Soren enters the classroom with an exam paper in his hand, Iggy says, “Bonne Chance!” to him.

If you're learning French, you may already know that one of the beautiful aspects of this language is its expressiveness. And, when it comes to wishing "good luck," the French language does not disappoint.

This article dives deep into the delightful world of French phrases used to wish good fortune, ensuring you have the right words of encouragement to say at the right time. So, whether you're an avid language learner, an occasional traveler, or just someone with an interest in French culture, this guide is specially crafted for you. It goes beyond the traditional Bonne Chance! to explore more distinctive and culturally rich expressions.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of French expressions of luck and fortune!

Traditional Phrases for Wishing Good Luck in French

In this section, we delve into the customary phrases that French people use to express luck or best wishes. We'll provide you with not only the literal translations but also the contextual meaning and usage. This will help to enrich your understanding of these phrases and ensure you're able to use them correctly and confidently.

From Bonne Chance! to less-known phrases, let's navigate the nuances of wishing "good luck" in French.

Bonne Chance!

When you think of saying "good luck" in French, the phrase bonne chance probably comes to mind. That’s because this is one of the most commonly used expressions for wishing someone well in their endeavors. It literally translates to "good luck."

French

English

Bonne chance à toi!

Good luck to you!

Je te souhaite bonne chance.

I wish you good luck.

However, there are a few variations and additional phrases that you may want to keep in your back pocket. Here’s how to combine the phrase bonne chance with French prepositions pour, avec, and dans:

Bonne chance pour…

This phrase is used when wishing good luck for a future event or activity that the person is preparing to do. It can be combined with expressions such as:

French

English

Bonne chance pour ton examen!

Good luck for your exam!

Bonne chance pour ta compétition!

Good luck for your competition!

Bonne chance pour ton entretien demain!

Good luck for your job interview tomorrow!

Bonne chance pour ton voyage en France!

Good luck for your trip to France!

Bonne chance avec…

Benji and Pocky say goodbye near the gym entrance, Pocky says to Benji, who holds swimming glasses and a towel in his hand, “Bonne chance avec ta formation!”

This phrase is used when wishing good luck for a current event or activity that the person has already started. It can be combined with the following expressions:

French

English

Bonne chance avec ta nouvelle entreprise!

Good luck with your new business!

Bonne chance avec ton projet!

Good luck with your project!

Bonne chance avec ta formation!

Good luck with your training!

Bonne chance dans…

This phrase is used to wish someone good luck in a particular situation or endeavor. It can be combined with expressions such as:

French

English

Bonne chance dans ta nouvelle vie à Paris!

Good luck in your new life in Paris!

Bonne chance dans ton nouveau posted!

Good luck in your new job!

Bonne chance dans tes études en médecine!

Good luck in your medical studies!

Bon Courage!

The phrase Bon courage! is another common expression used to wish someone good luck. It literally means “good courage” and is often translated as "be strong" or "hang in there."

It's a way of acknowledging that the task at hand may be challenging, but you believe the person has what it takes to succeed.

French

English

Bon courage pour ton examen demain!

Good luck for your exam tomorrow!

Je te souhaite bon courage avec ta nouvelle start-up.

I wish you good luck with your new startup.

Courage! Tu vas y arriver!

Hang in there! You can do it!

Bonne Chance et Merde!

Pocky, Benji, and Soren are getting ready to go on the stage in theater clothes, Iggy wishes them good luck, saying, “Allez, bonne chance et merde!”

This phrase may seem strange to English speakers, but it's a common way of wishing luck in French.

While Bonne Chance translates to "good luck," the word merde literally means "shit." However, when combined together, this phrase means something along the lines of "kick ass" or "break a leg." It's often used among performers, particularly in theaters (well, perhaps anything goes since it’s bad luck to wish good luck in a theater).

This tradition traces its roots back to the era when audiences would travel to the theatre in horse-drawn carriages. The popularity of the performance was reflected in the number of carriages that arrived. Naturally, with more carriages came more horses and, consequently, a greater amount of horse droppings.

Thus, in a roundabout way, the accumulation of merde served as a marker of the play's success.

