Beautiful French quotes for tattoos, Instagram…or just to inspire you! Many people have enjoyed my post about Badass Latin Phrases for Tattoos and now that I’ve started to study French, I thought I’d share some French quotes and proverbs about love, life, and more. They include common phrases, old French military phrases, and quotes in the public domain.
Of course, these don’t have to be for tattoos. You can share them as classy French Instagram captions, on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you like. I don’t know if they’re common French sayings or if they’re more obscure, but either way, they’re inspirational.
Because I’m just doing research on the Internet, and I’m a complete beginner with French, please…
Double- and triple-check the spelling and the meaning before you use any of these beautiful French quotes in a permanent fashion.
(Don’t ask me to pronounce them correctly, either…I’m still working on my French ‘r’ and several vowel sounds.)
Beautiful French Quotes
joie de vivre
This is my “word of the year,” even though it’s a phrase rather than a word. It’s a great motto to live by.
La famille avant tout.
This is one of the simplest French quotes about family: “Family comes first.”
Il ne faut pas attendre d’être parfait pour commencer quelque chose de bien.
A quote from the religious leader L’Abbé Pierre. “Don’t wait to be perfect to start something good.” Wise advice.
One of the best French quotes about love: “Love wins.” Always!
amour sans fin
Savoir, penser, rêver. Tout est là.
“To know, to think, to dream. That is all.” By the wonderful writer Victor Hugo.
Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.
“Nothing is real but dreams and love.” This terribly romantic quote is from the French writer Anna de Noailles.
“A faithful heart.”
J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi.
“I accept the great adventure of being me.” The great Simone du Beauvoir.
Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.
I was looking for a phrase about persistence and perseverance, and I found this one: “Little by little, the bird makes its nest.” I don’t know why, but I think it’s so cute…and it really does speak to the nature of success.
n’oublie pas de vivre
This pithy French quote means, “Don’t forget to live.”
la vie en rose
“Life in pink.” This means seeing life through rose-colored glasses. Some people might see that as a negative, but I don’t.
l’amour et l’amitié
“Love and friendship.”
L’amour est la poésie des sens.
“Love is the poetry of the senses,” a quote from the writer Honoré de Balzac.
qui cherche trouve
This is a Christian one: “Seek and ye shall find.” Matthew 7:7.
Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas.
“The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.” This is a quote from the mathematician and philospher Blaise Pascal. It’s no excuse for unethical behavior, of course, but an acknowledgment that sometimes, you have to follow your heart.
Voyager, c’est vivre.
“To travel is to live.”
Sois belle á ta façon.
“Be beautiful in your own way.”
je passe quand même
“I pass, anyway.” This is a good saying for someone who feels unstoppable.
Qui n’avance pas, recule.
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.” It’s so true…we always have to keep on learning and growing.
ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut
“What woman wants, God wants.”
C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.
This is a quote from Albert Camus: “That’s love, to give away all, to sacrifice all, without the desire to get anything in return.” It’s a very romantic and noble sentiment.
Créer, c’est vivre deux fois.
“To create is to live twice.” Also Albert Camus. To me, this is one of the most beautiful French quotes.
“Always standing,” or still standing. This is a good message for someone who’s a survivor.
vouloir, c’est pouvoir
“To want is to be able.” This reminds me of the quote attributed to Hannibal: “I will either find a way or make one.”
Do you have other French expressions or quotes that you like? Let us know in the comments!
And if you’re in the mood for more beautiful thoughts and inspiration, you may like with my new gratitude and manifestation journal, The Book of Dreams Come True. It’s full of writing exercises designed to make you feel better about life and about yourself, to start dreaming again…and to make those dreams into realities. Check it out here!
Thanks for reading, and bonne journée!
15 thoughts on “Beautiful French Quotes and Phrases”
Oh I loved so many of these! Thanks for sharing. My favorite two were: “Don’t wait to be perfect to start something good.” I love this because as a child my father used to tell me to be perfect. However, when I went to visit with my mom she used to tell me that Jesus was the only perfect person and therefore you can’t be perfect, but that I can be me.
la vie en rose- I love this and of course think of Edith Piaf singing it. The first time I hear this song was watching the Meg Ryan movie, French Kiss.
My favorite saying was something I saw way too many years ago in the adaptation of John Grisham’s book, The Client. Carved into the wall of the jail it said: the truth will set you free, John 8:32
Hmm, you were getting pretty different messages there, Savannah! I just came back from watching Mary Poppins Returns again, so I’m pretty enamored with “Practically perfect in every way” — which I think doesn’t mean literal perfection, but is a statement of healthy self-love, you know? 🙂 I always think of Edith Piaf with “La Vie En Rose,” too!
As a Francophile, fan of yours, and spreader of the written word, I loved these quotes, especially Camus’s and will share your column at Alarie Tennille – Poet on Facebook.
Ohh, thanks for sharing, Alarie! We are going to Paris for the first time in April. I know you’ve been there many times! I’m so excited about it!
I love “Cherchez la femme”. It can have negative meanings but I also think it can mean look for the woman within. Know yourself, love yourself, be true to the woman inside you.
But, with my maiden name being Bird, I adored “Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.” “Little by little, the bird makes its nest.” That has so many meanings for me.
Thank you for this great post!
Artemis, I love your spin on “cherchez la femme.” I’m going to be thinking about that! Thank you!
Lovely post. I like the quote je ne sais quoi — intangible quality that makes something distinctive. “The Mona Lisa’s smile has a certain je ne sais quoi.”
Oh, good one, Rita. I’ve always loved that one!
This from the Bloody Jack series; ‘La Belle Jeune Fille sans Merci,’ the Beautiful Young Girl Without Mercy
Oh yes! That’s a great phrase. I know the Keats poem of that title, too (or similar: La Belle Dame Sans Merci.)
I love these quotes…PRICELESS! Something about the French language that spurs romance in the heart. My thoughts flood my mind of my stay in Paris. Aww..Memories.
Hello, as a french reader of this website, I cannot go without adding my own sentences ! Of course I know a lot of them, but I have always appreciated Edmond Rostand, ill-known author of “Cyrano de Bergerac”, who said : “c’est bien plus beau lorsque c’est inutile”. He applies this to his art, which should only search beauty, and not being useful or successful. Théophile Gautier says Something similar : “l’art pour l’art”. I think both would be great for writers or artists.
Please forgive my poor English and keep on with your fantastic ideas !
Oh, excellent—someone who (unlike me) knows what they are talking about! Thank you, I love these! I’m sure everyone else will enjoy them, too!
Guyss!! Im looking forward to start a new business venture for women. But i need a french name for that. It should be feminine. Please help me outtt!! ❤️✨