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Congé Meaning – Time off, work leave in French

Congé Meaning – Time off, work leave in French

In today’s lesson we’ll have a look at a masculine noun which often comes up in the workplace: Congé. Translations for congé include time off, leave from work and vacation (holiday). At the bottom of the post I’ve included a picture of what I do on my days off! Keep reading!


time off, work leave

Congé (French) masculine noun meaning time off, work leave, vacation, holiday.

Congé – Time off in French

Listen to me teach this lesson on my new podcast!

Over the past week I started narrating my lessons in a new podcast. I’m very shy about this but I know I have a lot to offer after teaching for 10+ years. My podcasts tend to be a mix of French and English but today I’m mostly speaking French. Listen and see how much you can understand!

Word origin

According to, the Modern French word congé comes from the Old French cumgiet, which in turn comes from commeatus (furlough or leave) in Latin. Commeatus is the past participle of the Latin verb commeare (to go, to leave, to pass).

In French, congé can appear in the following forms: Être en congé (to be on leave, on holiday), un jour de congé (a day off), une semaine de congé (a week off), avoir congé (to have time or a day off), prendre congé (to take leave) and congé maladie (sick leave).

Example sentences

For this first example sentence, la dernière semaine du mois means “the last week of the month”. La semaine dernière, however, means “last week”. For example, “Qu’est-ce que vous avez fait la semaine dernière” (what did you do last week)?

Je suis en congé la dernière semaine du mois.

I’ll be on leave the last week of the month.

For this sentence, venir au bureau can translate to “to come to work” or “to come to the office”. This lesson our our site covers demain (tomorrow) in detail.

J’ai congé demain. Je ne viens pas au bureau.

I have the day off tomorrow. I’m not coming to work.

Based on our searches, both congé maternité and congé de maternité and acceptable for maternity leave.

Madame DePont a 14 semaines de congé de maternité.

Mrs. DePont has fourteen weeks of maternity leave.

This final example sentence touches on how the French get more paid leave than Americans. According to this article on CNBC, the French get a minimum of 30 paid vacation days per year.

En général, les Français prennent plus de jours de congé que les américains.

The French generally take more days off than Americans.


Et voilà ! Now you know how to use congé in French! Now check our our lesson covering the word vacances (vacation).

J'ai congé aujourd'hui et je profite de la région où j'habite. = "I have the day off today and I'm enjoying the area where I live." I took this picture on my day off mountain biking in the area where I live (Idaho - Wyoming state line).
J’ai congé aujourd’hui et je profite de la région où j’habite. = “I have the day off today and I’m enjoying the area where I live.” I took this picture on my day off mountain biking in the area where I live (Idaho – Wyoming state line).

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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