Goodbye in French: 13 Ways to Say It That Aren’t Just “Au Revoir”

How do you say goodbye in French without sounding like a broken record?

Au revoir… au revoir… au revoir

If you want to fit in better with the native speakers and sound more natural when speaking French, it is important to learn other ways to say goodbye.

In this post, I will show you 13 super useful words and phrases to cover everything from “see you later” in French to telling someone goodbye forever.


1. Adieu (Farewell)

Adieu is not a French goodbye to be taken lightly or used often. It is highly formal, and it has a sense of finality.

Steer clear of this one unless you never plan on seeing the person again or one of you is on your death bed.

You will get the idea from the song “Adieu” by Cœur de pirate, which is about a cheater getting very seriously dumped.

2. Bonne journée / Bonne soirée (Have a nice day / Have a nice evening)

Use these expressions at the end of a conversation as you part ways with someone for the day or night.

You might use this when leaving a shop or after chatting with a colleague you ran into on the street.

Both of these expressions are relatively formal but used quite often by native French speakers. The formality can be increased by adding Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle to the end of it.

You will most likely also follow this up by saying “au revoir.” This is not considered to be overkill, and indeed is a requirement for polite interactions!

3. À plus tard (Until later)

In its full form, à plus tard is a somewhat formal French goodbye. Note that the final “s” of plus is not pronounced.

However, there is a shortened, more casual version—you can simply say à plus. This is basically the English equivalent of “see you later” in which you do need to pronounce the final “s.”

4. À bientôt (See you soon)

This casual expression suggests that you will see someone soon, just not again the same day.

5. À demain (See you tomorrow)

Simple! This one is great to use at the end of the day with those you see regularly at work or school.

6. À la prochaine (Until next time)

In the same vein as the literal translation of au revoir (until we see each other again), à la prochaine indicates that you plan on seeing the person you’re talking to again in the future.

7. Salut ! (Bye!)

Whether you use it as a greeting or a way to jump ship, salut is an adaptable expression that can be used to say goodbye in a somewhat casual manner.

8. Ciao ! (Bye!)

I know what you are thinking: ciao is not French, it is Italian!

Those clever French are not above borrowing phrases from other languages, so ciao is a great way to say “goodbye” to friends of any language.

You will particularly hear native speakers use this one at the end of a phone conversation.

9. Je m’en vais (I’m outta here)

If it has been a long night at a party with friends, and you are heading off in your own direction, this one is a great way to make an exit.

10. Je me casse / Je me tire (I’m off )

Both of these mean the relatively the same thing, but they are more colloquial than je m’en vais, and they will be considered somewhat offensive in polite company. So, user beware!

11. Je suis désolé, mais je dois y aller (I’m sorry, but I have to go)

This phrase doesn’t have a particular spot on either end of the formal/informal scale.

The main idea with this expression is its sense of urgency, and it is the je dois y aller which relays this message.

The pronoun y must be used before the verb aller if no particular location is mentioned.

If you want to be more explicit and state exactly where you are going, you do not need the and would just say where you’re going: Je dois aller au musée

12. À tout à l’heure !  (See you soon)

This is the perfect expression to use for if you are parting with friends that you are certain to see again later in the day.

13. Désolé, mais je dois filer ! (Sorry, but I gotta run!)

This is a little phrase you can use in informal settings, for example when you have to leave a group of friends rather abruptly. The désolé(e) (sorry) renders this phrase polite so that you don’t have to worry about offending anyone.

The verb filer is a slang word in this context, therefore you’ll sound like a true local if you let this little salutation roll of your tongue after taking a hasty last sip of espresso.

Handy Tools to Practice Saying Goodbye in French

Think you already have some French goodbyes down pat? Want to test yourself after reading this post?

These online exercises will help you out:

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