Being introduced to people in France can be quite a formal affair. When you walk into a party, you do not just walk in and say “Hey y’all” to the crowd and settle in. Even James Bond would be shocked, and he’s British.
In France, normally you first greet the host (or the person answering the door) with a Bonjour, and then greet each person personally. One by one, you make your way through the crowd, with either a handshake or a bisous (kiss) on each cheek.
“Hello, Nice to meet you.”Normal English greeting
This can be a bit flustering if you are meeting people for the first time and trying to remember their names and your French conjugations at the same time. Which is why at this the point when you can channel your inner French James Bond:
“Bonjour. Enchanté.” – Hello, Nice to meet you.In a deep voice and a smile, à la James Bond
Done and dusted. You don’t need anything more. I always translate this literally in my head as “Enchanted to meet you.”, as if pixie dust is being sprinkled and you have fallen under that person’s spell or something.
Alas, it is not quite that dramatic in French. It is not even meant to be flirtatious, the way it could be interpreted in English. It just really means “Nice to meet you”, in a very genuine, slightly formal and slightly debonair kind of way. Not bad I suppose.
Other French phrases to say Nice to Meet you
There are many other expressions, of course, to greet people in French, after that first introduction:
- Ravi(e)de faire votre/ton connaissance: Nice to meet you
- C’était un plaisir: It’s a pleasure
- Heureux de t’avoir rencontré: Happy to meet you (informal)
- Je suis content(e) d’avoir fait ta/votre connaissance: I’m happy to meet you
If you have a basic background in French though, you will see particular hazards that you may trip over, with the above phrases:
- Should you formalize your introduction with “Votre” or go informal with “Ton”?
- Will you remember to feminize the greeting if you are female: Heureux vs Heureuse?
Much simpler thus, to stick to the one-word greeting! To be fair, “Enchanté” is not used that often as the other phrases, and it would be a bit odd to greet a whole bunch of people all at the same time with “Enchanté”. You will need to mix it up a bit.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided I’m going to use this word more often this year. Maybe it will brighten someone else’s day with pixie dust!
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