Hi in French: Start Your Journey in Language Learning Now

Elly Kim11 min
Creado: Jul 13, 2023Última actualización: Jan 28, 2024
Hi in French

Learning a foreign language is always exciting. Knowledge expands your horizons and allows you to understand a country’s culture better. Moreover, the language barrier is overcome, which makes traveling even more enjoyable and unforgettable. Of course, everyone first studies English, which has long become international. However, French is almost as popular all over the world. Many pick it as their second language. And it’s time to learn how to say hello in French to form the necessary basis.

According to statistics, over 130 million people speak this language. And not only in France! French is also spoken in Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Seychelles, and many other regions. Are you planning to visit any of these countries and communicate with the locals? Even if a trip is not in your schedule, speaking French will be a helpful skill. 

Studying the basics is essential, so we want to tell you more about greetings. You cannot skip this point when planning a trip to Paris or other French-speaking places, so stay tuned! We have gathered tons of exciting details: be ready to know the most important peculiarities and improve your language skills.

How to Say Hello in French: Start Your Language Journey

We are confident there’s no one in the world who has never heard the word “Bonjour.” It was first used in the 1570s and was formed with a combination of “bon” (good) and “jour” (day in French). According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, this is the most common way to say hi in French. Locals usually complement this word with “Ça va?” which means “How are you?”. Residents of France are known for their love of small talk. Therefore, everyone will ask you how it’s going and listen to you with great interest. But don’t forget to be polite and ask the same!

How to Greet Someone in France: Informal Words

Being polite and attentive to others is a part of French culture. Therefore, there are multiple ways to greet other people in this language. Let’s start with unofficial greetings that are often used among close friends and family members. Remember that using these words at work or during important meetings is not the best idea. But you can consider them when chatting with new acquaintances online or when meeting your close people:

  1. Salut – this greeting is unofficial and is often used among friends and fellows. The word is synonymous with “hi” or “hey” in English. It’s not recommended to use this option when talking to strangers, as it’s considered impolite.
  2. Coucou has no alternatives in English and is mostly used among the younger generation.
  3. Allô is the way to say hi when talking on the phone. It’s not used in live communications.

Please keep in mind that politeness is everything in French-speaking countries. So, it’s better to greet and ask how a person is doing when starting a conversation. All the above words are mostly used in informal communication. However, you can also hear them in the workplace and offices. It all depends on the company’s standards. You should better learn all the options to feel no language barrier when traveling to French-speaking countries. Let’s see how to use these common greetings in French.

Examples of Usage

We hope that you’ve already memorized all the words above, especially considering there’re not so many of them. But we all know that practice is everything when learning any language. Therefore, we would like to provide our readers with some examples of how to use the above words. Take a look at the following:

  1. Salut toi means “hey you” and is used among friends and family.
  2. Salut mon grand/ma grande is often utilized to greet older people.
  3. Salut ma puce is also a sweet way to say hi to the beloved woman.
  4. Salut ma belle is mostly used to greet women. 

Overall, French people residing on different continents are lovely and friendly. They seem to be filled with happiness and love for the whole world. So, they usually add some pleasant adjectives to make their greeting as warm as possible. Many people should adopt this communication style because it makes speech richer and more interesting. 

You can find many more examples and exciting cases in the Promova app, so don’t hesitate to check them and learn more right now. We have already figured out how to speak with friends and participate in informal communication. And it’s time to learn more options for formal events. 

Mastering French Greetings: How to Say Hello in France

More Formal Ways to Say Hello

There are different ways to greet a person in the French language, and “bonjour” is only one of them. Suppose you have an important event in the morning or afternoon. Saying “salut” will be unacceptable in such an instance. Let’s see, how do you say hello in French:

  • bonne journée or bonne après-midi means good afternoon;
  • bonsoir or bonne soirée means good evening;
  • bonne nuit means good night.

You can use all these options at official events, as well as in daily communication. Of course, paying attention to the time of day when you greet a person is essential. For instance, “bonjour” can be used anytime. “Bonne journée” is the best option from midday to 6 pm. Accordingly, “Bonsoir” is used from 6 pm until midnight. And “bonne nuit” is the perfect alternative if you want to contact someone at night.

These rules concern both live communication and business correspondence via email or instant messenger. Be attentive and always check the time when greeting French people, as they are always scrupulous in details.

Passer le Bonjour à Quelqu’un: Unique French Greetings

This is one more way to greet someone using another person. Suppose you meet your old friend on the street and start talking to them. Of course, you will discuss how things are going and ask each other about their families and close ones. If you know someone close to your friend, or you have mutual acquaintances with whom they will soon see each other, it is customary to say, “Passer le bonjour à quelqu’un.” In such a way, you demonstrate attention and warm feelings.

It’s worth noting that you can meet another alternative to this phrase. “Souhaiter le bonjour à quelqu’un” also means “pass my hello to someone.” Such an option will show you are excited about the person’s close ones and demonstrate politeness.

Bienvenue – A Way to Welcome Guests

Getting a person to like you and making him feel comfortable in your company is not always easy. But it’s more straightforward with the French people because they are always open to new acquaintances and communication. One way to win a Frenchman’s heart is to invite them to dinner. Residents of the country prefer restaurants, but it is unlikely that anyone will refuse if you offer a great barbecue at home.

When you meet guests, you can do with the standard “bonjour.” However, it’s better to use “bienvenue,” which is a common way to greet a person and say “welcome.” It’s an old French word that came to modernity from the Frankish language. It initially meant the guest’s arrival and is now widely used in numerous countries. Don’t forget about this phrase when inviting someone to visit your house.

