81 Enchanting French Quotes About Happiness
The candor and beauty of the French language add richness and clarity to any idea. So savor the richness of these French quotes about happiness.
Many consider the French language the most beautiful language. However, it is more than a beautiful language of love. French people don’t simply speak beautifully, they speak profoundly and frankly.
Many French words are difficult to pronounce and command of this romance language is difficult. That is unfortunate because the language is full of beautiful quotes and proverbs.
20 French Proverbs About Happiness
These French sayings offer the cutting wit and wisdom you’d expect from French thinkers. Each French proverb is rich with wisdom to help expand your mind and help you work towards happiness.
Although most don’t have a person to credit as saying them, they are some of the best quotes.
“ Au long aller, petit fardeau pèse. “
(On a lengthy journey, a small burden weighs.)
“ Qui vivra verra. “
(Time will tell.)
“ Le bonheur fuit celui qui le cherche. ”
(Happiness flees from the one who seeks it.)
“ Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop. ”
(Chase the natural, it comes back at a gallop.)
That is the literal translation. The English equivalent is similar to a leopard can’t change its spots .
“ Donner, c’est donner; reprendre, c’est voler. ”
(To give is to give; to take back is to steal.)
“ Quand on met la main à la pâte, il en reste toujours quelque chose aux doigts. ”
(When you put your hand in the dough, there is always something left in your fingers.)
“ Il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir. ”
(Prevention is better than cure.)
This famous quote is similar to the American phrase an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure .
This is one of the more profound French quotes about happiness. Most things you do for prevention aren’t fun, so you don’t think they bring happiness. The truth is, the better-prepared you are for the future, the better your chance of being happy.
“ Ce sont les tonneaux vides qui font le plus de bruit. ”
(It’s the empty barrels that make the most noise.)
At first glance, it seems like this proverb is similar to the squeaky wheel gets the grease . I don’t know that this one has an English Equivalent. I believe this one compares barrels to heads, equating an empty barrel to an empty head.
This proverb suggests that a more intelligent person will tend to be quieter while a dumber person has more difficulty remaining quiet.
“ Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire. ”
(When the wine is drawn, it must be drunk.)
Who doesn’t love an idiom or proverb that includes alcohol? One translation I read is that once you begin a step you have to continue [ 1 ]. I think a more accurate comparison to “You’ve made your bed now lay in it.”
“ Impossible n’est pas français. ”
(Impossible is not French.)
I think this phrase indicates that the word impossible isn’t a word in French, that nothing is impossible.
“ Pluie du matin n’arrête pas le pèlerin. ”
(Morning rain does not stop the pilgrim.)
“ On n’apprend pas aux vieux singes à faire des grimaces. ”
(You don’t teach old monkeys to make faces.)
This proverb stresses the importance of experience.
“ Qui n’entend qu’une cloche n’entend qu’un son. ”
(Who hears only a bell hears only a sound.)
That is the literal translation from Google Translate. I think a more accurate translation will be “one sound.” This proverb warns against being closed-minded and shallow. I think it suggests taking a closer and deeper look at important topics.
A more equivalent American idiom would be you can’t judge a book by its cover .
As a writer, this one means a lot to me. For some reason, I think better when I write. I’ve tried recording myself, talk to text, and even conversations when I record podcasts.
Yet, the most new thoughts come to me as I’m writing. I think this is the power of journaling. It works like the “pensieve” in the Harry Potter books. As soon as you put the thoughts on paper (or the ideas on canvas) it makes room in your mind for the next one.
Writing the words down does more than simply make room, though. Writing the words down creates a vacuum that is immediately filled by the next thought. Each new thought is bigger and deeper than the one it replaces.
“ Chacun voit midi à sa porte “
(Everyone sees noon at his door.)
I’ve seen two different translations for this proverb. One is “even a broken clock is right twice a day.” The other English translation is “To each his own.”
The translation I agree with is closer to the second one. Although I believe the correct translation is closer to everyone has their own opinion, I think it means more than that.
This proverb suggests that the person won’t recognize any other door. It is the opposite of “It’s not happening to me, so it’s not happening. It also suggests that arguing or debating the point will never change the other person’s mind.
“ Chaque jour de ta vie est un feuillet de ton histoire que tu écris. “
Every day of your life is a sheet of your story that you write.
“ Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid. “
(Little by little, the bird makes its nest.)
“ Votre source de motivation est l’ingrédient qui peut faire toute la différence. “
(Your source of motivation is the ingredient that can make all the difference.)
“ Vouloir c’est pouvoir. “
(To want is to can.)
“ Vous n’êtes pas encore arrivés mais vous êtes plus proche qu’hier. “
(You haven’t arrived yet, but you are closer than yesterday.)
This is another of the wiser French quotes about happiness. It’s the progress that brings happiness, not the arrival. Progress builds happiness in two ways.
First, progress gives you confidence. The more that you do, the more confidence you gain that you can do more. That resilience is a huge part of happiness.
Secondly, you get to enjoy the small victories. A small victory every day is a great source of joy.
It’s important to have your next goal in mind. That way, when you do arrive at the first goal, you can enjoy that arrival for a while. Then you soon start progress on the next goal so that you can continue to enjoy small accomplishments every day.
“ Fais toujours de ton mieux même si personne ne regarde. “
(Always do your best even if no one is watching.)
French Inspirational Quotes to Keep You Motivated
These motivational quotes will help inspire you if you’re feeling down.
“ Dans la vie, rien n’est à craindre, tout est à comprendre. “
(In life, nothing is to be feared, everything is to be understood.)
“ On n’ est point toujours une bête pour l’avoir été quelquefois. “
(Being a fool sometimes does not make one a fool all the time.)
– Denis Diderot
“ Le monde est un livre dont chaque pas nous ouvre une page. “
(The world is a book—with each step we open a page.)
– Alphonse de Lamartine
“ Toutes les conquêtes sublimes sont plus ou moins des prix de hardiesse. “
(All sublime conquests are more or less the prizes of boldness.)
“ Le monde de la réalité a ses limites; le monde de l’imagination est sans frontières. “
(The world of reality has its limits; the world of the imagination is without borders.)
“ Sans l’incertitude l’aventure n’existerait pas. “
(Without the uncertainty, the adventure would not exist.)
-Alain Séjourné (French lawyer)
“ Voyager, c’est grandir. C’est la grande aventure. Celle qui laisse des traces dans l’âme. ”
(To travel is to grow. This is the great adventure. The one who leaves traces in the soul.)
-Marc Thiercelin (French navigator)
“ Peindre signifie penser avec son pinceau. ”
(To paint means to think with your brush.)
“ Pour être irremplaçable, il faut être différente. “
(To be irreplaceable, you have to be different.)
“Personne n’est jeune après quarante ans mais on peut être irrésistible à tout âge.”
(No one is young after forty, but you can be irresistible at any age.)
“La vérité vaut bien qu ‘on passe quelques années sans la trouver.”
(Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.)
“La parfaite valeur est de faire sans témoin ce qu’on serait capable de faire devant tout le monde.”
(The perfect value is to do without witnesses what one would be able to do in front of everyone.)
