15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (2023)

Learn how to say "Hello" in French along with etiquette. In addition to "Bonjour", a French greeting is much more.

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You may think you know the basics, but I bet there are a few that will cheer you up. After 10 years in France, sometimes I still get stuck on the rules of how to say hello in French.

I imagine that if you are, you already knowvisiting France, you could say"Bonjour" when entering a French store or restaurant before ordering anything. It is good manners to greet the shopkeeper or waiter, even if he is a tourist.

but if you arelive in france, things get more complicated when it comes to greeting someone. Bonjour is the tip of the iceberg. There is a complete greeting with varying degrees depending on how well you know the person.

Various greetings in French

1. Good morning!

The most frequently used generic "hello." A pretty safe bet if you're not sure what to say.

In France, when you walk into a shop or restaurant and want to be served, start with a bonjour, even if you don't speak French. Your interaction with that person will be greatly improved.

2. Good night!

The evening version, meaning "good night."

3. Good night!

It also means "good night", but it is not a greeting, but rather a conclusion to the evening.

4. Good night!

Literally translated it means "good night" and it is not a greeting but an end to the night.

5. ¡Hola!

A more informal bonjour, the equivalent of "Hello" in English. It is a greeting between friends and acquaintances. (Don't walk into a store and say hello!). It can also be used to say hello and goodbye when leaving.

6. ¡Hola!

a very casual oneBonjour, usually only for children. It is also used between women who are very good friends. Originally intended as an English version of peek-a-boo for young children, Coucou has grown beyond that initial sentiment. Pronounced "coo-coo," it is the sound of a bird singing in a forest. Or rather, a cuckoo clock. Read more about itthe cuckooHere.

7. ¡Hola!

The French version of "hello" is usually said over the phone. (You can also use Bonjour.) The letter "H" is not pronounced in French, so it appears as "allo" instead of "hello".

8. Journal

Jourbon isoutput queue, a type of French slang with the alphabetical order reversed. Is "Label' (means 'day') before 'intestine' (meaning 'good') to change the order of 'Bonjour“.

Die Encores (kisses on the cheek)

That may sound simple enough, but there's an added complication:the encores.Depending on how well you know the person, you may also need to add the "cheek kisses" in French with each greeting.

The most common thing that causes people to trip isexternal transmissionor not, you should go for the encores. In general, if you identify as a woman or LGBT, you should do thisthe encoresAFamily, friends and other people you know in an informal setting.

If you are both men, they usually accept the handshake unless they are good friends. French expenselong time at workso we slipped into itthe encoresas well as.

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This should also take into account that people in different parts of France give each other between 2 and 4 kisses. Parisians give 2 kisses on the cheek, butdie MarseillesMach 3.

Everything is getting quite complicated, even for the French! You can read more about itkissHere.

15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (3)

Other greetings and informal responses

There are also other ways to say hello in French without saying bonjour. However, most of these are quite informal and only used between friends:

1. How are you?

This is a quick way to say "How are you?" The standard answer is "How are you doing. And you?' means 'Fine, what about you?'

2. What's new?

Quoi de neuf is also quite informal to say "What's new?" It's a bit more colloquial thanHow are you, but it still works in most situations. The typical response here is "Nothing. And you?' means 'Nothing, how about you?'

3. Is everything okay?

Behind this question is a bit more concern, as in “How is everything? Are you okay?" The typical response here is "Yes and you ?' means 'Yes, and you?'

4. How are you doing?

A very casual question to say to your counterpart: "Is everything alright?" As above, the typical response here is "Yes and you ?" Yes and you?

5. Welcome!

Pretty formal here to say "Welcome!" The best answer here is "Thank you so much' Oh thank you.

6. Hello, my name is Claude.

Another very formal way of saying "Hello, my name is Claude." A good answer to that."enchantEs !’ or ‘Nice to meet you!’ However, there are many other ways to respond, so take a look at the following article.

☞ READ MORE:Enchanted: Die James-Bond-Version von Nice to Meet you

The meaning of Bonjour

If that sounds like a lot of rules, say Bonjour, go for it. The French will appreciate the effort you put in instead of worrying if you said bonsoir when it was time to say bonjour. (Unless you try to hug them. Hugs are rare in France.)

French society tends to be more formal than in North America. turns to theRoyal Courts in Versailleswhere a strictcode of Conductit was enforced that everyone from the nobility to the servants had to follow.

As the saying goes, honey catches more flies than vinegar. A little courtesy goes a long way.

So, with all that in mind, it's time to take the quiz. Here is a list of common situations that you may encounter every day in France. Keep track of your results so you can see how you did.

