50 French Quotes to Inspire and Delight You

50 french quotes, proverbs, and sayings

There are countless French quotes and sayings about life, love, and beauty that will delight any language lover. Keep reading and be inspired to study this beautiful language!

Short French Quotes, Proverbs, and Famous Sayings About Life

The French have a unique and lovely perspective on life. Even hard life lessons sound better in French! Here are 50 of the greatest, short and beautiful French sayings with English translations.

1. À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible. -Jacques Cœur

“For a valiant heart nothing is impossible.”

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A vaillant coeur rien d'impossible Franse quote

2. Dans une grande âme tout est grand. -Blaise Pascal

“In a great mind everything is great.” 

3. Chacun voit midi à sa porte. -French proverb

“Everyone sees noon at his own door.”   

4. Je pense, donc je suis. -Rene Descartes

“I think, therefore, I am.”

5. On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne. -French proverb

“One does not change a winning team.” In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

6. Prouver que j’ai raison serait accorder que je puis avoir tort. -Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

 “Proving that I am right would be admitting that I could be wrong.”

7. On n’est point toujours une bête pour l’avoir été quelquefois. -Denis Diderot

“Being a fool sometimes does not make one a fool all the time.”

Famous French Saying by Denis Diderot

8. Il n’y a pas de verités moyennes. -Georges Bernanos

“There are no half-truths.”

9. Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop. -French proverb

“Chase away the natural and it returns at a gallop,” is very similar to the English saying about leopard and their spots.

10. Il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir. -French proverb

“It is better to prevent than to heal.”

11. Le temps est un grand maître, dit-on. Le malheur est qui’il tue ses élèves. -Hector Berlioz

“We say that time is a great teacher. It’s too bad that it kills all its students.”

12. Être adulte, c’est être seul. -Jean Rostand

“To be an adult is to be alone.” 

13. Un homme seul est toujours en mauvaise compagnie. -Paul Valéry

“A lone man is always in poor company.” 

14. A vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire. -Pierre Corneille

“To win without risk is a triumph without glory.”

15. L’enfer, c’est les autres. -Jean-Paul Sartre

“Hell is other people.”

16. La raison c’est la folie du plus fort. La raison du moins fort c’est de la folie. -Eugène Ionesco

“Reason is the madness of the strongest. The reason of those less strong is madness.” 

17. Autres temps, autres mœurs. -French proverb

“Other times, other customs.”

18. La vérité vaut bien qu’on passe quelques années sans la trouver. -Jules Renard

“Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.”

Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.

19. Il faut bonne mémoire après au’on a menti. -Pierre Corneille

“A liar should have a good memory.” 

20. Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint. -La Fontaine

“He who fears suffering is already suffering that which he fears.”

21. Il vaut mieux faire que dire. -Alfred de Musset

“Doing is better than saying.” 

22. La parfaite valeur est de faire sans témoin ce qu’on serait capable de faire devant tout le monde. -La Rochefoucauld

“True valor is to do in secrecy what you could just have easily done before others.” 

SEE ALSO: The 50 Most Beautiful French Words You’ll Ever Hear

French Quotes and Sayings About Love

French is often known as the language of love, so is it any wonder that French thinkers have produced so many touching quotes that speak straight to the heart? Here are some more delightful French sayings for your enjoyment.

Victor Hugo Famous French Saying

23. La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel. -Victor Hugo

“Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”

24. Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé. -George Sand

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

25. Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Love doesn’t mean gazing at each other, but looking, together, in the same direction.” 

Famous French Proverb by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

26. Choisissez votre femme par l’oreille bien plus que par les yeux. -French proverb

“Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.”

27. Plus l’offenseur m’est cher, plus je ressens l’injure. -Jean Racine

“The more dearly I hold the offender, the more strongly I feel the insult.” 

28. Va, je ne te hais point.  -Pierre Corneille

“Go, I don’t hate you.” 

29. On n’aime que ce qu’on ne possède pas tout entier. -Marcel Proust

“We love only what we do not wholly possess.”

30. L’amour est comme le vent, nous ne savons pas d’où il vient. -Honoré de Balzac

“Love is like the wind, we never know where it will come from.”

31. La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve. -Alfred de Musset

“Life is a long sleep and love is its dream.”

Famous French Proverb by Alfred de Musset

32. Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas. -Blaise Pascal

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”

33. Le seul vrai langage au monde est un baiser. -Alfred de Musset

“The only true language in the world is a kiss.”

