What is the French word for peel or bark or rind?
How to say "to lose it" or "to come unhinged" in French?

The French word for "good"... and an amusing French idiosyncrasy!

  French dog in Biarritz (c) Kristin Espinasse
Please share today's "Dogs of France (and Europe!)" post with an animal lover. Meantime, French learners will appreciate notes on all the "bon" expressions (bon courage, bon appétit, bon séjour) and insights into the French idiosyncracy of well wishing. Read on ... but first allow me to wish you bonne lecture!, or happy reading!

bon (boh(n) silent "n")

     good; right, correct

Audio file: Listen to our daughter, Jackie, read the following example sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

Bonne fête, bonne journée, bonne promenade... bon appétit... les francais ont la manie de souhaiter les bonnes choses! Happy holiday, have a good day, enjoy your walk... or meal... the French are obsessed with well-wishing!

The following post was inspired by a comment I received over the weekend: 

Hi Kristin,

I was recently in France, and people wished me "bon courage" at the recent death of a family member there. Does this really mean "good luck"? This expression must have many meanings and uses. To my anglophone sensibilities, wishing someone good luck when a loved one passes away seems a bit odd and inappropriate. But I was wished "bon courage" with such heart felt emotion that I knew that this was an encouraging thing to wish me. Language is so interesting. Bette

Hi Bette,

I'm so sorry for your loss. You mentioned the bon courage expression meaning "good luck" and it seems this is true (though, for "good luck," the expression bonne chance also comes to my mind).

But back to bon courage... in addition to meaning "good luck," bon courage is also an expression of support, similar to "be strong" or even "take it easy." 

Bette, your note about the French language reminds me of the confusion I often felt, when I first came to France, on discovering all the bonnes choses or "good" things the French were constantly wishing each other. I remember my surprise and embarrassment when complete strangers wished me bon appétit! while passing by the park bench, where I sat eating my lunch.

This very personal acknowledgment by a stranger would be the beginning of a  budding insight into the French and their automatic courtesy. I leave you with several more examples of French well-wishing (which I've paired with some photos from the archives), and wish you, as my husband often wishes me when I set out to work: bonne édition! Enjoy this post! (or good luck writing today's post, as Jean-Marc said just this morning.)

Italian dog in Sauve, Italy (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon voyage... Photo taken in Sauve, Italy. Bon voyage is one of the more common courtesies you will hear the French wish each other. 

Bon voyage = Have a good trip!

Croatian dog (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon rétablissement... Photo taken in Croatia. Bon rétablissement is something the French wish each other when they are sick or healing. 

Bon rétablissment = Get well soon or speedy recovery!

French dog in Colmar, Alsace (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon essayage? As I said, above, one thing that amused me when I first came to France, was how they were always well-wishing each other--everything from bon essayage to bon bricolage (I heard this last one at Castorama over the weekend.)

bon essayage! = happy trying-on!
bon bricolage = happy DIYing! (happy home improvement!) 

French dog in Serignan (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon jardinage. I dare you to go to une pépinière or nursery this time of year and not hear this well-wish at the checkout lane:

bon jardinage! = happy gardening! 

French dog and cats in Visan (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon débarras! Cats--and an imposter--in the town of Visan. Don't go getting the idea that all the wishes wished by the French are altruistic! From time to time you'll hear this one:

Bon débarras = good riddance! 

French dog in Gigondas (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bonne dégustation. A wish I often hear, living with a winemaker who loves to share his vin with friends, is this one:

bonne dégustation! = enjoy your drink!  

French dog in Seguret (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon reniflement? Just kidding, French dogs don't really wish this to each other... but one can't be sure about French perfumists, and their courtesies...

bon reniflement! = good sniffing! 

French dog in Bedoin, Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bon....? Your turn to decide what this dog is wishing its friend, and in so doing share several more "bon" expressions. Click here to share your answer.

French dog in Seguret (c) Kristin Espinasse
By the way, will you please help name the  dog types in today's edition? Click here to identify the dog breeds.

Mas de Martin dog (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bonne sieste! = Have a good nap! This napper, or vineyard dog, lives at Mas de Martin. Total animal lovers there.

French dog in Tulette, France (c) Kristin Espinasse
Almost time, now, to wish you bon au revoir. On second thought, they don't say that at all in France! So much sweeter to say "à la prochaine!" (until next time...)

Italian dog in Ventimillie (c) Kristin Espinasse
... and bonne continuation! I almost left out my favorite "bon(ne)" expression...

Bonne continuation! = I wish you all the best (also = Keep up the good work!)

