How To Say Goodnight In French (Quick Beginner's Guide)

  • Adrien Renault
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How To Say Goodnight In French (Quick Beginner's Guide)

French greetings can be used to make a lasting impression, and bidding someone ‘goodnight’ is no exception.

Though you’ll learn bonne nuit first in your French course, there are many other ways to say ‘goodnight’ in French.

We’ve put together this guide to the common and not so common ways to say ‘goodnight’ in French to help you understand when these night-time greetings are used and how to use them.

By the end, you’ll be able to say ‘goodnight’ in various ways to all your friends and family. Take a look!

What are some common ways to say ‘goodnight’ in French?

Some of the most frequently used ways to say ‘goodnight’ in French are:

Le Français English
Bonne nuit Good night
Á demain Until tomorrow
Fais de beaux rêves Sweet dreams
Bonsoir Good evening
Bien dormir Sleep well
Dors bien Sleep well
Dors avec les anges Sleep with the angels
Bonne soirée Have a good evening

When to use bonne nuit and when to use bonsoir

In French, you would normally use the phrase bonne nuit when you are saying goodnight to someone or if you’re about to go to sleep. Here’s a quick example for you:

Listen to audio

Dis bonne nuit à ta mère et à ton père, il est l’heure d’aller au lit.

Say goodnight to your mother and father, it’s time for bed.

The word bonsoir, on the other hand, is used during the evening. You can use it instead of bonjour, to say ‘good bye’ to someone when you’re parting ways in the evening.

Listen to audio

Bonsoir, j’espère vous revoir.

Good evening, I hope to see you again.

When to use bonsoir vs bonne soirée

We’ve included bonsoir on our list, which is generally used as an evening or late evening greeting. It’s also sometimes used as an opener when you run into someone at the end of the day. Bonne soirée is used at the same time of day, but you’ll hear it when you’re leaving someone.

Bonsoir means ‘good evening’ whereas bonne soirée means ‘have a good evening’.

Using fais de beaux rêves and dors avec les anges in informal contexts

There are some French night-time greetings, such as fais de beaux rêves and dors avec les anges that you’ll only ever use with your close family or partner.

This is because both of these greetings should be used in informal contexts.

For instance, if you wanted to say ‘goodnight’ in French to your children, in English you might say ‘sweet dreams’.

Fais de beaux rêves is a similar expression, meaning ‘make beautiful dreams’.

Listen to audio

Fais de beaux rêves ma chérie.

Sweet dreams my darling.

The phrase dors avec les anges is used in the same way. It’s a term of endearment and might sound like something from a book of poems, which is why you should only use it with your close family.

Listen to audio

Ferme les yeux et dors avec les anges mon fils.

Close your eyes and sleep with the angels my son.

Key French vocabulary to be aware of related to the night

Take a look at some of the basic vocabulary related to saying goodnight in French below.

Familiarising yourself with some of these phrases is useful as you’ll often hear them being used by French speakers when they’re about to go to sleep.

Le Français English
Sommeil Sleep
Nuit Night
Être crevé I’m exhausted
Avoir sommeil To be sleepy/tired
Un lit A bed
Je vais dormir I’m going to sleep
Aller au lit To go to bed

5 common French expressions/idioms related to sleep

To help you expand your knowledge of common French phrases related to the night and to sleep, here’s a list of five frequently used French expressions.

Some are idioms related to going to bed or taking a nap.

They’re sometimes tricky to understand because the literal translation will differ from the actual meaning.

Le Français English
Dormir d’un sommeil de plomb To sleep deeply (like a stone)
Piquer un somme To take a nap
Passer une nuit blanche To be up all night
Dormir comme un bébé To sleep like a baby
Dormir sur ses deux oreilles To sleep soundly (literally to sleep on both ears)

Put your French night-time greetings into practice!

Now you’ve got the required vocabulary, you’ll need to practice listening to it and using them in conversations.

To reinforce your knowledge, you might consider using French resources, French courses and educational YouTube videos. Some French YouTube videos might be aimed at children, but you’ll be able to use the catchy songs and practice listening to the many ways to say ‘goodnight’ in French.

Once you’ve gained confidence, you’ll be able to be bid French natives ‘goodnight’ with ease!


Got any other French phrases that mean ‘goodnight’ that we’ve missed?

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
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