-François de La Rochefoucauld
“Il n’y a pas de verités moyennes.”
(There are no half-truths.)
“ Un homme n’est pas vieux tant qu’il cherche quelque chose. “
(A man is not old as long as he is seeking something.)
“ Un des grands malheurs de la vie moderne, c’est le manque d’imprévu, l’absence d’aventures. “
(One of the great woes of modern life is the lack of the unexpected, the lack of adventure.)
-Théophile Gautier (French poet and novelist)
“ La mort ne surprend point le sage: Il est toujours prêt à partir. “
(Death does not surprise the wise man: He is always ready to go.)
-Jean de La Fontaine
“ L’approbation des autres est un stimulant dont il est bon quelquefois de se méfier. ”
(The approval of others is a stimulant that is sometimes good to be wary of.”)
Don’t rely on approval from others. Do what is right for you.
Beautiful French Quotes About Happiness
“ on est heureux quand on cesse de penser tout le temps a soi et de juger les autres. “.
(We are happy when we stop thinking about ourselves all the time and judging others.)
“ Il y en a qui ont le coeur si large qu’on y rentre sans frapper. Il y en a qui ont le coeur si frêle qu’on le brise d’un doigt. ”
(There are those who have a heart so broad that you enter without knocking. There are those who have a heart so frail that it is broken with a finger.)
“ La joie réside au plus intime de l’âme; on peut aussi bien la posséder dans une obscure prison que dans un palais. “
(Joy resides in the innermost part of the soul; it can be possessed just as well in an obscure prison as in a palace.)
-Thérèse de Lisieux
“ Laissez pas la peur dominer le coeur, si on veut que l’amour soit vainqueur. “
(Do not let fear rule the heart, if we want love to be victorious.)
“ Il n’y a de réalité que dans l’action. “
(There is no reality except in action.)
“ La jouissance du bonheur amoindrira toujours le bonheur. ”
(The enjoyment of happiness will always lessen happiness.)
-Honoré de Balzac
“ Le bonheur supprime la vieillesse. ”
(Happiness takes away old age.)
“ Le bonheur ne se cache pas. ”
(Happiness does not hide.)
“ Viser au bonheur, aspirer au bonheur, chercher le bonheur, c’est prendre pour cible un reflet dans la glace. ”
(Aiming for happiness, aspiring for happiness, seeking happiness is to target a reflection in the mirror.)
“ La vie est un défi à relever, un bonheur à mériter, une aventure à tenter. ”
(Life is a challenge to be taken up, a happiness to be earned, an adventure to be attempted.)
“ L’éducation ne fait pas le bonheur. ”
(Education does not buy happiness.)
“ Le bonheur forcé est un cauchemar. ”
(Forced happiness is a nightmare.)
-Amélie Nothomb, Les Catilinaires
“ Le bonheur parfait s’use vite. ”
(Perfect happiness wears out quickly.)
-Robert Choquette, Moi, Pétrouchka
“ Le bonheur, fruit de la conscience épanouie. ”
(Happiness, the fruit of a blooming conscience.)
-Roger Fournier, Les sirènes du Saint-Laurent
“ Bonheur: un mot fragile, évanescent, léger, surtout. ”
(Happiness: a fragile, evanescent, light word, above all.)
“ Nous vivons dans un arc-en-ciel de chaos. “
(We live in a rainbow of chaos.)
“ Le seul bonheur qu’on a vient du bonheur qu’on donne. ”
(The only happiness we have comes from the happiness we give.)
“ Le bonheur rend généreux. ”
(Happiness makes you generous.)
“ L’esprit s’enrichit de ce qu’il reçoit, le cœur de ce qu’il donne. “
(The spirit enriches with what it receives, the heart with what it gives.)
“ Un peuple malheureux fait les grands artistes. “
(An unhappy nation makes great artists.)
-Alfred de Musset
That’s a misunderstood aspect of happiness. Life being pleasant all the time won’t make you happy. Living through hard times, surviving, thriving will result in the highest levels of happiness.
Fighting and persisting through struggles builds resilience and confidence.
“ Le bonheur n’est pas quelque chose de prêt à l’emploi. Il vient de vos propres actions. “
(Happiness is not something out of the box. It comes from your own actions.)
-Dalai Lama XIV
Although I didn’t find this quote attributed to the Dalai Lama, it sounds very similar to his quote, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
“ Après la pluie, le beau temps. “
(After the rain, the good weather.)
-Comtesse de Ségur (the title of one of her books)
This quote reminds me of the famous song in the musical Annie ! “The sun will come out tomorrow!”
“ Le bonheur est parfois caché dans l’inconnu. “
(Happiness is sometimes hidden in the unknown.)
That’s an interesting thing about happiness. We think we know where to find it and how to get it. Then, not finding it where we expect makes us unhappy. Our unmet expectations make us unhappy.
When we’re open to new experiences and learn to appreciate the present moment, we increase our chances of nurturing happiness. This is the reason why I think that many judge Pollyanna too harshly and why I believe Pollyannaism is a great mindset.
(Be sure to check out the related posts below when you finish enjoying the quotes!)
To expand upon that idea, here is a similar quote to Victor Hugo’s.
“ Les chefs-d’oeuvre ne sont jamais que des tentatives heureuses. “
(Masterpieces are never more than happy attempts.)
“ Le bonheur et le malheur sont parfois si près l’un de l’autre qu’ils se confondent. Notre coeur comme une pendule se balance toujours entre les deux. “
(Happiness and unhappiness are sometimes so close to each other that they merge. Our heart like a pendulum always swings between the two.)
“ Le bonheur s’édifie parfois sur des ruines plus solidement que sur des fondations nouvelles. “
(Happiness is sometimes built on ruins more solidly than on new foundations.)
“ Le chemin qui mène au bonheur demande parfois de renoncer à la facilité, pour suivre les exigences de sa volonté au plus profond de soi. “
(The path that leads to happiness sometimes requires giving up the facility, to follow the demands of his will deep within oneself.)
-Laurent Gounelle (French writer)
Le bonheur est parfois une bénédiction – mais, le plus souvent, c’est une conquête.
(Happiness is sometimes a blessing – but, more often than not, it is a conquest.)
Famous French Quotes
While not specifically French quotes about happiness, the famous French phrases still provide wisdom that can significantly direct us on a great path.
“ On n’est point toujours une bête pour l’avoir été quelquefois. “
(One is not always an animal to have been it sometimes.)
A better translation than what Google did is “Being a fool sometimes does not make one a fool all the time.”
“ Prouver que j’ai raison serait accorder que je puis avoir tort. “
(To prove that I am right would be to grant that I can be wrong.)
-Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
“ Dans une grande âme tout est grand. “
(In a great soul everything is great.)
“ Je pense, donc je suis. “
(I think, therefore, I am.)
“ L’æuvre d’art, c’est une idée qu’on exagére. “
(A work of art is an idea that someone exaggerates.)
“ À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible. “
(With a valiant heart, nothing is impossible.)
