Happy Birthday in French: 50 Words and Phrases for Stellar Celebrations (Plus Audio)
Want to wish someone a happy birthday in French? Read on to learn common expressions to wish everyone from your mom to your boss a joyful celebration.
You’ll also learn common birthday vocabulary words, hear a few variations on the birthday song in French and learn some French birthday traditions.
Let’s get ready to party!
- Joyeux Anniversaire: “Happy Birthday” in French
- More Ways to Say “Happy Birthday” in French
- Birthday Vocabulary and Phrases
- The Happy Birthday Song in French
- Birthday Traditions in France
- And one more thing...
Joyeux Anniversaire: “Happy Birthday” in French
The main way to say “happy birthday” in French is:
Joyeux anniversaire ! — Happy birthday!
Joyeux means “happy” or “joyful,” while anniversaire means “birthday.”
Straightforward and simple. You can’t go wrong with this one in any situation!
But of course, this isn’t the only way to wish someone a happy birthday in French. Read on for more!
More Ways to Say “Happy Birthday” in French
There’s a birthday wish for every situation. Here are some lovely birthday wishes for friends, relatives and everyone in between:
- Bon anniversaire — Happy birthday
- Joyeuse fête — Happy celebration
- Heureux anniversaire — Happy birthday
- Meilleurs vœux pour ton anniversaire — Best wishes for your birthday
- Que cette journée soit remplie de joie — May this day be filled with joy
- Passe une merveilleuse journée d’anniversaire — Have a wonderful birthday
- Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire — I wish you a happy birthday
- Que tous tes vœux se réalisent — May all your wishes come true
- Profite de chaque instant de cette journée spéciale — Enjoy every moment of this special day
- Que ton chemin soit parsemé de joie et de succès — May your path be filled with joy and success
- Je te souhaite une journée pleine d’amour et de rires — I wish you a day full of love and laughter
- Je t’envoie mes meilleurs vœux pour ton anniversaire — I send you my best wishes for your birthday
- Que cette journée soit spéciale à tous égards — May this day be special in every way
- Je te souhaite une vie remplie de bonheur et de succès — I wish you a life filled with happiness and success
- Que chaque instant de cette journée soit mémorable — May every moment of this day be memorable
- Je te souhaite une journée lumineuse et radieuse — I wish you a bright and radiant day
- Que cette journée soit à ton image, spéciale et unique — May this day be like you, special and unique
- Je te souhaite une journée magique et inoubliable — I wish you a magical and unforgettable day
- Je te souhaite une journée merveilleuse entourée de ceux que tu aimes — I wish you a wonderful day surrounded by loved ones
- Que cette journée soit le début d’une nouvelle aventure pleine de bonheur — May this day be the beginning of a new adventure full of happiness
- Je te souhaite une journée remplie de sourires et de beaux souvenirs — I wish you a day filled with smiles and beautiful memories
Birthday Vocabulary and Phrases
Do you want to invite a French-speaking friend to your birthday party, or propose a toast over a delicious birthday cake? You’ll need to add some birthday vocab to your belt. Discover all the words you need to know to talk about birthday celebrations!
- Fêter son anniversaire — To celebrate one’s birthday
- La date de naissance — Date of birth
- Le gâteau d’anniversaire — Birthday cake
- Les bougies — Candles
- Les cadeaux — Gifts
- Les ballons — Balloons
- La fête d’anniversaire — Birthday party
- L’invitation — Invitation
- La surprise — Surprise
- La fête surprise — Surprise party
- L’âge — Age
- Souffler les bougies — Blowing out the candles
- Le chant d’anniversaire — Birthday song
- Le message d’anniversaire — Birthday message
- Les souhaits d’anniversaire — Birthday wishes
- La carte d’anniversaire — Birthday card
- Le toast — Toast
- La réunion de famille — Family gathering
- Les amis — Friends
- Les jeux d’anniversaire — Birthday games
- Les félicitations — Congratulations
- L’anniversaire de naissance — Birth anniversary
- La célébration spéciale — Special celebration
- Les invités — Guests
- Le champagne — Champagne
- Les décorations — Decorations
- Les chants et les danses — Songs and dances
- Les souhaits exaucés — Wishes come true
The Happy Birthday Song in French
You can sing the French version of the traditional English birthday song. The lyrics are simple enough to remember, as long as you recall the official way to say “happy birthday” in French:
Joyeux anniversaire, (Happy birthday)
Joyeux anniversaire, (Happy birthday)
Joyeux anniversaire [name], (Happy birthday [name])
Joyeux anniversaire. (Happy birthday.)
You can hear it here:
There are other, more traditional songs you can sing to wish someone a festive happy birthday in French. This traditional song has more to it than just the same words repeated over and over:
You can follow along with the subtitles in the video, or read them and two other French birthday song variations in this blog post:
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Birthday Traditions in France
You’re almost ready to celebrate a birthday the French way. But first, take a look at some of these French birthday traditions to make sure you’re doing it right!
- Birthday breakfast: It’s common for family members to surprise the birthday person with a special breakfast of pastries, croissants, fresh fruit and a coffee or hot cocoa.
- Birthday flowers: Giving flowers, particularly bouquets or arrangements, is a customary gesture in French birthday celebrations. Popular choices include roses, lilies and mixed seasonal blooms.
- Les étrennes : In France, it’s customary to give kids and young adults small monetary gifts called étrennes on birthdays, New Year’s Day and other special occasions.
- Unlucky numbers: Some French people believe that certain numbers are luckier than others. When gifting flowers, make sure to give odd numbers!
- Carte d’Or : Another unique tradition is the Carte d’Or or “Golden Card.” These are special handmade cards, often decorated with gold accents and personalized messages, to commemorate milestone birthdays like 18th or 21st birthdays.
- Ear tugging: A lighthearted and playful tradition involves gently tugging the earlobes of the birthday person, usually as many times as their age, to symbolize good luck and longevity.
- Extended celebrations: Birthdays in France are often celebrated beyond just one day. It’s common for the birthday person to extend the celebration by organizing a meal or get-together with friends or family a few days before or after the actual birthdate.
- Toasts and speeches: During birthday celebrations, it’s customary for family and close friends to make toasts and speeches to honor the birthday person.
Thanks to all these phrases, songs and traditions, you’re all set to celebrate someone’s birthday—or maybe even your own birthday!—in French. Have fun!
And one more thing...
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