Can anyone provide me with a more detailed explanation of why the infinitive "visiter" is not used in a phrase like: "J’y vais souvent pour rendre visite à ma famille" ? It's not past tense and it wouldn't seem to require conjugation as it follow' J'y vais". What's the reason for 'visite' here?
To visit a person, use the verbal construction rendre visite à, which translates as to pay a visit to someone. You conjugate the verb rendre, which is a regular -re verb, and keep visite the way it is. Just remember to add the preposition à before the person or people you're visiting.
Here "visiter" would be incorrect because in French we can only use this verb when referring to places, never to people. Visiter un lieu = To visit A PLACE When talking about visiting people, we use the expression: Rendre visite à Rendre visite à quelqu'un = To visit SOMEONE And the verb in this expression is "rendre". In your example it is in the infinitive form "RENDRE visite à" because it comes after "in order to": I go there often in order to visit my family J'y vais souvent pour rendre visite à ma famille