Diner, Souper, and Le Diner/Le Souper: Exploring the Distinctions for Dinner with Friends or Family in France

When it comes to dining in France, the terms “diner,” “souper,” and “le diner/le souper” are often used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between these terms that can provide a deeper understanding of French dining culture. This article will explore these distinctions and provide insights into when each term is most appropriately used, particularly when dining with friends or family in France.

Understanding the Terms

“Diner” and “souper” are both French verbs that translate to “to dine” or “to have dinner” in English. However, “diner” is more commonly used in France, while “souper” is more prevalent in regions such as Quebec and Switzerland. On the other hand, “le diner” and “le souper” are nouns that refer to the meal itself. “Le diner” is typically the main meal of the day, eaten in the evening, while “le souper” is a lighter meal eaten late at night.

When to Use “Diner” and “Souper”

When inviting friends or family to dine in France, you would typically use the verb “diner.” For example, you might say, “Nous allons dîner ensemble ce soir,” which translates to “We are going to have dinner together tonight.” However, if you were in Quebec or Switzerland, you might use “souper” instead.

When to Use “Le Diner” and “Le Souper”

“Le diner” and “le souper” are used to refer to the meal itself. If you were discussing what you ate for your main meal, you would use “le diner.” For example, “Pour le dîner, j’ai mangé du poulet,” which means “For dinner, I ate chicken.” If you were referring to a late-night snack or light meal, you would use “le souper.”

Regional Differences

It’s important to note that these terms can vary depending on the region. In France, “le diner” is the main meal of the day, while “le souper” is a lighter, late-night meal. However, in Quebec and Switzerland, “le souper” is the main evening meal. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of these regional differences when dining with friends or family in different French-speaking regions.


Understanding the distinctions between “diner,” “souper,” and “le diner/le souper” can enhance your dining experiences in French-speaking regions. Whether you’re inviting friends to dine or discussing your meals, these terms provide a glimpse into the rich and diverse dining culture of France and other French-speaking regions.