“ Si vous êtes triste, ajoutez plus de rouge à lèvres et attaquez. “
(If you are sad, add more lipstick and attack.)
(Death never takes the wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go.0
French Love Quotes
While they are not all French quotes about happiness, these quotes about love are beautiful and deep enough to provide a little joy. Sharing love is a great contributor to happiness!
“Il n ’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’ est d’aimer et d ’ être aimé.”
(There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.)
“ Il n ’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour. “
(Nothing is real but dreams and love.)
-Anna de Noailles
“ C’ est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour. “
This is love, giving everything, sacrificing everything with no hope of return.
“ Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction. “
(To love is not to look at each other, it is to look together in the same direction.)
– Antoine de St Exupéry (writer, aviator, philospher author of Le Petit Prince )
“ L’amour est comme le vent, nous ne savons pas d’où il vient. “
(Love is like the wind, we don’t know where it came from.)
“ L’amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie. “
(Love makes life’s sweetest pleasures and worst misfortunes.)
― Madeleine de Scudéry
“ L’amour, c’est l’espace et le temps rendus sensibles au Coeur. “
(Love is space and time made sensitive to the Heart.)
“Le seul véritable voyage … ce ne serait pas d’aller vers de nouveaux paysages, mais d’avoir d’autres yeux, de voir l’univers avec les yeux d’un autre, de cent autres, de voir les cent univers que chacun d’eux voit.”
(The only real trip … it would not be to go to new landscapes, but to have other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see a hundred universes that each of them sees.)
Get To Know Some of the Frequently Quoted French Speakers
Paul Cézanne is one of France’s great artists. His work influenced modern artistic movements, most notably, cubism.
Modern critics and writers consider this French novelist, critic, and essayist to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century[ 2 ].
Marie Curie was a Polish-French scientist. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win two Nobel prizes. She even won her two Nobel prizes in two different scientific fields. Marie Curie is the only person to do that![ 3 ]
Camus was a French author, journalist, and philosopher. He won the Nobel prize for literature at age 44, the second-youngest to win a Nobel prize[ 4 ].
Which are your favorite French Quotes about happiness?
- 136 Inspiring Happiness Quotes
- How Bad Times Increase Happiness in the Long Run .
- Why is Pollyanna judged so harshly ?
- 3 Surprising Reasons Pollyannaism is the Best Mindset .
-  https://www.thoughtco.com/french-proverbs-1368709 .
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Proust
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus
55 Inspirational French Quotes About Life, Love, and Happiness
By: Author Marina Crouse
Posted on Last updated: October 10, 2022
Categories Quotes , Self Development
For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to France—the language, the food, the culture. I started studying the French language when I was just eleven and in the sixth grade. I just love it — it is the language of love, after all! It’s also a romantic language, meaning it is derived from Latin.
If you’re using these quotes on Instagram, you can use this font changer tool to convert these beautiful french quotes to stylish fancy fonts.
I went on to major in French in college (fun fact!) and have always loved the language and the deeper meaning behind their way of life. Some of my favorite inspirational quotes come from French authors, a French poet, and French novelists, which makes sense because I’m a writer! Even French boy names are a source of inspiration for me.
Here are some of the best French quotes about life, love, and happiness that I think we can all relate to. You’ll also see the English translations below – just in case you’re not familiar with French!
They’re not all a literal translation, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Not all French sayings have an English equivalent. French thinkers and the French way of life offers us many beautiful quotes that you’ll turn to again and again.
55 French Quotes About Life, Love, and Happiness
1. “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..
I love this quote because it gets to the heart (excuse the pun) of what is so important about humankind: the capacity to love. What I also love about this quote is that the person who said it is George Sand, AKA Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, a FEMALE novelist, memoirist, journalist from the 19th century who was known for pushing the limits of gender roles and cultural norms.
2. “Le plus grand faible des hommes, c’est l’amour qu’ils ont de la vie.” – Molière
Man’s greatest weakness is his love for life.
3. “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.
4. “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.
You’ll notice that many of these quote and proverbs are about love…I think love and French living are synonymous with one another.
5. “Le prix d’Amour, c’est seulement Amour… Il faut aimer si l’on veut être aimé…” – Honoré d’Urfé
The price of love is love itself. One must love if one wants to be loved…
We must be brave , and love freely even if it means it may not be returned.
6. “Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.” – Anna de Noailles
Nothing is real but dreams and love.
7. “L’amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie.” -Madeleine de Scudéry
Love makes life’s sweetest pleasures and worst misfortunes.
8. “Aimer et être aimé sera la grande affaire de toute notre vie.” – Rousseau
To love and be loved will be the greatest event in our lives.
9. “L’amour est le miracle de la civilisation.”- Marie-Henri Beyle
Love is the miracle of civilization.
10. “L’amour est l’étoffe de la nature que l’imagination a brodée.” -Voltaire
Love is the cloth which imagination embroiders.
11. “Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre.” – Molière
To live without loving is to not really live.
Fitting for the language of love !
12. “Je me suis souvent repenti d’avoir parlé, mais jamais de m’être tu.” – Philippe de Commynes
I have often repented for speaking, but never for staying silent.
We’ve learned over and over again the importance of speaking up and speaking out, and I like to think this quote echoes those learnings.
13. “Nous promettons selon nos espérances, et nous tenons selon nos craintes.” – François de La Rochefoucauld
We promise according to our hopes; we fulfill according to our fears.
I like this quote because it reminds me about the one in English we say, “never make decisions when you’re angry , never make a promise when you’re happy.”
14. “Il faut vivre comme on pense, sans quoi l’on finira par penser comme on a vécu…” – Paul Bourget
You have to live the way you think, otherwise you’ll end up thinking the way you lived.
15. “ Rien ne pèse tant qu’un secret.”- Jean de La Fontaine
Nothing weighs more than a secret.
16. “Qui se couche avec les chiens se lève avec des puces.” – French proverb
He who sleeps with dogs gets up with fleas.
17. “Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire.” – French proverb
When the wine is drawn, it must be drunk.
What do the French say? Oh, right, “c’est la vie.”
18. “Si vous êtes triste, ajoutez plus de rouge à lèvres et attaquez.” – Coco Chanel
If you are sad, add more lipstick and attack.
I feel this. When I want to cheer myself up, or change my mindset, I often make more of an effort to dress up and look nice…kind of a fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of thing.
19. “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.
20. “Il n’y a pas de verités moyennes.”- Georges Bernanos
There are no half-truths.’
I think it must be all-lie or all-true. There is no in-between.
21. “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.
22. “Je pense, donc, je suis.”- René Descartes
I think, therefore, I am.
We all know this famous quote by French philosopher and mathematician.
23. “Le monde a commencé sans l’homme et il s’achèvera sans lui.”- Claude Lévi-Strauss
The world began without man and it will end without him.
24. “Imaginer c’est choisir.”- Jean Giono
To imagine is to choose.
25. “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.
26. “Dans une grande âme tout est grand.”- Blaise Pascal
In a great mind everything is great.
27. “L’œuvre d’art, c’est une idée qu’on exagère.”- André Gide
A work of art is an idea that someone exaggerates.
