chez moi – chez le docteur

Chez, as in chez moi, or chez le docteur is one of my favorite expressions because of its link to another way of life – villages booming with small businesses where everyone knew everyone’s name.

Use chez moi, chez toi, chez lui, chez elle, chez nous, chez vous, chez eux to talk about someone’s home, someone’s place.

Chez moi → at my place, at my house, at home. Je suis chez moi. I’m at home.

Allons chez les voisins. → Let’s go to our neighbor’s. Let’s go see our neighbors.

As-tu souper chez les Smith? → Did you dine at the Smith’s?

This works out for some professions/trades :

Chez le docteur, chez le coiffeur, chez le dentiste → Il est allé chez le docteur hier. He went to the doctor’s yesterday. →Quand vas-tu chez le coiffeur? When are you going to the hairdresser’s?

Notice that many of these professions were run from home, or from an office attached to the home, by one or more well-known individuals (town baker, vet, doctor, lawyers, etc.). Similarly, in English, we use « ‘s », such as at the doctor’s, at the lawyer’s, at the baker’s, meaning the shop or cabinet, or practice of the person we are going to see.

Nowdays, we’re off to the medical centre or the supermarket. Do be careful in French though because prepositions change:

Je vais chez le docteur → Je vais au centre médical.

 We do not use chez as le centre médical is a place and not connected to one person or small team. Likewise, Je vais chez le boulanger → Je vais à la boulangerie. I’m off to the baker’s → I’m off to the bakery.


The notion of chez can be extended to a country, a culture or even another household:

  • Chez eux, ils mangent du poisson tous les jours. Depending on the context, the “eux” could be neighbors, a culture or a country. 
  • Il travaille loin de chez lui means “He works far from home”, home being his residence or his home country.  Il travaille près de chez lui clearly means “close to home”.
  • You may have come across “On ne fait pas ça chez nous“. This means “We don’t do this here” (in my family, in my culture or in my country…).

This notion of closeness and proximity can be literal or figurative:

  • Au fil des années, je me suis fais mon petit chez-moi. Over the years, I’ve made my own cozy little place (studio, apartment, house…). Note the hyphen used to transform chez-moi into a noun. Mon chez-moi, ton chez-toi.
  • Chez lui, la générosité prime. He is of a generous nature. Generosity is most important to him. Chez now refers to someone’s character or values.
  • Le mensonge ne passe pas chez moi could be translated as “I do not accept lies”.

Pronunciation: The final “z” is silent but voiced in certain liaisons, for example: chez eux, chez elle (voice the “z”).

Last note….you may hear the pattern, chez + an animal/animals: chez le loup, chez les chiens…Les maladies les plus fréquentes chez le chat sont…This refers to frequent illness common to cats.

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