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It seems the English word information has 2 French words.

One is its namesake and the other one is renseignement.

When I went to Paris, I visited the tourist information office.

They use the word information, as far as I remember.

Could you tell me the different way of using both words?

Yesterday, on TV 5,Manuel Valls, the French prime minister repeatedly used the word renseignement by talking about some security issues.  I am confused.

By the way, I am going to Paris soon.

Je veux des informations sur la façon d'aller à Versailles. ( Is this correct?)

I want information about how to go to Versailles.

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 I am finding it hard to explain the difference.(perhaps "information" is more formal than "renseignements"  but I am not sure)

If I am unsure in another language my technique is to keep things simple.

So I might say "S'il vous plaît, je veux savoir comment aller  à Versailles"

A native French speaker might have better advice


even from a native perspective it's quite tricky to explain the difference and if there is any it's quite thin and most of the time you can use one for the other so as a whole you can't really be wrong when choosing one or the other.

un renseignement is an indication that you give to someone

J'ai trouvé quelques renseignements sur l’entreprise dont tu m'as parlé ce matin.

Vous permettez que je vous demande un renseignement?

une information is above all the action of giving  information or to inquire about sth

- La qualité des articles rédigés par cette agence d'information laisse parfois à désirer.

- J'assisterai à une rencontre d'information sur l’adoption internationale la semaine prochaine.

- Nous avons plusieurs moyens d'information à notre portée aujourd'hui.

But they often mean the same thing:

Vous permettez que je vous demande une information?

- J'ai remis à Nicole toute l'information que j'ai trouvée à ce sujet.

- Consulte ce site Web pour obtenir de l’information sur le programme.

- Christiane s’est présentée au kiosque d’information touristique. (ou : d’informations touristiques)

- J’aurai besoin d’un supplément d’information pour prendre ma décision. (ou : supplément d’informations)

- J'ai découvert quelques informations sur le commerce dont tu m'as parlé ce matin.

Otherwise les informations means the news on the radio or TV

les renseignements also means intelligence : to be in intelligence: être dans les services secrets

unfortunately the media also tend to use the English word today and we can hear things like l 'intelligence industrielle, l'intelligence économique  which means nothing.

The verb renseigner can be used in Belgium and in some parts of France to mean indicate: 

Pouvez vous me renseigner un bon chirurgien?

Ce livre renseigne les meilleurs moyens de placer son argent.

I want information about how to go to Versailles.

Pouvez vous m'indiquer la route/ le chemin pour aller à Versailles?
Pouvez vous me dire comment aller à Versailles?

Would you say that there is more of an impersonal connotation to "informations" than "rensignements" ?

Does "rensignements" imply some kind of an exchange of information,somewhere in the process  whereas "informations" implies a more passive activity?

And ,if this is so , is this "rule" honoured in its breach? 

I'm not sure that the opposition active/passive ir really relevant

but you're right renseignement implies an exchange as most of the time it's an answer  to a (specific) question (about something that is missing or you need) whereas information is more a data available under different forms  and which most often than not belongs to a broader area.

There can't really be misunderstanding between the two words anyway.

Thanks for the replies. You have given more details.

Je vais à paris.

Je vais m'entraîner dans un salle de gym à Paris.

Je m'entraîne 3 fois par semaine.
I hope my French sentences are fine.


salle is feminine so you must use "une"

Je m'entraine dans une salle de gym à Paris.

Thanks Vedas

Gyms are not very popular in Paris.

Gyms are very popular in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

They charge 20 euros. It is worth for me.

Probably, there is a cultural difference between France and the rest of the European countries.

I spent nearly 2 weeks in Normandy last summer.

There was not a single gym in Normandy.

I think French culture is bit different. People think gym training is a rotten form of exercising.

I cycled in Normandy to get exercises. I must go there again in summer 2017.

Well I'm a bit surprised, I'm not under the impression that gyms are thin on the ground in France perhaps more difficult to find (not conspicuous and often small clubs) but I might be wrong compared to other countries.

It's true that 20 years ago as I lived on the Isle of Wight I used to go to a gym for £1 and could use anything I wanted and stay as long as I wished.

I cycle on a regular basis and I live in Brittany and can tell you that the place is  great for cycling too, there  is a very good Scottish cyclist who comes over 3 times a year to cycle over here, you can find him on Strava if you're familiar with the site and look for Brian Muir.

There are a few gyms in Paris.

What I am saying is that in Germany and Scandinavia, you will find gyms everywhere.

It is so popular and became a fashion.

Recently I went to Copenhagen and stayed with a family.

The landlady told me it is a fashion for Danes to go to gyms.

However, I am not doing it show off to other people.

I keep fit by training 3 times a week.

I maintain blood pressure at 110/70 and blood sugar at 5.6.

You don't have to take any medicine to lower blood pressure or for diabetes if you regularly train.

So you live in Brittany!

Maybe I will visit Brittany next summer.

I am not sure about my plans.

I must go to Siberia next summer. 

I have a smattering of Russian.

Well, I studied Russian for a several years.

Nowadays I am exploring all the possibilities for visiting Siberia.

Russians are not advanced like French, German or Scandinavians.

I don't think it would be possible to find gyms in Murmansk or Siberian territories.

Moscow, St Peters burg, Novgorod and other big cities have gyms.


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