28. “Écrire, c’est une façon de parler sans être interrompu.” – Jules Renard
Writing is a way to talk without being interrupted.
29. “Les livres sont des amis froids et sûrs.” – Victor Hugo
Books are cold and certain friends.
30. “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.
31. “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.
32. “On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
We see well only with the heart.
33. “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” – Antoine de St Exupéry
Loving is not looking at each other, it is looking together in the same direction.
34. “Dans la vie on ne fait pas ce que l’on veut mais on est responsable de ce que l’on est.”
– jean-paul sartre..
In life you don’t do what you want but you are responsible for what you are.
35. “Un sourire coûte moins cher que l’électricité, mais donne autant de lumière.” – L’abbé Pierre
A smile costs less than electricity, but gives as much light.
36. “ Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.” – French proverb
Little by little, the bird makes its nest.
37. “L’avenir est entre les mains de ceux qui explorent.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
The future is in the hands of those who explore.
38. “Je veux, je peux.” – Maryse Bastié
I want, I can.
Maryse Bastié was a female pilot born in 1898, who pushed the limits and blew past boundaries. I think we should lean into this motto!
39. “Le monde de la réalité a ses limites; le monde de l’imagination est sans frontières.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.
I love this — as a writer, this ones means a lot! For example, I know there are seven story archetypes (nothing is ever new!) but the way you put them together and let them unravel are endless.
40. “Le style découle de ce qui nous nous nourrit tous les jours.” – Caroline de Maigret
Style comes from what nourishes us every day.
41. “Qui vivra verra.” – French proverb
They who live shall see.
We learn the most by living life , expanding our horizons, and seeing what is ahead of us.
42. “Dans la vie, rien n’est à craindre, tout est à comprendre.” – Marie Curie
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
What a science-based way to look at life. And I have to agree, when we understand things, we often fear them less.
43. “L’amour, c’est l’espace et le temps rendus sensibles au Coeur.” – Marcel Proust
Love is space and time measured by the heart.
Proust is a well-known French novelist who blows me away time and time again.
44. “L’habit ne fait pas le moine.” – French proverb
The outfit doesn’t make the monk.
So, don’t judge a book (or a monk) by the cover.
45. “Mieux vaut tard que jamais.” – French proverb
Late is worth more than never.
“Better late than never…”Or, in Queen Clarice’s words, “A queen is never late. Everyone else is merely early.”
46. “Mieux vaut être seul que mal accompagné.” – French proverb
Better alone than in a bad company.
As an introvert, I relate to this very deeply.
47. “Après la pluie, le beau temps.” – French proverb
After the rain, good weather.
Andddd we can’t have a rainbow without the rain!
48. “Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup.” – French proverb
Eat well, laugh often, love a lot.
The French “Live, laugh, love!”
49. “S’occuper de ses oignons.” – French proverb
To take care of your own onions.
This feels like a very French way to say “mind your own business.”
50. “La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin.” – French proverb
Life is too short to drink bad wine.
I love this one! I usually say “life’s too short to finish reading a bad book.”
51. “Chacun voit midi à sa porte.” -French proverb
Everyone sees noon at his own door.
I have never heard of anything like this, but the meaning is more about how people are more focused on their own personal interests, and that their subjective opinions are objective truths.
52. “On n’est point toujours une bête pour l’avoir été quelquefois.” -Denis Diderot
This is a nice reminder that our small dumb moments don’t “make the man” so to speak.
53. “L’enfer, c’est les autres.” -Jean-Paul Sartre
Hell is other people.
I think this one is self-explanatory…
54. “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.
Similar to “you can’t help who you fall in love with!”
55. “On n’est pas sorti de l’auberge !” – French proverb
We’ve not left the hostel!
The French equivalent of “we’re not out of the woods yet.”
So, there you have it my friends. Or, “et, voila, mes amis.” Fifty-five French quotes about life, love, and happiness to think about. Which one is your favorite?
About the Author
Marina is the Managing Editor here at GenTwenty. With a B.A. in French and an MFA in Creative Writing, she is a Writing Coach helping creatives bring their ideas to the page. Learn more about how to work with her at www.marinacrousewrites.com. In her free time, you'll find her reading, cooking, traveling, or binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix.
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50+ Greatest Famous French Quotes to Inspire and Delight You
There are countless inspirational quotes in the French language, including powerful sayings about life sayings, love, and beauty. The deep meaning of these quotes transcends the boundaries of language and nationality, making them valuable for anyone who is interested in life’s wonders.
Philosophers, linguists, and art lovers around the globe have long been fascinated by French thinkers. Those looking to study this beautiful language can find inspiration in these quotes, along with some serious wisdom.
If you’re looking for the best quotes in French, with their meaning in English, these 50+ famous French quotes are the perfect place to start.
What Are Popular French Quotes?
Here are some short French proverbs to help inspire you. Whether you want to learn French for a trip abroad or just to improve your worldview, these famous short quotes in French should do the trick!
- À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible. -Jacques Cœur
- Dans une grande âme tout est grand. -Blaise Pascal
- Chacun voit midi à sa porte. -French proverb
- Je pense, donc je suis. -Rene Descartes
- On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne. -French proverb
Need even more inspiration? Here are some fun motivational French quotes about life:
Inspirational Quotes in the French Language About Life
The French have a unique perspective on life, with an appreciation for the beauty that seems to run into every aspect of their culture. It’s no secret that even hard life lessons sound better in French !
These are some of the greatest, most famous French quotes with deep meaning , proverbs, and sayings about life, that can resonate with anyone around the world.
You’re sure to see some of the wisdom in these French quotes about life!
1. À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible. -Jacques Cœur
“For a valiant heart nothing is impossible.”
2. Dans une grande â me 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.”
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 v aut 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 él è ves. -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.”
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
Greatest Famous French Love Quotes
French is often known as the language of love , so it’s no wonder that French thinkers have produced so many touching and beautiful sayings that speak straight to the heart. In the era of French knights, being in love was idealized and considered a virtuous condition , which is one theory about why France has its romantic reputation.
These delightful French love quotes refer to romantic love as the essence of life, and anyone who is sentimental is sure to relate.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
France is also known for its rich history of art and literature . French literature dates back to the year 842 , when Louis the German and Charles the Bald signed an oath together in Old French. On top of that, some of the most influential painters of all time, such as Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne, hail from France. Get inspired by some of these fantastic short French quotes, with English translation, to make your own masterpiece!
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.”
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.”
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
French revolution quotes.
No round-up of famous French quotes would be complete without calling to mind some famous quotes about the French Revolution . Here are some of our favorites!
51. “ Le silence des peuples est la leçon des rois.”
The people’s silence is the king’s lesson.
52. “ Le sang qui vient de couler était-il donc si pur?”
Was the blood that has just been spilled so pure then?
53. “ Périssent les colonies plutôt qu’un principe!”
Perish the colonies rather than a principle!
54. “Mort aux tyrans, paix aux chaumines.”
Death to the tyrants, peace to the cottages.
55. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.”
Liberty, equality, fraternity.
56. “Les grands noms ne se font qu’en Orient.”
