9 authentic ways to greet people in French 

These are really useful to learn if you’re looking for different ways to say hello or goodbye in French! I found it really helpful to not always have to use ‘bonjour’ or ‘au revoir’, and to have some alternatives up my sleeve 🙂

1. Bonjour

This can be translated as ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’, and it’s one of the most well-known French greetings. 

You can use this in most situations – with people you know well, or people you’ve only just met. Just be careful not to say it twice in one day to the same person … 😉

2. Re-bonjour 

This is what you need if you see someone again and want to greet them if you’ve already said ‘bonjour’ that day. It literally means ‘hello again’ – so far, so logical 🙂

3. Bonsoir 
Whenever you’re meeting people after around 4pm or 5pm, it’s best to greet them with ‘bonsoir’, which means ‘good evening’. Slightly confusingly, this can also mean ‘goodnight’ though!! 

4. Salut

‘Salut’ can be translated as ‘hi’, and it’s normally used with family, friends and other people who know very well. 

(Just to complicate things a little bit, it’s also got another meaning, as you can also use it to say bye to someone as well.)

5. Coucou 

This means ‘hey’ or ‘hi’ in English, and is similar to ‘salut’. 

6. À plus 

Now, we get to different ways of saying ‘bye’ – this is a shortened version of the expression ‘à plus tard’, which means ‘see you later’. 

It’s a way of saying bye to someone when you don’t know when you’ll next see each other, and you might see it written as ‘à +’. 


7. À toute à l’heure 

This is one of the many ways of saying ‘see you soon’ in French, and is normally used when you’re going to be seeing someone in the next few hours. 


8. À bientôt 

Similar to ‘à toute à l’heure’, this is another translation of ‘see you soon’, although it’s much less specific. You can use it when you don’t know how long it’ll be before you see the other person again, but when you hope that you’ll see them soon. 


9. Au revoir 

To finish off, this is a fairly common way of saying bye to someone if you probably won’t see them again. For example, if you’re saying goodbye to staff when you’re leaving a shop or a restaurant. 

What I quite like about it is that it more or less translates into English as ‘until we see each other again’, which sounds much less definitive and final than ‘goodbye’ in English. 


Over to you! Are there any other French greetings you’d like to add to this list? Which other French expressions do you think are useful to know?

If you liked this post, why not have a look at my other posts on French language here and here, or my Word of the Week posts? 

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