I. Formal greetings in French for a business setting

Enchanté(e) (de faire votre connaissance)Nice/pleasure to meet youahn-shant-ay (duh-fair-vo-truh-co-nay-sanse)
Ravi(e) de faire votre connaissanceNice/pleasure to meet youravee-duh-fair-vo-truh-co-nay-sanse
Monsieur/Madame (for an email or letter)Sir/Madammeuh-sieur/ma-dam

II. Informal greeting in French for a casual setting

CoucouHey therecoo-coo
Quoi de neuf ?What’s up?quah-du-nuff
Ça roule ?How is it going?sa-rule
Comment vas-tu ?How are you?como-vah-tu
Tu vas bien ?Are you doing well?tu-va-be-unh
Quoi de beau ?What’s new?quah-du-bo
Ça baigne ?How is it going?sah-banyuh
Salut toiHey yousah-lu-twah
Salut ma belleHey beautiful (feminine)sah-lu-mah-bell
Salut mon grand/salut ma grandeHi kiddo (usually for a child)sah-lu-mon-gran/sah-lu-mah-grand
Salut ma puceHi sweetie (usually for a child)sah-lu-mah-puce

III. Neutral

Ça va?How are you?sah-vah
Comment allez-vous ?How are you?como-allay-voo
Comment ça va ? How are you?como-sa-vah
Vous allez bien ?Are you doing well?voo-za-le-be-unh
BienvenueWelcomeee-ehn veh-noo
Ça fait longtempsLong time no seesah-feh-lun-ton
Allô (on the phone)Helloah-low

IV. Seasonal

Joyeux Noël !Merry Christmas!juah-yew-no-el
Bonne année !Happy New Year!bon-ahn-ne
Joyeuses fêtes !:Season’s Greetings!juah-yews-fet
Joyeuses Pâques !Happy Easter!juah-yews-pack
Joyeux anniversaire !Happy birthday!juah-yews-ani-vers-air

FAQs for French greetings

The famous “bise” is unavoidable in France - COVID aside. While it can be unsettling for travelers, you can’t say you've been to France until you kiss - or air kiss - someone on both cheeks. And it’s not just for casual greetings. While shaking hands is common in the French business world, it’s not unusual to see coworkers, male or female, se faire la bise./p>

Faux-pas nº1: Being too enthusiastic

Yes, this goes for you, happy reader! In France, people will be polite, but they might give you a weird look if you are too cheery. Things are quite different in Québec, where locals tend to be more welcoming.

Faux-pas nº2: Getting confused between “tu” and “vous”

While this problem does not exist in English, it’s important to learn how to use the right level of politeness in France. “Vous” is more formal, and generally used between people who don’t know each other. In doubt, always use “vous” and ask the person : “Puis-je vous tutoyer ?” (Can I use “tu” with you?)

Faux-pas nº3: Hugging instead of la bise

La bise can be unsettling for many visitors. Well, for French people, a hug can be perceived as an invasion of their personal space and is only used with family, partners or very close friends.

And speaking of faux-pas, these cultural don’ts to attend a dinner party in France might help you to avoid“mettre les pieds dans le plat” (to put one's foot in one's mouth).

We hope this article not only taught you to say hello in French, but also the basics of French culture. Equipped with these greeting tools, there is no doubt you will create a great first impression the next time you meet a French speaker.

Remember to keep checking back to ou French vocab blog for creatively, fun ways to learn.

The only thing left to say is : Au revoir et à bientôt !