35 French quotes about friendship and family

Articulate every sentiment with a few French quotes about friendship and family, and the importance of those we hold dear.
35 French quotes about friendship and family
Friends and family at a terrasse restaurant in Marseille, France
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There’s a lot to love about the French language. The language of culture and love, there is a warmth and eloquence to hearing a quote in French that adds a bit of color to a simple conversation.

As with any other language, a large number of quotes can be found in French, that can be used to articulate an idea or an emotion. And if you are looking to express a particular sentiment to a friend or a family member, there is nothing like a few French quotes about friendship and the importance of those we call family.

While everyone at some point has gone through a rough patch in their life, there are those people who have always been there in thick and thin, good times and in bad.

With that being said, here is a list I put together of some of the best quotes in French about friendship and family, from some famous and not so famous names. Allons-y!

Table of Contents

Quotes about Family

1. La famille, c’est l’amour. C’est tout ce qui compte.

English Translation: Family, this is love. It’s all that matters.

By French philosopher Lyne Ménard, this quote says it all. If your family is filled with love, what else do you need?

2. La famille est le noyau de la civilisation.

English Translation: The family is the core of civilization.

A quote originally attributed to American historian and philosopher, Will Durant, this is has become a famous proverb in France. (Philosophy is one of the core subjects in French schools.)

The center of everything, the family is what makes us human. It is the foundation of how the laws we write, how we communicate, and how we transmit knowledge. (If you are a French high schooler, you may have to write a 3000 word essay on this!)

3. Dans une famille, on est attachés les uns aux autres par des fils invisibles qui nous ligotent, même quand on les coupe.

English Translation: In a family, we are attached to each other by invisible threads that bind us, even when we cut them.

By Jean-Michel Guenassia, this quote has a lot of meaning, depending on whether you look at it positively or negatively.

In English, the quote would be “the ties that bind”. Like a spider’s web, the golden silk is thin and almost invisible, but incredibly strong.

4. La famille avant tout.

English Translation: Family before everything.

If you are looking to get a tattoo in French about your family, this one is perfect. Family first.

5. D’autres choses peuvent nous changer, mais nous commencer et finir comme une famille.

English Translation: Other things can change us, but we start and end like family.

Attributed to Anthony Brandt who originally said it in English, this French quote speaks to the circle of life. Family and those we hold dear, is who we spend the start of our days on this earth and the end (if we are lucky enough.)

6. Que disent les enfants, qu’ils ont entendu à la maison.

English Translation: The things that the children saying, is what they heard at home.

An anonymous French quote, this one emphasizes that children repeat what they hear and see at home. So it is best to take care and model the behaviour you want the little ones to follow.

7. Vos pieds quitteront le foyer mais pas votre coeur.

English Translation: Your feet will leave the home, but not your heart.

Another quote whose attribution has been lost over time, this beautiful French quote speaks of the process of growing up and leaving the nest.

8. C’est seulement à l’instant de les quitter que l’on mesure son attachement à un lieu, une maison, ou à sa famille.

English Translation: It is only when we leave them that we measure our attachment to a place, a house, or to our family.

Famous French footballer Eric Cantona (of Manchester United fame) may not seem like a philosopher, but this lovely French quote is attributed to him.

As someone who plied his trade overseas, his dedication to his country and the French football team was no doubt on his mind when he said this.

9. La famille c’est comme les branches d’un arbre; nous grandissons tous dans de différentes directions, mais nos racines sont les mêmes.

English Translation: The family is like the branches of a tree; we all grow in different directions, but our roots are the same.

An anonymous saying, that still makes for a beautiful visual. As we move from our home, perhaps to another city or another country, the distance doesn’t diminish the love.

10. Aucune somme d’argent et aucun succès ne vaut plus que le temps passé avec ta famille.

English Translation: No amount of money and no success is worth more than time spent with your family.

No one ever said at the end of day that they wished they spent more time at work, did they? A very valid quote that unfortunately does not have an attribution.

11. Rien n’est plus beau qu’un sourire sur le visage des proches.

English Translation: Nothing is more beautiful than a smile on the faces of loved ones.

Another anonymous french quote about family that is nonetheless quite heart-warming. There is nothing like the smile of a loved one when you come home at the end of the day.

12. La famille sera toujours la base des sociétés.

English Translation: The family will always be the basis of societies.

French author Honore de Balzac of La Comédie Humaine fame wrote this lovely saying, which goes back to the idea that the family is at the heart of society and human civilization.

13. La famille c’est une grande table et tout le monde autour.

English Translation: The family is a big table and everyone around.

French actress Laeticia Casta is said to have first said this saying, which brings to mind that wonderful French tradition of a long familial dinner that goes on for hours.

14. Le bonheur est à votre foyer, ne le cherchez pas dans le jardin des étrangers.

English Translation: Happiness is in your home, do not seek it in the garden of strangers.

The grass is not always greener on the other side. English write Douglas William Jerrold wrote this imminently practical saying that was later translated into French to become a classic.

15. Le temps passé avec la famille vaut chaque seconde.

English Translation: Time spent with family is worth every second.

This French proverb might be anonymous, but that doesn’t lessen its truth. Enjoy your family and hold them close.