15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (4)

1. You are a woman and you come to aAperitifcelebrate where you aremeeting a lot of people for the first time. ¿You?

  • a) Say a general bonjour to the crowd and wave.
  • b) Greet each person individually with a bonjour and shake hands.
  • c) Greet each person individually with a bonjour and do the encores (kisses on the cheek).
  • d) Greet each person individually with a bonjour and hug them.


C is the correct answer. You have to greet each person and do that.kisses. If you are a man, greet all women with that.kissesand shake hands with men.

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2. You meet a friend's new girlfriend for the first time. You?

  • a) Di Hello y haz eso.kisses(cheek kisses).
  • b) Say coucou and shake hands.
  • c) Greet and hug.
  • d) Say hello and greet.


A is the correct answer. It doesn't matter if you just met, since the bride is a woman and the person introducing you is a friend, the correct answer is a bonjour with the encores.

3. You are a straight man and you meet a good (male) friend for a drink. You?

  • a) Say coucou and do the encores.
  • b) Greet and encore.
  • c) Say bonjour and hug.
  • d) Say hello and start talking about beer.


B is the correct answer. The French do not hug. Furthermore, the coucou is usually reserved for women. So the correct response is to say hello and do that.kisses

15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (5)

4. You chatted with someone on Tinder and met them on aFirst date. ¿You?

  • a) Good morning and hugs.
  • b) Bonjour, and enter the encores (kisses on the cheek).
  • c) Hello y beso en la boca.
  • d) Good morning and handshake.


B is the correct answer. The typical greeting would be a bonjour and thatkisses, even if they have never met in person.

5. It is 5 in the afternoon and you enter yourChildren schoolto pick it up. What do you say to her teacher?

  • all the best!
  • good night!
  • c) Do the coucou and the encores.
  • d) I don't know.


d) The correct answer is "I don't know". There is no general consensus on when Bonsoir starts. It's usually sometime after 5pm, so you can walk in either direction.

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6. You greet your children at 5:00 p.m. m. after school. what do you say to them

  • all the best!
  • good night!
  • c) Do the coucou and the encores.
  • d) I don't know.


C is the correct answer. As doubts between Bonjour and Bonsoir at 5 p.m. m., you can greet them with a¡Hola!

15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (6)

7. tuarrive to workin the morning, in a traditionalfrench office. ¿You?

  • a) Wave Bonjour to all your colleagues in the open space.
  • b) Greet each employee individually with Bonjour and a handshake.
  • c) Greet each employee individually with Bonjour and a handshake with whichkissesfor women you know well.
  • d) Send a Bonjour email to everyone.


C is the correct answer. It's a complete waste of time, but in traditional French offices and government workplaces, the person walks up and says hello to each colleague.the encoresfor the females. If the incoming person is female, shethe encoresto all. You can read more about itfrench work cultureHere.

8. You see your boss across the street and wave to him! You?

  • a) Hello!
  • b) Hello!
  • c) say hello!
  • d) Any of the above.


A is the correct answer. Since he's your boss, you wouldn't say salut or coucou, but the standard bonjour.

9. You see someone you knowin the subway, and then see her at work 1/2 hour later. You?

  • a) Say Bonjour again.
  • b) Say hola.
  • c) Sag Hello again.
  • d) Greet


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C is the correct answer. Rebonjour, which doesn't even sound like a word, is the winner here. Literally: Re-Good morning.

10. You are a woman and you are meeting your partner's parents for the first time. You?

  • a) Say Bonjour and shake hands.
  • b) Di bonjour y muerde.
  • c) Say coucou and do the encores.
  • d) Say Bonjour and say hello.


B is the correct answer. Women are expected to do it.the encoresDo not greet or shake hands. More and more women are fighting back these days, but since these could be your future in-laws, it's probably worth doing.the encores.

11. You spend a 3-day weekend with your in-laws. You?

  • a) Say bonjour and do encores when you arrive.
  • b) Say bonjour and encore every morning of your trip (even when you arrive).
  • c) Say bonjour when you arrive and do the encores at the end of the weekend when you leave.
  • d) Say bonjour and drink a lot of wine during the weekend.


B is the correct answer. French children, and even adults, often greet their parents with a bonjour and an encore every morning.

12. You are a woman and you are going to a dinner. You?

  • a) Greet everyone Au Revoir and head out the door.
  • b) Say Au Revoir to each person and do the encores to each person.
  • c) Say Au Revoir to each person and hug each person.
  • d) Say Bonne Soirée and blow a few kisses on the way out.


B is the correct answer. No greeting or hugging. Just as you greeted each one individually upon arrival, you should say goodbye (or pull a runner) to each one.

15 French greetings and greetings (from a local) - snippets from Paris (8)

☞ READ MORE:21 Ways to Say Goodbye in French (For Every Occasion)

How have you been? It can be a bit confusing, right? Welcome to France!

For more fun, don't forget to visit ourgo to contestsand check out our otherResources to learn French.See you soon!

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