16 Ways to Say “Goodbye” in French with Audio & Cultural Tips

There are several ways of saying goodbye in French. Typically, people in France usually say Au revior which means “goodbye”, to their loved ones, friends, and family. However, there are more ways to say goodbye, such as using the phrase À plus tard to tell someone that you will see them later or saying bonne journée to wish them a good day. Finding the right words or gestures to express your emotions is one of the best ways to learn French, since it might make the transition smoother and more memorable.

5 Short-term Ways to Say “Goodbye” in French

There are always other ways of greeting especially when saying goodbye in France, and in the ways in which people decide on the kind of words to tell their loved ones goodbye. Depending on the time frame during which they will be away from their friends or family, goodbye can be said in different forms for either a short time or long-term absence.

1.À bientôt” – See you soon

Definition: “À bientôt” is a French phrase used to express a brief goodbye. This expression is used when you know you will see the other person soon albeit you don’t know the time, it may be later in the same day, next day in the morning or evening, but you are sure, it won’t be long.

Example: J’ai apprécié mon séjour avec vous, à bientôt ma chère

Translation: I enjoyed my stay with you, see you soon my dear

2. “À plus tard” – See you later

Definition: “À plus tard” in French means “see you later”. It can be used when someone is saying goodbye and will return shortly, most likely the same day but not at the same location. You can expect to see the person anywhere. The term can even be used when you say goodbye to someone now and you expect them to see them at a pre-set venue.

Example: Nous avons un week-end de quatre jours, à plus tard.

Translation: We have a four-day weekend, see you later

3. “À dans une heure” – See you in an hour

Definition: In French, we can decide to be more exact on the duration we will be away, telling our partner the exact time they should expect us to be back. With this expression, the person means that they will be gone for an hour. This kind of expression is commonly used when you need to just get something in another city, and you will be back soon.

Example: Je dois faire du shopping à Marseille, à dans une heure

Translation: I have to go shopping in Marseille, see you in an hour

4. “À demain” – See you tomorrow

Definition: This is straightforward; you are hoping to see them tomorrow. This expression is very common among students and the working class, as they regularly say this to their colleagues at work, marketplace, or school. Whenever you want to see someone the next day, simply say, “À demain” i.e. “See you tomorrow”.

Example: Au plaisir de vous voir demain à la conférence

Translation: Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at the conference

5. “Bonne journée” – Have a nice day

Definition: “Bonne journée” is a form of expression used to end a conversation in French. It is always said in the morning to part ways with our friends, family and loved ones, in the hope to see them later in the evening.

Example: J’espère que vous avez apprécié votre repas. Merci et bonne journée

Translation: I hope you enjoyed your meal. Thank you and have a nice day

5 Long-term Ways to Say “Goodbye” in French

Sometimes, we might need to leave our loved ones, friends, and coworkers for an extended period of time, or it might even be indefinitely such that we won’t see them again. These kinds of goodbyes are harder to say because of the longer duration of loneliness, and how greatly you will miss them. There are also various ways to express a long-term goodbye in French, depending on the duration for which we will be gone.

1. “À l’année prochaine” – See you next year

Definition: You can use the expression “À l’année prochaine” if you are a student or working-class and need to say goodbye at the end of an annual event, workshop, seminar, or academic conference. A student can say this at the end of an academic session when they wish to see the person again, the following year.

Example: J’ai apprécié votre présentation, j’espère vous voir l’année prochaine

Translation: I enjoyed your presentation, I hope to see you next year

2. “À plus tard dans la vie” See you later in life

Definition: This is an extended version of “à plus tard”  which means “See you later”. The expression “à plus tard dans la vie”  is used to tell someone that you hope to meet them somehow, somewhere in life as you both tread your life journey. This can be after 5, 10, or even 20 years. For example, this expression can be used when resettling in another country, or when you know your chances of seeing that person again are slim.

Example: À plus tard dans la vie mon ami

Translation: See you later in life my friend

3. “Jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions” – till we Meet Again

Definition: This is a common phrase used for long goodbyes, particularly in formal settings.  The expression is used when two people hope to see each other in the near future, although it is not certain. “Jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions” gives people the impression that there will be a next time and might even spice up the way in which you end the conversation. You might say it to your loved one if you’re moving far away, or to your principal or headmaster at the end of the school year.

Example: Je t’aime maman, jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions

Translation: I love you mom, until we meet again

4. “A dans un mois” – See you in a month

Definition: Sometimes, we need to be more specific about the duration of time we will be away. With this expression, we can exactly state when our loved ones, friends, and colleagues can expect us to be back. This statement can be used to tell someone specifically that you will see them in a month, year, 2 years time, etc. This phrase is useful because you keep their mind at rest by telling them the exact time they should be looking forward to your arrival.

