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What is the French equivalent of Main Street in US or High Street in UK?


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There isn't any equivalent of this kind of name in France.

It's 'la grand-rue', but it's very obsolete. In modern french there's no equivalent.

I wasn't sure of the exact definition of High Street, so I took a look in Thesaurus, and I found: "high street = street that serves as a principal thoroughfare for traffic in a town"

Which is the exact definition of "Axe(s) principal(aux) (de circulation)" or "Grand(s) axe(s)" in French.

If you're talking about the street where the principal shops are situated, you can use "Avenue (or rue) principale" or "rue commerçante (principale)" or as Gred said "Grand rue" (perhaps a bit obsolete).

Thanks, Benoit.

I am not referring to translation or definition. It's more of a local custom of street naming. When you go to a town in the US, if you see a street called Main Street, you know that's the 'main' commercial street in the town. Similarly, in the UK, one sees High Street. And perhaps in Germany Königstraße (I am just guessing with the German case). So I wonder if there is a French equivalent.


I think the French equivalent would basically be to have a street called an "Avenue" or a "Boulevard", often named after a famous person.

For example, if you saw a street called "Avenue Charles de Gaulle" or "Boulevard Mitterrand" you'd intuit that it was probably one of the "main" streets. Some towns actually do also have streets called "Grand'rue".

Are you really looking for an exact translation of what would be the major mercantile street in a town or city or are you searching for a concept of "Main Street" or "High Street?  I mean, like the way here in the States people are referring to the concept of "Main Street versus Wall Street".  Main Street=Middle America, the majority of the middle class.  High Street=the elite, the privileged.  (I would say the American equivalent of the British "High Street" would probably be "Park Avenue".)  I don't know if these concepts can be represented by streets or avenues or boulevards in France.  Does anyone have any ideas along these lines for French expressions or terms?

Here is a kind of hierarchy among the different words speaking about streets:

allée/chemin < ruelle/impasse < rue < boulevard/avenue/quai/cours

You can find some boulevards in the center of towns but also at their periphery like beltways in some town with or without famous person names.

avenue/quai and are really often (always?) in the inner city but they are not necessarily mercantile streets.

With cours, you"ll find shops and stores but it's not always the biggest shopping street of the town.

You can also meet some passages in some town like a famous one in Nantes  : Le passage Pomeraye

Depending of the size of the town, the streets leading you to the center or going through it are called rue, boulevard, avenue or cours

Very interesting angle, Erwan.

I like the passage Pomeraye too! Love France. But much of my French is now forgotten.


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