Do you have a favorite "bon" expression? Share it with us in the comments corner, here.  

Other Favorite Dogs! Don't miss them here:
Dog in Giens 
Dog in Spain - Amazing fur style!
Hiding dog... can you guess who this is?
Dog with motorcycle 

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Péage --bonne route

Ma from Brasil

Très sympa this post!Love it!Merci!
à la prochaine! ;-)

Cynthia Hinson

Hi Kristin. Loved today's edition. Bon courage will always be my favorite French phrase of encouragement. But I was wished "bon continuation" at lunch this week. I had finished my soup and when la serveuse put my main course in front of me she added, "Bon continuation." Adorable!




Perry Taylor

Hi Kristin,
We live in the Hautes-Pyrénées and were confused when we first heard someone recommended a restaurant that was 'terrible !' Then someone would say that something was 'pas terrible'.
We quickly realised that 'terrible' was slang/argot for good, great, or terrific and that 'pas terrible' meant that is was bad, not good, or awful. So a literal translation of pas terrible to 'not bad' was completely wrong. Like in any language, it's the subtle word plays that reflect the culture.

Bonne journée,


Karen Whitcome - Towson, Md.

This was, indeed, a bonne édition!

Merci, Kristin.

Kathy Shearer


Bon saut!


It is very late at night where I live (at the bottom of the world....(derrier de la monde?) so I will just add bon nuit mes ami.

Jens from Copenhagen

Bonne route = Drive carefully...

Rick Macemon

Bon WE - Bon Weekend

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Hi Kristin,

Love all the photos! Maybe the little Yorkie is saying to his friend down below....bon poo poo....haha

I love Bon Weekend too!

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, mais, bien sur--that is exactly what he or she is saying!

Thank you for all the bon expressions. Keep them coming and... bon travail!

Glenn from St Paul

I few years ago I attended Le Festival des Films du Monde in Montréal. Prior to each screening a woman would introduce the film and at the end of her remarks, just before the house lights went down, she would always wish us "bon cinéma."


bon courage - dans le contexte d'un enterrement signifie to give somebody courage, to be courageous.

En revanche: bonne chance - good luck


The first photo looks like my wonderful Puli Barney that I used to have. Had to buy a vacuum cleaner to go along with him. Bonne journée !


bonne dimanche - good sabbath (the Sunday version of bonne journee). I heard this repeatedly at the Sunday market in St. Antonin de Nobel Val.

joie in Carmel, Ca.

Very cute. A friend just sent me volume 1 of a book of the winery dogs of Australia. Our little town last week beat out Annapolis, Maryland for the most Travel Friendly Pet City in the US! Of course all of France is that way.
I took the challenge of naming the dogs, sort of:
1? 2Brittany Spaniel 3Gascon shorthair? 4Malinois mix 5Wirehaired dashound 6Shorthair mix? 7Small Briard mix 8Same 9?
10Sheep guard dog(can't remember the name)11mutt?or a puli without cording.
So I end with Bon chien to Braise and Smokey!


As Karen said, une bonne édition! Merci pour les photos toutou (which I named my little guy). One year in Provence I had so much fun snapping pix of les chiens. I found that the French may be réticent about someone taking their photo, but not so with their pets. So much fun! Merci Kristin. You brightened my day. Bonne journée!

Susan Dautel

Maybe the pup is saying Bon retour--does that work for wishing for his owner's quick return? When I leave my dog, I always tell her "Back soon!"

Bruce Taylor

Kristin, your eye for photography never ceases to amaze me! These photos are wonderful! Thank you.
Also, it was nice to see Chief Grape on his birthday in Seattle two weeks ago. Sorry there wasn't more time to talk but he was in his element - discussing his wine with a crowd of 'tasters'.
Bonne chance (my favorite phrase), along with 'bon mot'.

Pat Cargill

Bonbon! Ha,ha! Passez-moi des chocolats! I know, not an expression, but my mind works this way!


Anatolian Shepard?


Darling Kristi,

I love today's post - made me so happy!!



Julie Farrar

Don't have time this morning to identify dogs because I leave soon for my own bon voyage for a week. However, I want to thank your for clearing up the French obsession with "bon" phrases. I need to come back later and write all of these in my little French phrases book.

Linda C.

