How to Say Goodbye in French

How to Say Goodbye in French

At some point every encounter you have with someone will ends in a goodbye. It’s only natural that you know how to properly end these encounters. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to say “goodbye” in French that you can use in all sort of different situations. Let’s see how many of them we can go over here.

Using Au Revoir to Say Goodbye in French

Au revoir is probably the most common way to say “goodbye” in French. You’ll hear this one the most both in French class as well as in any French text books you may have. The great thing about au revoir is that you can really use it in any situation as it’s not too formal or too informal.

When French speakers use this one themselves they tend to mash the words au and revoir which can make it a little difficult for beginners to understand. When you practice this one yourself you should try to pronounce both words separately so that you are as clear as possible (and as a result understood), but as you start to say this frequently (and if you’re ever in a French-speaking environment then you will) then you’ll be more comfortable saying it like native-French speakers do.

Using Salut to say goodbye in French

If you’ve already read the Frenchplanations article on How to Say Hello in French then you’ll know that salut is an easy way to say “hi” in French. Well, believe it or not it’s also an easy way to say “goodbye” in French. The context of the situation will dictate which one (hello or goodbye) salut is being used as. Just like when it’s used to say “hello”, using salut to say “goodbye” is pretty informal, so it’s best used among family or friends. Overall, salut can be thought of as just a casual “bye”.

Using à bientôt to say goodbye in French

À bientôt (literally translates as “at/to soon”) is another casual way to say “goodbye” in French and is probably best translated as “see you soon”. This may be obvious, but you would really only use à bientôt if you are expecting or at least hoping to see someone in the near future. 

Using à Plus tard to say goodbye in French

À plus tard translates literally to “at/to more late”, but really just means “see you later”. This is another one that you wouldn’t really want to use in formal situations, however informal ones are totally fine. There is one thing to remember when using à plus tard however.

In English we often say “see you later” when you expect to see someone again at some point in the future. It’s usually in the near future, but it doesn’t have to be the same day or even the same week. In French however if you say à plus tard then people will really expect that you will see them later and likely soon.

For example, if you meet someone in the morning and then say à plus tard to them they may say something like « Mais tu sais que je travaille cet après-midi ! » which means “You know I work this afternoon!” Just keep this in mind when speaking with French speakers.

Using À plus to say goodbye in french

If you understand à plus tard then you’ll easily understood à plus because it’s basically just a shorter version. À plus tard is already pretty informal, but à plus is even more so. 

Using à la prochaine to say goodbye in French

À la prochaine, word for word means “at/to the next” and really means “until next time”. It’s similar to à bientôt in that it’s best used when you are expecting to or at least hoping to see that person sometime in the near future.

Using à demain to say goodbye in french

Unlike the other ways to say “goodbye” in French that we’ve already gone over à demain refers to a specific to a specific point in time (tomorrow). It translates literally to “at/to tomorrow” and really just means “see you tomorrow”. You obviously would only use à demain when leaving someone with the expectation that you would be seeing them the next day. Not much more to it than that.

À tout de suite to say goodbye in French

À tout de suite is a little difficult for English speakers to understand as far as its literal translation goes (its literal translation is something close to “at/to right away”), but what’s really important is that you know that it really just means “see you soon”.

Unlike a phrase like à bientôt, à tout de suite is only used when you are 100% sure that you will be seeing someone in the immediate future. For example, if you are on the phone with someone and are talking about meeting up somewhere you could say à tout de suite upon hanging up because you know that you will be seeing them really soon. 

You’ll often hear French speakers say à tout de suite quickly which makes it sound like à toute suite. Eventually with enough practice you may end up saying it like this yourself, but at first just practice saying each word individually so you are easily understood by natives.

Using À tout à l'heure to say goodbye in french

À tout à l’heure is used when you are going to see someone soon, but not necessarily right away. Word-for-word it means “at/to all the hour” which doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but just know that it really means “see you later” or “see you in a bit”.

When you use it however there is definitely an expectation that you will see that person again, typically later in that day. If you are going to be seeing them the next day or in a few days then you won’t want to use this one.

using Adieu to say goodbye in French

Adieu is one that you may have heard of before even if you don’t speak much French as we sometimes use it in English. Adieu kind of looks like the Spanish word for “goodbye” (adios) however there is a difference between the two.

Although adieu does technically mean “goodbye” you only use it if you are never going to see that person again. You probably won’t hear adieu used all that much because the nature of the word is quite formal as well as the fact that most people don’t want to admit that they’ll never see someone else again. People always want to at least give the impression that they’ll see someone again.

The closest English equivalent for adieu would be “so long” or “farewell”.

Using ciao to say goodbye in french

This is another one that you may have heard of even if you don’t speak any French (or Italian). Ciao, when used in French, simply means “bye” (in Italian it means both “hi” and “bye” like salut does in French. It’s quite informal and you probably won’t hear it every day (although it’s not unheard of by any means). Ciao is very occasionally used in English, however it’s probably used a little more often in French.

