How you greet people in France largely depends on the context, timing of the day, and the relationship you have with them. What is the best way to begin an exchange with anyone, even if you don’t know them? Create a professional introduction.
We’ve created the most common French greetings that can aid you in making an excellent first impression, regardless of whether you’re a visitor trying to make a more natural connection with French people or a businessperson trying to establish a relationship with French colleagues.
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To assist you in maintaining conversations and making friends, we’ve included a selection of everyday phrases from basic French. For strangers, always use salute instead of bonjour. Salut means hi.
5 Common French Greeting Words:
- Bonjour! (Hello!):
It’s the one most newcomers to the French are learning, for a good reason as well! It’s acceptable to greet the baker before you go into the bakery in your neighborhood or the waiter before making your reservation for coffee at the terrace of the Parisian cafe. Many people think it’s rude not to use this greeting, and it is possible to receive a glance of disapproval at it.
- Salut (Hi) & Coucou (Hey):
“Salut” or “hi” in French is appropriate to greet people casually to family members and friends. It’s also reasonable to indicate that you’re likely to run through someone later during the day in an informal context. However, the term “Coucou,” which can be used to say hello or attract attention, actually refers to “cuckoo.” It is a French salutation “Coucou,” which is like”hello” in English “hello,” and is intended for only intimate family and friends. “to “jouer a coucou” is to “play peekaboo,” which is a kind of game that children of all ages can enjoy. As you will observe, this phrase has a very familiar sound and is confusing in any professional environment.
- Allô? (Hello?):
Although it is a cousin to this English word, bonjour, the greeting is not used to make a statement of “hello” to people you encounter on the streets. It is only used on the phone. This greeting is utilized to verify whether there’s a caller. It is also used to get someone’s attention if they don’t seem to have heard your voice, to make it appear like they’re not present. Only conversations on the phone should utilize these French greetings.
- Ça va? (What’s up?):
“Ça va?” is translated from “What’s up?” in English, the younger, more hip cousin from Comment “Ça va??” is “how’s it going” or “does it go” the appropriate expression? ” It is a good idea to use it in the same way as the previous examples. The message is informal, but it’s a bit more sophisticated since you’ll likely get to know more about the person than you do when you use the standard bonjour.
- Bon matin/Bonjour (Good morning):
Are you familiar with the French phrase that means “good morning”? If you meet an individual for the first time throughout the morning, you could call them to bonjour to say hello as if you were to say “aloha” in Hawaiian. You can use a less traditional form similar to “hello” if you’re unsure what “good afternoon” means in French. “Good morning” is equivalent to “good morning” in European French. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware that you should not use Bon matin when you’re on vacation in France. If you do happen to have a fantastic morning in Paris and you want to make use of Bonjour, you can do so Bonjour without issue.
If you are visiting countries that speak French, It is essential to learn a few basic French greetings. It’s a common practice to welcome all people in the majority of French-speaking countries. Make sure to offer “bonjour” with a smile before speaking to someone, such as the waiter, a clerk, or people you see in the street. It is also good to say “bonjour” to anyone nearby when you arrive on the train or bus.