Is "Bon travail" a "good" term? In Italian we learned "buon lavoro" ("good work") which I think should be equivalent!

cathaeine ewart-touzot

Great post..sent it on to some of my dog friends, share it regularly with my "french" loving friends...most of the dogs are mixes but the very first on is a Puli which is what my Hannah is!...believe the one in Vison is a wire hared dachshund, then a chocolate lab at the fountain though the legs look a little short, maybe not..looking down a large Yorkshire or perhaps a Skye terrier...the one before that also a terrier perhaps a mix. catharine ewart-touzot


The dog in the last photo, with the scooter, looks like a Bedlington terrier . . .

Janine Cortell

I have often heard bonne continuation when I am in France. It is used in so many ways...just keep doing well in whatever it is you are doing...and so dear Kristin I wish you bonne continuation in your writing which brings so much pleasure to so many people like me. Janine

Bill Facker

If any of the cute pups in your post are American expats in France, they could possibly be telling one another

"Bon bone" :-)

Aloha, Bill

Andie Triolo

With my limited French exposure, I would have heard "Take heart!" in that well-wisher's condolence, and have only ever used "Bonne chance" for "Good luck." .... I've been a silent reader of yours for quite a while - thanks today, as always, for your gift of a bit of France to cheer my day!


How about bon anniversaire (happy birthday), bonne route (have a good road trip==a trip by car) and bonne annee (happy new year), bon weekend and bonne nuit.


Lovely photos, Kristin! I enjoyed reading today's edition. In Russian and Hebrew, there are many well-wishing expressions similar to the ones you mentioned.

Dennis LeFils

"Bon courage" seems perfect for expressing sympathy for someone's loss. "Courage" comes from the word for heart. In Thai metaphysics, the heart is the seat for bravery/fortitude and its counterpoint, grief (not fear). With a real heart-felt loss, it takes courage to continue, to move through and beyond the grief. N'est-ce pas?
-- Dennis

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

After a stressful weekend, these pooches ... and all the bons ... made my day!

Frank Levin

Bonne Route at the exit of the autoroute aires always makes me feel good.


MY mother, daughter and I could not figure out how to get our rental car into reverse gear. This was several years ago in Arles. A kind man showed us how a small cowling on the shifter needed to be lifted with the fingertips. Aha!

Many mercis from us, and as he turned to go, he said "Bon vacances" with just a bit of doubt in his voice that it would be so. Fun memory.


Bon Vol! Bon sejour! Bon retour! Bon vent! Bonne fin de semaine! Bonnes vacances!

Augusta Elmwood

When my husband started out from Bordeaux on the Camino de Santiago, "Bon courage" was the cry he heard from everyone who saw him. I think it means "Courage, man!" more than "good luck". (They knew the 750K to Santiago would not be easy!)

French genealogists wish each other "bonnes recherches" or "bonne continuance" when posting to the various départemental/surname Listes.

I think it is a charming habit, and so economical ... instead of saying "I wish you/I hope you have a..." (with the focus on the speaker, not the recipient) or "Have a..." (a command), the word bon/bonne serves just as well and is a lot more friendly.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

l'édition d'aujourd'hui grande, Kristin!

Lots of useful phrases to add to our knowledge base, I might add “bonne randonnée”

À plus tard

Judy Feldman

Kristin, I love this post! The photos are wonderful - inspiration for paintings! And, bonne continuation a toi!

Betty Tuininga

Love this edition, the phrases and your wonderful photos. You have a great eye!

Hattee Christian

I'm still laughing at Smokey's hiding place. We also have a yellow lab, Virginia,who is nearly 13. I enjoy the dogs in France as much as anything I ever do and have wanted a Briard ever since I was with one years ago. Caroline du Sud is probably much too hot for one! Love your blog and it makes me feel as though I'm there with all of you. Thanks for the time you spend on us!

Carol White

Your photography is incredible! I enjoy your posts although don't always have time to comment. All the best.


Our dear Kristi,
ALL of your posts are wonderful(!!) but this one is that and MORE!!
So enjoyed the subject,and VERY especially,the
terrific photographs! As an over the top dog lover, these just captured my imagination (and my heart).My favorite has to be of the precious Yorkie,looking over the railing, no doubt wishing our two (very distant) ones a most "Bon Journee!"
THANK YOU for so many welcome smiles today!
Love, Natalia XO

Susan in Paris

The Malinois is most certainly Art Carney as Ed Norton in The Honeymooners reborn as this inquisitive dog checking out the neighborhood. Bon point, tutu! You deserve a brownie point, pup!

Susan in Paris

oops! spell that "toutou". Always learning, here.

Diane Young

Votre edition etait tres bon! Ah, les chiens. Quel plaisir de les voir. Maintenant, apres un jour long, c'est bon de lire votre edition. Merci. A bientot.

