Years ago (in my pre-professional days), I signed letters to my friends and family members, “Love, Natalie”.  When I was in college, I did a summer study abroad in Lyon, France, and lived with a lovely host family. One day I needed to leave them a short note since they were not home and I would be gone all day.  After a few sentences, I wanted to offer a closing and my name.  But what would I say?  Surely, “Amour, Natalie” was not correct (at this point I was also wondering how I did not learn this in high school!).  I ended up just including my name to close but later learned that “Bises” would have sufficed.

Years later I would need to conclude more formal French letters and once again was plagued with feelings of  “what do I say?” In part 1 of our Business French blog posts we’re offering several options for salutations and closings in professional French settings should you happen to find yourself with the same conundrum!

Salutations


Salutation: Madame/Monsieur,
Occasion: Writing to a particular person that you don’t know OR writing not to a particular person in a company or large organization that you don’t know

Salutation: Cher Monsieur, Chère Madame,
Occasion: Writing to a person you know a little or a lot

Salutation: Bonjour Madame/Monsieur Monet,
Occasion: Writing to a person you know a little or a lot

Salutation: Bonjour Pierre/Marie,
Occasion: Writing to a person you know a little or a lot

Salutation: Monsieur le Directeur/Madame la Directrice,
Occasion: Writing to a manager or the head of a department

Closings




Very formal closings
Veuillez recevoir mes salutations les meilleures/distinguées.
Je vous prie de recevoir mes salutations les meilleures/distinguées

Formal closings
Cordialement, /Bien cordialement,
Bien à vous,
Bien à toi,

Closings for those you are friendly with
Amitiés,
Amicalement,
Sincèrement,

Bonus!


Here are some phrases you can use to conclude your letter before the closing:

To let them know you are waiting for their response: Je reste dans l’attente de votre réponse.
To thank them in advance: Je vous en remercie par avance./Merci par avance.
To let them know you remain at their disposal: Je reste à votre disposition.
To excuse yourself: Je vous prie d’excuser….
To offer your expertise: N'hésitez pas à revenir vers moi avec la moindre question


Natalie Collet

Former Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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