It is only in the East that great names are made.
Famous French Quotes Are Everywhere
There you have it: some of the greatest famous French quotes of all time!
Whether you use these beautiful deep short quotes to learn to speak French or not, you can return here to find inspiration anytime. Some of life’s best lessons have been explained in French, so why not learn to speak them yourself?
As a language lover or language learner , you owe it to yourself to give it a try!
Do you know any French quotes that we missed? Share in the comments below!
16 thoughts on “ 50+ Greatest Famous French Quotes to Inspire and Delight You ”
When in need of inspiration, nothing’s worth checking out some uplifting quotes like the ones above! Beautiful phrases in a beautiful language.
I know thats right
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.
So wonderful, Sue!
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.
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.
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.
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”
I think it means “saving mouth is better than a rent in a meadow”. Not sure.
Yea,that’s easy with google translate
“Saving mouth is better than a rent in a meadow”
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
” 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) …
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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Stories from France
51 french quotes about life (and death).
- Post category: French Language
- Post author: Nassie
For centuries, French writers have searched for the meaning of life, in good times and in bad. Seeking happiness, solitude, or solace, there are many beautiful French phrases about life and proverbs about living to the max. And the flip side of it, of course, death.
Whether you are a student of the French language, a philosopher or someone seeking a bit of comfort, I hope there is something here for everyone. So without further ado, here are the best French quotes about life and death. Allons-y!
1. Chaque jour de ta vie est un feuillet de ton histoire que tu écris.
Translation: Every day of your life is a sheet of your story that you write.
If you think of life as a diary, this lovely French quote encourages you to take that blank sheet of paper and fill it with joy.
You write your own story, n’est-ce pas ?
2. Une vie trop tranquille est une mer morte.
Translation: A life too quiet is a dead sea.
This French proverb refers to the Dead Sea in the Middle East, which has too much salt to support life.
We need entertainment, love, action, and so much more to make things interesting, and life worth living. In other words, don’t be boring dahhling !
3. Bon feu, bonne mine, c’est la moitié de la vie.
Translation: A nice fire, good looks (complexion), that’s half the life.
Bonne mine is a bit difficult to translate because it doesn’t literally mean someone is beautiful/handsome, but rather that they look lively and cheerful.
Sometimes the ability to move forward is half the battle. Put on a smile and light a fire inside you, and look rested and happy. Make the best of a bad hand at the game of life.
☞ READ MORE: Funny and Interesting Quotes about France
4. Une vie honorable est une vie éternelle.
Translation: An honorable life is an eternal life.
In other words, live a life that is filled with good deeds and your name will live forever.
5. La vie est une ivresse continuelle : le plaisir passe, le mal de tête reste.
Translation: Life is a continual intoxication: the pleasure passes, the headache remains.
The French quote asks, who needs alcohol when life can bring so much pleasure. Until the next morning of course. (FYI, in French a hangover is called une gueule de bois .)
☞ READ MORE: 14 French Wine quotes for a little tipple
6. Un brin de folie égaye la vie.
Translation: A touch of madness brightens up life.
At times a bit of crazy can make life really worth living. We don’t have to be practical all the time, do we?
7. La vie est un voyage au milieu de la nuit.
Translation: Life is a journey in the middle of the night.
Navigating in the dark, without a flashlight, life never comes with a map and directions, does it? This French proverb knows that life is not always easy.
8. La vie est un grand drame, il faut le bien jouer. Mais ce qu’il faut surtout, c’est le bien dénouer.
Translation: Life is a great drama, you have to play it well; but what is necessary above all is to untie it well.
You can tie yourself in knots and have plenty of action in your life, but at a certain point, it is important to be true to yourself and remain grounded.
9. La vie est triste quand on est seul, elle est bien plus agréable quand on est deux.
Translation: Life is sad when you are alone, it is much more pleasant when there are two.
It doesn’t matter who you love, but life does get a bit better if you can walk through life with someone. You can read more French quotes about love and family here.
10. La vie est un arbre dont le fruit est souvent amer.
Translation: Life is a tree whose fruit is often bitter.
Life doesn’t always serve up roses, and we do sometimes have to get through the bad stuff to get to the other side.
11. Rien n’abrège tant la vie que les pas perdus, les paroles oiseuses et les pensées inutiles.
Translation: Nothing shortens life so much as lost steps, idle words and useless thoughts.
In other words, this French proverb about life encourages us to put aside the negative thoughts, the unfulfilled promises and the time-wasting strategies. It is time to move onwards and upwards.
12. Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.
Translation: If youth only knew, if age only could.
As the saying goes in English, youth is wasted on the young! Here is to looking for that eternal fountain of youth to power through.
13. Il faut vivre comme on pense, sans quoi l’on finira par penser comme on a vécu.
Translation: You have to live the way you think, otherwise you’ll end up thinking the way you lived.
Live life to the max, without holding back. Otherwise, one day you just might regret it.
14. Pour exécuter de grandes choses, il faut vivre comme si on ne devait jamais mourir.
Translation: In order to achieve great things, we must live as though we were never going to die.
This inspiring French quote insists that we not be afraid to make a move. That that big leap and risk it all to win big.
15. J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi.
Translation: I accept the great adventure of being me.
One of the most well-known French female writers and feminists, Simone du Beauvoir wrote this quote about knowing your self-worth.
16. L’important, ce n’est pas le lieu où on se trouve, c’est l’état d’esprit dans lequel on est.
Translation: The important thing is not where you are, it’s the state of mind in which you are.
French teacher and award-winning novelist Anna Gavalda write this important quote about mental well-being.
17. Dans la vie, rien n’est à craindre, tout est à comprendre.
Translation: In life, nothing is to be feared, everything is to be understood.
French inventor and scientist Marie Curie wrote this quote about exploring the world around.
18. N’oublie pas de vivre.
Translation: Don’t forget to live.
When you are too busy to remember the important stuff, stop and take a breath to really live life.
19. Créer, c’est vivre deux fois.
Translation: To create is to live twice.
French writer Albert Camus spoke about the importance about creating a legacy that will live long after you pass on.
20. Pour ce qui est de l’avenir, il ne s’agit pas de le prévoir, mais de le rendre possible.
Translation: As for the future, it is not a question of foreseeing it, but of making it possible.
The author of the Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, wrote this lovely French quote about looking towards the future and choosing our own destiny.
21. Dans une grande âme tout est grand.
Translation: In a large soul everything is great.
French inventor Blaise Pascal who is one of the most famous personalities in France wrote this beautiful quote about generous hearts.
22. Être adulte, c’est être seul.
Translation: To be an adult is to be alone.
Adulthood can be lonely, as French biologist Jean Rostand attests to.
23. L’avenir est entre les mains de ceux qui explorent.
Translation: The future is in the hands of those who explore.
French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau lived by his words, exploring the deep blue seas all over the world.
24. La vie: bien agiter avant de s’en servir!
Translation: Life: shake well before using!
With a play on words on that old ketchup bottle, this quote about life recommends shaking.
25. Chaque vie qui vaut la peine d’être vécue est une lutte constante.
Translation: Every life worth living is a constant struggle.
