19 Divine French Love Poems (with English Translation)

Enjoy these beautiful French love poems, with English translation, that will make your heart swoon.
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With French being the language of love, you know that there are going to be some beautifully romantic French poems about love.

Poetry is considered quite an important art form in French culture, with even small children learning poetry in school. A soft play on words transporting you to a different time or place, poetry has always had ability to capture one’s heart.

Now, I’ve tried to pick a variety of French poems that are short and long, because sometimes less in more. A lot of classic French poetry tends to be quite long and sad, which can be unhelpful if you are looking for a couple of verses for a Valentine’s Day gift or a special occasion to share with a date or your loved one.

Sometimes you need to be more creative than just a Je t’aime (I love you) in French, so that might call for a poem.

I’ve tried to select poetic passages and verses that are shorter, without losing any of their meaning, along with the book or collection they came from, so you can look up the full book if necessary.

And so with that, here are the top French love poems that have stood the test of time. Allons-y!

1. L’amour est le miel – Victor Hugo

French writer Victor Hugo, who wrote such famous novels as Les Miserables and children’s books like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, also wrote a play called Le roi s’amuse (meaning “the King amuses”).

In it, he has a beautiful romantic verse that goes as follows:

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
La vie est une fleur,
l’amour en est le miel.
C’est la colombe unie
à l’aigle dans le ciel,
Life is a flower
love is its honey.
It is the dove united
with the eagle in the sky,
C’est la grâce tremblante
à la force appuyée,
C’est ta main dans ma main
doucement oubliée.
It is trembling grace
with sustained force,
It’s your hand in my hand
gently forgotten.

The line “La vie est une fleur, l’amour en est le miel.” remains one of the most famous French quotations about love, to this day.

2. Air vif – Paul Éluard

French poet Paul Éluard (full name Eugène Émile Paul Grindel) and Resistant during WWII, published this poem as part of Le Phénix in 1951.

It was as a tribute to his partner, Dominique, whom he had recently lost.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
J’ai regardé devant moi
Dans la foule je t’ai vue
Parmi les blés je t’ai vue
Sous un arbre je t’ai vue
I looked in front of me
In the crowd I saw you
Among the wheat field I saw you
Under a tree I saw you
Au bout de tous mes voyages
Au fond de tous mes tourments
Au tournant de tous les rires
Sortant de l’eau et du feu
At the end of all my travels
At the bottom of all my torments
At the turn of all the laughter
Coming out of the water and fire
L’été l’hiver je t’ai vue
Dans ma maison je t’ai vue
Entre mes bras je t’ai vue
Dans mes rêves je t’ai vue
Summer winter I saw you
In my house I saw you
In my arms I saw you
In my dreams I saw you
Je ne te quitterai plusI will not leave you any more

3. Les amoureux – Madeleine de Scudéry

The 18th century writer Madeleine de Scudéry wrote this lovely French poem dedicated to all les amoureux (“the lovers”) out there:

French PoemEnglish Translation
L’eau qui caresse le rivage,
La rose qui s’ouvre au zéphir,
Le vent qui rit sous le feuillage,
Tout dit qu’aimer est un plaisir.
The water that caresses the shore,
The rose that opens with a breeze,
The wind that laughs under the leaves,
Everyone says that to love is a pleasure.
De deux amants l’égale flamme
Sait doublement les rendre heureux.
Les indifférents n’ont qu’une âme;
Mais lorsqu’on aime, on en a deux.
Of two lovers equal flame
Doubly knows how to make them happy.
The indifferent have only one soul;
But when you love, you have two.

4. Pour toi ma chérie – Armand Gouffé

Armand Gouffé, a 19th century French poet, wrote Pour toi ma chérie meaning “For you my dear” in Ballon d’essai (1802).

French PoemEnglish Translation
Pour toi, femme chérie,
Je crois
Que j’offrirais ma vie
Cent fois;
Mais, satisfait de suivre
Ta loi,
J’aime cent fois mieux vivre
Pour toi.
For you, wife darling,
I believe
That I would offer my life
A hundred times;
But, satisfied to follow
Your law,
I like a 100 times better to live
For you.
Je n’aime rien au monde
Sans toi;
Tout me plaît à la ronde
Par toi:
Ma richesse et ma gloire,
C’est toi;
J’ai chanté… je vais boire
Pour toi.
I don’t like anything in the world
Without you;
I like everything around
By you:
My wealth and my glory,
It’s you;
I sang… I’m going to drink
For you.