Using bonne continuation to say goodbye in french

Bonne continuation means “good continuation” when literally translated and is used when saying bye to someone and wishing them well (or good luck) in their continuation of something. For example you could say bonne continuation dans votre travail which means good luck (continuation) in your new job. If the context is clear however you can just say bonne continuation seeing as they should already know what you are wishing them well in.

Using bonne chance to say goodbye in french

Bonne chance means good luck and is used in pretty much any situation where you would say good luck in English. If you aren’t familiar with the phrase, check out the Frenchplanations article entirely devoted to it. When leaving someone (or a group of people) and want to wish them luck in something you can say to them bonne chance. Just like with bonne continuation you can use bonne chance in a sentence such as bonne chance avec ton nouveau travail or by itself if the context is clear.


Using bon courage to say goodbye in french

Bon courage (word for word translated as good courage) is another phrase that’s similar to bonne continuation and bonne chance. What separates bon courage from the other two however is that you would use it the most when leaving someone and you want to wish them luck in something they’re going through that may be deemed difficult such as a family or financial trouble. Perhaps even something that would even require a bit of “courage”. 


Using ravi d'avoir fait votre connaissance to say goodbye in french

If you already have experience learning french then you’ll recognize that the word votre makes this sentence formal. Ravi d’avoir fait votre connaissance simply means “happy to have met you” or more realistically “nice to meet you”. You would really only use it when ending an encounter after having met someone for the first time rather than when beginning it. If you want to be more informal then you can switch the word votre for ta and say ravi d’avoir fait ta connaissance. This is still rather formal as far as informal things go.


Using bonne journée to say goodbye in french

Bonne journée is really easy to remember because its literal meaning and its actual meaning are more or less the same thing. Its literal translation is “good day”, which makes sense in English even if most of us wouldn’t use it on a day-to-day basis. Most people are more likely to just say have a good day. Even though most English speakers probably don’t say simply “good day” very often the French say bonne journée all the time. You’ll hear it often as a friendly goodbye when checking out at a store or in similar situations.

Using bon après-midi to say goodbye in french

Bon après-midi is basically the same exact thing as bonne journée except that it’s only used when saying bye to someone in the afternoon. It’s just the French version of “have a good afternoon”. There is a bit of overlap between bonne journée and bon après-midi because you can use bonne journée at any point in the day that you could use bon après-midi however you can’t use bon après-midi in every situation that you would use bonne journée. This is because bonne journée can also be used in the morning.


using bonne soirée to say goodbye in french

If you couldn’t tell already, bonne soirée is just the evening version (have a good evening) of bonne journée and bon après-midi. If you’re leaving for the night and going to bed you wouldn’t want to use this one, but rather bonne nuit.


Using bonne nuit to say goodbye in french

Bonne nuit is a little different than bonne soirée in that it’s only used when leaving for the night and going to sleep. However, just like good night is used in English you only would use bonne nuit if you’re saying it to those who are close to you. Even if you are out in public at some event and are leaving for the night you would want to say bonne soirée even if you are planning to go to sleep as soon as you get home. My recommendation is to not overthink this one. If you know how to use good night in English then you know how to use bonne nuit in French.


Using bon voyage to say goodbye in French

I think that mostly everyone has heard of this one as it’s occasionally used in English. In English when we think of the term bon voyage we think of people on some sort of giant cruise ship waiving while people on the dock yell bon voyage at them. In French however doesn’t have to be used in as dramatic of a situation. The best translation for it is simply have a nice trip. You would use it when saying bye to someone who you know is about to go on a trip.

Using bonnes vacances to say goodbye in french

Bonnes vacances overlaps a bit with bon voyage except that it doesn’t have to be used with someone who is going on a trip. It just means “have a good vacation” whether someone is going on a trip or not. For example you could wish someone bonne vacances if you’re in school and you’re being let out for a break.


Using je m'en vais to say goodbye in french

Simply put, je m’en vais means “I’m leaving” or “I’m heading out” is would be used mostly when you’re together with people close to you. You could also use it in conjunction with one of the other ways to say goodbye on this list just like how you may say “I’m heading out, see you tomorrow” in English.


Using je me tire to say goodbye in french

Je me tire is just an alternative to je m’en vais except that it’s more informal. You’d use it when leaving or heading out from somewhere and can be used together with another way to say bye on this list.


Using je me casse to say goodbye in french

There’s not a whole lot to say about je me casse because it’s simply another way to say je me tire (and by consequence je m’en vais). It’s closer to the same register as je me tire however and should only be used in situations where slang is acceptable.

Knowing how to say goodbye to someone in French is an essential part of any French conversation. With this article you should now be prepared to end any sort of French encounter you  may come across.