Condolence Phrases

We had some neighbours for many years just a little bit older than us. We spoke every day more or less but weren’t incredibly close. However, they moved to a more accessible house in the village and we didn’t see them very often. (I’m just setting out the sort of relationship we have/had)

Yesterday another neighbour told me that the wife of aforementiond couple had died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago and we are thinking of sending the man (whom we knew better than the wife) a card or something.

However, I am completely useless at finding the right sorts of things to say in English, never mind in French. Has anyone any good suggestions for appropriate ways to express sympathy? They’d been married for a long time and were very close.

Short and sweet is fine to me :

Nous vous exprimons nos très sincères condoléances dans les moments difficiles que vous traversez.

Or more personal/flowery

Il est souvent difficile de trouver les mots justes dans des moments tels que celui-ci. J’espère que vous trouverez tout le réconfort, le soutien et la bienveillance dont vous avez besoin. Avec nos sincères condoléances.

You can always add that you enjoyed your neighbourly exchanges at X …


I like Jane’s suggestions. I’ll add some of my own too.

  • Nos pensées sont avec vous en cette période difficile. Condoléances sincères.
  • Votre perte est ressentie par nous tous. Nos condoléances.
  • Nous sommes profondément désolés d’apprendre le décès de [insert name or alternatively if you don’t know their name just use votre proche]. Veuillez accepter nos condoléances.

You could get a "Condoléances Sincères "printed card and then sign your names inside.

Great suggestions above, and I have nothing better to offer. Except that an expression of condolences, even if clumsy (which yours wouldn’t be), will be gratefully received and will be much more touching than nothing.


Thank you so much for your suggestions and encouragement @JaneJones @gareth @Euro50 and @Porridge .

I shall get a card today and add some of the types of phrase you suggest.

Thanks again - I really appreciate this level of help.


Thanks we’ve just learned from our next door neighbour (who normally immediately knows all the gossip) that another neighbour died in his sleep a month ago.

We live in a tiny village so this is rather surprising and I’m very grateful for your suggested condolences. Think we’ll go for flowery as the deceased was a gay make-up technician and mask-maker who used to work for the Paris Opera. Ironically he looked like Danny de Vito as the Penguin but didn’t need any make-up!

Not a type one normally encounters in l’Aveyron profonde and he’ll be greatly missed at our apéro evenings this summer.