French letter format


The margins for a French letter are: left 33 mm, right 20 mm, top and bottom 20 mm. (Microsoft Word can be used to create these margins.)


Mention your name or the name of the company at the top left of the letter. Do not include an address if the details are already in the letterhead. Enter the country name in French under the postcode.


Burrows & Hayes Inc
188 Halifax Road
Birmingham B3 1TR
Phone: +44(0)121 123 4567
Email: [email protected]


Make sure that the email address does not change into a hyperlink (usually coloured blue with clickability). This happens if typing the e-mail address is followed by a 'space' or 'enter'. Avoid this by moving the cursor with the mouse or with the arrow keys. If the email address changes to a link, click on ‘Undo’ in the 'Edit' menu.

Guidelines postal companies

Postal companies provide guidelines for the shipment to take place as soon as possible. These are the wishes of the postal company and are not obligatory, but to avoid delays in shipping it is better to keep to these guidelines. For sending post abroad:

Leave two spaces between the postal code and the name of the city in the Spanish address.

The country name is written in all capital letters, this only applies to ‘de retour’ (return) addresses that are visible on the outside of a postal item. It concerns labels, addresses on envelopes and addresses in letters that can be seen through a window envelope.

Country names are not automatically read if they are after the city name. That is why it is better to write them on a new line.


Indicate the recipient (to whom the letter is intended) on the envelope and on the letter. Also indicate the department and / or name of the person to whom you are writing the letter. Under the name of the company, you enter the full name of the person to whom the letter is addressed, the use of the initials ATTN is allowed (it is the abbreviation of ''À l'attention de' which means' for the attention of'). Before the name, you write Monsieur 'M.' (with a full stop) or Madame 'Mme' (without a full stop). Surnames are often written in capital letters.

The house number is followed by a comma and the name of the street. The postal code consists of five digits and represents the name of the city. A mailbox is called 'Boite Postale' (BP).

Place names are written with capital letters.

Please note: Make a note of the country name on the envelope in English. In the letter you write the country name in French, unless you use a window envelope, then you have to write the country name in French in the address.


Example in the letter:
Université de Paris
200, Avenue de Republique
92001 PARIS

Example on the envelope:
Université de Paris
200, Avenue de Republique
92001 PARIS


In the reference line you can use words 'Objet' or 'Concerne' to indicate the subject of the letter in a few words. In French you place spaces before and after the colon. Do not use a full stop at the end of the phrase.

Objet : obtention du diplôme

Place and date

The date is placed in the upper right corner of the letter. Also state the place where you are writing the letter from, followed by a comma and the date. You write the names of the months with a lowercase letter.

The date displayed starts with the article 'le'. Only the first of the month gets the suffix 'er'.

New York, le 1er janvier 2018
Londres, le 8 avril 2019


In a French letter you do not mention the name of the addressee. You only write 'Monsieur', 'Madame' or, for example, 'Monsieur le directeur'. Always end the salutation with a comma.


First paragraph

This paragraph starts with a capital letter. In this paragraph you give information about the situation in which prompted you to write the letter. Try to avoid starting sentences with 'I', this can seem rude and self-centred.

Following paragraphs

Write the rest of your letter here.

Closing paragraph

Traditionally, the conclusion is made up of three parts:

  1. Opening (eg. 'Nous vous prions d'agréer', or 'recevoir'; 'Acceptez'; 'Recevez', 'Agréez')
  2. Repetition of the greeting ('Monsieur', 'Madame', 'Monsieur le directeur')
  3. The formal farewell (Nos salutations distinguées; l'expression de nos sentiments respectueux)

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’assurance de mes sentiments distingués.


The signature is placed on the right hand side of the letter. You write your name in full and below that you state your position or department.


Winston TAYLOR


If you send documents with the letter, please mention this in the letter. These documents are called 'Annexes' or P.J. (pièce jointe). From the entry in the letter, the recipient must be able to determine what the documents concern and how many of them there are.

Annexe : l'explication