C’est gentil à vous !
say zhah-tee ah VOO! Click below to hear this pronounced.
That’s nice of you!
Someone does you a favor–brings you a cup of coffee, say–and this is a perfect response. Notice that you say à vous or à toi; you don’t use de, a common mistake on the part of English speakers.
But gentil is a good word to be careful of. It doesn’t mean gentle at all, though it does mean kind, and while it also means nice, there are other ways to say nice also.
If a person is nice, you can say gentil (feminine gentille) or sympa, short for sympathique, which does not mean sympathetic, by the way. Sympa also refers to the atmosphere in a location such as a club or restaurant. That’s because it’s the people who make it so.
If an object, like a dress or a hairdo, is nice, you can say joli or chouette. If nice refers to someone’s enjoyment of a quality or situation, say agréable.
So: Elle est gentille, et ce bistro est sympa. On a passé une soirée agréable. Doesn’t that sound better than this? She’s nice, and that bistro is nice. We had a nice evening.