5. Certitude – Paul Éluard

Anther extract written Paul Éluard in Le Phénix in 1951, is the verse Certitude meaning “certainity” in French.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Si je te parle c’est pour mieux t’entendre
Si je t’entends je suis sûr de te comprendre
Si tu souris c’est pour mieux m’envahir
Si tu souris je vois le monde entier
If I speak to you, it is to hear you better
If I hear you I’m sure I understand you
If you smile, it’s the better to invade me
If you smile I see the whole world
Si je t’étreins c’est pour me continuer
Si nous vivons tout sera à plaisir
Si je te quitte nous nous souviendrons
En te quittant nous nous retrouverons.
If I hug you it’s to keep me going
If we live it will be all fun
If I leave you we will remember
And in leaving you we will meet again.

6. Un baiser – Edmond Rostand

French poet Edmond Rostand write the following verse Un Baiser (meaning “a kiss”) in his most famous work, Cyrano de Bergerac published in 1897.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Un baiser, mais à tout prendre,
qu’est-ce que c’est ?
Un serment fait d’un peu plus près,
une promesse plus précise,
A kiss, but all in all,
What is that ?
An oath that is closer,
a promise more precise,
Un aveu qui veut se confirmer,
un point rose qu’on met
sur l’i du verbe aimer ;
c’est un secret qui prend
la bouche pour oreille.
A confession that wants to be confirmed,
a pink dot that we put
on the i of the verb to love;
it’s a secret that takes
word of mouth.
Paris restaurant terrasse

7. Aimer – Roméo et Juliette (Music band)

It is only appropriate that a pair of musicians with a stage name “Romeo and Juliette” put out a hit love song called “Aimer”, meaning “to love” in French. You can find more French love songs here.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
C’est ce qu’il y a de plus beau
C’est monter si haut
Et toucher les ailes des oiseaux
C’est ce qu’il y a de plus beau
To Love
This is what is most beautiful
To love
It is going up so high
to touch the wings of the birds
To Love
This is what is most beautiful

8. Une Simple lettre d’Amour – Yann Moix

A book called Une Simple lettre d’Amour, meaning “A simple love letter” by French author Yann Moix in 2015, contains this beautiful French verse:

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Ce serait toi, c’était toi, l’élue.
Je ne voulais pas me marier
parce que le mariage c’est pour toute la vie.
It would be you, it was you, the chosen one.
I didn’t want to get married because marriage is for life.
Et que toute la vie pour t’aimer
me semblait un peu court.
L’éternité serait un bon compromis.
And that all my life to love you seemed a bit short to me.
Eternity would be a good compromise.

9. J’ai rêvé de toi – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

J’ai rêvé de toi, meaning “I had a dream about you”, is a verse from La part du rêve by Swiss poet Henri-Frédéric Amiel that was published in 1863.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Depuis que je t’ai vue, ébloui par l’éclair,
Mon œil s’est voilé d’un mirage;
Je regarde sans voir, ou je ne vois dans l’air
Flotter qu’une forme, ta douce image;
Since I saw you, dazzled by the lightning,
My eye is veiled with a mirage;
I look without seeing, or I do not see in the air
Float only a shape, your sweet image;
Le jour, tout éveillé, je songe ; et, dans la nuit,
Comme un feu follet qui se lève,
Cette image, la tienne, apparaît, et me suit
Au plus profond de mon âme et de mon rêve.
During the day, all awake, I dream; and, in the night,
Like a wisp that rises,
This image, yours, appears, and follows me
Deep in my soul and in my dream.
Wall of Love in Montmatre, Paris
The Wall of Love in Montmartre, with “I love you” written in over 250 languages.

10. La sincère – Marceline Desbordes Valmore

La sincère meaning “the sincerity” by French poet Marceline Desbordes Valmore was published in 1833. It was part of a collection called Les pleurs meaning “the tears”.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Veux-tu l’acheter ?
Mon cœur est à vendre.
Veux-tu l’acheter ?
Sans nous disputer.
Do you want to buy it?
My heart is for sale.
Do you want to buy it?
Without arguing.
Dieu l’a fait d’aimant,
Tu le feras tendre.
Dieu l’a fait d’aimant,
Pour un seul amant!
God made him loving,
You will make him tender.
God made him loving,
For one lover!

11. Je dédie à tes pleurs, à ton sourire – Emile Verhaeren

Another beautiful poem is Je dédie à tes pleurs, à ton sourire, meaning “I dedicate to your tears and your smile”. It was written by Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren in the book Les Heures claires (“the clear hours”) in 1896.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Je dédie à tes pleurs, à ton sourire,
Mes plus douces pensées,
Celles que je te dis, celles aussi
Qui demeurent imprécisées
Et trop profondes pour les dire.
I dedicate to your tears, to your smile,
My sweetest thoughts,
The ones I tell you, the ones too
Which remain imprecise
And too deep to say them.

