How Do You Say ‘Have A Good Day’ In French? Huge Misconception Explained!

Even if all you know about French is ‘bonjour’, never be worried about making the first move towards your French neighbor, or just a ‘boulanger’ you have met once. Saying ‘hello’ or have a good day’ in French is more than just a matter of greeting someone, as the French have turned it into an art form. Whether you are in a store, ask for help, or just want to start a casual conversation, these simple words will work their magic. 

So, will you pull out the magic of ‘have a good day’ in French? Learning some basic French phrases can be more rewarding and make a big difference in your relationships!

Have A Good Day In French

‘Bonne journée!’ is the most common and simple way to say ‘have a good day in French’. 

As mentioned earlier, ‘have a good day in French’ is more than just a salutation. Besides helping others start their day with a brilliant mood, the phrase can be usually used as an awesome farewell to your friends or family members. Whether you leave your spouse in the morning, drop your kids at school, or say goodbye to the neighbor next door, saying ‘bonne journée’ while leaving kisses on their cheeks will always make their day.  

There are some examples of when to say ‘have a good day’ in French.

  • Have a good day sweetheart! – Bonne journée ma chérie!
  • Have a good day at school, kids! – Bonne journée à l’école, les enfants!
  • Thank you, ma’am. Have a good day! – Merci, madame. Bonne journée!

Verbal expressions are so powerful and sensational. But do you know that saying ‘hello’ in sign language can also be very touching? Find out how to make that non-verbal expression with Jobandedu!

Similarly, if you want to say ‘have a great evening’ in French, the phrase ‘bonne soirée’ will work. 

Have a great day in French
How do you say have a good day in French – Source: Unsplash

Uh oh, so is there anything wrong here? So ‘bonjour’ has nothing to do with ‘have a good day’ in French? 

Huge Misconception Revealed

Actually, ‘jour’ and ‘journée’ in French may be a bit confusing at first. Although both refer to ‘day’ in English, their meanings are different. 

While ‘jour’ refers specifically to a 24-hour period or a day of a week, ‘journée’ denotes the experience you get during the day. That said, everyone shares only one ‘jour’, but their ‘journée’ are totally different and unique to each person. Your experiences reflect what your life looks like, so it is why we have the word ‘journey’ in English. 

Have a good day in French
Bonjour doesn’t mean ‘have a good day’ in French – Source: Unsplash

Additionally, it is a huge misconception that ‘Bonjour’ means ‘have a good day’. Actually, it doesn’t. A quick glimpse at the following part will guide you through this well-known French word.

Bonjour! – How To Say ‘Hello’ In French

‘Bonjour’ can either mean hello, good morning, or good afternoon. However, it is only a polite greeting and has nothing to do with a nice wish upon leaving like ‘bonne journée’. Most francophones will say this phrase once it is not dark outside. 

Of note, ‘bonjour’ is a flexible word and considered as an all-purpose term that works in all situations. If you want to break the ice with someone, ask for help, or enter any shop, all you need to do is say ‘bonjour’. 

Don’t forget to add something like ‘madame, monsieur, or a name like Paris” accordingly. Just if you want to be more French, some kind of physical contact like a handshake (between men) or ‘la bise’ for friends or family (one, two, or three light kisses or air kisses on their cheeks) will work. Importantly, the number of kisses may vary among regions. So, check it out carefully in order not to appear awkward or impolite.

Hello in French
Bonjour means ‘Hello’ in French – Source: Unsplash

Trust me; your greeting can make the difference between a friendly conversation and a frosty one. 

If you want to say ‘good evening’ in French, you should start using ‘bonsoir’ around 6pm. 

As you can see, these terms ‘bonjour’ and ‘bonsoir’ are single words, not ‘bon jour’ and ‘bon soir’. Thus, ‘bonjour’ cannot be translated as ‘have a good day’ in French. It just means ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, or ‘good afternoon’. 

Let’s see some examples using ‘Hello’ in French!

  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! – Mesdames et messieurs, bonjour!
  • Good morning, ma’am! – Bonjour, madame!
  • Good afternoon, Pete! – Bonjour, Pete!
  • Good evening, babe! – Bonsoir bébé!

Other Ways To Say ‘Hello’ In French

Besides formal ways to say ‘Hello’ in French like ‘bonjour’ and ‘bonsoir’, several possibilities fit the informal context. ‘Salut’, ‘coucou’ and ‘ciao’ (tchaou) are what I am going to talk about. A quick look at ‘what does salut mean’ in French and the other words may help you know when and how to use them. 

What Does Salut Mean In French?

In a nutshell, ‘salut’ means ‘hello’ or ‘hi’. It can be used as a familiar greeting at any time of the day. Of note, you had better say this term among friends, family members, or those who are younger than you. 

Other ways to say hello in French
​​Salut is a friendly way to say hi – Source: Unsplash

You can also ‘faire la bise’ (two kisses in general) or ‘se serrer la main’ (shake hands) when greeting your loved ones with that saying. 

Some examples to make things clear:

  • Hi kids! – Salut les enfants!
  • Hi dad! – Salut papa!
  • Hi dude! – Salut mec!

Interestingly, ‘salut’ can be a nice way to bid farewell to your friends or family members. 

What About ‘Coucou’?

I am in love with the informal and playful way to say ‘Hi’ like ‘coucou’. Frankly, this term does sound really cute when calling out for someone, just like knocking on a half-opened door. For your information, this way of salutation has its origin in French baby talk. 

Hi in French
Other ways to say hello in French – Source: Unsplash

Kiddie’s words are typically spoken by children or when we talk to them. Even if you do not find a reason to use this word, this informal greeting always fits friendly conversations, including text messages.

Example: Hi Loucie! How is it going? – Coucou Loucie! Ça va bien? 

And ‘Ciao’?

‘Ciao’? Yay, no kidding. Despite being an Italian word, ‘ciao’ is a popular way to say ‘hi’ or ‘bye’ in French. Many French also repeat this word twice to mean ‘bye bye’ to others. 

Hi in French
Other ways to say hello in French – Source: Nytimes

That said, ‘ciao’ can function for both greeting and leave-taking. 


  • Hi Jean! – Ciao Jean!
  • Bye Bye, Jeanne! – Ciao ciao, Jeanne!


If magic does exist, I think languages are true to the case. Even if you can only say ‘hello’ or ‘have a good day’ in French, you are sure to grab the key to get a quick connection with people there. We do hope that this article has clarified things, including how to say these common greetings and when to use it in different contexts. Have fun learning at our College Life section! Bonne journée!

Paris Laurent

Paris Laurent is aware of "word's power" and has a strong urge to inspire all people with the best works as per her findings and stories she's heard of. She's ever plunged into the world of the interstellar ship Argos. The Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports her to worlds so immersive and dramatic, for a time, her own. And she did show up the far-out materials for buddies and any guys out there with much standing ovation. Yet, it's not all about her good reads! Other topics of hers, indeed, are worth reading as they encapsulate a wide range of aspects, not just classic pieces. With her agility and unique taste, she will blow your mind at all.