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French Informal And Formal Letter Format

You might wonder where to start if you’re new to French letter writing. Writing a letter in French might seem daunting initially, but it can be a rewarding experience with some guidance. 

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take you through the basics of French letter writing, from the format to the language used.

Introduction To French Letter Writing

Before diving into the specifics of French letter writing format, it’s essential to understand a French letter.  A French letter is a form of written communication used to convey a message to someone, such as a friend, family member, or business associate. 

There are two main types of French letters: formal and informal. In this guide, we’ll focus on informal letters typically used in personal correspondence.  Informal letters allow for more flexibility in terms of format and language, making them a great place to start for beginners.

French Informal Letter Format

The format of a French letter is similar to that of an English letter, with a few key differences. Here’s a basic outline of a French informal letter:

Date (optional): The date is typically written in the day-month-year format in French. 

For example: “Paris, le 3 Avril 2023” (Paris, April 3rd, 2023).

Salutation: This is where you address the recipient. You can use “Cher/Chère” (Dear) followed by the recipient’s first name in informal letters.

Body: This is where you write your message. In French, it’s essential to use the correct level of formality based on your relationship with the recipient. 

For example, you can use informal language if you’re writing to a friend. Still, if you’re writing to an elder or someone you don’t know well, you should use more formal language.

Closing: In French, there are several ways to close a letter, such as “Amicalement” (Friendly), “Je t’embrasse” (I hug you), or “Cordialement” (Sincerely).

Signature: This is where you sign your name.

Basic French Letter Writing Tips

Now that you understand the format of a French informal letter, here are some tips to help you write your own:

Start with a greeting: In French, it’s customary to start a letter with a greeting, such as “Bonjour” (Hello) or “Salut” (Hi).

Keep it simple: As a beginner, it’s best to keep your language straightforward. Avoid using complex sentence structures or vocabulary you need to familiarize yourself with.

Practise your grammar: French grammar can be tricky, so practice your grammar skills before writing your letter.

Use online resources, grammar books, or language exchange partners to improve your skills.

End with a closing: As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to close a French letter. Choose one that fits your personality and the tone of your message.

Here is a sample letter in French:

Paris, le 3 avril 2023

Chère Amélie,

Comment ça va? J’espère que tu vas bien. Je t’écris cette lettre pour te donner des nouvelles et te raconter ce qui se passe dans ma vie.

Je suis actuellement en train de préparer mes examens finaux à l’université. C’est très stressant, mais je suis confiant que je vais réussir. Et toi, comment se passent tes études?

Je pense souvent à notre dernier voyage ensemble en Italie. C’était tellement amusant! J’espère que nous pourrons bientôt planifier un autre voyage ensemble.

Prends soin de toi et écris-moi bientôt!



English Translation:

Paris, April 3rd, 2023

Dear Amélie,

How are you? I hope you’re doing well. I’m writing this letter to give you some news and tell you what’s going on in my life.

I’m currently preparing for my final exams at university. It’s very stressful, but I’m confident that I’ll succeed. And how are your studies going? I often think about our last trip together to Italy. It was so much fun! I hope we can plan another trip together soon.

Take care of yourself and write to me soon!



Advanced Guide: How To Write A Formal Letter In French

Suppose you must write a formal letter in French, such as a letter of complaint, a job application, or a letter to a government agency. In that case, using the correct format and tone is essential. 

Here are some tips to help you write a professional and effective formal letter in French:

Use a Formal Salutation 

Address the recipient of the letter using their appropriate titles, such as Monsieur (Mr.), Madame (Mrs.), or Mademoiselle (Miss). If unsure of the recipient’s title, you can use the generic “Monsieur/Madame” or “Madame, Monsieur”.

Write a Clear and Concise Subject Line

The subject line should summarise the letter’s purpose in a formal letter. For example, “Demande de remboursement” (Request for a refund) or “Candidature pour le poste de chef de projet” (Application for the position of project manager).

Use Formal Language

You should use more formal language in a formal letter and avoid contractions and colloquial expressions. Use the “vous” form instead of “tu” when addressing the recipient.

Use an Appropriate Closing

End your letter with an appropriate closing, such as “Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées” (Yours faithfully), or “Veuillez agréer, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs” (Yours sincerely).