Quotes about Friendship

1. Les amis : une famille dont on a choisi les membres.

English Translation: Friends: a family whose members have been chosen.

French journalist and writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is believed to have made this very valid observation.

We pick our friends, we don’t pick our family. And a lot of times, they fulfill the needs that the family cannot/will not.

2. On déteste parfois sa famille de chair, on aime toujours sa famille d’esprit.

English Translation: We sometimes hate our flesh family, we always love our spirit family.

Families are not always related by flesh. French journalist Maurice Chapelan wrote this famous French quote about friendship, and the importance in finding one’s fellow “spirit animals”.

3. L’amitié est un feu qui éclaire l’esprit et qui réchauffe sans jamais brûler.

English Translation: Friendship is a fire that lights the mind and warms without ever burning.

French judge and writer Etienne de La Boétie is said to have pronounced this French proverb, about the benefits of friendship.

4. La famille est un lieu où tout le monde vous aime, peu importe comment vous êtes, ils vous acceptent pour qui vous êtes.

English Translation: Family is a place where everyone loves you, no matter what you are, they accept you for who you are.

As Anonymous notes, your “real” family may not always accept you for who you are, but there are those friends out there who will. You know who they are, and can rightly call them your family.

5. Le plus beau cadeau de la vie est l’amitié, et je l’ai reçu.

English Translation: Friendship is the greatest gift in life, and I have received it.

Hubert H. Humphrey wrote this saying, which was later translated into French. One of the most valuable things in the world is the shoulder of a good friend.

6. Un vrai ami est celui qui entre quand le reste du monde sort.

English Translation: A true friend is the one who walks in when the rest of the world goes out.

A beautiful anonymous French quote that will touch your heart. A friend is one who is there through thick and thin.

7. Marcher avec un ami dans le noir est mieux que de marcher seul dans la lumière.

English Translation: Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

French writer Gustave Pie is said to have delivered this famous French saying about friendship. No need to be afraid of the dark.

8. Un ami est une personne qui vous donne la liberté totale d’être vous-même.

English Translation: A friend is someone who gives you the total freedom to be yourself.

This quote about friendship was originally said by Jim Morisson in English before being translated into French.

9. L’amitié, comme le vin, se bonifie avec le temps.

English Translation: Friendship, like wine, improves over time. – Anonymous

France is well-known for its love of wine and award-winning wine regions, so it is no surprise that the beauty of friendship and wine would intermingle. There is nothing like an old friend who perhaps knows you better than you know yourself.

You can read more French quotes about wine here.

10. Les plus fidèles compagnons de l’amitié sont la franchise et la sincérité.

English Translation: The most faithful companions of friendship are frankness and sincerity. – Anonymous

No one needs friends who don’t speak the truth and are not looking out for your best interests. What sort of friendship is that?

11. Un ami, c’est quelqu’un qui vous connaît bien et qui vous aime quand même.

English Translation: A friend is someone who knows you well and loves you nonetheless.

French writer Hervé Lauwick who was known for his comedic works, noted this humoristic French quote.

12. Un frère ne peut pas être un ami, mais un ami sera toujours un frère.

English Translation: A brother cannot be a friend, but a friend will always be a brother.

French writer Émile Faguet, on the value of appreciating those who you can call “brother” (or “sister”.)

13. C’est dans le besoin qu’on reconnaît ses vrais amis.

English Translation: It is in need that we recognize our true friends. – Anonymous

As the saying goes, it is when times are tough that you find out who your real friends are.

14. La véritable amitié repose sur une confiance réciproque qui n’admet ni réserve, ni exception. 

English Translation: True friendship is based on mutual trust which admits of neither reservation nor exception. – Anonymous

The bedrock of any friendship has to be truth and trust. And with that, you can talk about anything.

15.  L’amitié est le sel de la vie.

English Translation: Friendship is the salt of life.

French anthropologue Françoise Héritier made this wonderful observation about how friendship adds a bit of spice and flavor to this thing we call life.

16. Une amitié vive est comme l’eau chaude qui refroidit bientôt. 

English Translation: A “lively” friendship is like hot water that soon cools. – Anonymous

There is such a thing as being too “lively”. If there is a continuous rollercoaster of emotions, perhaps that is not a friendship that will last long.

17. L’amour a plus de fleurs, l’amitié a moins d’épines. 

English Translation: Love has more flowers, friendship has fewer thorns.

Whether you have found love or not, you have to appreciate this anonymous French quote. The passion of love or the comfort of friendship?

18. La parfaite amitié n’est pas dans la jeunesse.

English Translation: Perfect friendship is not in youth.

That best friend that you made in 1st grade? Not sure it is going to stand the test of time. (Unless you are really lucky that is, and have really good taste!)

 19. Quand l’amitié décroît, la politesse augmente.

English Translation: When friendship wanes, politeness increases.

Attributed to French author Jules Renard, this French quote talks about friendships that fizzle out. We all lose touch over the years, unfortunately (or in some cases fortunately)!

 20. L’amour veut conquérir, l’amitié conserver.

English Translation: Love wants to conquer, friendship to preserve.

This famous French proverb does not have an attribution, but certainly has an interesting view of love and conjugal relations.

You can read more French quotes about love here.

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If you enjoyed that post, you may enjoy reading more French inspirational quotes here.

A bientôt!

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