66 Famous French quotes about travel

Enjoy the best quotes French travel quotes, for those who love adventure and to explore the unknown with a heart wide open.
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If you love to travel and dream of exploring France and other places around the world, you are going to love these famous French quotes about travel.

From renowned writers capturing the spirit of travel, they emphasize the transformative power of exploration. There is nothing like the allure of adventure, and the enrichment it brings to our lives.

So for those who like to step outside our comfort zones, embrace the unknown, and open the heart to new perspectives, here are the most famous French quotes about travel. Allons-y!

1. Voyager, c’est naître et mourir à chaque instant.

Translation: “To travel is to be born and die at every moment.” – Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo is of course one of the most renowned French writers the country has produced along with being a poet, novelist, and playwright. The writer of Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre Dame was also a politician.

This quote might have been in reference to his banishment when Napoleon III took control of France in 1851 and Victor Hugo found himself banished as a traiter in exile.

2. Voyager c’est vivre.

Translation: “Traveling, it is living”. – Gustave Nadaud.

Gustave Nadaud was a 19th century French composer who captures the essence of what lovers of travel already know: the sentiment of feeling alive.

3. On ne fait pas un voyage, c’est le voyage qui nous fait.

Translation: “We do not make a journey, the journey makes us.” – Nicolas Bouvier

Nicolas Bouvier was a francophone Swiss-born writer and traveler who spent several years in France. He was known for his photography and travel writings.

Palace of Versailles

4. Dans le voyage, il n’y a pas de certitude, seulement de l’aventure.

Translation: “In travel, there is no certainty, only adventure.” – Anonymous

The road less traveled can never be predicted, but it will certainly be full of bumps and surprises.

5. Rien ne développe l’intelligence comme les voyages.

Translation: “Nothing develops intelligence like travel.” – Emile Zola

Emile Zola has been a household name in France dating back to the early 20th century, both for his writings and his political advocacy. This famous travel quote perhaps can be interpreted as an unkind comment to those who do not venture out of their comfort zone.

6. Il est certain qu’il faut voyager.

Translation: “Of course you have to travel.” – Voltaire

The celebrated writer Voltaire leaves no doubt about his feelings, with an emphasis that leaves no room for argument.

7. On voyage pour changer, non de lieu, mais d’idées.

Translation: “We travel to change, not places, but ideas.” – Hippolyte Taine

Dating back to the 19th century, Hippolyte Taine was a French historian, critic and philosopher. At a time when travel was not as widespread, Taine advocates why everyone should go on an expedition.

8. Le monde est un livre et ceux qui ne voyagent pas n’en lisent qu’une page.

Translation: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine was an early Christian theologian and philosopher from the 4th century, who would go on to become a saint. His famous quote about travel however, still remains relevant today.

9. Voyager rend modeste. On voit mieux la place minuscule que l’on occupe dans le monde.

Translation: “Traveling makes one modest. You see the tiny place you occupy in the world more clearly.” – Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was a prominent French novelist from the 19th century. He notes how much small we seem in the larger scheme of things, after having explored another part of the world.

Landmark fountain at Concorde in Paris
Landmark fountain at Concorde in Paris

10. Paris est toujours une bonne idée.

Translation: “Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn

The incontournable (unmissable) Audrey Hepburn, in the movie Sabrina said this famous quote about Paris in 1954 as she heads off to culinary school, and it still rings true.

Later in the film she explains: “Paris is for changing your outlook, for throwing open the windows and letting in la vie en rose.”

11. On ne découvre pas de terre nouvelle sans consentir à perdre de vue, d’abord et longtemps, tout rivage.

Translation: “One cannot discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.” – André Gide

André Gide was a French author who won the 1947 Nobel laureate in literature. Whether by plane or boat, it is true that you can’t go anywhere without losing sight of ‘home’ at least for a while.

12. Voyager est un triple plaisir : l’attente, l’éblouissement et le souvenir.

Translation: “Traveling is a triple pleasure: the anticipation, the astonishment, and the recollection.” – Ilka Chase

Ilka Chase was an American actress, but this quote is often associated with her in French citations about travel.

