Imagine yourself meandering around the charming alleys of Paris while the aroma of warm croissants wafts around you and lively French conversations fill the air. Knowing how to greet people in French becomes your hidden weapon as you navigate this cultural oasis, allowing you to interact with locals and improve your whole trip experience. Learning these fundamental greetings is your key to discovering the true spirit of French friendliness, whether you are strolling along the Seine or seeing Montmartre.

Formality Guide

Understanding the many differences between formal and informal greetings is like learning a new skill in French society. It is important to distinguish between “vous” (formal) and “tu” (informal) since it conveys both respect and the quality of your relationship with the person you are speaking to. While addressing someone older or of higher standing, or in a professional context or while interacting with strangers, using “vous” denotes civility and a degree of respect suitable for certain situations. 

On the other hand, “tu” denotes familiarity and is only used with close friends, family, or people of the same age or socioeconomic status. It is important to recognise the social cues and context surrounding these differences so that your greetings are appropriate for the target culture and language.

Hello in French

“Bonjour” and “Bonsoir” are standard French greetings. “Bonjour,” meaning “good morning,” can be used as a generic ‘hello’ throughout the day. As evening approaches, “Bonsoir,” meaning “good evening,” becomes appropriate, especially in formal situations or when meeting someone for the first time in the evening. Here below, we have mentioned some ways to start a conversation:

Common Ways to Start
a Conversation in French
English Translations
BonjourGood morning / Hello
BonsoirGood evening
SalutHi / Hello (Informal)
Ça va ?How are you?
Comment ça va ?How are you?
Comment allez-vous ?How are you?
Quoi de neuf ?What’s new?
Qu’est-ce que tu fais de beau ?What are you up to?
AllôHello (On the phone)
Enchanté(e)Nice to meet you
Excusez-moi or PardonExcuse me
Puis-je vous aider ?Can I help you?

French Greetings and Introductions

In French, introductions are a chance to build connections. “Enchanté(e)!” means “nice to meet you!” and conveys joy in meeting someone new. “Ravi(e) de vous rencontrer” (Delighted to meet you) is a response that reinforces this sentiment. These phrases and a sincere smile and confidence foster meaningful interactions. Here below, we have mentioned some introduction about yourself and some responses to the introduction:

French IntroductionEnglish Translations
Introducing Yourself
Bonjour, je m’appelle [Your Name]Hello, my name is [Your Name].
Enchanté(e), je suis [Your Name]Nice to meet you, I am [Your Name].
Salut, moi c’est [Your Name]Hi, I’m [Your Name].
Permettez-moi de me présenter, je m’appelle [Your Name]Let me introduce myself, my name is [Your Name].
Responding to Introductions
Bonjour, [Other Person’s Name]. Enchanté(e) !Hello, [Other Person’s Name]. Nice to meet you!
Salut, [Other Person’s Name]. Ravi(e) de faire ta connaissance !Hi, [Other Person’s Name]. Nice to meet you!
Enchanté(e), [Other Person’s Name]Nice to meet you, [Other Person’s Name].
Bonjour, [Other Person’s Name]. C’est un plaisir de vous rencontrer.Hello, [Other Person’s Name]. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Ravi(e) de vous rencontrer, [Other Person’s Name]Pleased to meet you, [Other Person’s Name].

Secondary Greetings

French etiquette values concern for others. “Comment ça va?” (How are you?) suits formal and informal settings, whether chatting with friends or colleagues. “Comment allez-vous?” is a polite variant for superiors, elders, or new acquaintances. Tailoring greetings shows consideration and respect for others’ comfort. Here, we have mentioned some inquiries about someone’s well-being: 

Inquire About Someone’s Well-being
in French
English Translations
Comment ça va ?How are you?
Comment allez-vous ?How are you? (formal)
Ça va ?Are you okay? / How’s it going?
Comment vas-tu ?How are you? (informal)
Ça va bien ?Is everything okay?
Tu vas bien ?Are you doing well? (informal)
Vous allez bien?Are you doing well? (formal)
Comment ça se passe ?How’s it going? / How are things going?
Quoi de neuf ?What’s new?
Qu’est-ce qui se passe ?What’s happening? / What’s going on?
Comment te sens-tu ?How do you feel? (informal)
Comment vous sentez-vous ?How do you feel? (formal)
Tout va bien ?Everything okay?
Comment ça va aujourd’hui ?How are you today?
Tu te sens bien ?Do you feel well? (informal)

