Wondering how to say Cheers in French? You can say “Santé” which translates to “to your health”. A more polite way is to say “À votre santé!”, which is another common way to say cheers in French.
Now that you know that santé is the cheers in French, let’s go a step further in the French tradition and explain everything surrounding this clinking-glass ceremony.
In this post, you’ll learn to say cheers in French and its many alternatives:
- How to say cheers in French
- The ritual of making a toast in French
- The do’s and don’ts when making a toast in French
- Watch a video about learning to say cheers in French
- How to make a toast at a French wedding
- Lesson summary for cheers greeting in French
How to say Cheers in French
Food lovers clearly enjoy their stay in France. In addition, wine is served nearly with every meal. Champagne, invented by French, is also another great option. Visiting France for the fine cuisine, vineyard tours, and wine tasting definitely goes hand in hand.
While this looks awesome, you might be dreaming of getting a true French immersion experience. If so, this article and its video in French are made for you.
Santé is Cheers in French
People from different cultures around the world have their own words to say cheers in their native languages. Here is one video that you might enjoy watching about 70 People from 70 Countries Say Cheers in Their Native Languages.
Beside diversity between languages and cultures, there are many ways to say cheers within the same language, and this also applies to the French language.
À votre santé
This is the most common way to say cheers is cheers in French. It means “to your health” and it’s the generic toast that you can use for plural and formal situations.
À ta santé
This expression is similar to “à votre santé”. It’s the other generic toast used for the singular informal version of saying cheers in French.
À la vôtre
Does someone say to you “à votre Santé”? If so, you can reply by just using “à la vôtre” which means (to yours). You can also say “à la nôtre” (to ours).
In this context, the word health is assumed. Again, if you’re toasting a good friend one-on-one, you’d say, “à la tienne” (to your) which refers to the health, singular informal.
The ritual of making a toast in French
Toasting in the French tradition has its own customs and rules. Beyond learning the French word for cheers, there are a number of things to keep in mind. There are “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to how you make a toast in French, and I’ll give you a list of examples.
1. The do’s: steps before your first sip
First, let’s learn the French toasting rules. Just before your first sip, you should:
- Raise your glass
- Make sure you include the whole group.
- Look in the eyes of the person you are toasting with
- Clink your glasses together
- You have to take the first sip before placing your glass on the table
2. The don’ts: mistakes to avoid
Second, there are also mistakes that you should avoid before saying that you already nail how to make a toast in French. The infographic below summarizes the things that you should avoid:
- Never cross your glass with anyone else’s. This means, never try to toast someone across the dinner table by putting your glass above or below their’s to reach someone else.
- Make sure not to sip unless everyone finished exchanging cheers. You should wait for everyone to cheers before drinking
- Never put your glass on the table during the ‘process’
That’s it, now you can enjoy your meal and talk. If you’d like to learn more about the culture in France and in particular discover how to express gratitude in French, you can read our article on the best ways to say thank you in French.
Infographic: The do’s and don’t of making a toast in French
How to say cheers in French explained in a video
Reading through these instructions and learning how to say cheers in French when drinking as well as ensure that you’re following the rules and avoiding embarrassing mistakes, all at once, might not be easy for a non-French native. Don’t worry, I made this how-to video to make you master the ritual of clinking glasses like a French in no time.
You can also watch this video to learn more on how to say cheers in French. If you enjoy the content, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Making a toast at a French wedding
Let’s suppose that you’re invited to a wedding in France. You’ll want to use the proper expressions and steps when making a toast.
Porter un toast
Let’s imagine you’re at the wedding and you have to “porter un toast”. What does that mean? Porter un toast means that you raise glasses in celebration of someone or something before with or without a brief speech.
If you’re at a formal occasion, such as a wedding, you might want to drink a toast to the newlyweds. For example, if you are invited to a wedding as the best man, you’ll have to “porter un toast” before the dinner begins. The toast we drink to the bride and groom at a wedding is called “le toast porté aux mariés”.
Levons nos verres
An alternative to “porter un toast” is “lever nos verres” (to raise our glasses). You might lift your wine glass and suggest, “levons nos verres aux mariés”: “Let’s raise our glasses to the newlyweds”.
Choosing the words to say cheers in French depends on many factors such as the celebrated event or gathering and the people at the event. For instance, celebrating a special event, like a wedding or a promotion or New Year’s Eve are also occasions that can have their own distinct celebratory toasts.
Expressions to say cheers in French
If it’s not a formal occasion, you can use other expressions such as:
- À votre santé (to your health, plural/formal): is used commonly as a generic toast
- À ta santé (to your health, singular/informal): is used as a generic toast
- Santé: It’s very common to just use santé
- Trinquons (cheers in French): means literally to clink your glasses together
- Tchin-tchin/ chin chin (cheers! Good health): very familiar
Let’s make a French toast
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like learning reading our brief guide to learn useful French expressions.
Be sure to check the private French lessons if you’d like to learn how to speak French like a native.