the land)
meublé/équipé furnished
neuf all-new construction
nombre de pieces total number of rooms including reception and bedrooms
nombreux (nbx) many
parking parking place included
penderies wardrobe, hanging closet
pièce (p) room
pierre de taille (pdt) stone building (dressed stone)
placards built-in cupboards/wall cupboards
porte (pte ) door
préavis notice period (period to give notice of intent to vacate premises)
prix (px ) price
quartier (quart) district/neighbourhood
rangements built-in cupboards / storage spaces
récent built in the last decade
résidence (rés) building
restanques terraced land usually with drystone walls
rez de chaussée (RDC/rdc) ground floor
rez de jardin
ground floor
salle de bain (sdb) bathroom
salle de bains (baignoire) bathroom with bath
salle de douche shower
salle d'eau (s.d'eau) washroom with shower
salle à manger (sàm) dining room
salle de séjour (séj ss) living room
sans vis-a-vis not overlooked
séjour (séj) lounge/sitting room
séparé (sép.) separated
sous-sol (s.sol, s/s) basement
sous terrain (s/terrain) below ground level
standing (std) quality / luxury building
sur terrain de... property size (literally, "on a plot of...")
superficie totale total floor space
surface habitable (SH) total living space (a legal term defining habitable space, which excludes floor areas where the ceiling is below a certain height)
terrasse terrace, paved exterior area, large balcony
très bon état (TBE) in good repair
tout confort (tt cft.) well equipped
vue imprenable superb view / unobstructed view
WC séparées

separate toilet