How To Write A Formal Letter In French

How To Write A Formal Letter In French – Letter writing is used more in France than in countries such as the UK.  A lot of business in France has to be done in writing, such as requests and confirmations, rather than by email.  Therefore it is a good idea to at least learn the basics of the language used in letters as well as the style and format that letters in France take.
French letter writing PDF format class 9 template How to end a formal letter in French phrases & letters without using  google translate

How To Write A Formal Letter In French

Letter Layout

  • Start by writing your name, without title, above your address on the left side at the top of the page.
  • The name and address of the person you are sending the letter to should be placed on the right-hand side of the page below the level at which you placed your address.
  • Any titles should be placed after the full name and not before.  Abbreviations should not be used for titles unless the full form is too long to go on the envelope i.e., M. for Monsieur.  Please note only use the full stop is only used after the abbreviations.
  • The date the letter was written is placed underneath the addressee’s name and address on the right-hand side.
  • When writing an informal letter to a close friend or family member it is acceptable to not include either yours or the recipient’s full address.  Instead, simply write the name of the place the letter was written at under the name followed by the date.
  • If writing the date in full also place a ‘Le’ before the day number and never capitalize the first letter of the month.
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  • The greeting will depend on if you know the person you are writing to.   When you are writing to a woman and do not know if she is married or single it is safer to simply use Madam.
  • Note that the name should always be followed by a comma.


If you do not know the person


Mr Smith


Monsieur Smith,
Mrs. Smith


Madam Smith,
Miss Smith


Mademoiselle Smith,


Monsieur, Madame, Messieurs,


To whom it may concern


A qui de droit,


If you do know the person


Dear Mr. Smith


Cher Monsieur Smith,
Dear Mrs. Smith


Chère Madame Smith,
Dear Miss Smith


Chère Mademoiselle Smith,
Dear friends


Chers amis,
Dear John and Mary


Chers John et Mary,
My dear John


Mon cher John,
My dear friends


Mes chers amis,
My dearest Mary


Ma très chère Mary,
Dear all


Chers tous,


How to end a formal letter in French

Traditionally letters in France have had very long, complex, and enthusiastic endings often expressing several times how much the writer appreciates and thinks of the recipient.  However, practices are now changing and it is acceptable to keep closings shorter.

Just make sure that the formality level of the greeting and closing matches.


If you do not know the person


– Dans l’attente de vous lire, je vous prie d’agréer, Messieurs, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

– Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués

– Je vous adresse, Madame, Monsieur, mes salutations distinguées.

– Je vous prie de croire, Madame, en nos sentiments dévoués.


If you do know the person



– Salutations distinguées

– Cordialement




– Amicalement

– Bien à vous

– A bientôt

– Avec toute mon affection

– Grosses bises

– Affectueusement

– Je t’embrasse très fort

– Bisous



The envelope

The address should be written carefully to ensure it is not misdirected.  Things to look out for include;


– Write in capital letters

– Use black ink

– Include the return address on the back of the envelope after the word Exp.

– Do not use punctuation, such as commas, on the envelope




A French postcode is a five-digit number. The first two numbers indicate the department number and the last three the area.  The postcode should be placed before the name of the town and village on the last line of the address.  There are several English language postcode finders available;


Some communes are so small that they share the same code with at least one or more communes.



Institut National de la Consommation

The Institut National de la Consommation website contains more than 100 letter templates providing the correct letter style and language for a variety of situations.

Simply download the template you require, add your details, print, sign it and post it. It is advisable to use a recorded delivery for complaints.

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