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Untranslatable – pied-à-terre


Ready for this month’s Intraduisible? A “pied-à-terre” is a second residence that’s far away from your original one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in another country, but usually refers to one in a different city. You might have a “pied-a-terre” if you work somewhere temporarily and can’t commute from home.

This Intraduisible is different to a vacation home because it usually refers to someplace that you’d stay for work rather than pleasure. “Pied-à-terre” has actually even migrated into English usage because of its specificity to describe a type of secondary residence. The duration for which you stay in one might vary: it could be during the week, for a couple months etc. Just on a temporary basis! 

  • PRONUNCIATIONpié-ta-tè-r’

“Pied-à-terres” are certainly useful but they can often drive property prices up for those actually living in the city. This is because people may buy properties but only use them part-time or for a short period. Therefore if someone would like to buy someplace long-term, they may face difficulties finding a place.

Have a look at an example: 

“Je cherche un pied-à-terre à Nantes pour éviter de faire la navette”.

“I’m looking for a place in Nantes to avoid commuting”.

Click HERE for more of our favourite “untranslatable” expressions!


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