13. Le plus beau voyage, c’est celui qu’on n’a pas encore fait.

Translation: “The most beautiful journey is the one you haven’t taken yet.” – Loïck Peyron

Loïck Peyron is a French yachtsman and one of the most accomplished sailors in the world. He has won several competitions over his long career racing across the world.

14. Voyager, c’est grandir. C’est la grande aventure. Celle qui laisse des traces dans l’âme.

Translation: “To travel is to grow. It is the great adventure. The one that leaves traces in the soul.” – Marc Thiercelin

Marc Thiercelin is a French sailor and renowned solo yacht racer. He has done several solo rounds of the world and transatlantic races, so he certainly knows how to go on an adventure.

15. Le monde est un miroir. Si tu lui souris, il te sourira.

Translation: “The world is a mirror. If you smile at it, it will smile back at you.” – Louis Nucera

Louis Nucera was a famous French writer and cyclist, who won the the Grand Prize for Literature from the French Academy in 1993.

Ile Saint Louis in Paris

16. Voyager, c’est vivre deux fois.

Translation: “To travel is to live twice.” – Albert Camus

Albert Camus was a French philosopher and writer who won the the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of his most famous books is The Stranger.

17. Le plus court chemin d’un point à un autre est la ligne droite. Mais le vrai chemin est celui que l’on découvre en se perdant.

Translation: “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But the true path is the one you discover by getting lost.” – Jacques Prévert

Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter, who definitely knew the benefits of heading onwards without direction.

18. Voyager, c’est naître et mourir à chaque instant.

Translation: “To travel is to be born and die at every moment.” – Victor Hugo

This famous French travel quote from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, talking about the ups and downs of life.

19. Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux.

Translation: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust was a prominent 20th century French novelist and essayist. This beautiful quote talks about how traveling has the ability to change ones outlook on life.

a shipyard in France

20. Les voyages sont la meilleure façon d’acheter des souvenirs.

Translation: “Traveling is the best way to purchase memories.” – François Cavanna

François Cavanna was a French author and journalist, and here he isn’t talking about physical souvenirs, but the ones in our heads.

21. L’important n’est pas la destination, c’est le voyage.

Translation: “The important thing is not the destination, it’s the journey.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre was a renowned French philosopher, playwright, and novelist.

22. Les voyages forment la jeunesse.

Translation: “Travel shapes youth.” – Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne was a French philosopher and writer. This interesting quote advocates travel for the young (and the young at heart.)

23. Le monde est un livre ouvert à tous ceux qui savent lire.

Translation: “The world is an open book to all those who know how to read.” – René Barjavel

René Barjavel was a French author, journalist and critic. He is well known for having exploring the existential concepts of time travel.

24. Le vrai voyageur ne sait pas où il va.

Translation: “The true traveler doesn’t know where he is going.” – Anonymous.

If you don’t know where you are heading, you may be a traveler (and not a tourist.)

25. Le voyage est une espèce de porte par où l’on sort de la réalité comme pour pénétrer dans une réalité inexplorée qui semble un rêve.

Translation: “Travel is a kind of door through which we exit reality, as if entering an unexplored reality that seems like a dream.” – Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant was a French writer known for his short stories, inspired by the explorers of the past.

26. On ne peut pas voir le monde en restant assis dans un coin.

Translation: “You cannot see the world by sitting in a corner.” – Anonymous

As the joke in French goes, what can see the world while staying in a corner? Only a postage stamp!

27. Ajouter deux lettres à Paris, c’est le paradis.

Translation: “Adding two letters to Paris is paradise.” – Jules Renard

Of course this only works in French, in English you would have to add a few more letters!

28. Voyager sans rencontrer l’autre, ce n’est pas voyager, c’est se déplacer.

Translation: “To travel without meeting the other is not to travel, it is to move.” – Alexandra David Neel

Street in Aix-en-Provence - Moving to France

29. Il n’y a d’homme plus complet que celui qui a beaucoup voyagé, qui a changé vingt fois la forme de sa pensée et de sa vie.

