Habiter vs Vivre

Habiter vs vivre
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Living with French Verbs

Believe it or not, life in France is so great that one verb just isn’t enough: "to live" may be equivalent to habiter or vivre, depending on what exactly you want to say.


Habiter talks about where you live: to live in, inhabit, occupy.

J’habite à Paris, J’habite Paris.   I live in Paris.
Est-ce que tu habites (dans) un appartement ?   Do you live in an apartment?
Elle aime habiter en banlieue, habiter la banlieue.   She likes living in the suburbs.
Il habite en France.   He lives in France.
Nous habitons en Europe.   We live in Europe.
Personne n’habite ici.   No one lives here.

Note that the preposition in front of anything other than a country or continent is entirely optional.

Habiter also has figurative meanings: to be haunted by, filled with, in the grip of.

Nicole est habitée par la peur.   Nicole is in the grip of fear.
Une profonde tristesse habite son âme.   A profound sadness fills his soul.


Vivre can also say where you live:

Je vis à Nice.   I live in Nice.
Est-ce qu’elle vit dans une maison ?   Does she live in a house?
Nous vivons en Asie.   We live in Asia.

but more typically expresses how you live:

Ils vivent dans la misère.   They live in poverty.
Nous vivons ensemble depuis un an.   We’ve lived together for a year.
Ils réussissent à vivre en paix.   They manage to live in peace.

Vivre can also indicate when or how long you live: to be alive, exist.

Molière a vécu au XVIIe siècle.   Molière lived in the 17th century.
J’espère vivre vieux.   I hope to live to a ripe old age.
Le prématuré n’a vécu que trois jours.   The premature baby only lived for three days.

Synonyms for habiter and vivre

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Habiter vs vivre - Verbs to Live in France

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