How to Wish Happy Birthday in French: A Beginner’s Guide to Celebrating in Style!

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Do you have a French-speaking friend or loved one with a birthday coming up? Or perhaps you’re learning French and want to expand your knowledge of French phrases and greetings? Wishing someone a happy birthday in French can be a thoughtful gesture and a great way to practice your language skills. In this comprehensive guide by Curiotory, we’ll explore various ways to wish someone a happy birthday in French, including the traditional birthday song, heartfelt wishes, and even some birthday-related vocabulary. We’ll provide answers to common questions that might arise when learning how to wish someone a happy birthday in French. Let’s get started and make that special someone’s day even more memorable! 

How do you say “Happy Birthday” in French? 

The most common way to say “Happy Birthday” in French is “Joyeux anniversaire.” This phrase can be used in both formal and informal situations, making it a versatile option for wishing someone well on their birthday. 

Are there any other phrases to wish someone a happy birthday in French? 

Yes, there are other phrases and expressions you can use to wish someone a happy birthday in French. Some of these include: 

• “Bon anniversaire”: This phrase is another way to say “Happy Birthday” and can be used interchangeably with “Joyeux anniversaire.” 

• “Bonne fête”: Although this phrase literally means “Happy celebration,” it can also be used to wish someone a happy birthday in French, particularly in Canadian French. 

• “Que tous tes souhaits se réalisent”: This phrase means “May all your wishes come true” and is a nice way to add a personal touch to your birthday greeting. 

How do you sing “Happy Birthday” in French? 

The “Happy Birthday” song in French is sung to the same tune as the English version. The lyrics are as follows: 

Joyeux anniversaire, Joyeux anniversaire, Joyeux anniversaire (person’s name), Joyeux anniversaire! 

What are some common birthday traditions in France? 

In addition to learning how to wish someone a happy birthday in French, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some common French birthday traditions. Understanding these customs can help you better appreciate the significance of the occasion and participate in celebrations more confidently. 

La fête d’anniversaire: The French term for a birthday party, “la fête d’anniversaire,” is a gathering of friends and family to celebrate the person’s special day. French birthday parties often include food, drinks, music, and games. 

Le gâteau d’anniversaire: The birthday cake is a central part of the celebration. It’s common for the cake to be decorated with candles, which the birthday person will blow out after making a wish. 

Les cadeaux: Gifts are another important aspect of a French birthday celebration. The birthday person will typically receive presents from friends and family members, which are then opened during the party. 

Chanson d’anniversaire: Singing “Happy Birthday” is a universal tradition, and the French have their version, as mentioned earlier in this guide. The song is sung as the birthday cake is brought out, and everyone joins in to wish the person a happy birthday. 

How can I write a heartfelt birthday message in French? 

To write a heartfelt birthday message in French, you can combine your birthday wishes with personal sentiments and expressions of affection. Here are some phrases you can use to create a meaningful message: 

• “Je te souhaite une journée remplie de bonheur”: I wish you a day filled with happiness 

• “Profite bien de cette journée spéciale”: Enjoy this special day 

• “Que cette nouvelle année t’apporte joie et réussite”: May this new year bring you joy and success 

• “Gros bisous pour ton anniversaire”: Big kisses for your birthday 

Tips for Wishing Someone a Happy Birthday in French 

• Practice your pronunciation: Make sure to practice the pronunciation of the phrases and expressions mentioned in this guide so that you can deliver your birthday wishes with confidence. 

• Add a personal touch: Personalize your birthday wishes by including the person’s name, a compliment, or a specific memory you share with them. 

• Learn more French birthday vocabulary: Expand your French vocabulary by learning words related to birthdays and celebrations, such as “cadeau” (gift), “fête” (party), and “bougie” (candle). 

• Be mindful of cultural differences: While many birthday traditions are similar across cultures, be aware of any differences that may exist when celebrating a birthday with French-speaking friends or family. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Q: How do you say “belated happy birthday” in French? A: To say “belated happy birthday” in French, you can use the phrase “Joyeux anniversaire en retard” or “Bon anniversaire en retard.” 

Q: Are there any French birthday idioms or expressions? A: Yes, there are idioms and expressions related to birthdays in French. For example, “Il ne faut pas confondre le jour de l’an et l’anniversaire” means “One must not confuse New Year’s Day with a birthday and serves as a reminder to keep things in perspective and not get carried away by celebrations. 

Q: How do you say “Happy Birthday to you” in French? A: To say “Happy Birthday to you” in French, you can say “Joyeux anniversaire à toi” or “Bon anniversaire à toi.” When addressing a close friend or family member, you might use “à toi” for a more personal touch. 

Q: What are some popular French birthday desserts? A: Some popular French birthday desserts include “gâteau d’anniversaire” (birthday cake), “gâteau au chocolat” (chocolate cake), “tarte aux fruits” (fruit tart), and “bûche de Noël” (Yule log) for December birthdays. 

Q: How do you say “make a wish” in French? A: To say “make a wish” in French, you can use the phrase “Fais un vœu” or “Faites un vœu” when addressing someone formally or a group of people. This phrase is often used when encouraging someone to blow out their birthday candles and make a wish. 

Q: How do you say “Happy Birthday, my love” in French? A: To say “Happy Birthday, my love” in French, you can use the phrase “Joyeux anniversaire, mon amour” or “Bon anniversaire, mon amour.” This is a sweet and romantic way to wish your partner or significant other a happy birthday. 


Knowing how to wish someone a happy birthday in French is an essential skill for any French language learner. From the basic phrase “Joyeux anniversaire” to more elaborate expressions and idioms, you can use a variety of ways to convey your warm wishes on someone’s special day. Singing the French birthday song, understanding the common traditions, and using the right expressions will enable you to participate in celebrations with confidence and authenticity. 

As you continue your French language journey, consider integrating these phrases into your conversations and practice sessions. By doing so, you’ll not only improve your vocabulary but also strengthen your connections with French-speaking friends and acquaintances. Remember, language learning is a continuous process, and every new phrase or expression you learn adds depth to your understanding of the French culture. 

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and knowledge to help you master the art of wishing someone a happy birthday in French. Don’t hesitate to refer back to this guide as you practice and perfect your skills. Bonne chance et joyeux anniversaire!