How do you say goodbye in French without sounding like a broken record?
Au revoir… au revoir… au revoir…
It is the first French goodbye most of us learned, and it is easy to get stuck with it.
But there are many different, distinct ways to say goodbye in French depending on the situation and who you are talking to.
We will show you 10 super useful words and phrases to cover everything from “see you later” in French to telling someone goodbye forever.
Handy Tools to Practice Saying Goodbye in French
Think you already have some French goodbyes down pat? Want to test yourself after reading the article below? These online exercises will help you out.
- “Ways to Say Goodbye in French” from Study.com: This quiz gives you a situation and then multiple choice options where you have to pick the most appropriate French goodbye.
- “French Greetings and Goodbyes” flashcards from Quizlet: Mix it up with these flashcards to say hello or goodbye in different ways in French.
- FluentU’s authentic French videos: Hear how French speakers actually use these words in real life thanks to the real French videos on FluentU.
Just search for a word and FluentU will show you which videos have it. For example, you will hear the phrase “au revoir” several times in this funny YouTube video about awkward goodbyes.
Plus, on FluentU, you never have to worry about missing a word. There are clickable captions, built-in vocabulary lists, full transcripts and more tools to help you actively build your vocabulary with every video.
Beyond “Au Revoir”: 10 Ways to Say Goodbye in French Like a Native Speaker (With Examples and Context)
Here are 10 ways to say goodbye in French, starting with the most formal to the most casual.
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 French. In this case you do need to pronounce the final “s.”
4. À bientôt / À tout à l’heure (See you soon)
These casual expressions are very similar. À tout à l’heure, however, does suggest that you are going to see the person at some point later today, whereas à bientôt could mean you will see them later in the week, for example.
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.
…So do not use this one for people you would like to avoid.
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.
Note that salut is also a casual way to say “hi” in French, as you can hear in the song “Salut” by Joe Dassin.
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, though, which is why French has many borrowed words from English. 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 number nine, and they will be considered somewhat offensive in polite company. So, user beware!
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. You'll receive video recommendations that suit your interests and current level of progress.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.