Bonnes Fêtes and other useful French greetings for this holiday season

It’s the holiday season and it’s always good to know a few easy French phrases if you’re heading to France or planning to go to “une soirée” for Christmas or New Year’s with French speakers. Here are some greetings and phrases to keep an ear out for… and try to say while you’re at it!


  • Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas
  • Bonnes Fêtes! – Happy Holidays
  • Joyeuses Fêtes – Happy Holidays
  • Meilleurs Voeux – Best Wishes
  • La période de Noël or la période des fêtes – the Christmas Season
  • Le pere Noël – Father Christmas
  • Le jour de Noël – Christmas Day
  • La veille de Noël – Christmas Eve
  • La carte de Noël – the Christmas card
  • Le sapin de Noël – the Christmas tree
  • Offrir un cadeau (de Noël) – to give a (Christmas) present

New Year’s

  • Bonne Année – Happy New Year
  • Réveillon – Long elaborate dinner to celebrate New Year’s or Christmas’ eve
  • Bonne Santé – Good health (also said at new year)

Words and phrases you may hear during this season

  • Une soirée – an evening party
  • Organiser une fête (informal) or donner une réception/soirée (formal) – to throw a party
  • Nous sommes invités chez eux – We’re invited to their house.
  • On nous a invité a prendre un verre – They invited us for a drink.
  • Une invitation – an invitation

Bonnes Fêtes!

If you know of or hear other phrases for Christmas or New Year’s, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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