12. L’amour est enfant de Bohême – Ludovic Halévy et Henri Meilhac

Georges Bizet famously composed the opera Carmen (1875) written by Ludovic Halévy et Henri Meilhac, which contained this light-hearted French verse:

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
L’amour est enfant de Bohême,
Il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
Si tu ne m’aimes pas, je t’aime;
Si je t’aime, prends garde à toi!
Love is a child of Bohemia,
He never, ever knew a law;
If you don’t love me, I love you;
If I love you, take care of yourself!

13. L’attente – Molière

L’attente meaning “the wait” is from legendary French writer Molière in his play Amphitryon, which was first presented in 1668.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
L’attente d’un retour
ardemment désiré
Donne à tous les instants
une longueur extrême,
The wait for a
longed-for return
Gives us all the moments
of extreme length,
Et l’absence de ce qu’on aime,
Quelque peu qu’elle dure,
a toujours trop duré.
And the absence of what we like,
However long it lasts,
has always lasted too long.

14. Rappelle-toi – Alfred de Musset

French dramatist Alfred de Musset had a legendary love affair with another famous writer George Sand (born Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin), during which they wrote several passionate love letters and poems to each other.

Rappelle-toi, meaning “remind yourself” is from his collection called Poésies nouvelles (“New Poems”) published in 1850.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
lorsque les destinées
M’auront de toi pour jamais séparé,
Quand le chagrin, l’exil et les années
Auront flétri ce coeur désespéré;
Remind yourself,
when the destinies
Will have me separated from you forever,
When sorrow, exile and years
Will have withered this desperate heart;
Songe à mon triste amour,
songe à l’adieu suprême !
L’absence ni le temps ne sont rien quand on aime.
Think of my sad love,
think of the supreme farewell!
Absence and time are nothing when you love.
Tant que mon coeur battra,
Toujours il te dira
As long as my heart beats
He will always tell you
Remind yourself.

15. Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux – Louis Aragon

Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux, meaning “there is not a happy love” was written by French poet Louis Aragon in a collection of poems called La Diane française written during WWII and published at the end of the war in 1944.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Il n’y a pas d’amour qui ne soit à douleur
Il n’y a pas d’amour dont on ne soit meurtri
Il n’y a pas d’amour dont on ne soit flétri
Et pas plus que de toi l’amour de la patrie
There is no love that is not painful
There is no love that we don’t hurt There is no love that we are not withered
And no more than you, the love the motherland
Il n’y a pas d’amour qui ne vive de pleurs
Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux
Mais c’est notre amour à tous les deux
There is no love that does not live in tears
There is no happy love
But it’s our love, two together

16. À Ninon – Alfred de Musset

Another beautiful verse from Alfred de Musset’s Poésies nouvelles (1850) is dedicated to Ninon. Ninon is a diminutive of the name Anne, but it is not really clear who Anne is. Nonetheless à Ninon is certainly a lovely poem:

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
J’aime, et je sais répondre avec indifférence
J’aime, et rien ne le dit
j’aime, et seul je le sais
Et mon secret m’est cher,
I love, and I know how to respond with indifference
I love it, and nothing says so
I love it, and only I know it
And my secret is dear to me,
Et chère ma souffrance
Et j’ai fait le serment d’aimer sans espérance
Mais non pas sans bonheur
– je vous vois, c’est assez.
And dear my suffering
And I took the oath to love without hope
But not without happiness
– I see you, that’s enough.

17. Hier au soir – Victor Hugo

From Les Contemplations (“the thoughts”) published in 1911, Victor Hugo’s Hier au soir (“yesterday evening”) is hauntingly sweet poem.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Hier au soir
Hier, le vent du soir,
dont le souffle caresse,
Nous apportait l’odeur
des fleurs qui s’ouvrent tard;
Yesterday evening
Yesterday, the evening wind,
whose breath caresses,
Brought us the smell flowers that open late;
La nuit tombait;
l’oiseau dormait dans l’ombre épaisse.
Le printemps embaumait,
moins que votre jeunesse;
Les astres rayonnaient,
moins que votre regard.
Night was falling;
the bird was sleeping in the thick shade.
Spring was fragrant,
less than your youth;
The stars were shining,
less than your gaze.
Moi, je parlais tout bas.
C’est l’heure solennelle
Où l’âme aime à chanter
son hymne le plus doux.
I was talking in a low voice.
It’s the solemn hour
Where the soul loves to sing
his sweetest hymn.
Voyant la nuit si pure
et vous voyant si belle,
J’ai dit aux astres d’or:
Versez le ciel sur elle!
Seeing the night so pure and seeing you so beautiful,
I said to the golden stars:
Pour the sky on her!
Et j’ai dit à vos yeux:
Versez l’amour sur nous!
And I said to you:
Pour love on us!