Saying Goodbye in French

Saying goodbye is an art in French. “Au revoir” suits both formal and informal contexts. “Bonne nuit” is a warm, personal farewell for loved ones before bed. “À bientôt” and “À plus tard” are casual, indicating a wish to reconnect. Choosing the correct phrase shows courtesy and consideration. Here below, we have mentioned some expressions:

Farewell ExpressionsEnglish Translations
Au revoirGoodbye
À bientôtSee you soon
À demainSee you tomorrow
À plus tard (or À plus)See you later
Bonne journéeHave a good day
Bonne soiréeHave a good evening
AdieuFarewell (more final than “au revoir”)
À la prochaineUntil next time
À tout à l’heureSee you in a bit
SalutBye (informal)
À lundi (or any other day of the week)See you on Monday
Bon voyageHave a good trip
Prenez soin de vousTake care (formal)
CiaoBye (informal, borrowed from Italian)
BisousKisses (informal, often used
among close friends and family)

Holiday Greetings

Enjoy the holiday spirit with French greetings. “Joyeux Noël” (Merry Christmas) and “Bonne année” (Happy New Year) are timeless traditions. Use “Bonne fête” (Happy birthday) and “Joyeuses Pâques” (Happy Easter) for birthdays and Easter. These greetings, whether emailed, printed, or spoken, foster kindness and cooperation. Here below, we have mentioned some greetings:

Greetings in FrenchMeaning
Joyeux NoëlMerry Christmas
Bonne annéeHappy New Year
Bonnes fêtesHappy Holidays
Joyeuses PâquesHappy Easter
Bonne Saint-ValentinHappy Valentine’s Day
Joyeuse HalloweenHappy Halloween
Joyeuse fête des MèresHappy Mother’s Day
Joyeuse fête des PèresHappy Father’s Day
Joyeuse fête de l’Action de grâceHappy Thanksgiving (Canadian French)
Bonne journée de l’indépendanceHappy Independence Day
(French-speaking countries’ Independence Day)


It is imperative to become proficient in French greetings in order to communicate effectively and fully immerse oneself in French-speaking situations. The article emphasises the value of knowing how to formally and informally welcome someone, stressing the proper use of “vous” and “tu” to show respect and friendliness. 

It addresses a variety of salutations and openings, including “Bonjour,” “Bonsoir,” “Enchanté(e),” and “Comment ça va?”, emphasising the significance of social cues and context. It also covers sending emails, bidding farewell in French, and seasonal greetings like “Joyeux Noël” and “Bonne année.” Acquiring these salutations promotes more seamless communication and demonstrates reverence and awareness for the French language and customs.

Looking at resources such as La Forêt French Class can be quite helpful for people who are keen to learn French in greater detail. Increasing your exposure to French greetings and language skills will surely improve your language learning and cross-cultural interactions, regardless of your experience level.    

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bonjour mon ami?

Bonjour mon ami is the French for “Hello, my friend.” It’s a kind welcome that conveys warmth and familiarity and is appropriate in casual situations. Although “bonjour” is the traditional greeting, saying “mon ami” adds a personal touch and denotes a close friendship.

How to reply to Bonjour?

In most cases, a simple “Bonjour” in return is sufficient to remain courteous and mimic the greeting you were given. But if you want to be even more friendly or casual, you may answer with “Hello, how are you?” (Hello, how are you?) to start a conversation and demonstrate your concern for their well-being.

Do you say bonjour at night?

“Bonjour” is a greeting that is mostly used throughout the day. It’s usual to change to “bonsoir” (good evening) in the evening to properly recognise the time of day. It shows respect for cultural standards and awareness of social customs to welcome someone with the appropriate greeting.

How can I respond to Merci?

Responding to “Merci” (thank you) with “De rien” (you’re welcome) or “Je vous en prie” (formally speaking, you’re welcome) shows that you appreciate what the other person has said. These answers demonstrate civility and your willingness to lend a hand or offer assistance when required.

How to respond to Ça va?

Upon hearing “Ça va?” (How are you?) Depending on how you’re feeling at the moment, you can answer with “Ça va bien, merci” (I’m good, thank you) or “Ça va mal” (I’m not well). To encourage more discussion and engagement, you may also expand on your answer by briefly discussing your personal experiences.

How do I reply to “bonsoir”?

A simple “Bonsoir” in return accepts the greeting and keeps the polite conversation going when someone says “Good evening.” This answer reflects the first greeting’s formality and shows consideration and courtesy for the other individual.