Proofread Your Letter

Before sending your letter, proofread it carefully to avoid spelling or grammatical errors. Here is a sample formal letter in French:

Lyon, le 3 avril 2023


Je vous écris pour vous exprimer mon intérêt à postuler pour le poste de chef de projet que vous avez récemment annoncé sur votre site web. Je suis convaincu que mes compétences et mon expérience peuvent être un atout précieux pour votre entreprise.

J’ai travaillé dans l’industrie des technologies pendant plus de 5 ans et j’ai acquis une solide expérience en gestion de projets. Je suis capable de coordonner efficacement les membres de l’équipe, de gérer les budgets et de garantir que les projets sont terminés à temps et dans les limites de coûts.

En outre, je suis à l’aise en communication écrite et orale en français et en anglais, ce qui me permet de travailler avec des équipes multilingues. J’ai également une grande capacité d’adaptation aux différents environnements de travail.

Je suis enthousiaste à l’idée de rejoindre votre entreprise et de travailler avec une équipe dynamique. Vous trouverez ci-joint mon CV ainsi que mes références professionnelles. Je suis disponible pour une entrevue à votre convenance.

Je vous remercie pour votre attention et j’attends avec impatience votre réponse.



Jean Dupont

English Translation:

Lyon, April 3rd, 2023


I am writing to express my interest in applying for the position of project manager that you recently announced on your website. I am convinced that my skills and experience can be a valuable asset to your company.

I have worked in the technology industry for over 5 years and have gained solid experience in project management. I am able to effectively coordinate team members, manage budgets, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within cost limits.

In addition, I am comfortable with written and spoken communication in French and English, which allows me to work with multilingual teams. I also have a great ability to adapt to different work environments.

I am excited about the opportunity to join your company and work with a dynamic team. Please find attached my CV and professional references. I am available for an interview at your convenience.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing back from you.



Jean Dupont

Pro Tips To Write An Impressive Business Letter In French

You may need to write business letters in French if you’re a professional or a business person. These letters can be used for various purposes, such as making business proposals, requesting information, or introducing yourself to a potential client. 

Here are some tips to help you write an impressive business letter in French:

Know Your Audience

Before you start writing your letter, it’s important to consider your audience. Who will be reading your letter? What is their position or role in the company? 

Tailor your language and tone to the person or group you are addressing.

Use Formal Language

You should use formal language in a business letter and avoid contractions and colloquial expressions. Use the “vous” form instead of “tu” when addressing the recipient.

Follow a Professional Format

Use a professional format for your letter, including your contact information, the recipient’s contact information, a subject line, a formal salutation, the body of the letter, and an appropriate closing.

Use Clear and Concise Language 

Use clear and concise language to convey your message. Avoid using complex sentences or technical jargon that may be difficult for the recipient to understand.

Proofread Your Letter

Before sending your letter, proofread it carefully to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors. You can also have someone else read it to ensure that it’s clear and effective.

Here is a sample business letter in French:

Paris, le 3 avril 2023

Monsieur le Directeur Général,

Je vous écris pour vous proposer mes services en tant que consultant en marketing pour votre entreprise. Je suis convaincu que mes compétences et mon expérience pourraient être bénéfiques pour votre entreprise.

Je possède plus de dix ans d’expérience dans le domaine du marketing et j’ai travaillé pour plusieurs entreprises françaises et internationales. Je suis spécialisé dans le développement de stratégies de marketing numérique et j’ai une solide expérience en matière de gestion de projets.

Je serais heureux de vous rencontrer pour discuter plus en détail de mes services et de la façon dont je pourrais vous aider à atteindre vos objectifs commerciaux. Veuillez trouver ci-joint mon CV et mes références professionnelles pour votre examen.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur le Directeur Général, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.


Jean Dupont

English Translation:

Paris, April 3rd, 2023

Dear Managing Director,

I am writing to offer my services as a marketing consultant for your company. I am convinced that my skills and experience could be beneficial for your business.

I have over ten years of experience in the marketing field and have worked for several French and international companies. I specialize in the development of digital marketing strategies and have a strong track record in project management.

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss in more detail my services and how I could help you achieve your business objectives. Please find attached my CV and professional references for your review.

Yours faithfully,


Jean Dupont

Final Takeaway

Writing a letter in French can be a challenging task, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Whether you’re writing a personal, formal, or business letter, it’s important to understand the proper format and language conventions. 

Following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article can improve your French letter-writing skills and effectively communicate your message to your recipient. 

Remember to tailor your language and tone to your audience, proofread your letter, and use clear and concise language to convey your message. With these tips, you can write impressive and effective letters in French.

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