Tinkling laughter, a few stumbles down ancient cobblestone streets hand in hand with your French lover, with some romantic French love songs playing in the background. Is there any place more romantic than Paris in the spring?
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With français being the language of love, and Paris as a backdrop, can you blame these writers for getting swept away by a current of amour? Having lived in France for the past 10+ years, the heart still gives a little flutter. Add a bit of whimsy and a lot of romance, and you too will want to start quoting a few famous French sayings about love and the joy of falling head over heels.
Without further ado, here are in my opinion, some of the best French proverbs and romantic sayings about love and amour.
Famous French Sayings
1. Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.
English Translation: To love is not to look at each other, it is to look together in the same direction.
By the author of the French literary classic Petit Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupéry wrote this wonderful quote about growing old together. A beautiful saying that is quite popular with French couples saying their “Oui’s” at their wedding.
2. 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.
French novelist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin aka George Sand uttered these famous words. Known for dressing in male attire, she had many affairs including a turbulent relationship with the composer Frédéric Chopin.
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3. Les seuls beaux yeux sont ceux qui vous regardent avec tendresse.
English Translation: The only beautiful eyes are those who look at you with tenderness.
The legendary Coco Chanel had a dramatic love life herself, so she knew what she was talking about when she said these words.
4. Entre deux cœurs qui s’aiment, nul besoin de paroles.
English Translation: Between two hearts, there is no need for words.
The French poet (and part-time actress) Marceline Desbordes-Valmore wrote down this lovely proverb, leaving us speechless. (I couldn’t resist!)
5. L’amour, c’est renoncer à l’intelligence pour vivre de ses sens.
English Translation: Love is giving up intelligence to live by your senses.
Ignoring the foolishness of love and embracing the moment, by Belgian writer Josiane Coeijmans.
6. Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre.
English Translation: To live without love, is to not live.
French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, who is better known as the legendary Molière, is accredited with this beautiful proverb.
1. On n’aime que ce qu’on ne possède pas tout entier.
English Translation: We love only what we do not have entirely.
Do we always want what we don’t quite have? In English, we have “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, though that is not quite the same. A toast to unrequited love by French novelist Marcel Proust.
2. C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.
English Translation: This is love, giving it one’s all, sacrificing everything without hope of it being returned.
Philosopher Albert Camus dives into the darker side of love with this French saying. He was married a couple of times, had many affairs, and won the Nobel prize for literature, so obviously knew what he was talking about.
(Note: If you are traveling through Provence, stop by the Château de Lourmarin to see where he wrote many of his most famous musings.)
3. L’amour est comme le vent, nous ne savons pas d’où il vient.
English Translation: Love is like the wind, we don’t know from where it comes.
French novelist Honoré de Balzac said these words in his novel La Peau de chagrin (“The Wild Ass’s Skin) in 1831.
4. La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve.
English Translation: Life is a good night’s sleep, and love is a dream.
French novelist Alfred de Musset explores the dreamy side of love with this enchanting quote.
5. L’esprit s’enrichit de ce qu’il reçoit, le cœur de ce qu’il donne.
English Translation: The spirit enriches with what it receives, the heart with what it gives.
Famed novelist Victor Hugo, the writer of Les Misérables and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, talks about fulfilling the soul with this beautiful proverb.
Romantic French Quotes
1. Et c’est parfois dans un regard, dans un sourire que sont cachés les mots qu’on n’a jamais su dire.
English Translation: And it is sometimes in a look, in a smile that are hidden the words that we never knew how to say.
That look across the room, the knowing smile, the secret wink… Ok, I’ll stop now, carry on.
2. Chaque jour je t’aime davantage, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.
English Translation: Each day I love you more, today more than yesterday, and quite less than tomorrow.
Rosemonde Gérard solves the problem of who loves who more, with this charming quote. The wife of Edmond Rostand (author of Cyrano de Bergerac), was known to have quite a way with words herself, as clearly demonstrated here.
3. Le secret du bonheur en amour, ce n’est pas d’être aveugle mais de savoir fermer les yeux quand il le faut.
English Translation: The secret to happiness and love, is not to be blind but to know how to close your eyes when necessary.
