Learn the seven days of the week in French with this free French lesson! In the video, you’ll learn how to pronounce the French days of the week, hear my explanations, and even get a quiz so that you can test your knowledge.
In this written lesson, I’ll share with you some more insights, and even the meaning of the French days of the week.
Let’s start with three hypothetical situations:
1. A French friend shares an anecdote with you. You don’t understand when it took place exactly. You smile, but you’re lost.
2. Later, at the train station, you want to buy a ticket. The person at the ticket desk doesn’t understand when you want to take your trip. You’re frustrated.
3. Later still, you try to visit the Louvre Museum. It’s closed. You must have made a mistake reading the timetables!
If any of these situations sound even somewhat familiar, don’t worry! I’m here to help.
Why this lesson?
– Knowing the days of the week is the basic of any language.
– It’s easy to learn: it’s a low-hanging fruit that reaps big benefits!
– With this knowledge, you can tell better stories, book an appointment, use your calendar, schedule events with friends, meetings, train tickets…
Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson
– Beginners: Use the names for the 7 days of the week in French
– Intermediate: Navigate the different times of the day, from morning to night.
– Advanced: Build sentences with “relative” days, such as yesterday and tomorrow
– For all levels: Enjoy the French songs, each having to do with the days of the week!
Bonjour c’est Géraldine, Bienvenue sur Comme une Française. C’est parti !
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1) Days of the week in French
In French, a day is un jour.
It’s a masculine noun. We sometimes say la journée (= the day, at the feminine), when we want to refer to something that happens during that time.
If it makes it easier to understand, “la journée” can represent a long period of time when something happens (or might happen), while “le jour” is a more concrete unit that’s rarely broken.
Je t’appelle dans la journée = I’ll call you during the day (at some point today)
Je t’appelle dans deux jours = I’ll call you in two days
The days of the week in French themselves are masculine. So, we say le lundi (=Monday), un mardi (a Tuesday). The French days of the week also also start with a lowercase letter, rather than being capitalised (like in English).
[→ We also use the masculine for a specific date, such as le 1er Mai (=the First of May) for instance! Click here to learn more about Le 1er Mai en France ]
A week is une semaine. Let’s dive into les jours de la semaine (=the days of the week) !
A week in France starts with le lundi (=Monday). In 1972, the massively popular French singer Claude François released his hit Le lundi au soleil (=”A Monday in the Sun”), a song to complain about having to work on a sunny Monday.
Then we have mardi (=Tuesday), and mercredi (=Wednesday). Le mercredi is often seen as le jour des enfants (= children’s day): school often closes early, leaving them the afternoon for sports or extra activities.
Le jeudi (= Thursday) is the last day before vendredi (=Friday). Then it’s time for le week-end (=…you can guess what that means!)
On le samedi (=Saturday) French people can see friends, enjoy cultural activities or leisure, have a night out…
In the beautiful song Samedi soir sur la Terre, French singer/songwriter Francis Cabrel describes a typical scene of a “Saturday night on Earth” (boy meets girl). Check out the full album of the same name too, it’s filled with Cabrel’s best songs.
Finally, on le dimanche (=Sunday), French people can slowly wake up from their Saturday hangover, spend time with their family with a traditional French meal, or quite simply do nothing at all.
…Or even celebrate weddings! In the spirit of blind Malian singers Amadou & Mariam and their 2004 hit : le dimanche à Bamako c’est le jour du mariage (=In Bamako, Sunday is a wedding day)
(I love that song!)
- Lundi: Monday
- Mardi: Tuesday
- Mercredi: Wednesday
- Jeudi: Thursday
- Vendredi: Friday
- Samedi: Saturday
- Dimanche: Sunday
- All together = une semaine
Hidden Meaning of the French days of the week
The days of the week in French take their name from the Latin language and gods. “Di” at the end comes from “dies” (=”day,” in Latin.) That’s why we have:
Lundi = Lunae dies = jour de la lune = “moon day”
Mardi = Marties dies = jour de Mars = “Mars day”
Mercredi = Mercurii dies = jour de Mercure = “Mercury day”
Jeudi = Jovis dies = jour de Jupiter = “Jupiter day”
Vendredi = Veneris dies = jour de Vénus = “Venus day”
Samedi = Sabbati dies = jour de Sabbat = “Day of Shabbat” (Judeo-Christian origin)
Dimanche = Dies Dominica = jour du Seigneur = “The Lord’s day” – First day of the week for the medieval Catholic Church.
