How to say good afternoon in French in the most fitting way

If you liked our articles on hello in French, good morning in French, and good night in French, we have more for you!

Greetings and etiquette are important in any language and the perfect occasion to make a good impression.

So, if you want to finetune your French greetings skills, keep reading to learn:

  • How to say good afternoon in French
  • How to wish a good afternoon in French to a woman or a man
  • The true gender of “après-midi
  • When to use each greeting 
  • And much more!

How to say good afternoon in French

In French, the afternoon is a literal translation of English:après-midi” (after-noon). For once! Even better if you’re struggling with genders in French: this word is BOTH feminine and masculine! You read that right! 

But more on this later.

And we have more good news for you: To open a conversation, you can stick to “Bonjour,” even in the afternoon. Who said French learning was difficult?

You might wonder why you need to learn how to say good afternoon in French then. Well, you can check out the table below for context. We’ll also come back to this.

English French IPA Note/Context
Afternoon! Bon aprèm ! bõn‿ apɾe ! Informal, only when saying goodbye.
Good afternoon! Bon après-midi ! bõn‿ apɾe-midi ! Only when saying goodbye.
Good afternoon, nice to meet you. Bonjour, ravi(e) de faire ta/votre connaissance. bõʒuɾ, ɾavi(ɛ) də fɛɾə ta/vɔtɾə kɔnɛsɑ̃sə. Only when saying hello.
Good afternoon, how are you? Bonjour, comment vas-tu/allez-vous ? bõʒuɾ, kɔmə va-ty/ale-vu ? Only when saying hello.
More ways to say “How are you” in French here.
Have a good afternoon! Passe/Passez un bon après-midi ! pasɛ/pasez‿ œ̃ bõn‿ apɾe-midi ! Only when saying goodbye,
I wish you a beautiful afternoon! Je te/vous souhaite un bel après-midi ! ʒə tɛ/vu suɛt œ̃ bɛl apɾe-midi ! Only when saying goodbye.
Enjoy your afternoon! Profite/profitez bien de ton/votre après-midi ! pɾɔfitɛ/pɾɔfite bjɛ̃ də tɔn/vɔtɾ apɾe-midi ! Only when saying goodbye.
Good afternoon. Say hi to your mother for me. Bon après-midi, passe/passez le bonjour à ta/votre mère. bõn‿ apɾe-midi, pasɛ/pase lə bõʒuɾ a ta/vɔtɾə mɛɾə. Only when saying goodbye. 
More family members in French here.
(Thank you Mark for the reference!)

Good afternoon in French using titles for a man or woman

Titles in French can be a bit of a headache, and some people are very attached to it. It can also be a sensitive topic, like for the touchy “Mademoiselle”. Here is a small guide to say good afternoon in French to a man and a woman, and avoid any faux pas.

English French IPA Note/Context
Good afternoon, madam. Bon après-midi Madame. bõn‿ apɾe-midi madamə.
Good afternoon, miss. Bon après-midi Mademoiselle. bõn‿ apɾe-midi madəmwazɛlə. “Mademoiselle” is a hot topic in France. More on this here.
Good afternoon, sir. Bon après-midi Monsieur. bõn‿ apɾe-midiməsjø.



Bon après-midi or Bonne après-midi ? That is the question.

Waving a hello good afternoon in French to a smiling friend.

If you still don’t understand why objects and inanimate words have genders in French, don’t worry, I don’t either — and I’m French.

After all, why would a table be feminine and a desk masculine? Not very inclusive, right?

Even weirder, some words have both genders, like amour” in its plural form — or… “après-midi”.

Yes, you can say “Bon après-midi” or “Bonne après-midi” to wish someone a good afternoon. You can also say “Je vous souhaite un bel après-midi” or “Je vous souhaite une belle après-midi”. Well, technically because l’Académie française prefers the masculine form.

And this topic gives a lot to talk about, as you can see in this video!

When to use what greeting?

We’ve already seen that to say hello in French, you can use “Bonjour” even in the afternoon. Ok, so when should you use more specific greetings like “Bon après-midi” or “Bonne nuit” ? Here is a — hopefully — simple guide!

Morning

To say hello:

  • Bonjour.
  • Good morning.

To say goodbye:

  • Bonne journée.
  • Have a nice day.

Afternoon

To say hello:

  • Bonjour.
  • Good afternoon/Good day.

To say goodbye:

  • Bon après-midi.
  • Have a nice afternoon.

Evening

To say hello:

  • Bonsoir.
  • Good evening.

To say goodbye:

  • Bonne soirée.
  • Have a good evening.

Night

To say hello:

  • Bonsoir.
  • Good evening.

To say goodbye:

  • Bonne nuit.
  • Have a good night.

For more appropriate ways to say goodbye in French, go here.

French idioms with “midi”

Discover some interesting French expressions with the word “midi” (noon) and sound like a local!

Chacun voit midi à sa porte.

  • Literal translation: Everyone sees noon at their door.
  • Meaning: Everyone sees things from their own perspective.

Chercher midi à quatorze heures.

  • Literal translation: To search from noon to 2pm. 
  • Meaning: To look for problems when there are not. To make something simple complicated. 

Avoir le démon de midi.

  • Literal translation: To have noon’s demon.
  • Meaning: To experience urges due to a midlife crisis (from a romantic/love standpoint). 

En plein midi.

  • Literal translation: In full noon.
  • Meaning: In the middle of the day.

Heure, temps de midi (Belgium only)

  • Literal translation: Noon hour, time.
  • Meaning: Lunch time.

Le Midi de la France

  • Literal translation: Noon of France
  • Meaning: The Southern half of France.

French songs with “après-midi”

Apres-midi songs in French

Music is one of the nicest and easiest ways to learn a language. We have gathered French songs about “après-midi” for all tastes!

After reading this article, you should be able to greet your French friends and colleagues the proper way and even use cool expressions! 

We hope you’re reading this article in the afternoon so we can wish you a “bon après-midi” — or a “bonne après-midi”!

And if not, have a look at our French blog to find relevant articles for telling the time and time of day in French or any other situation.

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