"Bon Anniversaire": Saying Happy Birthday in French

Lighting birthday candles on French tart

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Learn how to say happy birthday in French, and other related vocabulary.

Happy birthday! has two possible translations:

   Bon anniversaire!
Joyeux anniversaire!

(Note that anniversaire is a semi-false cognate.)

In Canada, Bonne fête! is commonly used to mean "happy birthday," but it can also be used to wish someone a happy Saint's Day as well as generically to spread good cheer during any holiday.

The French birthday song is very simple and is sung to the same tune as "Happy Birthday to You":

   Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire*
Joyeux anniversaire

*The person's name may be sung very quickly at the end of this line.

French Birthday Vocabulary

  • birthday - un anniversaire
  • birthday cake - un gâteau d'anniversaire
  • birthday card - une carte d'anniversaire
  • birthday party - une fête/soirée pour son anniversaire
  • birthday present - un cadeau d'anniversaire
  • in one's birthday suit - en costume d'Adam / d'Ève
  • to blow out the candles, to celebrate one's birthday - souffler ses bougies
  • When is your birthday? - Quelle est la date / Quel est le jour de ton anniversaire?
  • What did you get for your birthday? - Qu'est-ce que tu as eu pour ton anniversaire?

French Holiday Wishes

Here are all the French phrases you need to spread good cheer during any holiday:

  • Happy Easter! - Joyeuses Pâques! Bonnes Pâques!
  • Happy Hanukkah! - Bonne fête de Hanoukka!
  • Happy Bastille Day! - Bonne fête!
  • Happy holidays! - Joyeuses fêtes! Meilleurs vœux!
  • Happy New Year! - Bonne Année!
  • Happy Saint's Day! - Bonne fête!
  • Merry Christmas! - Joyeux Noël!
  • Seasons greetings - Joyeux Noël et bonne Année

Other Good Wishes

  • Best wishes - Mes/Nos meilleurs vœux
  • Bon voyage! Have a good trip! - Bon voyage!
  • Cheers! (when toasting) - Santé! À ta/votre santé!  À la tienne/vôtre! Tchin-tchin!
  • Congratulations! - Félicitations! Toutes mes/nos félicitations!
  • Good job! - Bon travail! Bravo! Bien fait!
  • Good luck! - Bonne chance! Bon courage!
  • Have a nice day! - Bonne journée!
  • Have a nice vacation! - Bonnes vacances!
  • I'm so happy for you! - Je me réjouis pour toi/vous!
  • Long live France! - Vive la France!
  • Take care! Watch out for yourself! - Prends bien soin de toi!
  • To David! To your new house! - À David ! À ta nouvelle maison!

Related French Vocabulary

  • gift, present - un cadeau
  • Christmas gift - un cadeau de Noël
  • wedding gift - un cadeau de mariage
  • to give (someone) a present - faire un cadeau (à quelqu'un)
  • to give as a present - offrir en cadeau
  • to receive as a present - recevoir en cadeau
  • gift wrap - le papier-cadeau
  • Is this a present? (Do you want it gift wrapped?) - C'est pour offrir?

Related French Idiomatic Expressions

Learn some idiomatic French expressions related to holidays and other special occasions. 

  • back to school - la rentrée 
  • Cheers! - À la vôtre!
  • Enjoy your meal! - Bon appétit!
  • Happy New Year! - Bonne Année et bonne santé!
  • It's on the house - C'est cadeau 
  • What you're wearing is ridiculous - Ce n'est pas mardi gras aujourd'hui 
  • huge traffic jams at end of July, beginning of August - le chassé-croisé des juillettistes et des aoûtiens
  • to give a present; to let off easily - faire cadeau
  • to make it a long (four-day) weekend - faire le pont 
  • to have cold and grey weather - faire un temps de Toussaint 
  • the big day - le jour J 
  • best wishes - meilleurs vœux
  • A warm Christmas means a cold Easter - Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison
  • Christmas sales - Noël malin
  • white Christmas - Noël sous la neige
  • Beaujolais nouveau is here - Le nouveau est arrivé
  • Long live France! - Vive la France
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Team, ThoughtCo. ""Bon Anniversaire": Saying Happy Birthday in French." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/bon-anniversaire-happy-birthday-in-french-1371385. Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). "Bon Anniversaire": Saying Happy Birthday in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/bon-anniversaire-happy-birthday-in-french-1371385 Team, ThoughtCo. ""Bon Anniversaire": Saying Happy Birthday in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/bon-anniversaire-happy-birthday-in-french-1371385 (accessed June 7, 2023).