Diane Young

Votre edition etait tres bonne. Excusez-moi.


Well, the one we all know from Julia Child, "bon appetit!" Et "bon courage" is just what she said - en-courage-ing.
What a great post. Thanks!

Christine Allin

The pup in Croatia tugged at my heart...what a sweet expression. I have always told my dogs bon chien. They have always seemed to understand!

Dana (San Antonio,TX)

C'était une trés bonne édition Kristin! Merci beaucoup et bonne journée à vous!

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

LOVE this post Kristin! As a total dog lover, I can't stop looking at these photos! Thanks for sharing.

All of the bon phrases are awesome. Must jot those down for future use in France!

Eileen-love your "bon poo poo" suggestion. So funny and perfect for that picture!

As always, bonne continuation to you Kristin!

Michael Wrenn

Well it has been a while since I have posted so it was time I dropped a line. I am surprised no one else has come up with this- Bonne lecture! Perfect to wish for Kristin's blog.

Two other favorites of mine already mentioned by other readers: Bon vent! and a sentimental favorite: Bonne continuation. When I was only 19 and living as an au pair in Paris, the building landlady would always wish me Bonne continuation. I don't know exactly how to translate it, but something to effect of, Keep on keeping on is pretty close I suppose.

I also have to share Kristin's awkward reaction to eating in public and having strangers who pass by wishing Bon appétit, but now I am used to it and find it charming.

Those of you watching the new Pope Francis and his Sunday lunchtime Angelus speeches might have caught a jaunty Buon pranzo (Have a good lunch) Very atypical for a pope, but so common to wish in Italy!

Best to all of you in Bandol, Kristin and family, and greetings from the Napa Valley to all those readers around the world.

Bonne continuation et bonne lecture à tous from Michael Wrenn, French teacher, St. Helena California


The dog in Visan is a wire haired Dachshund, just like my baby! So sweet. Hope Smokey Dokey and Braise are doing well. I don't get to stop by as often as I used to since I moved to the Caribbean, so I miss seeing their sweet faces. Hope all is well in France with you and yours. ~Erin (formerly of Atlanta)

Marianne Rankin

I enjoyed the dog photos, especially the one that accompanied "bon jardinage."

I have no "bon" expressions to add to those already mentioned, but there is a French proverb with "bon": A bon vin, point d'enseigne.


Wonderful post. I love your fotos.

Kristin Espinasse

Bill in St Paul, Your note reminds me to add a passage to the text--just before the part where I pick up the spoon and decide to go ahead and eat. That is when I stopped to think about the role reversal: like your wife, Ann, and many reading here, I am used to bringing the helpers treats (pieces of cake, chocolate, and lots of good coffee--and sometimes lunch) I will add this to the story, to give that section a better contrast. Thanks for the inspiration!

susan hicks

I was very, very pleased to see the tan dog with the black muzzle gazing to the sky from the garden of flowers, as it is the same breed as our lovely "Tosco" a Belgian Shepherd/Berger de Belge (who loves snow, but has been raised in Phoenix, Arizona most his life).
We recently moved to Southern Oregon & have a French Club formed through www.MeetUp.com & your daily words are so educational for our language advancement.

Patty Heigh

I loved your story and lesson today, Kristin. I was particularly amused by the picture titled, "Bon debars!" That poor dog was so sullen. One could easily imagine how loudly the cats meowed: "Bon debars!" And, without a doubt, they meowed without remorse, and with great relish. So Funny! Bonne continuation, Kristen!

Suzanne Codi

Hi Kristi
Looooved this dog post, don't know how I missed it the first time...Being a dog painter and sculptor, I can use as much visual inspiration as possible, and these were all wonderful.
looks like most of the pups were named by now, and I suspect the big white ( dirty) fluffy sheepdog is a Maremma, saw some in Tuscany some years ago.
Sounds like Jackie's going to have a great US summer with her grandparents! Where do they live? She's welcome to come visit DC if they are around the East Coast, Jean-Marc can tell you we have plenty of room for everyone.
ps, just read pure coconut oil is a great sunscreen too
Have a great summer! bises, Suz

Jo Statham

Why is that dog in a t shirt? Doesn't it stop him having a good scratch - something all dogs love to do naturally. It may look cute, but I don't think it's particularly kind to the animal. I do hope someone eventually released him from it.


THe first time I was wished Bon Appetit by a stranger, as I was eating on a bench, I was sure it was someone being fresh. Like I was being some sort of cretin eating on a bench like that, but then I learned it's what they do to everyone!!

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