Translation: “There is no more complete man than one who has traveled a lot, who has changed the shape of his thought and his life twenty times over.” – Alphonse de Lamartine

30. Ce n’est que dans l’aventure que certaines personnes réussissent à se connaître – à se retrouver.

Translation: “It is only in adventure that some people manage to know each other – to find each other.” – André Gide

31. Le voyageur voit ce qu’il voit, le touriste voit ce qu’il est venu voir. 

Translation: “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he came to see.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterton

32. N’ayez jamais peur de la vie, n’ayez jamais peur de l’aventure, faites confiance au hasard, à la chance, à la destinée.

The quote continues: “Partez, allez conquérir d’autres espaces, d’autres espérances. Le reste vous sera donné de surcroît.”

Translation: “Never be afraid of life, never be afraid of adventure, trust chance, luck, destiny. Leave, conquer other spaces, other hopes. The rest will be given to you in addition.” – Henry de Monfreid

33. Jamais je n’ai tant pensé, tant existé, tant vécu, tant été moi-même, si j’ose ainsi dire, que dans les voyages que j’ai faits seul ou à pied. 

Translation: “Never have I thought so much, existed so much, lived so much, been so much myself, if I dare say so, than in the journeys I have made alone or on foot.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Lourmarin, france

34. Les gens ont peur. La peur, c’est l’ignorance. Alors, plus on est éduqué, plus on voyage, plus on parle de langues, moins on est ignorant, donc moins on a peur.

Translation: “People are scared. Fear is ignorance. So, the more educated you are, the more you travel, the more languages ​​you speak, the less ignorant you are, so the less afraid you are.” – Robert Lepage

35. Un des grands malheurs de la vie moderne, c’est le manque d’imprévu, l’absence d’aventures.

Translation: “One of the great misfortunes of modern life is the lack of the unexpected, the absence of adventures.” – Théophile Gauthier

36. L’aventure c’est le trésor que l’on découvre à chaque matin.

Translation: “Adventure is the treasure we discover every morning.” – Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel is a Belgium singer who sang the classic French love song “Ne me quitte pas”, which is one of the most famous songs of all time.

37. Qu’est-ce qu’en général qu’un voyageur ? C’est un homme qui s’en va chercher un bout de conversation au bout du monde. 

Translation: “What is a traveler in general? He is a man who goes to find a piece of conversation at the end of the world.” – Barbay d’Aurevilly

38. De tous les livres, celui que je préfère est mon passeport, unique in octavo qui ouvre les frontières.

Translation: “Of all the books, the one I prefer is my passport, unique in octavo which opens the borders.” – Alain Borer

39. Sans l’incertitude l’aventure n’existerait pas.

Translation: “Without uncertainty, adventure would not exist.” – Alain Séjourné

40. De tous les livres, celui que je préfère est mon passeport, unique in octavo qui ouvre les frontières.

Translation: “Of all the books, the one I prefer is my passport, unique in octavo which opens the borders.” – Alain Borer

41. L’une des choses que j’apprécie le plus quand je voyage à l’étranger, c’est de penser que je vais retourner en France. 

Translation: “One of the things I appreciate the most when I travel abroad is to think that I will return to France.” – Pierre Daninos.

In other words, absence makes the heart grow fonder. A voyage away from France makes home seem so much warmer. You can read more quotes about France here.

42. Vis pour voyager et voyage pour vivre.

Translation: Live to travel and travel to live. – Anonymous.

This famous quote is a variation of that other famous motto “work to live, not live to work”.

43. La vérité existe au-delà des montagnes, pour la connaître, il faut voyager.

Translation: “The truth exists beyond the mountains, to know it, you have to travel.” – Elizabeth Finney

44. La vie est un long champ à cultiver. Voyager, c’est y semer la diversité de la Terre. Voyager, c’est l’embellir des couleurs du monde.

Translation: “Life is a long field to cultivate. To travel is to sow the diversity of the Earth. To travel is to embellish it with the colors of the world.” – Jules Lesven.

45. En somme, je m’aperçois que les voyages, ça sert surtout à embêter les autres une fois qu’on est revenu!

Translation: “In short, I realize that traveling is mainly used to annoy others once you have returned!” – Sacha Guitry.

