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 with 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 say a brief goodbye. The 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. “A dans une heure” – See you in an hour
Definition: We can decide to be more explicit on the duration we will be away, in French by telling our partner the exact time they should expect us to be back. In this expression, the person meant 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 the 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, 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 say a long-term goodbye in French, depending on the duration with 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 you 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 “A 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 to another country, or when you know your chances of seeing that person again is 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 nearest future, although not certain. “Jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions” gives people the impression that there will be a next time and even spice up the way in which you end the conversation. You might say it to your loved one if you are moving far away, or to your principal or headmaster at the end of the school year.
Example: Je t’aime maman, jusqu’à ce qu’on se retrouve
Translation: I love you mom, until we meet again
4. “A dans un mois” – See you in a month
Definition: Sometimes, we tend to be specific for the duration of time we will be away. And just like this expression, we can say exactly state when our loved ones, friends, and colleagues can expect us to be back. So, 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 that you may never see them again maybe until the hereafter. The expression is highly formal and has a high sense of finality, the reason why it is the last on the 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: The patient bade adieu to his family
Translation: Le patient fait ses adieux à sa famille
photo by: TalkInFrench
Other Useful Phrases about “Goodbye” in French
Saying goodbye can be more difficult than lifting 100kg weight, but you just have to say it. So, to be able to properly say goodbye, knowing some 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 so 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 together, 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: Please keep 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 say a short goodbye to someone. It’s a subtle way to imply that you would speak to them but without any time frame.
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 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 used a lot in street slang and in 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 when someone is going to leave or say goodbye and they kiss their loved ones, friends, and family on the cheek, one, two, or even four times before leaving without saying any word. This is known as la bise (to 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.
La bise can be done at almost all times; it is commonly done when you meet a close friend you’ve seen for ages, or relative, loved ones, newly introduced friends, or even at a meet-and-greet gathering, as well as when you are about to depart.
Now that we know, who and when to do La bise. We might wonder, how many kisses should be done exactly? and on which cheek first? So, this varies by social class, and by locations in France, and as such, la bise is done differently. 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. Also, the number of kisses is averagely two, and while the upper classes tend to restrict themselves to two, working classes are likely to go for four, and the further south you go, the more kisses you give.
So how do you faire la bise, or “do the kiss” in French when you encounter a friend, accomplice, family member, or your loved ones. Let’s look at a detailed step-by-step direction for doing la bise.
- Slowly lean forward, turning your cheek as if you’re offering it to the other person; the other person will do the same.
- Put your right or left hand on the other person’s shoulder as they lean to you (optional)
- Remove eyeglasses or hats (optional but polite, as it can help avoid poking an eye out)
- Lightly touch your cheek to the other person’s cheek. It’s important your cheeks touch!
- Pucker your lips slightly
- Make a light kissing sound only with your lips. (not your voice, see note below on what not to do)
The French don’t joke with la bise, and you may find yourself obligated to offer la bise to everyone in a party or gathering before you are allowed to leave, and that 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 at work and schools as well as your close relatives in other languages? Such as learning 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!