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How to say Happy Birthday in French

french how to say happy birthday in french

Are you starting to learn the French language? Learn the basics and how to say Happy Birthday in French. Read the blog below.

How to say happy birthday in French

how to say happy birthday in french

In French, let’s begin with the two most widely used ways to wish someone a happy birthday. The first is the norm for French throughout Europe.

Joyeux anniversaire !
Happy Birthday!

Pronunciation of the term is roughly “zhwah-yeuh-zah-nee-veR-seR.” Remember, there is a liason between the two words, which results in a pleasant “zzz” sound at the start of the anniversaire.

The following is another typical birthday greeting:

Bon Anniversaire!
Happy Birthday!

While bon anniversaire implies wishing the listener an excellent birthday, Joyeux anniversaire simply means “happy birthday” in a more generic sense. Something along the lines of “happy birthday.”

Like happy birthday, a liaison takes place, and the final sound of the first syllable shifts to the start of the second. As a result, the second section should begin with an n sound.

Bon anniversaire

A Short Note on Anniversary

The terms “anniversary” and “birthday” are very different in English. However, the word Anniversaire serves as a substitute for both in French. So how do you distinguish between them?

The word “Anniversaire” alone most likely means “birthday.” An anniversary of marriage is referred to as an Anniversaire de Mariage. You can therefore presume that a gâteau D’anniversaire is a birthday cake rather than an anniversary cake if you see that term, but either way, you’re in for a treat.

Similar to how we can use the word anniversary marks nearly any event, it almost always has the preposition de to indicate what it is commemorating.

Suppose You Forgot? – French greeting for a belated birthday

Nobody is perfect, and remembering dates can be challenging. So what happens if you have to send delayed birthday wishes to your French-speaking friends? It’s easy. Just add en retard (late, belated) to the end of the familiar phrase joyeux anniversaire.

Joyeux Anniversaire en retard !
Happy Belated Birthday!

How to sing the happy birthday song in French

The French version of “Happy Birthday” known as “Joyeux Anniversaire” is the most accessible and most frequently sung of the three, making it the ideal place to start learning.

It shares the same fundamental structure and tune as its English version, making them highly similar. The following are the lyrics and their translation:

Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire (nom de la personne fêtée)
Joyeux anniversaire

Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Happy birthday (name of the person being celebrated)
Happy birthday

How to ask somebody about their age in French

Talking About Age in French

You can inquire about the age of a person you know because they are celebrating a birthday. In certain nations, questions concerning age are occasionally dodged or danced about, but in the French language, being forward about it is quite acceptable.

The question that you should posit is, “What age do you have?

“Remember that the verb avoir is used to express age in French. It can be compared to “having” years and age. So you could inquire of a close friend:

Quel âge as-tu?
How old are you now?

Of course, you can use the vous-form to make it more formal if you need to ask the question to someone with whom you have a little more social distance.

Quel âge avez-vous?
How old are you?

Someone will reply with how many years they “have” when asked a question.

J’ai 29 ans.
I’m twenty-nine.

Ils ont 7 ans.
They are 7 years old.

Le 10 juin, je vais avoir 33 ans.

On June 10th, I’ll be 33.

Birthday traditions

questions and answers about birthdays in french

The same ways that people from other cultures commemorate their birthdays include candles, gifts, a birthday cake, a party, or a special dinner.

However, in contrast to other cultures, French people invite their friends and family to parties and buy everyone’s food and drinks.

In France, there is typically some sweet food at birthday celebrations. However, birthday cakes in France differ significantly from the extravagant, frosted confections popular in North America.
Birthday cake and wishes

The French tend to stick with a straightforward, homemade cake when it comes to birthday celebrations.

Although rich frosting is beginning to appear in some urban areas, the French prefer to use fresh or candied fruits, flowers, almonds, whipped cream, and confectioners’ sugar to adorn their cakes.

A French birthday cake would be lovely. Look at these popular birthday desserts:

Gȃteau au yaourt (yogurt cake)
Gȃteau marbré (chocolate marble cake)
Gâteau au chocolat (chocolate cake)

Instead of a cake, some French families will serve a fruit tart (tarte aux fruits). Although purchasing cake from a pastry shop is not uncommon, it is typically saved for occasions like a significant birthday.

The cake is typically brought out during the birthday celebrations’ peak, much like in other Western nations, when the guests chant “Joyeux anniversaire” and the birthday person blows out the candles after making a wish.


Opening every gift in front of party guests is another old-world French habit.

To avoid making your pal feel uncomfortable, you should get them something not too intimate.

A birthday card, on which you must write a couple of remarks for the birthday boy or girl, is customarily added to your gift and greetings.
Happy birthday cards in French

At birthday celebrations, you are expected to bring a gift, but it can be affordable, especially if you don’t know the birthday person well. A birthday card is always appreciated.

Choose an age-appropriate toy or book for kids.

If you don’t know the birthday boy’s or girl’s preferences for grownups, these safe bets will make your French buddy extremely pleased without causing any awkwardness:
A live plant or a fresh bouquet are excellent gifts, especially for women.
Men and women equally like edible presents like gourmet foods, local specialties, or chocolates from a chocolaterie.

If you are still getting familiar with wine, feel free to ask a vendor for advice. A good bottle of wine also makes a beautiful gift, but be reassured if your host opens it immediately. The French choose their wine based on the cuisine served, so your host has probably selected a bottle of wine for the birthday celebrations.

A candle or neutral-colored vase for the home makes a thoughtful gift.

A book, like the newest bestseller, is a beautiful present.
If you don’t know the person’s style well, avoid purchasing personal items like perfume, makeup, or apparel.

Are you still translating in your head? Do you want to learn to speak French properly? Check out Stefano’s classes to learn to think in French and become proficient quickly!

Useful French expressions

how to learn useful french expressions

Here are some more crucial French idioms to know:

  • Cheers in French
  • How are you in French
  • Sorry in French
  • Thank you in French
  • Beautiful in French

Are you still translating in your head? Do you want to learn to speak French properly? Check out Stefano’s classes to learn to think in French and become proficient quickly!

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