How To Say Goodbye In French

Don’t leave people hanging.
December 19, 2019
How To Say Goodbye In French

In life there are hellos, and in life there are goodbyes. If you’re learning the conversational arts in French, you’re going to want to learn to say goodbye in French just as much as you’ll want to learn to introduce yourself. Not only will you leave the interaction with grace and aplomb, but you’ll also know how to imply whether the conversation will continue in the future. You know, social skills and all that.

Here are the most common ways to say goodbye in French. To hear how they’re pronounced, click the play button on the words highlighted in gray.

How To Say Goodbye In French

Au Revoir Vs. Salut

The two most basic goodbyes you’ll encounter in French are au revoir and salut.

Au revoir translates to “goodbye,” and salut is more like “bye.” The main difference between the two is one of formality. Whereas au revoir works well as a default goodbye — especially in situations where you’d like to convey some deference, or you’re speaking to someone you’re not on a first-name basis with — salut is good for informal situations, like when you’re among friends.

Salut is also versatile enough to be used as both a goodbye and a salutation (see what we did there?). It means “hi,” and it also means “bye.” The context will guide the way.

Situating Yourself In Time

Sometimes, you’ll want to change it up with a more time-specific goodbye: one that’s appropriate for the time of day, or one that acknowledges the next time you expect to see the other person.

If you want to tell someone to “have a nice day,” say Bonne journée ! This is just a slightly reordered version of bonjour, which is essentially like saying “good day.”

If it’s a little later in the day, say Bonne soirée ! to wish them a nice evening. Similarly, this is related to bonsoir, which is used to greet someone at night.

If you’d rather offer a quick “see you,” here are a couple variations:

  • À bientôt — See you soon
  • À demain — See you tomorrow
  • À la prochaine ! — See you soon!
  • À plus — See you soon/later (can be abbreviated as A+)
  • Bises — Kisses/take care

Some Specific Goodbyes

Now that you’ve got a basic sense of how to say goodbye in French, here are a couple examples of how to work these into a more complex sentence.

  • Merci, Marie Cotillon. Au revoir et bonne chance ! — Thank you, Marie Cotillon. Goodbye and good luck!
  • Au revoir, Émilie. Je suis content de te voir demain. — Goodbye, Émilie. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
  • Salut, je vais travailler maintenant. — Bye, I’m going to work now.
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Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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