How to write an email in French: the complete guide

This complete guide will detail the building blocks required to master the art of writing French emails in both formal and casual tones.

How to write formal emails in French

The general rules of email etiquette apply to the French language just as much as any other language. It would be wise to remember, however, that the French language is generally very formal.

If the email is intended for a particular person but the email address isn’t specific, it is common to add the following in the subject line:

It is worth mentioning that:

French email openings for formal correspondence

The opening of an email sets the tone throughout the correspondence.

In French, in particular, written correspondence remains quite formal. The use of the proper opening formula when writing a French email is important.

Here are different scenarios:

Note that the common “to whom it may concern” in English business emails can be translated into “à qui de droit”. However, this opening is quite archaic and not used much. The most common alternative is “Madame, Monsieur” which is suitable for all situations.

The body of a formal email in French

After having established the opening and set the tone, the next step is to clearly state the reason for the email being sent.

Here are various common French phrases for stating the purposes of an email:

Unlike for e.g Danish or Norwegian emails that tend to be short and straight-to-point, French emails may beat around the proverbial bush.

Here are some useful phrases to use when making a written request:

The tone of these phrases is very formal and as respectful as possible.

Here are a few more specific examples of French email phrases for various types of requests:

Table: French email phrases for announcing or confirming events
To announce / confirm
J’ai le plaisir de vous informer que… I have the pleasure to inform you that…
…an invitation Vous êtes cordialement invité à notre évènement le mois prochain. You are cordially invited to our event next month.
…a meeting Je vous confirme notre rendez-vous demain matin et je me réjouis de faire votre connaissance. I confirm our meeting tomorrow morning and I look forward to meeting you.
…available time Je suis disponible mercredi de 8 à 14 heures. I am available Wednesday from 8 to 2 pm.

Here are some pointers to use when the email contains attachments:

Before signing off, it is customary to finish with a short conclusion, such as:

How to end a formal email in French

Professional correspondence in French always ends with a “formule de politesse” (closing formula).

These will sound significantly more formal than their English counterparts.

A very short “formule de politesse” can be seen as a lack of consideration or respect.

Some typical examples of sign-offs for French formal emails are:

Table: French formal email sign-offs
Very formal (used for clients, superiors and prospective employers)
Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur / Madame, l’assurance de ma considération la plus distinguée. Lit.: Please accept, Sir/Madam, the assurance of my highest consideration.
Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mes sentiments respectueux. Lit.: Please accept, Sir / Madam, the expression of my respectful sentiments.
Je vous prie de recevoir, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mon profond respect. Lit.: Please accept, Sir/Madam, the expression of my profound respect.
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur / Madame, mes salutations les plus sincères. Please accept, Sir / Madam, my most sincere regards.
More French formal email sign-offs
Salutations distinguées Best regards
Bien à vous Kind regards
Avec mes remerciements, With thanks
Cordialement Sincerely

The following is an example of how to write an email to a prospective client that has been previously contacted via phone.

Cher M. Dupont,

Suite à notre conversation téléphonique ce matin, je vous écris pour vous remercier du temps que vous m’avez accordé.

Comme convenu, je vous fait parvenir les informations sur le projet XYZ en pièce jointe.

Afin de mieux pouvoir déterminer vos attentes, je vous propose un rendez-vous dans nos locaux à votre meilleure convenance.

N’hésitez pas à me solliciter pour toute information supplémentaire.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, mes salutations les plus sincères.

Pierre Petit

Dear Mr. Dupont,

Following our conversation over the phone this morning, I am writing you to thank you for your time.

As discussed, I am sending you the information on project XYZ as an attachment.

To better determine your requirements, I would like to propose a meeting in our offices at your most convenient time.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me for any additional information.

Please accept, Sir, my most sincere regards.

Pierre Petit

How to write casual emails in French

French email openings for casual correspondence

The body of a casual email in French

Here are some useful phrases to use when writing an informal email in French.

How to end a casual email in French

The conclusion of a casual email in French should feature a sign-off phrase that express a sense of warmth and friendliness towards the recipient. A few of the expressions that are commonly employed for this purpose include:

Other useful tips when writing French emails

Understanding the difference between the French pronouns “tu” and “vous” is essential for establishing the appropriate level of formality for a given correspondence. Unlike in English, the French language provides two distinct ways of addressing someone as “you”:

When used in the plural form, “vous” refers to a group of people, regardless of the level of formality.


Learning how to write an email in French might sound daunting at first, but with this step-by-step guide, you are now equipped to tackle this challenge and immerse yourself in the French language even further.