Knowing how to say Good night in French is important.
As a French coach, I can tell you that learning the basics of politeness is essential, especially in France.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to say Good night and how to answer it.
Let’s get started!
How to say Good night in French?
Saying Good night in French is very easy, but you need to watch out for two phrases, so you don’t end up saying the wrong thing.
Good night in French: Bonne nuit
Bonne nuit literally translates as “Good night”, so it’s easy to remember.
It’s your go-to sentence when it’s nighttime and you want to:
- wish someone a good night because they are going to bed.
- let other people know you’re going to bed.
Here are some other variations:
- Bonne nuit + name: Bonne nuit Joanna (Good night Joanna)
- Bonne nuit + affectionate nickname: Bonne nuit mon amour (Good night my love)
- Bonne nuit tout le monde (Good night everyone)
In English, you can use “good night” to mean either:
- have a good night’s sleep
- have a good evening, as in enjoy the rest of your night
But in French, you can’t say bonne nuit for both.
Bonne nuit is only used when you’re going to bed.
Have a good night in French: Bonne soirée
If you want to say “good night” as in “enjoy your night”, you say Bonne soirée.
Bonne soirée literally translates as “Good evening”, but it’s not used as a greeting like in English. It’s used only as a farewell.
For example, after enjoying a nice meal with people at a restaurant, you can tell them Bonne soirée when you part ways.
Alternatively, you can also say:
- Passez une bonne soirée (Have a good evening) – formal
- Passe une bonne soirée (Have a good evening) – informal
- Je vous souhaite une bonne soirée (I wish you a good evening) – formal
- Je te souhaite une bonne soirée (I wish you a good evening) – informal
Good evening in French: Bonsoir
So how do you say “Good night” as a greeting in French?
You simply say Bonsoir, which is the equivalent of “Good evening” in English.
This is the standard greeting to use whether you’re entering the bakery after 6 p.m or meeting friends and acquaintances when it’s already dark outside.
Let’s recap before we see more ways to wish someone a good night in French.
- Bonsoir is to greet people in the evening or at night
- Bonne soirée is to wish people a nice evening
- Bonne nuit is to wish people a good night’s sleep
Now that you know the difference between Bonsoir, Bonne soirée and Bonne nuit, let’s see what else you can say.
See you tomorrow in French: À demain
This is another common way to wish someone a good night in France.
You can use it to replace bonne nuit altogether or add it after saying bonne nuit.
- À demain. (See you tomorrow.)
- Bonne nuit, à demain. (Good night, see you tomorrow.)
And good news: It’s suited to both formal and informal situations, so you can use it with everyone, as long as you’re seeing them the next day.
How to reply to Bonne nuit in French?
The simplest answer to Bonne nuit is:
- Bonne nuit à vous aussi. (Good night to you too.) – formal
- Bonne nuit à toi aussi. (Good night to you too.) – informal
But you can spice it up a little by going with the following sentences.
Sleep well in French: Dors bien
When you want to say “sleep well” to someone, use Dors bien.
Usually, when someone tells you bonne nuit, you’ll answer with:
- Bonne nuit, dors bien. (Good night, sleep well.)
- Toi aussi, dors bien. (You too, sleep well).
Dors bien is meant for informal situations, when you’re talking to someone you know.
You can say Dormez bien to several people or to someone you don’t know (well or at all).
Although, in that last case, you might get a funny look in France, because French people would probably think it’s none of your business whether or not they sleep well.
Sweet dreams in French: Fais de beaux rêves
When you want to wish someone to have good dreams, use Fais de beaux rêves.
When someone tells you bonne nuit, you can answer with:
- Fais de beaux rêves simply on it’s own.
- Bonne nuit, fais de beaux rêves. (Good night, sweet dreams.)
- Toi aussi, fais de beaux rêves. (You too, sweet dreams.)
Fais de beaux rêves is informal, so use it with people you already know.
You can say Faites de beaux rêves to several people or to someone you don’t know. But, in that last case, you might get the same funny look as with Dormez bien.
The bottom line
Now you know exactly how to say Good night in French and how to answer!
All the vocabulary you learned in this article is essential because politeness is key in France.
So next time you want to say good night or answer it in French, you’ll be well prepared!
Want to learn more vocabulary about French politeness? Check out how to say Nice to meet you in French.