Good Night In French | Bonne Nuit vs. Bon Soir Explained

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, informal), “Faites de beaux rêves” (sweet dreams, formal) and “Au lit!” (it’s bed time!).

Bonne Nuit means good night in French.

4 most common ways to say good night in French

  • Bonne nuit! good night!
  • Bonne soirée! Have a nice evening!
  • Dors bien! Sleep well!
  • Fais de beaux revês! Sweet dreams!

Bonne nuit pronunciation

The pronunciation of good night is “bun nwee”. The key to pronouncing bonne nuit correctly is to pronounce bonne like the English word “bun”. Secondly, it’s important to not pronounce the -t on nuit.

This page on gives several good samples of the correct pronunciation of bonne nuit.

Is “bon nuit” correct?

“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”.

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.

Bonne nuit can be used when parting ways at the end of an evening. Or, it can be said to somebody right before they go to bed.

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.

Paris and Eiffel Tower at night

How do you say, “Sweet dreams” in French?

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.

How to say sleep well in French

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”.

Both “dors bien” and “dormez bien” also translate to “sleep tight”.

How to do you say, “it’s bedtime!”

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!”. This translates literally to “It’s the hour to go to go to bed”.

Another really easy to say “it’s bedtime!” is “Au lit!” The is a command that that translates literally to “To bed!”.

Notre Dame in Paris at night

How to you say “Go to bed!” in French

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.

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.

What’s a cute way of saying good night for 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”.

Is there an expression for counting sheep?

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!"

Related lessons:

More resources:

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!