34. Entre deux cœurs qui s’aiment, nul besoin de paroles. -Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

“Two hearts in love need no words.”

35. Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre. -Molière

“To live without loving is to not really live.”

Short French Quote by Moliere

36. Oh! Si tu pouvais lire dans mon coeur, tu verrais la place où je t’ai mise! -Gustave Flaubert

“If you could read my heart, you would see the place I have given you there.”

37. L’amour c’est être stupide ensemble. -Paul Valéry

“Love is being stupid together.”

38. Un seul être vous manque et tout est dépeuplé. -Alphonse de Lamartine

“Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.”

39. C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour. -Albert Camus

“That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.”

40. L’amour est une passion qui ne se soumet à rien, et à qui au contraire, toutes choses se soumettent. -Madeleine de Scudéry

“Love is a passion which surrenders to nothing, but to the contrary, everything surrenders to love.”

41. Le prix d’Amour, c’est seulement Amour… Il faut aimer si l’on veut etre aimé… Honoré d’Urfé

“The price of love is love itself. One must love if one wants to be loved…”

French Quotes and Sayings About the Arts

Finally, France is known for its rich history of art and literature. Get inspired by some of these fantastic French quotes to make your own masterpiece!

Short French Wisdom by Antoine de Saint Exupery

42. On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“We see well only with the heart.”

43. Un peuple malheureux fait les grands artistes. -Alfred de Musset

“An unhappy nation makes great artists.”

44. L’æuvre d’art, c’est une idée qu’on exagére. -André Gide

A work of art is an idea that someone exaggerates.” 

45. Les livres sont des amis froids et sûrs. -Victor Hugo

“Books are cold and certain friends.” 

46. Le monde est un livre dont chaque pas nous ouvre une page. -Alphonse de Lamartine

“The world is a book – with each step we open a page.” 

Short Cute French Quote by Alphonse De Lamartine

47. Ècrire, c’est une façon de parler sans être interrompu. -Jules Renard

“Writing is a way to talk without being interrupted.”

48. Imaginer c’est choisir. -Jean Giono

“To imagine is to choose.”

Short French Quote by Jean Giono

49. Les chefs-d’oeuvre ne sont jamais que des tentatives heureuses. -George Sand

“Masterpieces are never anything else but happy attempts.”

50. La critique est aisée, mais l’art est difficile. -Philippe Destouches

 “Criticism is easy, art is difficult.”

Do you know any French sayings or quotes that we missed? Share them with us in the comments below!

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16 replies
  1. Frederic
    Frederic says:

    When in need of inspiration, nothing’s worth checking out some uplifting quotes like the ones above! Beautiful phrases in a beautiful language.

  2. Sue Lee
    Sue Lee says:

    My Partner is French and I’m English…… this website of wonderful quotes has been so amazing……..I melt his heart every time I send him a quote.

    Thank You

  3. Alice Perez
    Alice Perez says:

    I am looking for a quote that was not found in the phases above. It is one about the rich helping the poor. O bliq o Blague or something like that. It is used in political term, to have the noble take care of the poor. Hope you can help me.

  4. barb molloy
    barb molloy says:

    I found your site while trying to track down following translation quoted from Flaubert in his original words.
    ” Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”
    Looking through your collection was illuminating and a pleasure.

  5. Anonumous
    Anonumous says:

    Tu peux rester coucher poursuivre tes rêves ou tu peux te lever pour les réaliser.

    – you can lie down to pursue your dreams or you can get up to realize them.

    This quote is one of my favorite french quotes.
    You are welcom.

  6. fatma
    fatma says:

    I want to translate this french saying into english. any idea for its meaning?
    “Epargne de bouche vaut mieux qu’une rente dans un pré”

  7. Frances Charteris
    Frances Charteris says:

    I am looking for a french phrase that means something like where there are two, three is better or where there are two, there’s a third—may have to do with love, not sure

    Would greatly appreciate hearing from a bilingual or native french speaker

    Thank you!

    • Jean-Francois
      Jean-Francois says:

      ” Un c’est bien, deux c’est mieux, trois c’est… ”
      (“one is good, two are better, three are…”)

      and you can complete with what you want :
      – parfait (perfect)
      – trop (too much)

        BERENICE SANCHEZ says:

        What would be the correct spelling to write ” Wherever life takes you, bloom with grace.” I want to use it in a tattoo


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