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Bonne nuit – Good night

Bonne nuit – Good night

Good night in French is “bonne nuit” (pronounced bɔn nɥi or ‘bun nwee’). You can also say, “Dors bien” (sleep well, familiar), “Dormez bien” (sleep well, formal), “Fais de beaux rêves” (sweet dreams), and “Va au lit!” (Go to bed!). Learn how to pronounce all of these expressions with the audio below!

Bonne nuit!

Good night!

Bonne nuit = Good night in French

Ways to say good night in French

Sweet dreams!

In addition to saying “bonne nuit” before going to sleep, it’s nice to wish somebody sweet dreams.

In French, the phrase for sweet dreams is: “Fais de beaux rêves” (informal, said to a friend or a young person) or “Faites de beaux rêves (formal, said to a stranger or somebody older).

This expression literally means, “make beautiful dreams”.

Fais de beaux reves!

Sweet dreams!

Sleep well!

In French, the verb “dormir” means to sleep. Hence, to say “sleep well” to somebody you know, say, “Dors bien”. If you don’t know the person very well use the polite form: “Dormez bien”.

Dors bien! / Dormez bien!

Sleep well!

Go to bed!

In French, there are two ways to say to go to bed: “aller au lit” (literally to go to the bed) and “se coucher” (reflexive verb).

Hence to tell somebody, “Go to bed!”, to somebody you know you can say:

  • Va au lit. Go to bed.
  • Couche-toi! Go to bed.

Va au lit!

Go to bed!

If you’re speaking to somebody you don’t know or somebody older you can say:

  • Allez au lit. Go to bed.
  • Couchez-vous. Go to bed.

There are a few ways to say, “it’s bedtime”. The first say is: “Il est heure du coucher!” (literally “it is the hour to do to bed”. You can also say, “Il est heure d’aller se coucher!“, meaning “It’s the hour to go to go to bed”.

Bonne nuit vs. bonsoir

It’s very important to know when to use bonne nuit and when to use bonsoir.

Bonsoir is a greeting and it’s used when saying hello to somebody else during the evening hours. It is a greeting. Bonne nuit, however, is a way of saying goodbye at the very end of the the evening.

Bon soir!

Good evening!

Bonne nuit vs bonne soirée

It is easy to confuse bonne nuit with “bonne soirée”. The term soirée refers to the course of the evening.

Hence, “Bonne soiréee” translates to “Have a nice evening”. You would use this expression when there are still more hours remaining in the evening before somebody turns in for the night.

Bonne soirée!

Have a nice evening!

How to say good night to kids

French has a cute way of saying good night for kids.

In French, “faire dodo” means “faire dormir” (literally to make sleep) or “to go night-night” in English.

Thus, “Va faire dodo” is a cute way of saying “go beddy-bye”.

Va faire dodo!

Go beddy-bye!

Woman sleeping

Common mistake: Don’t say “bon nuit”

“Bon nuit” is incorrect. This is a common mistake.

Bon is the masculine form of good. However, since the word “nuit” is feminine (la nuit), you must put “bon” in the feminine form of “bonne”. Hence, “bonne nuit”.

Counting sheep in French

In English, the expression “to count sheep” refers to doing mental exercises to try to fall asleep. In French, “compter les moutons” means to count sheep.


We hope that this lesson on saying goodnight in French has helped. The following table summarizes this lesson.

FrenchEnglish TranslationComments
Bonne nuit!Good night!The most common ways of saying good night in French. Note that it's NOT "bon nuit".
Bonne soirée!Have a good evening!Said when parting ways and the evening isn't over yet.
Dors bien!Sleep well!Sleep well in the familiar form. In the formal form, say "Dormez bien!".
Fais de beaux rêves!Sweet dreams!Nice expression to include with "bonne nuit". The literal translation is "Make some beautiful dreams!"

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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 FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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