French Expressions with Jour and Journée

Want a day off? Ask your French 'patron' for 'un jour de congé'?

The French words jour and journée both mean "day" and both are used in many idiomatic expressions. The difference between the two is that un jour is a straightforward expression of time, while une journée indicates a duration of time, usually stressing the length of time, as in "the whole day long."

This is a general principle that applies as well to other confusing pairs of words, such as an and annéematin and matinée, and soir and soirée.

From our list of jour and journée expressions below, learn how to say day off, nowadays, update, and more. 

Common French Expressions With 'Jour' and 'Journée'

le jour d'action de grâces
Thanksgiving

un jour d'arrêt
detention

un jour de congé
day off

un jour de deuil
day of mourning

un jour de fête
holiday

le jour de l'An
New Year's Day

un jour de repos
day off

un jour de sortie
day off; day out

le jour des Rois
Epiphany

le jour du Grand Pardon
the Day of Atonement

le jour du Seigneur
Sunday; the Sabbath

un jour férié
public or bank holiday

le jour J
D-Day; the big day

un jour mobile
discretionary or personal day

un jour ouvrable
weekday

un jour ouvré
weekday

un jour de travail
weekday

avoir le jour dans les yeux
to have the light in one's eyes

de nos jours
nowadays

de tous les jours
everyday; ordinary

du jour au lendemain
overnight

donner le jour à
to bring into the world

être à jour
to be up to date

être de jour (military)
to be on day duty

Il se fit jour dans mon esprit
The light dawned on me

Ils sont le jour et la nuit.
They're as different as night and day.

le jour entra à flots
daylight flooded in

jour et nuit
day and night

le jour tombe
it's getting dark

mettre à jour
to update

mettre au jour
to bring into the light

se lever avant le jour
to get up before dawn

service de jour
day service

vivre au jour le jour
To live from hand to mouth

aller en journées chez les autres
to work as domestic help

bonne journée
have a nice day

faire de dures journées
to put in a hard day's work

faire la journée continue
to stay open all day; during lunch

Il se fait de bonnes journées
He makes good money.

la journée bissextile
leap day (February 29 in a leap year, which is generally a year divisible by four)

la journée de salaire
a day's wages

journées d'émeute
days of rioting