How To Say Welcome In French + 10 Common Expressions

"Bienvenue !" How To Say Welcome In French

What does bienvenue mean?

In French, the word for “welcome” is “bienvenue” (pronunciation bjɛ̃vəny). The word has three syllables: Bien-vuh-nu and translates literally to “come well”. In this post, we will discover the various ways to say welcome in French as well as many applicable verbs, phrases and expressions.

How to pronounce bienvenue

Before we go any further, let’s take a close look at the pronunciation of bienvenue. As mentioned, there are three syllables. The first, “bien” as in très bien (very well). The second syllable “ve” is pronounced like “vuh”. The last syllable “nue” has an -u sound as in the word “tu” (you familiar).

This page on on Forvo offers several audio samples of the pronunciation of bienvenue. My friend on YouTube, Julien, also demonstrates the pronunciation in the following video:

Different ways to say “welcome” in French

In French, there isn’t just one single way to say “welcome“. In the following section we’ll look at several common expressions.

Bienvenue !

When greeting an individual person or a group of people you can simply say, “Bienvenue !”, which equates to “Welcome!”. Here’s an example sentence:

  • Bienvenue ! Prenez une chaise et asseyez-vous ! Welcome! Take a chair and have a seat!
Bienvenue au New Hampshire (Welcome to New Hampshire) Road Sign
The welcome sign for New Hampshire, the home state of the author of this post” reads: “Bienvenue” (welcome) due to the state’s proximity to Quebec.

Bienvenue à, au, à la, aux, chez, en

The word “bienvenue” can be followed by several prepositions including: à, au, à la, aux and en (all meaning to or at), with chez (meaning “to the home of”) or en (meaning to or in). Here are some example sentences:

  • Bienvenue en France ! Welcome to France!
  • Bienvenue au Canada ! Welcome to Canada!
  • Bienvenue chez nous ! Welcome to our home!

Bienvenue à tous !

The expression, “Bienvenue à tous !” is used for welcoming a group of people and translates literally to “Welcome to all!”. This expression can be used to welcome people to a party, conference, class, etc. Here’s an example sentence:

  • Bienvenue à tous ! La classe va commencer dans cinq minutes. Welcome to all! The class will start in five minutes!

Être le bienvenu or la bienvenue

Another slightly more formal way to welcome somebody is “être le bienvenu” and “être la bienvenue”, which translate loosely to “to be the welcomed person”. The difference between “le bienvenu” and “la bienvenue” depends on the gender of the person being welcomed.

The expression, “Soyez les bienvenues !” is a way of saying, “Welcome!” and translates literally to “Be welcome!”. This is the imperative (command) from of the verb être (to be). This page on our site offers an entire lesson on the conjugations of être.

  • Soyez les bienvenus ! On commence le dîner dans dix minutes. Welcome! We’ll start dinner in ten minutes!

Souhaiter la bienvenue

The expression “souhaiter la bienvenue” means “to welcome” and translates literally to “to wish the welcome”. Here’s an example of how to use this expression.

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  • Je suis la pour vous souhaiter la bienvenue. I’m here to welcome you.
  • Je voudrais souhaiter la bienvenue à mes amis. I’d like to welcome my friends.
Sign with words “Ouvert – Bienvenue” (Open – Welcome)

Faire se sentir quelqu’un le (la) bienvenu(e)

The expression, “faire sentir quelqu’un le/la bienvenu(e)” can translate to both “to make somebody feel welcome” or simply “to make somebody feel at home”.

  • Ma femme est une très bonne hôtesse. Elle fait sentir l’invite le bienvenu. My wife is a great host. She makes the guest feel welcomed.

Accueillir and faire bon accueil à quelqu’un

There are two verbs which can be used to mean “to welcome” somebody. The first is accueillir, which translates both to “to host” and “to welcome”.

The second is the expression, “faire bon acceuil à quelqu’un”, which translates literally to “to do good welcome to somebody” or more loosely “to welcome somebody well”.

Here are some example sentences:

  • Nous accueillons Marie à la conférence. We welcomed Marie to the conference.
  • Nous faisons bon accueil à Marie. We welcome Marie.

Recevoir quelqu’un

The expression, “recevoir quelqu’un” means “to welcome somebody” but translates literally to “to receive somebody”. Here’s an example:

  • Nous recevons des invités à la maison ce soir. We’re welcoming guests to the house tonight.

Réserver un accueil chaleureux à quelqu’un

The expression “Réserver un accueil chaleureux à quelqu’un” translates to “to give somebody a warm welcome”. For example:

  • Nous réserver un accueil chaleureux à nos invités. We give a warm welcome to our guests.

Fais comme chez toi / faites comme chez vous

The expression, “Faites comme chez vous” (or “fais comme chez toi” in the informal form) translates to “make yourself at home”. The French use this expression when welcoming a guest or group of guests into their homes.

  • Faites comme chez vous ! Ne soyez pas timide ! Make yourself at home! Don’t be shy!

S’imposer and s’incruster

The two reflexive verbs, “s’imposer” and “s’incruster” both mean “to over stay one’s welcome”. Both of these verbs are reflexive. This page on our site covers reflexive verbs in detail. Here are two example sentences:

  • On ne veut pas s’imposer. On s’en va dans cinq minutes. We don’t want to overstay our welcome. We’ll leave in five minutes.
  • Oh là là, Martin s’incruste. Il devrait partir ! Oh, Martin is overstaying his welcome. He should leave!

Bienvenue in popular culture

In 2008, a top grossing French movie called Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis was released. The movie is about a postal worker from the south who’s assigned to work in the rainy North of France. The word “bienvenue” is in the movies title, which translates to “Welcome to the Ch’tis”. “Ch’tis” is a term used to refer to people from the very north of France.

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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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