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How to say Good Night in French: Bonne Nuit and more

Celine Segueg

As the day winds down, knowing how to articulate a heartfelt good night in French can add a touch of elegance and warmth to your evening farewells.

Just like in English, we have a variety of expressions for saying good night in French, each with its own nuances and level of formality.

So whether you’re bidding good night to a loved one or offering a respectful farewell to a colleague, mastering these phrases will provide you with a nice variety of options for bringing the evening to a close.

In this post we’ll explore a breadth of ways to say good night in French. We’ll look into both formal and informal expressions, including some charming phrases for wishing someone sweet dreams in French.

So get ready to enrich your French nighttime vocabulary as we embark on this nocturnal linguistic journey!

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Bonne nuit

Bonne nuit, meaning good night, is the most universal way to wish someone a peaceful night’s sleep in French. It’s suitable for any situation, whether you’re saying good night to your family, friends, or even acquaintances. It’s the typical expression we use when at least one of us is about to head to sleep, and we won’t see each other again that night.

  • Bonne nuit, maman. Je t’aime. – Good night, mom. I love you.
  • Votre chambre est au troisième étage, et la réception reste ouverte 24h sur 24. Bonne nuit, monsieur. – Your room is on the third floor, and the reception stays open 24 hours a day. Good night, sir.

Dors bien, Dormez bien

Dors bien is the literal equivalent of sleep well in French. Dors bien is the tu form, while dormez bien is the vous form. Grammatically, it uses the French imperative, effectively giving someone an order to sleep well!

This expression is pretty neutral, so it can be used among friends, family, or even in more formal contexts like a hotel receptionist addressing a client going up to their room.

  • Dors bien, mon petit. – Sleep well, my little one.
  • Le petit déjeuner est servi de 7h à 10h. Dormez bien, Monsieur. – Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am. Sleep well, sir.

Repose-toi bien, Reposez-vous bien

Repose-toi bien translates literally as rest well. Reposez-vous bien is the vous form. The dash is obligatory when we write this phrase, connecting the verb in the imperative form with its reflexive pronoun. The verb here is se reposer, which means to rest oneself.

Repose-toi bien is a gentle way to wish someone a restful night. It’s definitely the best option when you know that the other person has had a very busy day, or if they have a big event the next day for which they need to be well rested. This phrase is not exclusively used at the end of the day to wish someone good night in French, since it’s suitable anytime we part ways with someone who we think could definitely use some rest.

  • Repose-toi bien, ma chérie. – Rest well, my dear.
  • Grandes félicitations à tous les athlètes ! Reposez-vous bien ce soir. – Congratulations to all the athletes! Rest well tonight.

Fais de beaux rêves, Faites de beaux rêves

Fais de beaux rêves means have beautiful dreams, and is a tender way to wish someone sweet dreams in French.

Since this is a phrase we usually reserve for people close to us, the tu form of fais de beaux rêves is likely the only one you’ll need. Faites de beaux rêves is the vous form, suitable when wishing multiple people sweet dreams in French. This expression is a bit too intimate for use with people you don’t know very well.

  • Bonne nuit, mon ami. Fais de beaux rêves. – Good night, my friend. Have beautiful dreams.
  • Bonne nuit, les enfants. Faites de beaux rêves. – Good night, kids. Sweet dreams.

Que tes/vos rêves soient doux

Translated as may your dreams be sweet, this poetic expression is perfect for a heartfelt goodnight wish.

Depending on whether we’re addressing tu or vous, we just need to adjust the corresponding possessive adjective between tes and vos, both meaning your. The verb être here is conjugated in the present subjunctive, as soient.

Just like the one we saw above, this version of sweet dreams in French is also a bit too intimate to be used much with people we don’t know. Indeed, it’s best used alongside sweet terms of endearment in French.

  • Que tes rêves soient doux, ma douce. – May your dreams be sweet, my love.
  • Bonne nuit, mes enfants. Que vos rêves soient doux. – Good night, my children. May your dreams be sweet.

Bonne soirée

While bonne soirée means good evening, it can be used as a parting phrase when the evening is coming to a close but it’s not quite bedtime. In this sense, we still include it here as one of our French good night expressions.

  • Bonne soirée, et à demain! – Have a good evening, see you tomorrow!
  • Tu seras couché quand nous revenons, donc nous te souhaitons bonne nuit. / D’accord. Bonne soirée. – You’ll be asleep when we get back, so we bid you good night. / Ok. Good night.

Be aware that bonne soirée in French is most common as an informal farewell, rather than as a way of saying good night before bed. It’s the counterpart to bonne journée that’s used once it starts to get dark outside. In the evening, people say bonne soirée to each other before hanging up the phone or when exiting a shop or restaurant, for example. In this sense it bears some similarities to the Spanish buenas noches.

  • Merci d’être venus. Bonne soirée. / Bonne soirée ! – Thanks for coming. Have a good evening. / Good evening!

Je vais me coucher

This phrase means I’m going to bed, and is a way to signal the end of the evening. It’s an indirect way of saying good night in French, since it’s the speaker who’s going to bed as opposed to the other way around.

Grammatically, this phrase is based on the reflexive verb se coucher, which means to go to bed. It uses the the verb aller to form the futur proche, meaning that the action is imminent.

Announcing je vais me coucher commonly elicits a response from the other person where they wish the speaker good night. Any of the phrases we’ve seen so far are good replies!

  • Je suis fatigué, je vais me coucher. Bonne nuit. / Dors bien ! – I’m tired, I’m going to bed. Good night. / Sleep well!
  • Je dois me lever tôt. Je vais me coucher. / D’accord, bonne nuit. – I need to wake up early. I’m going to go to bed. / Ok, good night.

À demain

Meaning until tomorrow or see you tomorrow, this is a common way to say goodbye in the evening, implying that you’ll see the person the next day.

À demain is suitable pretty much anytime you part ways with someone you’ll see the next day, whether you’re leaving work or school, or if you’re about to go to sleep. As a French good night expression, it’s generally used in conjunction with any of the other phrases we’ve seen so far.

  • Bonne nuit, à demain ! – Good night, see you tomorrow!
  • Fais de beaux rêves. À demain ! – Sweet dreams. Until tomorrow!

Repose en paix

We’ll end our list of French good night phrases with repose en paix, since it’s a very final good night. Used to wish eternal rest, this phrase translates to rest in peace. It’s a respectful way to bid adieu to someone who has passed away.

Note that, in contrast with the grammar details we outlined with repose-toi bien, this phrase never takes other forms. Whether we wish RIP to a pet or a king, the phrase is always repose en paix.

  • Repose en paix, grand-père. – Rest in peace, grandfather.

Conclusion: Good night in French

There you have it! Now you’re equipped with a diverse set of phrases to say good night in French. From the classic bonne nuit to the dreamy fais de beaux rêves, these expressions will help you navigate any nighttime farewell with ease and grace.

Whether you’re tucking in a child, parting ways with a friend after an evening out, or giving your partner a kiss before you both close your eyes for the night, these French good night phrases will add a layer of cultural authenticity to your interactions.

Thanks for reading! Bonne nuit, et fais de beaux rêves !

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