Example: Je te verrai dans un mois

Translation: I will see you in a month

5.Adieu” Farewell

Definition: The phrase “Adieu” is a form of long-time greeting in French that should never be taken lightly, as it is a way of saying goodbye to someone and in which you may never see them again maybe until the hereafter. The expression is highly formal and has a high sense of finality, which is also the reason why it makes up the last example of this list. Only use this expression when you never plan on seeing the person again or they are on their death bed. “Adieu” simply means goodbye forever.

Example: Le patient fait ses adieux à sa famille

Translation: The patient said goodbye to his family

say goodbye in frenchphoto by: TalkInFrench

Other Useful Phrases about “Goodbye” in French

Saying goodbye can be more difficult than lifting 100kg of weights, but you just have to say it. Therefore, to be able to properly say goodbye, knowing some other supporting useful phrases will be very helpful. Let’s look at 5 phrases we can use to bid our friends, family, and loved ones goodbye.

1. “Hâte de vous voir” – Can’t wait to see you

Definition: “Hâte de vous voir” is a nice way to say goodbye. The expression is mostly used for someone who is about to leave and very eager to see their loved ones, friends, and co-workers soon.

Example: Je pars bientôt, j’ai hâte de vous revoir

Translation: I’m leaving soon, can’t wait to see you again

 2.“Rester en contact” – Keep in touch

Definition: This expression is commonly used in gatherings such as reunions, get togethers, and other similar occasions. You are trying to let the other person know that you would like to stay updated about their whereabouts, but not necessarily all the time.

Example: Merci de rester en contact avec moi

Translation: Thanks for keeping in touch with me

3. “On se parle plus tard” – Talk to you later

Definition: This expression is as simple as it sound. You can use the phrase “on se parle plus tard” to express a short goodbye to someone. It’s a subtle way to imply that you will speak to them in the near future.

Example: Je te parlerai plus tard mon amour

Translation: I will talk to you later my love

4. “Prends soin” – Take care

Definition: This way of saying goodbye means that you’re wishing the other person well, and that they have a nice and easy time until you see them again, especially used with your loved ones.

Example: Prends soin de toi maman

Translation: Take care, mum

5. “La paix” – Peace out

Definition: Sometimes shortened to just “peace”. This expression is sort of like saying “peace be with you” and “goodbye” at the same time. It means you wish the other person well, and it’s a phrase that you will find being used a lot in street slang and French hip hop.

Example: la paix frère

Translation: Peace out, bro

Saying “Goodbye” in French With No Words: La Bise

You might have probably seen movies where, as someone is leaving or saying goodbye, they kiss their loved ones, friends, or family on the cheek, one, two, or even four times before leaving without saying a word. This is known as “la bise” (the kiss), a traditional cheek kissing way of greeting other people in France. This form of greeting is ingrained in French culture. La bise can be used by everyone, male or female.

La bise can take place at almost all times; it is commonly done when you meet a close friend you haven’t seen for ages, or a relative, loved one, newly introduced friend, or even at a meet-and-greet gathering. La bise is both used as a greetings and when you’re about to part ways with someone.

Now that we know with who and when to do La bise. We might wonder, how many kisses should be done exactly? Which cheek first? This varies by social class, and by locations in France, meaning that la bise can vary greatly. The western and northern part of France usually starts with the right cheek while the left is offered first in the South and South-eastern region. Another important note is that, the number of kisses is averagely two, and while the upper classes tend to restrict themselves to two, working classes are likely to go up to four; the further south you go, the more kisses you may give in one “bise”.

So how do you “faire la bise” (do the kiss) in French when encountering a friend, accomplice, family member, or your loved one. Let’s look at a detailed step-by-step direction for doing la bise.

  1. Slowly lean forward, turning your cheek as if you’re offering it to the other person; the other person will do the same.
  2. Put your right or left hand on the other person’s shoulder as they lean towards you (optional)
  3. Remove eyeglasses or hats (optional but polite, as it can help avoid poking an eye out)
  4. Lightly place your cheek next to the other person’s cheek. It’s important your cheeks touch!
  5. Make a light kissing sound only with your lips. (not your voice, see note below on what not to do)

The French don’t play around with la bise, and you may find yourself obligated to offer la bise to everyone in a party or gathering before you can leave, which can indeed be a lot of work. Learning French is more than just learning the language, but also learning the culture. 

 

It’s Time to Say “Au revior”

Congratulations! You have mastered the art of saying goodbye in French. Which of those goodbyes is your favorite? Now that you know how to close conversations in French, wouldn’t it be nice to say goodbye to your friends, colleagues or classmates as well as your close relatives in other languages? You can also learn how to say goodbye in Chinese or goodbye in Japanese. Well, I guess the time has come for us to say goodbye, for now. À bientôt! See you soon!

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