The French phrase "Joyeux anniversaire"

Ready to discover everything you ever wanted to know about the basic phrase “Joyeux anniversaire”?

This include a detailed guide of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. And because we want you to learn efficiently, we also added some useful informations like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonym and more!

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does joyeux anniversaire mean?


“Joyeux anniversaire” is the common way to say “Happy birthday” in French. (We also use “Bon anniversaire” frequently.)

How to use

To keep it simple, use one of these:

  • Joyeux anniversaire → Happy birthday
  • Bon anniversaire → Good birthday

For a complete sentence in an informal context, use instead:

  • Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire → I wish you a happy birthday
  • Je te souhaite un bon anniversaire → I wish you a good birthday

And for a formal context, use:

  • Je vous souhaite un joyeux anniversaire → I wish you a happy birthday
  • Je vous souhaite un bon anniversaire → I wish you a good birthday

Finally, if you want to amplify your wish, you can add “très” (very) before “bon“. Example: “Je te souhaite un très bon anniversaire” (I wish you a very good birthday)

Funny stuff

To wish someone a happy birthday in Quebec, you should use instead “Joyeuse fête“. (Which doesn’t work in France)

Also, when singing to wish someone a happy birthday in France, we use exactly the same melody as the song “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you *name* (…)“. So it becomes “Joyeux anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire *name* (…)


  • Bon anniversaire → Good birthday
  • Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire → I wish you a happy birthday
  • Je te souhaite un (très) bon anniversaire → I wish you a (very) good birthday
  • Je vous souhaite un joyeux anniversaire → I wish you a happy birthday (Formal)
  • Je vous souhaite un (très) bon anniversaire → I wish you a (very) good birthday (Formal)

Example in a story with slow audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this sentence in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Organiser un anniversaire
Organize a birthday
Un mois avant l’anniversaire de Philippe…
A month before the birthday of Philippe…
… Emily décida de lui préparer une surprise…
… Emily decided to prepare him a surprise…
Alors elle lui acheta un cadeau.
So she bought him a present.
Et elle choisit où elle achèterait le gâteau, les ballons et les décorations le jour J.
And she chose where she would buy the cake, balloons and decorations on D-Day.
Elle était fière d’avoir tout planifié.
She was proud to have planned everything.
Cependant, parfois, les choses ne se passent pas comme prévu…
However, sometimes things aren’t going as planned…
Le jour de l’anniversaire de Philippe, elle découvrit qu’il fallait commander le gâteau trois jours à l’avance…
On Philippe’s birthday, she discovered that she had to order the cake three days in advance…
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