For that person who is feeling down, just know that you are important.
26. Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint.
Translation: Whoever fears to suffer, he already suffers from what he fears.
French fables author Jean La Fontaine writes about confronting one’s fears.
27. Une vie, c’est fait avec l’avenir, comme les corps sont faits avec le vide.
Translation: A life is made with the future, as bodies are made with emptiness.
French philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre speaks about the importance of having hope in life.
28. L’élégance est quand l’intérieur est aussi beau que l’extérieur.
Translation: Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.
French fashion designer Coco Chanel looks past the surface to see what is inside.
29. Il vaut mieux rêver sa vie que la vivre, encore que la vivre, ce soit encore la rêver.
Translation: It is better to dream your life than to live it, although to live it is still to dream it.
French novelist Marcel Proust wrote this French quote about the importance of day-dreaming, but also working towards making those dreams come true.
30. J’ai appris qu’une vie ne vaut rien, mais rien ne vaut la vie.
Translation: I learned that a life is worth nothing, but nothing is worth a life.
French politician André Malraux philosophises on the value of life.
31. Une vie est un oiseau aux filets du chasseur.
Translation: Life is a bird to a hunter’s nets.
With visions of chasing butterflies in an open field, this French quote will remind us all of springtime in one’s life.
32. La vie n’est pas le travail: travailler sans cesse rend fou.
Translation: Life is not about work: working constantly makes you crazy.
General Charles de Gaulle, former President of France said this French quote acknowledging his voters fears and needs.
33. La première moitié de notre vie est gâchée par nos parents et la seconde par nos enfants.
Translation: The first half of our life is wasted by our parents and the second by our children.
A mildly sarcastic quote about the one’s family and those we love, who drive us batty at times.
34. Il n’y a pas de raccourci pour aller là où ça vaut la peine d’aller.
Translation: There’s no shortcut to anywhere worth going.
This quote emphasizes the importance in life of perseverance and not losing hope.
35. Les défaites de la vie conduisent aux plus grandes victoires.
Translation: Life’s defeats lead to the greatest victories.
Don’t let the obstacles hold you back as you move on to things onward and upward.
36. Qui n’avance pas, recule.
Translation: Who does not advance, retreats.
This French quote advises to always keep moving forward, because life only moves in one direction.
37. La vie c’est comme un long tunnel, on y rentre, sans savoir ce qu’il y a au bout.
Translation: Life is like a long tunnel, we enter it, without knowing what is at the end.
The light at the end of a tunnel may be daylight, or an oncoming train. One never knows until it gets there.
38. La vie est comme un livre rempli de majuscule et de minuscule, de point et de virgule.
Translation: Life is like a book full of uppercase and lowercase letters, periods and commas.
With many chapters, starts and finishes, life is a book of which we are the authors. (To note however, there are some differences between French and English writing styles that you can read more about here.)
39. Courir derrière la vie, augmente l’envie.
Translation: Running after life increases envy.
Jealousy never makes anyone happy. The grass is not always greener on the other side, it just sometimes seems that way.
40. La vie nous donne les amis et les ennemis qu’on mérite.
Translation: Life gives us the friends and enemies we deserve.
The friends we keep inevitably influence our happiness. And those that bother us, will continue to seep dissent.
41. La vie, on y entre comme on en sort, les mains vides.
Translation: Life, we enter it as we leave it, empty-handed.
We come into the world alone, which is also the way we must leave.
42. Faites de votre vie un beau poème!
Translation: Make your life a beautiful poem!
Poetry is considered one of the most beautiful art forms there is. You can read some of the most famous French poems here.
43. La vie est un combat, alors bats toi!
Translation: Life is a fight, so fight!
Those who have the heart and stomach to fight, will inevitably win in the battle of life.
44. Laissez entrer dans votre vie ce qui doit faire partie de votre vie.
Translation: Let into your life what should be part of your life.
The quote continues: “Et laissez partir vos peurs, vos doutes, tout ce qui doit partir pour toujours.” It translates to “And let go of your fears, your doubts, everything that must go forever.”
1. la vie est un beau rêve, mais ne vous réveillez pas..
Translation: Life is a beautiful dream, but don’t wake up.
The beauty of life is celebrated in this French quote, with all the awe and wonder of every day lived well.
2. La vie est un torrent courant vers un abîme.
Translation: Life is a torrent flowing towards an abyss.
Like a raft on the Grand Rapids, headed towards a destination that you cannot turn around from.
3. La vie est un flambeau toujours prêt à s’éteindre.
Translation: Life is a torch always ready to be extinguished.
The fragility of life must never be underestimated. It can be snuffed out in an instant, so guard it preciously.
☞ READ MORE: Famous Quotes about Paris, France
4. La vie est un combat perdu d’avance.
Translation: Life is a battle, lost in advance.
This French proverb realizes where we are all headed, all of us equal. After all, everyone puts on their pants one leg at a time.
5. En face de la mort, on comprend mieux la vie.
Translation: In the face of death, we understand life better.
The deathbed declarations where it all becomes too clear. This French quote asks to look for clarity and the true essence of self before it gets to that point.
6. La mort ne surprend point le sage: Il est toujours prêt à partir.
Translation: Death never takes the wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go.
When you know it is your time, you know it is your time. (At least for the lucky ones.)
7. Le monde est un spectacle, la vie un passage; tu es venu, tu as vu, puis tu t’es en allé.
Translation: The world is a spectacle, life a passage; you came, you saw, then you went away.
This French quote about death references a longer passage by that great English playright, William Shakespeare in his play “As you like it” (extract below).
And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school…. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow… Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
So which is your favorite French proverb? If you enjoyed this article, you may like to read more famous French inspirational quotes , as well as quotes about food , wine , and love . Because what could be more French than that!? A bientôt!
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French Expressions To Express Your Happiness
by Divya Singla | Aug 25, 2021 | Blog
En France, “La vie est belle !”. French life is all about taking pleasure from the good things in life. Expressing the sentiment of happiness is one key to gaining pleasure. The French language has a plethora of expressions that French learners must learn. Let’s learn some of the best ways to express your happiness.
First, let’s look at some very basic French expressions to express when you are happy or delighted about something.
1. Je suis heureux/ heureuse.
I am happy.
This French expression is one of the easiest ones to understand!
2. Ça me réjouit.
It delights me.
Feeling delighted? Use this expression 🙂
3. Je suis ravi(e).
This is one very common expression of happiness in French.
4. Je suis content(e)
Yet another very simple way to express that you’re happy, say “Je suis content(e).”
5. Je suis fou/ folle de joie !
I am crazy with joy!
If you wish to show how extremely happy or excited you are about something awesome, use this expression.
Sometimes , you may just be happy and want to express how great you feel. Here are some French expressions for the same:
1. J’ai la patate./ J’ai la frite!
I know that seems really weird. The literal translation is “I have the potato”. But figuratively, you mean to say that you feel good in your head.
2. Je suis bien dans ma peau.
Sometimes you just feel good the way you are. You feel good about yourself, being in your skin. Literally, this expression means “I am good in my skin.” By this, you mean to say that you feel great being the way you are.