2) Times of the day
A French day is divided into several periods.
It starts with le matin (=the morning). Then we have le midi (=midday, noon), and then l’après-midi (= the afternoon).
The day then turns to le soir (= the evening), and la nuit (=the night, nighttime).
As we’ve seen, sept jours (=seven days) make une semaine (=a week).
Quatre semaines (=four weeks) make un mois (=a month), more or less. There are trois mois (=three months) in une saison (= a season).
There are four season, such as l’été (= summer).
Quatre saisons (= four seasons) make une année (=a year.)
Un an and une année both mean “a year”, the same way un jour and une journée mean “a day.” The masculine version in an “unbreakable” unit, while the feminine noun is a “long” time.
You can get a better breakdown of the French year in a previous lesson.
“L’après-midi” est un nom à la fois masculin et féminin. Les deux sont corrects! On peut dire un bon après-midi ou une bonne après-midi (=a good afternoon, masculine or feminine), c’est comme on veut !
3) Yesterday and tomorrow
You know what? If you don’t remember the name for a day of the week in French, there’s a simple trick that spans five whole days – without ever once using the syllable “di” !
Here it is:
The “easy” version:
Avant-hier ← Hier ← Aujourd’hui → Demain → Après-demain
Aujourd’hui means “today”. Hier is “yesterday.” Demain is “tomorrow.”
These are the three main ones you should know.
Once you can use these well, you can add avant-hier (= before yesterday, “the day before yesterday”), and après-demain (=after tomorrow, “the day after tomorrow”).
Bonus: The “hard” version:
L’avant-veille ← La veille ← Le jour-même → Le lendemain → Le surlendemain
This “bonus” timeline comes into play when you want to talk about days that are relative to a fixed day. Let me explain:
“Le jour-même” means “on that day.” It’s not today, but it’s a reference point, in the future or in the past. Le lendemain means “the day after,” and la veille means “the day before.” They’re like the equivalent of “tomorrow” and “yesterday,” but relatively to a fixed day other than today.
L’avant-veille (=the day before “la veille”) and le surlendemain (=the day after “le lendemain”) also exist, but they’re used far less. At that point, French people would say “deux jours avant” (=two days before), or “deux jours après” (=two days later.)
French people can also used the adjectives dernier (=last) or prochain (=next) to describe days, weeks, months or even years!
Je vois Michel mardi prochain. I’ll see Michel next Tuesday.
Je lui ai parlé mardi dernier. I talked to him last Tuesday.
Tu m’as appelé, la semaine dernière ? Did you call me last week?
Allez, on déjeune ensemble la semaine prochaine. Let’s have lunch together next week.
Elle était là l’an dernier ? Was she there last year?
Ils se marient l’an prochain. They’ll get married next year.
In a popular 2015 documentary called “Demain”, French actress Mélanie Laurent and director Cyril Dion try to find alternate, “green” ways to live.
A popular French expression is “C’est pas demain la veille !” (= “Tomorrow is not the day before it happens!”) It means “It’s not going to happen soon.”
Let’s have a quiz about the days of the week in French! You can test your knowledge about the French days of the week and when you should use them.
— Fill in the blanks —
Beginner : Le premier jour de la semaine est le ________.
Intermediate : Je ne suis disponible qu’après 14h, donc on peut se voir l’________ ou le ______.
Advanced : Si tu es à Paris la semaine ________, on pourrait déjeuner ensemble.
(The answers are right below, don’t cheat! Don’t look at them until you’ve written down in French what you think the right answers are.)
-- Answers --
Beginner : Le premier jour de la semaine est le lundi.
Intermediate : Je ne suis disponible qu’après 14h, donc on peut se voir l’après-midi ou le soir.
Advanced : Si tu es à Paris la semaine prochaine, on pourrait déjeuner ensemble.
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→ Quel est ton moment préféré pour regarder les leçons de Comme une Française ?
You can answer in French in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you.
“Je regarde la leçon du jour le mardi soir en buvant un verre de vin.”
(= “I watch the lesson on Tuesday evening, while drinking a glass of wine.”)
I’ll give you pointers for your mistakes and read all your replies on the blog!
→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂
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Allez, salut 🙂