Days Of The Week In French: Complete Guide

Les jours de la semaine

The days of the week in French are essential to learn if you’re planning on spending any time in France or a French-country. Whether you’re talking about your daily schedule, travel plans or scheduling an appointment, learning les jours de la semaine (the weekdays) perfectly is an absolute must for any serious student.

In a nutshell, the French days of the week are:

  • lundi Monday
  • mardi Tuesday
  • mercredi Wednesday
  • jeudi Thursday
  • vendredi Friday
  • samedi Saturday
  • dimanche Sunday

In this post we’ll take a close look at how to pronounce the French days of the week, learn how to use them in sentences and finally look at some expressions and holidays which include the words.

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French Days of the Week – Pronunciation Chart

This following table shows the French days of the week and provides pronunciation using both the international pronunciation symbols and phonetic pronunciation.

FrenchEnglishPronunciation symbolPhonetic pronunciation
lundiMonday[lœ̃di]lun-dee
mardiTuesday[maʀdi]mar-dee
mercrediWednesday[mɛʀkʀədi]mehr-cruh-dee
jeudiThursday[ʒødi]zhuh-dee
vendredi Friday[vɑ̃dʀədi]van-druh-dee
samediSaturday[samdi]sam-dee
dimancheSunday[dimɑ̃ʃ]dee-mansh

My good friend, Alexa, does a great job teaching the French days of the week in this YouTube video:

Pronunciation notes – be careful of nasal sounds

Three of the days of the week, lundi (Monday), vendredi (Friday) and dimanche (Sunday), all contain some nasal sounds which are difficult to pronounce.

The “un” in lundi (Monday) is totally nasal and you do not make an actual -n sound. This means that the tip of your tongue does not touch the roof of your month. This page on Forvo offers seven audio samples of lundi made by native speakers.

The “en” in vendredi (Friday) is also nasal. Again, you do not make an “-n” sound where the tongue touches the roof of your mouth. My good friend, Camille, at Frenchtoday.com does a great job teaching the nasal sounds on this page. Please note before reading the page that both “en” and “an” in French have the same nasal sound: [ɑ̃]. This page on Forvo offers seven audio samples of vendredi by native speakers.

The “an” in dimanche (Sunday) is also completely nasal. the “an” in dimanche and “en” in the previously mentioned vendredi are the same nasal sound (see Camille’s page). This page on Forvo offers five audio samples of dimanche made by native speakers.

I'm arriving on Friday! / J'arrive vendredi!

Days of the week – how to make sentences

This Monday, this Friday, on Monday, on Friday, etc.

When expressing actions which will occur on a day “this week”, the particular day of the week does not need a preposition. For example:

  • J’arrive vendredi. I’m arriving (on) Friday.
  • La réunion est mardi. The meeting is on Tuesday.

Notice we didn’t say, “J’arrive ce vendredi”. The “ce” means “this” and is a demonstrative adjective (link offers complete lesson on this site).

Suggested Audio Course For All Levels

We have known Camille from Frenchtoday.com for a long time and strongly suggest her audio courses for all levels. She does a great job teaching the "trouble" areas such as pronunciation and verb conjugations. Click here to learn more!

However, to make your point to emphasize “this Friday”, you could say:

  • J’arrive vendredi de cette semaine. Literal translation: I’m arriving Friday of this week.

Last Monday, last Friday, etc.

To express “last” as in the week day from the previous week, simply follow the day with the word “passé”. For example lundi passé is “last Monday” and vendredi passé is “last Friday”.

Next Monday, next Friday, etc.

To express “next” as in the particular day of the coming week, simply follow the day with the word “prochain”, which means next. For example, lundi prochain (next Monday) or vendredi prochain (next Friday).

On a + day of week

To express “on a + day of week”, use the following construction: “un + day of week”. For example:

  • Mon anniversaire tombe sur un jeudi. My birthday is on a Thursday.
  • Noël tombe sur un samedi cette année. Christmas is on a Saturday this year.

Notice that the article used for “a” is the masculine “un”. This is because all of the days of the week in French are masculine. This means that none of them take the feminine “une”.

Translation of French sign: "Store Open On Sundays"
Translation of French sign: “Store Open On Sundays”

On Mondays, on Fridays, etc.

To express “on + a day of the week in the plural form”, use the following construction: “le + day of the week in the singular form”. For example, “le lundi” means “on Mondays” and “le vendredi” means “on Fridays. For example:

  • Je travaille le dimanche. I work on Fridays.
  • Je ne travaille pas le lundi. I don’t work on Mondays.

From Monday to Friday

There are two accepted ways to express from one day of the week to another. You can use “de…à” and “du…au”. For example:

  • Le magasin est ouvert de lundi à vendredi. The store is open from Monday to Friday.
  • Le magasin est ouvert du lundi au vendredi. The store is open from Monday to Friday.

On weekdays, during the week

To say “on weekdays” or “during the week”, use the expression “en semaine” (literal translation: in week). For example:

  • Je vais au travail en semaine. I go to work on weekdays.

The French word for “weekday” is either “un jour de semaine” or “un jour en semaine”. For example:

  • Peut-on faire la leçon un jour en semaine ? Can we do the lesson on a weekday?

Le week-end

Unfortunately, the French have borrowed the word “weekend” from English to create a horribly ugly anglicism: “le week-end”. Weekend in French can also be written without the hyphen: “le weekend”. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que vous faites le week-end? What do you do on weekends?
  • Nous partons en vacances ce week-end. We’re going on vacation this weekend.

In Canada, however, there is a French word for weekend: la fin de semaine (literal translation: the end of the week).

Thus, to wish somebody a good weekend in France, say “bon week-end !”. In Canada, say: “bonne fin de semaine !”.

Capitalization and abbreviations of the days of the week in French

Note that the French days of the week are never capitalized and always written in the lower case. The abbreviations for the days are as follows:

  • lundi -> lun
  • mardi -> mar
  • mercredi -> mer
  • keudi -> jeu
  • vendredi -> ven
  • samedi -> sam
  • dimanche -> dim
Mardi Gras means "fat Tuesday in French.
Mardi Gras means “fat Tuesday in French.
Image credit: Mark Gstohl, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Expressions and holidays

The following is a list of both expressions and holidays in France which include the French days of the week that we’ve learned in this lesson.

Holidays

  • lundi de Pâques Easter Monday
  • Mardi Gras “Fat Tuesday”; Carnival celebration in New Orleans and the French-speaking world
  • le Mercredi des Cendres Ash Wednesday
  • jeudi de l’Ascension Ascension Day, Ascension Thursday (Christian holiday)
  • Jeudi Saint Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter)
  • Vendredi Saint Good Friday
  • Samedi Saint Easter Saturday
  • dimanche de Pâques Easter Sunday
  • dimanche des Rameaux Palm Sunday

Expressions (and other)

  • boutonner lundi avec mardi button the wrong hole (sewing expression)
  • Lundi noir Black Monday (the day the stock market crashed in 1929)
  • les blues du dimanche soir Sunday night blues, end-of-weekend blues
  • Ce n’est pas tous les jours dimanche. Not every day can be Sunday.
  • du dimanche amature (athlete)
  • l’école du dimanche Sunday school
  • les habits du dimanche Sunday best (clothing)
  • Il faut sortir le dimanche ! You need to get out more!

French Days of the Week Song

Finally, this post would not be complete with the days of the week song! In the following video, Alain Le Lait (a YouTube French song celebrity), sings his famous French days of the week song.

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

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