3. J’ai la banane
Literally, this expression means “I have the banana”. But you see, a banana is shaped like a smile. That’s why, “avoir la banane” is an expression to tell you’re smiling.
4. Je suis en pleine forme.
This expression means quite the same literally as well as figuratively. “I am in full form”, or “I am in great shape.” This is an expression to say about how great you feel.
5. J’ai mangé du cheval.
A horse is a strong, energetic animal. If you’re feeling energetic and great, you may use this funny image of having eaten a horse, which made you feel so high on spirits!
If you’re feeling happy especially about somebody else and want to congratulate them, here are some great French expressions for you:
Saying “Bravo” in French is a way to congratulate as well as to appreciate somebody for their achievement. It is however, more towards the informal side.
2. Chapeau !
This is yet another informal French expression to congratulate and praise somebody’s success.
3. Félicitations !
“Féliciter ” is a French verb meaning “to congratulate”, and the formal expression to féliciter somebody in French is Félicitations !”
4. Bien joué !
Literally translated to “Well played !”, this is an informal French expression to communicate to somebody that their effort was well worth the success.
5. Je tiens à vous féliciter pour votre succès.
This is a very formal manner of congratulating somebody, literally meaning “I congratulate you for your success.” So now you’re equipped with lots of French expressions to make you feel like one of the natives while talking. So go ahead, amaze your native French friends! More upcoming French lessons coming soon.
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Celebrating 20 + years of chronicling family life in france: 2002-2023, happiness is... a french quote about le bonheur, wednesday, june 07, 2017.
Listen to Jean-Marc read the following quote
Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp. (At the end of this post, see the bouquet Jules made for my belle-mère , with the flowers she found here at the vineyard.)
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Copyright © 2002-2022 Kristin Espinasse "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. Coco Chanel."
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- Dec 28, 2020
19 inspirational French sayings and quotes that will boost your motivation
Updated: Feb 20
Learning a language goes beyond learning grammar rules and vocabulary . When speaking, native speakers often use imagery structures like idioms, quotes, and proverbs. As a French learner, it is worth learning these sayings so that you might not remain speechless because you simply don’t understand.
Some people may say that using proverbs is a little bit old school but don’t get misled. They are phrases or sentences with great meaning, sometimes full of wisdom and they can easily be slipped into conversations.
Using them at the right place and moment shows a certain language mastery.
Today, you’ll discover 19 popular and inspirational French sayings and quotes , that are conveying positive messages. I hope they will be enough useful to boost your motivation to learn French and your daily life.
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1. Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir
Better prevent than to cure/heal. => This saying refers to health and is used to say that one must be cautious and take the dispositions necessary to avoid facing later consequences of one’s acts.
2. Ce n’est pas la mer à boire
It’s not the sea to drink. => It simply means it’s not something difficult.
Example : Apprendre le français, ce n’est pas la mer à boire si tu t’exerces régulièrement. => Learning French is not so difficult if you practice regularly.
3. Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid
Little by little the bird makes his nest. => This idiom means that great achievements are made of small success. Progress doesn’t come overnight but step by step. Another synonym is “les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières” => Little streams make big rivers.
4. Qui ne risque rien n’a rien
Who doesn’t risk anything can’t get anything. =>That means that you can’t get anything if you don’t make a minimum of sacrifices. A synonym of this expression is “On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs » => One can’t make omelet without breaking eggs.
5. Après la pluie, le beau temps
After rain, the nice weather . => That means that good times can come after hard times.
This is one of my favorite proverbs as it is very positive in itself. It’s a good way of encouraging a person that even if he is facing difficult times, the best moments are just ahead. Just remain optimistic.
6. Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut
What women want, God wants it. => A woman can obtain anything if she really wants it. The equivalent expression in English is “a woman’s will is God’s will”.
7. Vouloir c’est pouvoir
To want is to be able . => When you want something, you get the strength and power to do it. The equivalent expression in English is “when there is a will there is a way”.
8. Mieux vaut tard que jamais
Better late than never. => It means it is never late to do something good. It’s better to do something late than never doing it.
9. C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron
It’s by forging that we become a blacksmith. => Practice makes perfect.
10. Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera
Help yourself and heaven will help you. => Heaven helps those who help themselves.
Now that you know at least 10 of these popular French sayings, we’ll dive into famous quotes that will also inspire you and give you the motivation to act positively. Each quote is given with its author and English translation.
11. " La vie, c'est comme une bicyclette, il faut avancer pour ne pas perdre l'équilibre" Albert Einstein
“Life is like a bicycle; we must move forward in order not to loose our balance.”
12. "Exige beaucoup de toi-même et attends peu des autres. Ainsi beaucoup d’ennuis te seront épargnés" / Confucius
Be demanding about yourself and expect less from other people. Thus, you’ll be spared from lots of problems.
13. "Quand on ne peut revenir en arrière, on ne doit se préoccuper que de la meilleure façon d’aller de l’avant" / Paulo Coelho
When one can’t step back, one should focus on the best way to move forward.
14. "Une difficulté n’en est plus une, à partir du moment où vous en souriez, où vous l’affrontez". / Robert Baden-Powell
A difficulty is no more one from the moment you smile at it or face it .
15. “Il n’y a qu’une chose qui puisse rendre un rêve impossible, c’est la peur d’échouer.” / Paulo Coelho
There is only one thing that can make a dream impossible, the fear to fail.
16. " Le succès, c’est d’aller d’échec en échec sans perdre son enthousiasme” / Winston Churchill
Success is going from failure to failure without loosing one's enthusiasm.
17. "Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir" / Henri Matisse
There are flowers everywhere for who wants to see them.
18. "L’homme le plus heureux est celui qui fait le bonheur d’un plus grand nombre d’autres" / Denis Diderot
The happiest man is the one who makes the happiness of many others.
19. Vivez comme si vous deviez mourir demain, apprenez comme si vous deviez vivre toujours / Bouddha
Live as if you should die tomorrow, and learn as is you should live forever.
We have come to the end of the selection of proverbs and quotes I've made for you. These powerful and positive sayings and quotes are useful phrases and sentences that can be used in your daily conversations.
From now on, don’t miss any opportunity to use them to impress people around you. And keep learning to perfect your French as we’ve seen earlier “ C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron”. À bon entendeur, salut!
If you like this content, share it with those who might be interested, and don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list to receive regular updates.
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Famous French Quotes That Signify the True Essence of Life
The French are known for their ability to capture the heart by merely words. France is the symbol of romance, style, food, wine, and fashion. This place is also the home of some great authors who have written various quotes signifying the true essence of life.
“Don’t just stand there with your Eiffel Tower smile. Tell me you love me, and tell me in French. ”
― Jarod Kintz, Love quotes for the ages
For those of you who don’t know, the French way of saying those three divine words (I Love You) is Je t’aime. Isn’t the language just so beautiful, like the people of this country? France has become synonymous with the essence of style, romance, love, good food, wine, poetry, prose, and perhaps all the pleasurable things that exist in the world today. Truly said by the famous French writer François de La Rochefoucauld, “Tout arrive en France” which literally means, “Everything happens in France”!
