iTranslate for iOS
Get the app
iTranslate for Android
Get the app

How to say farewell in French

Hey there, bonjour! So, you're planning your first trip to France or just brushing up on some French etiquette. That's awesome! Knowing how to say farewell in French is about blending into the culture and wrapping your goodbyes in a package of authentic Frenchness. Interested? Let's get to it!

Using farewell in French

Saying farewell in French is like mixing the perfect cocktail: one part etiquette, one part cultural nuance, and a dash of personal flair. Imagine being part of a bustling boardroom meeting in Paris or leisurely enjoying a café au lait at a Riviera hotspot. Your choice of farewell could either elevate your social stock or immediately label you as a foreigner.

So, let's get you prepped, starting with the basics. The most common and universally accepted way to say farewell is "au revoir" (pronounced oh "reh-vwahr") But wait! Learning the nuances of bidding adieu like a local requires a bit more than memorizing au revoir. And the first step to mastery is learning the difference between informal and formal.

Formal and informal farewell in French

Firstly, the formality level often changes the tone and sometimes even the structure of the phrase. For example, the casual "salut" becomes "au revoir" in a formal setting. The "tu" form (informal "you") and "vous" form (formal "you") also come into play. "À bientôt, tu me manqueras" (See you soon, I'll miss you) is heartfelt among friends. In contrast, the formal "À bientôt, vous allez me manquer" shows a respectful distance.

It's also worth mentioning that the French often throw in subjunctive or conditional moods to add a layer of politeness. Take "puisse ce au revoir n'être qu'un au revoir" (may this goodbye only be a farewell) as an example. It's formal and suggests a deep sense of respect.

Given that French culture places a high premium on social niceties, making the right linguistic choice is more than just being grammatically correct; it's a way to show that you "get it," that you're in tune with the social and cultural nuances that make France, well, so French.

Are you excited to master the art of the perfect French farewell? Stick around, and we'll make sure you get it down to a T. À bientôt!

Formal farewell

Think of formal farewells as your business attire; you wouldn't wear flip-flops to a job interview, right? In a professional setting or when speaking to higher-ups, you'll want to stick with expressions like:

French phrase English translation Pronunciation
Au revoir Goodbye oh reh-vwahr
À bientôt See you soon ah byan-toh
À tout à l'heure See you later ah too tah luhr
Adieu Farewell ah-dyu
Bonne journée Have a good day bon zhoor-ney
Bonne soirée Have a good evening bon swa-rey

Informal farewell

Informal goodbyes are your everyday, running-to-the-grocery-store kind of phrases. Here's what you might use with friends, family, or that nice bakery owner who always gives you an extra croissant:

French Phrase English Translation Pronunciation
Salut Hi/Bye sah-loo
À plus tard See you later ah plew tar
À la prochaine Until next time ah lah prwahsh-en
On se voit plus tard See you later on seh vwah plew tar
Tchao Bye chow

Farewell in different contexts (work, social, family)

You wouldn’t say bon courage to your grandma, would you? Context matters. Here’s how to say farewell in French, depending on your setting.

Work farewells

In professional circles, you might hear:

French phrase English translation Pronunciation
À demain See you tomorrow ah deh-man
Bonne fin de journée Have a good end of the day bon fan deh zhoor-ney
Bon courage Good luck bon koo-rahzh

Social farewells

Hanging out with friends? You could say:

French phrase English translation Pronunciation
Amuse-toi bien Have fun a-mewz twa byan
Passe une bonne soirée Have a good evening pahs uhn bon swa-rey
Prends soin de toi Take care prahn swan deh twa

Family farewells

For your family, try:

French Phrase English Translation Pronunciation
À plus tard, mon chéri/ma chérie See you later, my dear ah plew tar, mon sheh-ree/ma sheh-ree
À tout à l'heure, ma famille See you in a bit, my family ah too tah luhr, ma fam-eel
Bisous Kisses bee-zoo

Farewell at different times of the day

This part's easy-peasy. For morning farewells, go for a cheerful "bonne journée" or "À ce soir." Afternoons? A simple "Bon après-midi" or again, "À ce soir," works well. Evenings? "Bonne soirée," "fais de beaux rêves," or "dors bien" will make you sound like you've been saying farewell in French for years.

Time of day French phrase English translation Pronunciation
Morning Bonne journée Have a good day bon zhoor-ney
À ce soir See you tonight ah suh swar
Afternoon Bon après-midi Good afternoon bon ap-rey-mee-dee
À ce soir See you tonight ah suh swar
Evening Bonne soirée Have a good evening bon swa-rey
Fais de beaux rêves Have sweet dreams fey deh bo rev
Dors bien Sleep well dor byan

Farewell etiquette

When saying farewell in French, your body language matters. A handshake is the go-to gesture in a formal setting like a business meeting. If you're among friends or acquaintances, you might encounter "la bise," a kiss on each cheek. The number of kisses can range from one to four, depending on the region in France. Remember, "la bise" is more of an air-kiss near the cheek rather than a full-on smooch.

Waving is universally understood, and it's fine for casual goodbyes. Hugs, known as "les câlins," are less common but becoming more popular, especially among young people and within families.

Practical exercises for learning French

So, are you ready to practice your French farewells? Here's how you can start: Use language apps to work on pronunciation. If you can practice with a real person, even better — role-play different scenarios like leaving a party or ending a business meeting. Flashcards can also be handy; jot down phrases and their appropriate contexts so you can quiz yourself.

By practicing these basics, you'll be better equipped to say farewell in French, whether you find yourself in a bustling café in Paris or at an intimate gathering in the French countryside.

Say "au revoir" to translation issues with iTranslate

And there you have it! You're now geared up to say farewell in French like a native. For even more tips on perfecting your French, check out our other articles on saying hi, saying thank you, and expressing love.

Until next time, à la prochaine!

With iTranslate Pro, you get way more than just text translation

Try it free

You might also like