Writing a Professional Email in French (Sample template included)

This guide covers writing an email in French for formal situations. It includes sample French phrases you can use and a sample email template in French.
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Writing a formal email in French can be a challenge. You might need to:

  • recap an important meeting
  • relay an important update
  • or send a cover letter.

You need to be professional. The key is to use the right formula for the right situation. In this article, I’ll give you the sentences you need to write a professional email in French.

How to write a formal email in French

1. Use the proper greeting

Being polite is important. 

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If you don’t know the name nor the gender of the recipient (le destinataire), use:

  • Madame, Monsieur,
  • Mesdames, Messieurs,

If you know the gender but not the name, then only Madame or Monsieur should be used.

Even if you know the recipient’s name, then Madame or Monsieur is still appropriate.

A formal relationship with someone whose title you know:

  • Madame la directrice,
  • Monsieur le Président,

A formal relationship with someone whose name you know:

  • Monsieur Untel,
  • Madame Dupont,

2. Introduce yourself

You have to explain the purpose of your email at first.

After the greetings, introduce your reason for writing. For instance, you can refer to an earlier in-person conversation with the recipient (le destinataire):
For example:

  • Suite à notre entretien du 14 juin : Following up on our interview on June 14th…
  • The following phrases are good choices when your letter’s intent is to inquire about employment
    Je vous propose ma candidature pour le poste : I propose my candidacy for the position
  • Je me réfère à votre annonce parue dans : with reference to your post advertised in
  • Votre annonce parue dans… a retenu toute mon attention: Your post advertised in… caught my attention
  • Je me permets de poser ma candidature pour le poste de… / au poste de : I wish to apply for the post of…
  • Je vous serais très reconnaissant/reconnaissante de : I would be very grateful if you could…

3. Be 100% Formal

When writing formal letters, always use “vous” and never “tu”.

When using you in the singular form, tu implies intimacy and informality, whereas vous is used in formal contexts.

Vous is always used when referring to a group.

4. How to write “enclosed” for an attached file

Most official documents have a title, so look for the title to insert the appropriate name of the document.

  • Veuillez trouver le document demandé en pièce : Please find the requested document as asked
  • Je vous joins mon CV : I enclose my resume
  • Veuillez trouver ci-joint mon CV : Please find attached my CV

5. Choose the right objet

However, just like an email in English, you’ll have a subject or in French “objet” which tells the recipient what the email is about. Choose a keyword that is professional.
For example:

  • Candidature pour le poste de chef de projet : Application for the position of project manager
  • Location appartement : Apartment rental
  • Demande de renseignements : Information request

6. Closing

A French business email always ends with a formule de politesse, a closing formula.

Some typical formal ending formulas are:

  • Je vous prie d’agréer, (repeat the title as you started your letter), l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.: Yours sincerely.
  • Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.
  • Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame Intel, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.

Another formal sentence would be:

  • Je vous prie d’agréer, (repeat the title as you started your letter), l’expression de mes salutations dévouées.
  • Je vous prie d’agréer, (repeat the salutation), l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

The following sentence adds an extra thank you at the beginning for some extra respect points.

  • Avec mes remerciements, je vous prie de trouver ici, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués. 

If you’re waiting on a response from someone in a formal situation, you can add “waiting for your response” to the beginning of one of these expressions: 

  • Dans l’attente de votre réponse, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.

7. Re-read your email

Re-read your email outloud to ensure it makes sense.

8. Useful phrases

You can embellish an email with the following common phrases :

  • J’ai une question concernant : I have a question about
  • Je serai disponible le : I’m available on
  • Je reste à votre entière disposition pour tout renseignement complémentaire : Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need any further information.
  • Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension : Thank you for your understanding

Sample Email in French

Objet: Candidature – Chef de projets

Madame Intel,
Votre annonce pour un poste de chef de projets a retenu toute mon attention.

Mes précédentes expériences m’ont permis de développer des compétences que je souhaite aujourd’hui mettre au service de votre entreprise.

Participer à l’évolution de votre structure serait une très belle opportunité.

En m’appuyant sur mes connaissances, mon sens de l’adaptation et mes expériences dans divers secteurs d’activités je suis convaincue d’avoir les qualités requises pour ce poste.

Je vous laisse le soin de découvrir mon parcours à la lecture de mon CV et j’aurais le plaisir de discuter de ce poste avec vous.

Dans l’attente de vous faire part de mes motivations, veuillez agréer, Madame, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

Mylène Bidule
Here how the French version translates to English:

Ms. Intel,

Your job posting for a project manager position caught my attention.

My previous experiences have allowed me to develop skills that I now want to put at the service of your company.

Participating in the evolution of your structure would be a great opportunity.

Based on my knowledge, my adaptability and my experience in various business sectors, I am convinced that I have the qualities required for this position.

I leave it to you to discover my background by reading my CV and I would have the pleasure to discuss this position with you.

Yours sincerely,
Mylène Bidule

Keep learning

This guide gives you the flexibility to tweak and the freedom to use any of the suggested sentences. In addition, the template is a good start for you to get inspired when writing a professional email in French. So, hope you’ll find it useful.

I have also published a number of how-to articles that you can check to learn how to think in French or also how to be successful when taking online courses.

I’d appreciate it if you can share and leave some feedback. Thanks in advance!

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