5 Ways to Say Good Evening in French (Plus Audio and Example Sentences)
At the end of a long day, it’s easy to fantasize about a glass of wine, a good book or a new episode of your favorite show.
But before you can indulge in your preferred evening ritual, it’s important to end your day on a good note!
In this post we’ll show you five common ways to say “good evening” in French, how they’re used and some example sentences.
- 1. Bonsoir — Good evening
- 2. Bonne soirée — Have a good evening
- 3. À demain — See you tomorrow
- 4. Bon après-midi / Bonne après-midi — Good afternoon
- 5. Bisou ! — Kisses!
1. Bonsoir — Good evening
Bonsoir is a combination of the words bon or “good,” and soir, which can either mean “evening” or “night.”
This means that you can hear this phrase at 3pm, 6pm or 11pm, and it’s perfectly appropriate!
Bonsoir Céline, comment ça va ? — Good evening Céline, how are you?
2. Bonne soirée — Have a good evening
While bonsoir and bonne soirée both translate to “good evening,” they aren’t interchangeable.
Bonsoir is a conversation opener, and bonne soirée is a conversation closer.
So if you’re having a conversation in the evening, you should remember which phrase you need to use to start and to end it.
Au revoir, passe une bonne soirée. — Bye, have a good evening.
3. À demain — See you tomorrow
Admittedly, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to switch from bonjour and bonne journée to bonsoir and bonne soirée. That’s where this phrase comes in handy!
Telling someone that you’ll see them tomorrow isn’t exclusive to the evening, which makes it the perfect phrase to remember for use at any time of day.
So long as you won’t see the other person until tomorrow, it’s just as good in the morning, afternoon or night.
À demain Julien ! — See you tomorrow Julien!
4. Bon après-midi / Bonne après-midi — Good afternoon
We’ve established that bon(ne) means “good,” but après-midi literally translates to “afternoon.”
Combined, they make for a polite greeting in the middle of the day. Whereas bonsoir has a wide timeframe, it’s best to use bon(ne) après-midi in the early evening.
Je vous souhaite un bon après-midi. — I wish you a good afternoon.
Je vais manger le déjeuner, bonne après-midi ! — I’m going to eat lunch, have a good afternoon!
5. Bisou ! — Kisses!
Studying French, you’ll quickly become aware of the infamous la bise or “kiss.”
I’ll skip over the contentious discussion around how many kisses or what cheek to start on—what’s important is that similar to how English people say “kisses” or write “xoxo,” the French equivalent is bisou.
Of course, this phrase can be used at any time of day, including the evening. Similar to English, you would never tell someone “xoxo” or bisou unless you have a close relationship with them.
Je te parlerai plus tard. Bisou ! — I’ll talk to you later. Kisses!
As with all words and phrases you learn in French, it’s important to learn the context of these different “good evening” phrases. So while we’ve given you a good explanation on how to use them, it’s worth consuming French media so that you can actually see them used in action!
The language learning program FluentU can be helpful for this: It teaches with authentic French videos, like news reports, inspiring talks and music videos, so that you can see how the language is spoken by natives.
Keep an eye out for the phrases we’ve learned here on interactive subtitles, so you can get information on them (and other words and phrases) in real time.
FluentU is also available as an iOS and Android app, so you can study from wherever.
Recognizing and adjusting your language to the time of day is a sign to other French speakers that your language skills are improving. And these five phrases will not only show that you pay attention to time of day, but also formality.
There’s no better feeling than settling into your evening ritual after showing off your growing vocabulary!