Félicitations – Holiday Greetings

French people love holidays, and birthdays are always special. Of course, such events should be different from others, which is also shown through communication. French residents won’t say a simple “bonjour” if it’s your birthday today. They will use the word “félicitations” instead. It means “my congratulations.” Holidays in France are special, so try not to forget about your friends’ and acquaintances’ birthdays. They will be pleased with such attention from your side. A warm word is often more valuable than expensive gifts!


Rebonjour: Unusual French Greetings

This word may sound a bit weird, but French residents have their unique speaking peculiarities. According to the Collins Dictionary, “rebonjour” means “hello again.” Locals use this word to say hi once again when a person mishears them, or they meet the individual several times during one day. It’s also common to use it on the phone or while chatting. So, don’t be surprised if you call up a French-speaking person several times a day, and they say “rebonjour” to you.

The country’s residents are simply obsessed with politeness. Therefore, not saying hello is almost a crime. That is why they will say hello every time they call or meet. Be prepared to adopt this behavior model not to seem ignorant to the interlocutor. It’s part of French culture, so don’t forget to make politeness your routine; that will be helpful when traveling.

Use “Enchanté” When Meeting New People

When getting acquainted, a simple “bonjour” or “bonsoir” will be enough. But we bet you would like to dip more into the peculiarities of the French language and speak like locals. Therefore, “enchanté” will become a pleasant addition to your “hello” vocabulary. This word means “nice to meet you” and expresses your feelings when acquainted with new people.

“Enchanté” shows your inspiration about meeting a person. The French love this word, as it’s a way to demonstrate they are charmed with someone. The word also describes it’s an honor for you to meet this person. Adopt this trick, and you will conquer those around you with your excellent knowledge of the language’s intricacies. Are you ready to speak like a native? 

Exciting Usage of “Bonjour”

While this word is initially used to say hello, residents of different countries utilize it in various ways. For instance, Canadians sometimes say “bonjour” at the end of a conversation. Does it sound strange to you? However, the French use it to wish a good day to their interlocutor. “Bonne journée” can have the same meaning. So, don’t be surprised if you hear these phrases when planning to say goodbye.

Kisses When Meeting a Person

A kiss on the cheek is a standard greeting for the French. In most countries, this gesture is used only between close people, but not in France. Be prepared for the fact that you can be hugged and kissed on the cheek even at the first meeting. Don’t be surprised if this happens in a hotel or restaurant; the locals are very hospitable and can thus express their joy when you come to them.

How to Choose the Greeting Properly

Sometimes learners feel confused about whether to choose “salut,” “bonjour,” or other greetings in French. In this case, it is better to focus on your interlocutor’s manner of communication. Of course, you should not burst into a work meeting with the words “coucou,” even if you have friendly relations among employees in the company.

But if, when meeting a person, they said “salut” to you, you can safely repeat it after them. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes! The French know that their language is difficult for foreigners and will never be offended if you say something in the wrong way. Telling them you are just a learner and asking for assistance is a great idea, as they will gladly help you find the correct phrase and its pronunciation. 

Learn French with Promova

Are you still searching for a place to get the most effective French classes? You can now stay calm and relax, as Promova is already here and is ready to assist you in this challenging journey. Our platform provides everything for comfortable and effective learning, so don’t pass by and find out more about the available programs. Learn how to say hi in French and other things you’ll need for your perfect language skills. 

Students can enjoy a personal guided course in the app or the browser version. You will get nothing but pleasure and tons of useful details when learning with Promova. Moreover, you can take your classes with you wherever you are since we have developed a multifunctional application for our students. Download it on your smartphone, and your language learning school will always be in your pocket.

Would you like to strengthen your speaking skills? Here, we will also not leave you without attention. Promova can help you improve every point. Our app will assist you in boosting pronunciation, active vocabulary, and grammar.


French residents love communicating with different people, and greeting them politely is the basics. There are different ways to say hello in French – and “bonjour” is only one of the options. On this page, we have highlighted the most widespread words used daily in French-speaking countries. Don’t forget to learn at least some of them when planning your trip or getting acquainted online.


Is it enough to say “bonjour” when greeting a French person?

Overall, it’s pretty enough to say one word and continue the conversation. However, it will be better if you start small talk. Ask “ça va?”, “comment ça va?” or “comment allez-vous?”, which all mean “how are you?” The French are known for their endless politeness, so this simple question will help you win over the person and show your interest in the dialogue.

How to start learning French?

Knowing the basics is essential when studying any language. Therefore, begin with the simplest topics, like the one described in this article. Students can start learning on their own; there are multiple online and offline sources available for free. And you can also contact Promova for a structured approach to learning French and a ton of ready-made materials. We offer personal guided courses for language-learners of all levels. You can download our app, and education will become even more accessible and simple.

What is the most unusual way to say hello in French?

Of course, all the phrases mentioned above are familiar to French people. However, the word “rebonjour” has become a true discovery for many. No other languages have an analog, which makes this option exciting and unusual. We are confident that many would gladly use this word daily since it often happens we have to greet others repeatedly.

What are the main peculiarities in greeting in French-speaking countries?

French residents are always open to communication and are ready to welcome visitors. They are friendly and kind, so you should prepare for small talk when meeting a new person. They will never ignore you and talk to new acquaintances like with good old friends. Be prepared to experience incredible hospitality when traveling to France.


Britt CrenshawAug 29th, 2023
I appreciate the breakdown of different greetings in french. It's a valuable resource for anyone looking to connect more authentically while communicating in the language.