Love is blind, as we say in English, but this one goes a little deeper. To stay in love, you must be a little blind to all the foibles of the one you love. Truth.
4. Le prix d’Amour, c’est seulement Amour… Il faut aimer si l’on veut être aimé.
English Translation: The price of love, is simply love. You have to love if you want to be loved in return.
Love isn’t a one way street. You have to give in order to receive.
5. L’amour c’est comme la guerre, facile à démarrer, difficile à finir… et impossible à oublier.
English Translation: Love is like war, easy to start, difficult to finish … and impossible to forget.
Remember your first true “love”? Or what you thought was love anyway.
6. Si tu pouvais lire dans mon coeur, tu verrais la place où je t’ai mise!
English Translation: If you could read in my heart, you would see the place where I put you!
If there ever was a French pick-up line that has the potential of working, this is it.
7. 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 that submits to nothing, and to which, on the contrary, all things submit.
If you’ve ever watched the classic Christmas movie Love Actually, you know the type of love this French quote is talking about. It takes many forms, but in the end, is the main thing that drives us. If we are lucky, that is.
Love quotes for tattoos
1. On ne peut vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîche.
English Translation: We can live on love and fresh water.
One of my particular favorites for all those newly in love, and a tiny bit obsessed with each other: who needs food, all we need is love and water!
2. Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas.
English Translation: The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.
French mathematician Blaise Pascal knows a thing or two about reasoning, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t philosophise about love.
3. On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur.
English Translation: We only see well with the heart.
Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s Petit Prince is full of wonderful sayings, and this is yet another one of them. A writer and Legion d’honneur winner, Saint-Exupéry was also a commercial pilot who died towards the end of World War II during a reconnaissance mission off the coast of Marseille.
4. L’amour est la poésie des sens.
English Translation: Love is the poetry of the senses.
French novelist Honoré de Balzac explores the sensory wonders of love, with this exquisite quote.
5. La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel.
English Translation: Life is a flower of which love is the honey.
The legendary Victor Hugo speaks of the beauty of life, while acknowledging that it is the love that makes it all the sweeter.
You can read more ideas for French tattoos here.
Beautiful Proverbs about love and real life
1. Les routes les plus difficiles mènent aux plus belles destinations.
English Translation: The most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations.
The French version of “happily ever after”.
2. Le seul vrai langage au monde est un baiser.
English Translation: The true language of the world is a kiss.
Alfred de Musset, a writer of the 19th century French romantic period has a play on words here. Baiser in French could mean a kiss, but it is also slang for a f*uck. Either way, it does make the world go around 😉
3. Distance signifie si peu quand quelqu’un signifie beaucoup.
English Translation: Distance means so little when someone means a lot.
For those making it work in a long-distance relationship. I’ve seen both sides, couples making it work, and couples letting go. It is never easy, is it?
4. L’amour c’est être stupide ensemble.
English Translation: Love, it is about being stupid together.
The twentieth-century French poet Paul Valéry knew the human condition quite well. There is no accounting for the stupid things we do for love, is there…?
5. Un bonheur imparfait vaut mieux qu’un amour impossible.
English Translation: Imperfect happiness is better than impossible love.
People are imperfect, and so must be their love. To accept and embrace, surely that is happiness?
Love Quotes to say Goodbye
1. Je vous souhaite d’être follement aimée.
English Translation: My hope for you is to be madly loved.
Thrice-married writer and poet André Breton proclaimed this lovely sentiment. Is there a better wish that you can wish someone?
2. En amour on pardonne, mais on n’oublie jamais.
English Translation: In love we forgive, but we never forget.
For all those who have broken our hearts, adieu.
3. Va, je ne te hais point.
English Translation: Go, I hate you not
This is one of the most famous lines in French literature. Written by Pierre Corneille in his classic Le Cid in 1636, the heroine, Chimène, says to her lover Rodrigue, who just killed her father: “Va, je ne te hais point”. What she really means of course is “I still love you, but you must leave for safety”.
If you are wondering, there is a happy ending, with the couple atoning for her father’s death and the two getting married in the end, happily ever after.
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Enjoy and à bientôt!
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