The French are known to be one of the most expressive people in the entire world. They are known as the ones who never keep anything within their hearts, they are loud and open when they love or appreciate something, or even when they dislike something! Their perception of life is highly exuberant. Which is why we have some of the most illustrious writers, poets, painters, and other renowned artists from this part of the world, because this is the place where feelings evolve and reach out in the open. This article will help you recreate the same magic of love and life, and bring out the very same essence of life―just as the French see it!
Famous French Sayings About Love
France is love, romance, passion, and emotions. It is a place of people who are ruled by feelings and cacoethes of indulgence. Considered to be one of the most romantic places in the world, let us begin our collection of French sayings with the quotes that reflect love. Love is an irrational feeling that consists of happiness, pain, fear, confusion … perhaps every feeling that a human heart can possibly feel. France being the home of some of the most renowned writers, it is certain that the following quotes will enlighten the timid flame of love and passion in your heart once again.
Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.
English Translation: There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. ― George Sand
Le plus grand faible des hommes, c’est l’amour qu’ils ont de la vie. .
English Translation: Man’s greatest weakness is his love for life. ― Molière
C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.
English Translation: That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return. ― Albert Camus
Amour veut tout sans nombre, amour n’a point de loi.
English Translation: Love says it all without number, love knows no law. ― Pierre de Ronsard
L’amour est une passion qui ne se soumet à rien, et à qui au contraire, toutes choses se soumettent.
English Translation: Love is a passion which surrenders to nothing, but to the contrary, everything surrenders to love. ― Madeleine de Scudéry
Quand l’amour veut parler, la raison doit se taire.
English Translation: When love wants to talk, the reason must be silent. ― Jean-François Regnard
Le prix d’Amour, c’est seulement Amour… Il faut aimer si l’on veut etre aimé…
English Translation: The price of love is love itself. One must love if one wants to be loved … ― Honoré d’Urfé
La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le reve, et vous aurez vécu, si vous avez aimé.
English Translation: Life is sleep, whose dream is love. You will have lived, if you have loved. ― Alfred de Musset
J’ai aimé jusqu’à atteindre la folie. Ce que certains appellent la folie, mais ce qui pour moi, est la seule façon d’aimer.
English Translation: I have loved to the point of madness. That which is called madness, that which to me, is the only sensible way to love. ― Françoise Sagan
L’amour c’est être stupide ensemble.
English Translation: Love is being stupid together. ― Paul Valéry
Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.
English Translation: Nothing is real but dreams and love. ― Anna de Noailles
L’amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie.
English Translation: Love makes life’s sweetest pleasures and worst misfortunes. ― Madeleine de Scudéry
Aimer et être aimé sera la grande affaire de toute notre vie.
English Translation: To love and be loved will be the greatest event in our lives. ― Rousseau
L’amour est le miracle de la civilisation.
English Translation: Love is the miracle of civilization. ― Marie-Henri Beyle
Il est difficile de définir l’amour. Dans l’âme c’est une passion de régner, dans les esprits c’est une sympathie, et dans le corps ce n’est qu’une envie cachée et délicate de posséder ce que l’on aime après beaucoup de mystères.
English Translation: It’s difficult to define love. In the soul it’s a passion to rule; in mind it’s sympathy; and in the body it’s only a hidden and tactful desire to possess what we love after many mysteries. ―François de La Rochefoucauld
L’amour est l’étoffe de la nature que l’imagination a brodée.
English Translation: Love is the cloth which imagination embroiders. ―Voltaire
Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre.
English Translation: To live without loving is to not really live. ― Molière
Famous French Sayings About Life
Life is a journey―a beautiful one indeed! As they say in French, “La vie est belle”, which literally means “Life is beautiful”. However, not all of us are successful in deciphering the beauty that this life contains. Or to say, that not all of us have the eye to witness and appreciate the simplistic beauty of life. Lost in the daily chores, struggling between work and home, we fail to sit back and relax. If it wasn’t for the French way of living, where they enjoy each and every sip of wine as if they are tasting something ethereal, the way they are so passionate about their food and life, we would have never known how it is to really live with liveliness. Different people or places inspire us differently to live and love life, and we sure can say that these different things that inspire us definitely constitute the French culture. This very same essence is reflected by the following quotes and sayings.
Toute chose appartient à qui sait en jouir.
English Translation: Everything belongs to those who can appreciate it. ― André Gide
Le travail éloigne de nous trois grands maux: l’ennui, le vice et le besoin.
English Translation: Work delivers us from three great evils: boredom, vice and want. ― Voltaire
Il y a des gens qui n’ont de leur fortune que la crainte de la perdre.
English Translation: There are those who get nothing out of their fortune other than the fear of losing it. ― Rivarol
Il est difficle de vaincre ses passions, et impossible de les satisfaire.
English Translation: It is difficult to master one’s passions, and impossible to satisfy them. ― Marguerite de la Sablière
Je me suis souvent repenti d’avoir parlé, mais jamais de m’être tu.
English Translation: I have often repented for speaking, but never for staying silent. ― Philippe de Commynes
Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire.
English Translation: A fool always finds one still more foolish to admire him. ― Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner.
English Translation: To understand all is to forgive all. ― Leo Tolstoy
La mort n’a peut-être pas plus de secrets a nous reveler que la vie?
English Translation: Perhaps death doesn’t have any more secrets to reveal to us than life? ― Gustave Flaubert
Nous promettons selon nos espérances, et nous tenons selon nos craintes.
English Translation: We promise according to our hopes; we fulfill according to our fears. ― François de La Rochefoucauld
La mort ne surprend point le sage: Il est toujours prêt à partir.
English Translation: Death never takes the wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go. ― Jean de La Fontaine
Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.
English Translation: If youth only knew, if age only could!
Il faut vivre comme on pense, sans quoi l’on finira par penser comme on a vécu..
English Translation: You have to live the way you think, otherwise you’ll end up thinking the way you lived. ― Paul Bourget
Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas.
English Translation: It’s just one step from the sublime to the ― Napoléon Bonaparte
Qui se couche avec les chiens se lève avec des puces
English Translation: He who sleeps with dogs gets up with fleas.
Pour exécuter de grandes choses, il faut vivre comme si on ne devait jamais mourir.
English Translation: In order to achieve great things, we must live as though we were never going to die. ― Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues
Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire.
English Translation: When the wine is drawn, it must be drunk.
Rien ne pèse tant qu’un secret.
English Translation: Nothing weighs more than a secret. ― Jean de La Fontaine
Everything about this language is so beautiful and intense, who wouldn’t fall in love with it? The aforementioned quotes surely do a marvelous job in capturing the essence of France, be it about their perception towards love or life. In fact, to the French, there is no life without love! These are just a fraction of the many awe-inspiring and heartfelt quotes that come from the land of the French. If only we could enlist all such wondrous words that exist! Do you have a favorite French saying or quote? Feel free to share your picks with us through the comments section below.
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Famous Quotes About Happiness In French
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