18. Le Pont Mirabeau- Guillaume Apollinaire

Those who love the city of Paris, will love the poem Le Pont Mirabeau (the bridge Mirabeau) by Guillaume Apollinaire. The singer Marc Lavoine would turn the famous poem into a classic song about Paris.

Dedicated to all the lovebirds strolling around the quays of the Seine river, it will transport you back to City of Lights. You can find more lovely quotes about Paris here.

French Love PoemEnglish Translation
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure
The Seine flows under the Mirabeau bridge
And our loves
He has to remind me of that
Joy always came after pain
Vienna at night strikes the hour
The days go by I remain
Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure
Hand in hand let’s stay face to face
While under
The bridge of our arms passes
Eternal gazes the wave so weary
Vienna at night strikes the hour The days go by I remain
L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure
Love goes like this running water
Love flies away
How slow life is
And as Hope is violent
Vienna at night strikes the hour
The days go by I remain
Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure.
Pass the days and pass the weeks
Neither time passed
Nor lovers returned
The Seine flows under the Mirabeau bridge
Vienna at night strikes the hour
The days go by I remain.

19. Jour de Saint Valentin – Charles, Duke of Orleans

Medieval poet, Charles of Orléans has sometimes been called the father of French poetry. Born in Paris, he was in line to the French throne as the nephew of King Charles VI of France.

At the battle of Agincourt in 1415, at the age of 21, young Charles of Orléans was taken prisoner by the English and would spend the next 25 years as a prisoner of war before his return to France.

It would be during this period and after that Charles wrote some of the most beautiful poetry in the French language. Many of his poems were to his wife Bonne, who sadly died before he was released from captivity.

He is accredited to written the earliest known Valentine’s day card, as he wrote several poems about the day.

French love poemEnglish translation
Le beau soleil, le jour saint Valentin,
Qui apportait sa chandelle allumée,
N’a pas longtemps, entra un bien matin
The beautiful sun, on Valentine’s Day,
Who brought her lighted candle,
Didn’t have long, entered one good morning
Privéement en ma chambre fermée.
Celle clarté, qu’il avait apportée,
Si m’éveilla du somme de Souci,
Où j’avaië toute la nuit dormi
Sur le dur lit d’ennuyeuse pensée.
Privately in my closed room.
That clarity, which he had brought,
If woke me from the sleep of
Worry, where I had slept all night
On the hard bed of boring thought.
Ce jour aussi, pour partir leur butin
Des biens d’Amours, faisaient assemblée
Tous les oiseaux, qui parlants leur latin,
Criaiënt fort, demandants la livrée

This day too, to leave their booty
Goods of Love, gathered together
All the birds, speaking their Latin,
Shouted loudly, asking for the livery
Que Nature leur avait ordonnée;
C’était d’un pair comme chacun choisi;
Së ne me pu rendormir, pour leur cri,
Sur le dur lit d’ennuyeuse pensée.
That Nature had ordained them;
It was of a peer as each chosen;
Could not put me back to sleep, for their cry,
On the hard bed of boring thought.
Lors en mouillant de larmes mon coussin,
Je regrettai ma dure destinée,
Disant: Oiseaux je vous voi en chemin
De tout plaisir et joië désirée;
Then, wetting my cushion with tears,
I regretted my hard destiny,
Saying: Birds I see you on the way
Of all desired pleasure and joy;
Chacun de vous a pair qui lui agrée,
Et point n’en ai, car Mort, qui m’a trahi,
A pris mon pair, dont en deuil je langui
Sur le dur lit d’ennuyeuse pensée.
Each of you has a partner who pleases him,
And I have none, for
Death, who betrayed me,
Took my partner, whose mourning I languish
On the hard bed of boring thought.
Saint Valentin choisissent cette année
Ceux et celles de l’amoureux parti;
Seul me tendrai, de confort dégarni,
Sur le dur lit d’ennuyeuse pensée.
Saint Valentines’ day chose this year
Those of the departed lover;
Alone I will stretch out, with bare comfort,
On the hard bed of boring thought.

If you enjoyed that article, you may enjoy reading more about love and romance in France. A bientôt!

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