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Is bonjour a Paris word?

Bonjour is indeed a French word that is commonly used in Paris and throughout France. It is a greeting that translates to “good day” or “hello” in English. Here is a quick overview of the bonjour word and its usage in Paris:

What Does Bonjour Mean?

Bonjour literally means “good day” in French. It is the most common French greeting used when meeting someone for the first time during the day. Here is a breakdown of what bonjour means:

  • Bon = Good
  • Jour = Day

So together, bonjour translates to “good day” as a greeting. It can be used both formally and informally when greeting friends, family, coworkers, clients, and strangers throughout the daytime hours.

How is Bonjour Used in Paris?

In Paris, bonjour is used ubiquitously as a greeting when interacting with people in public settings during the daytime. Here are some examples of how it is used:

  • When entering a shop, Parisians will say “Bonjour madame/monsieur” to the shopkeeper.
  • When purchasing something from a counter at a bakery or market, it is polite to say “Bonjour” first.
  • When passing strangers on the street throughout the day, Parisians will often say a friendly “Bonjour” in passing.
  • In professional settings, using “Bonjour” when greeting coworkers, clients, and superiors is standard practice.

So in essence, bonjour is used both formally and informally in Paris as a versatile greeting to acknowledge someone’s presence and wish them a good day. It is essentially the equivalent of saying “Hello” or “Good day” in English throughout the daytime hours.

When is Bonjour Used in Paris?

Bonjour is primarily used as a daytime greeting in Paris. Here is an overview of when it is appropriately used:

  • From morning until approximately 5pm, bonjour is the standard greeting.
  • In the evening, the greeting switches to “Bonsoir”, which means “Good evening.”
  • Bonjour would not be used in the late night or very early morning when greeting someone.
  • It is essentially reserved for greeting people throughout the daylight hours when it literally means “Good day.”

So in summary, bonjour is only used during the daytime hours in Paris, starting from morning until early evening around 5pm. The time of day determines whether bonjour or its evening equivalent, bonsoir, is the appropriate greeting.

Origin and History of Bonjour

Bonjour has been commonly used as a French greeting for centuries. Here is a brief overview of the origin and history of this word:

  • Bonjour dates back to at least the 12th century in France.
  • It developed from the popular Latin phrase “bona dies”, which meant “good day.”
  • By the 14th century, “bon jour” was commonly used in medieval France.
  • The word spread through all levels of society as the standard daytime greeting.
  • By the 17th century, bonjour was ubiquitous in France and considered part of proper etiquette.
  • It has maintained widespread use in France and other French-speaking regions ever since.

So in summary, bonjour has centuries of history and heritage in France. It emerged in the Middle Ages from Latin roots and has evolved as a fundamental part of the French language and culture around polite greetings. Its longevity demonstrates how integral bonjour is to communication in French-speaking societies.


In conclusion, bonjour is absolutely considered a standard French word, especially in the context of Paris. It is a versatile greeting that means “good day” and is used ubiquitously when greeting people in public settings during daylight hours. Bonjour has a centuries-long history in France, stemming from Latin roots and evolving to signify polite etiquette. When visiting Paris, using bonjour is a way to immediately display fundamental French language skills and awareness of local culture. So yes, bonjour is certainly a Parisian word that visitors should embrace when experiencing the City of Light!