French

English

Bonne chance et merde pour ton concert ce soir!

Good luck and break a leg for your concert tonight!

Bon courage et merde avec ta nouvelle entreprise.

Good luck and kick ass with your new business.

Allez, bonne chance et merde!

Go for it, good luck and break a leg!

Merde alors! Tu as gagné le concourse? Félicitations!

Damn! You won the contest? Congratulations!

Alternative Expressions for Wishing Good Luck in French

Now that you know some basic go-to phrases to wish someone luck in French, it's time to add some more unique expressions to your vocabulary. These phrases will not only impress native speakers but also give you a deeper understanding of the language and its nuances.

A collage of two images. On the left, Soren knocks on the wood; on the right, Benji holds his fingers crossed.

Je touche du bois!

This phrase translates to "I touch wood" and is used to ward off bad luck. The belief behind this expression is that knocking on something made of wood, like a table or door, will bring good fortune.

This phrase can be used as a standalone wish for good luck or combined with other phrases.

French

English

Je touche du bois pour que tu réussisses ton examen!

I touch wood for you to pass your exam!

Bonne chance et je touche du bois pour que ton projet aboutisse.

Good luck and I touch wood for your project to succeed.

Je croise les doigts!

Literally meaning "I cross my fingers," this phrase is the equivalent of English “Fingers crossed!” and yet another superstitious way of trying to bring good luck. The gesture involves crossing the index and middle fingers of one hand as a symbol of hope or luck.

It can also be used in combination with other phrases, like here:

French

English

Je croise les doigts pour que tu obtiennes ce poste!

I cross my fingers for you to get the job!

Bon courage et je croise les doigts pour que tu réussisses ta présentation.

Hang in there and I cross my fingers for you to ace your presentation.

Que la force soit avec toi!

Fans of Star Wars may recognize this phrase as a play on the famous quote, "May the Force be with you." In French, it translates to "may the strength be with you" and is often used to wish someone luck or success.

French

English

Que la force soit avec toi pour ton examen demain!

May the strength be with you for your exam tomorrow!

Bon courage et que la force soit avec toi pour ta compétition sportive.

Hang in there and may the strength be with you for your sports competition.

Meilleurs vœux!

This phrase, which translates to "best wishes," is commonly used during special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or holidays. It can also be used to wish someone good luck in their future endeavors.

French

English

Meilleurs vœux de réussite.

Best wishes for success.

Meilleurs vœux pour ta nouvelle vie en France!

Best wishes for your new life in Paris!

Bonne chance et meilleurs vœux pour ton mariage!

Good luck and best wishes for your wedding!

Je te souhaite bonne chance et meilleurs vœux pour tes études à l'étranger.

I wish you good luck and best wishes for your studies abroad.

Bonne continuation!

This phrase, which literally translates to "good continuation" but essentially means “keep it up!”, is used to wish someone success or good luck in their ongoing projects or endeavors. It's a way of acknowledging their progress and encouraging them to keep going.

French

English

Bonne continuation!

Keep it up!

Bonne continuation avec ton livre!

Good luck with your book!

Bon courage et bonne continuation avec tes études en médecine.

Hang in there and good luck with your medical studies.

Je te souhaite bonne continuation avec ton nouveau projet.

I wish you good luck with your new project.

The Bottom Line

Pocky, as a teacher, gives Soren back his exam paper with an A+ grade on it, saying, “Bonne continuation!”

As you can see, in French culture, it's considered polite to acknowledge someone's hard work and effort in addition to wishing them luck. This is why phrases like Bon courage and Bonne continuation are commonly used.

Additionally, the French language has a strong belief in superstitions, as seen in phrases like Je touche du bois and Je croise les doigts. Overall, wishing someone good luck in French goes beyond just a simple phrase; it shows care and support for the person's journey.

So, next time you want to wish someone good luck in French, remember these phrases and cultural insights to make your wishes even more heartfelt. For more real-life examples and common French phrases used in context, make sure to download our Langster app and boost your language skills with bite-sized lessons!

So go ahead, break a leg — or touch wood if you must — but always remember to say Bonne chance!