A funny french travel quote about being forced to listen to others travels stories, with envy and boredom.

46. Voyager rend modeste. Vous voyez quelle petite place vous occupez dans le monde.

Translation: “Traveling makes you modest. You see what a small place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert.

We all feel a little smaller when gazing at the moon and the stars, as this well known quote suggests.

47. Voyager c’est découvrir que tout le monde se trompe sur les autres pays.

Translation: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley.

Another funny quote which speaks to how much the French are actually very fond of La Belle France, even though they may not always show it.

48. Qui a l’habitude de voyager… sait qu’il arrive toujours un moment où il faut partir. 

Translation: “Who is used to travelling… knows that there always comes a time when you have to leave.” – Paolo Coelho.

49. Voyager – cela vous laisse sans voix, puis vous transforme en conteur.

Translation: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

gorges du verdon, provence, france

50. Si vous pensez que l’aventure est dangereuse, essayez la routine. Elle est mortelle!

Translation: “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. She is lethal!” – Paulo Coelho.

51. Les voyages sont la partie frivole de la vie des gens sérieux, et la partie sérieuse des gens frivoles. 

Translation: “Travel is the frivolous part of serious people’s lives, and the serious part of frivolous people.” – Anne-Sophie Swetchine

52. Nous ne voyageons pas pour échapper à la vie, mais pour que la vie ne nous échappe pas.

Translation: “We do not travel to escape life, but so that life does not escape us.” – Anonymous.

53. Trouvons un bel endroit pour se perdre.

Translation: “Let’s find a nice place to get lost.” – Anonymous.

54. Où que tu ailles, vas-y de tout ton coeur.

Translation: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Anonymous.

I think this quote can probably apply to a lot of things, including travel.

55. Celui qui voyagerait avec bonheur devait voyager léger.

Translation: “Whoever travels happily should travel light.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of Le Petit Prince.

56. Chaque voyage est le rêve d’une nouvelle naissance. 

Translation: “Every journey is the dream of a new birth.” – Jean Royer

57. Tous ceux qui errent ne sont pas perdus.

Translation: “Not all who wander are lost.” – John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.

58. Je n’ai pas encore été partout, mais c’est sur ma liste!

Translation: “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list!” – Susan Sontag.

The famous words of every tried-and-true traveler who wants to see it all.

59. Quiconque ne visite pas Paris, ne deviendra jamais vraiment élégant.

Translation: “Anyone who does not visit Paris will never become truly elegant.” – Honoré de Balzac.

I think anyone who has been shopping in Paris and visited these famous fashion houses (or these less expensive ones) will agree!

Notre dame de la garde Marseille

60. Le voyage est la seule chose qu’on achète qui nous rend plus riche.

Translation: “Travel is the only thing we buy that makes us richer.” – Anonymous.

61. La vérité est au delà des montagnes, pour la trouver il faut voyager!

Translation: “The truth is beyond the mountains, to find it you have to travel!” – Anonymous.

62. On a tous quelqu’un que l’on aime et qui habite trop loin.

Translation: “We all have someone we love who lives too far away.”

63. Le vrai voyageur n’a pas de plan établi et n’a pas l’intention d’arriver.

Translation: “The true traveler has no set plan and no intention of arriving.” – Lao Tseu.

64. Au premier voyage on découvre, au second on s’enrichit. 

Translation: “On the first trip we discover, on the second we are enriched.” – Anonymous.

65. Ma chose préférée à faire est d’aller là où je n’ai jamais été. Le voyage apporte de l’amour et du pouvoir dans votre vie. 

Translation: “Ma chose préférée à faire est d’aller là où je n’ai jamais été. Le voyage apporte de l’amour et du pouvoir dans votre vie.” – Anonymous

66. Les emplois remplissent votre poche, les aventures remplissent votre âme.

The quote continues: “Une fois par an, allez dans un endroit où vous n’êtes jamais allé auparavant”.

Translation: “Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul. Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.” – Anonymous


If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more famous quotes to inspire. A bientôt!

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