30 Easy French Sayings To Sound Like A Frenchman

When it comes to learning a language, it is not enough that you know how to pronounce and mimic how the citizens from that country sounds. To speak fluently like a Paris-born man or woman, you must set aside time to expand your vocabulary from the basic set of words to the most common idioms and French sayings. To help you get started, we have listed here 30 different expressions and idioms that you can use in your day-to-day discourse with the locals.

France has always been one of the top tourist destinations for people across the world. With its terrific architectural sights, colorful history in terms of fashion, traditions, customs, and even literature, it surely has influenced the world! In fact, in 2020 alone, it was nominated as the 12th best country in the whole world according to the yearly rankings of USNews.

One of the labels whenever you hear the word “France” is that it remains to be one of the most romantic places on Earth. In terms of structures, it has a wide range of castles and historical sites which are all directly related to the stories about olden kingdoms and empires. But that is not all!

Another major idea of why the country is filled with romantic air is its angelic language. Ever heard of someone say Je t’ aime or have someone thank you with merci? Chances are, you find yourself getting all worked up with excitement…and perhaps, this is the reason why you landed on this page!

french sayings

You probably want to learn French to speak confidently and establish a connection with your special someone.  To learn the basics, take note of the 30 French sayings that we have listed below.



30 Most Native French Sayings

Learning a new language does not have to be hard at all. By simply memorizing a few expressions and French idioms like the ones we have below, you can be sure that you will sound like a total native in no time. As a guide, note that we have created below three columns to guide you on the literal translations as well as the English counterpart so that you can get a better grasp.

FrenchEnglish EquivalentLiteral Translation
Battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaudStrike while the iron is hotTake advantage of an opportunity while you have a chance
Il me court sur le haricotHe is getting on my nervesHe is annoying me
À cœur vaillant rien d’impossible / Vouloir, c’est pouvoirNothing is impossible for a valiant heartWhere there is a will, there is always a way
À quelque chose malheur est bon / Après la pluie le beau tempsEvery cloud has a silver liningA French proverb refers that there is something positive to be found in every bad event or situation
Autres temps, autres mœursTimes have changedThe world’s customs, values, and ideals are changing. It can also directly be used to represent the difference between the past and present.
Bien mal acquis ne profite jamaisIll-gotten, ill-spentWealth obtained illegally will be spent unwisely
Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture doréeA good name is more desirable than great richesA good reputation is held in higher esteem than any other riches in the world
Pédaler dans la semouleGo around in circlesTo seem busy without actually achieving anything
L’habit ne fait pas le moineThe clothes do not make the man / Do not judge a book by its cover/ Habit does not make the monkA common French saying which means that appearances can be very deceiving
Ce n’est pas la mer à boireIt is not like you will drink the seaDo not make a big deal out of it
La nuit porte conseilSleep on itDo not rush and spend time thinking about it carefully before announcing your decision
Comme on fait son lit, on se coucheReap what you sowYou have made your bed, now you can lie and enjoy it.
Il ne faut rien laisser au hasardDo not leave anything to chanceStrategize and prepare carefully instead of relying on pure luck
Avoir le cul bordé de nouillesTo be filled with so much luckIt is a French expression that means to have ass surrounded by noodles.
Il faut manger pour vivre et non vivre pour mangerEat to live not live to eatA cultural saying which reminds us not to do mindless eating
À bon chat, bon ratMeeting your match / Tit for TatIn the French language, this directly translates to “a good cat, a good rat.”
Mieux vaut être seul que mal accompagnéBetter alone than in a bad companyA powerful proverb that reminds us to never waste time and associate with the wrong type of people.
Chacun voit midi à sa porteEveryone sees things based on their interest / Seeing things how you want to see it / To each his ownThis common French expression directly means that “everyone sees noon at their door.”
Les murs ont des oreillesThe walls have earsIn the French language, this means that you must be careful as there is a chance you can be overheard by anyone.
Bien faire et laisser direDo well and act based on what you believe in / Do youLet your actions make the noise and do whatever you feel is right and just.
Il faut qu’une porte soit ouverte ou fermée / On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurreYou can never have it both ways / You must choose / you can’t have your cake and eat it tooThis saying means that a door must either be open or closed or that you cannot have the butter and the money from the butter.
Toute peine mérite salaireEvery pain deserves recognitionAll work must be given the right amount of recognition and compensation no matter how big or small it is.
La jeunesse est le temps d’étudier la sagesse, la vieillesse est le temps de la pratiquerLearn when you are young, practice it when you are oldYouth is the time to gain wisdom and experiences, while old age is the time for practicing and applying what you have learned.
Que vivra verraTime will tell / Let us see how this will play outThis popular saying reminds us that we shall wait and see for the results of something.
Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amandeNo pain, no gainThis means that you need to break the shell to have the almond.
Il faut réfléchir avant d’agirLook before you leapThis proverb reminds us to consider all the possible consequences of a single action.
Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boireThere is no going backThis directly translates to the phrase “wine drawn must be drunk”

Ready to speak with French speakers? As I end this article, I hope that I was able to shed light and give you the quickest and most modern ways on how to express native-sounding French. If you liked this post, please feel free to share it on social media and read other similar posts like how to construct questions in French, the best ways to say the word I don’t know, and the basic greetings. For more language lessons and tips, I recommend that you sign-up with Ling App, a versatile learning app that will help you reach your language goals anytime and anywhere.

Want To Learn More About The French Language?

Learning French does not need to be hard. Make the most out of your spare time by reviewing the basic vocabs, French expressions, grammatical structures, and even speaking patterns with the help of a dedicated educational platform like the Ling App, one of the biggest language learning apps today. For additional reinforcement in the French language, download the application today and take advantage of the fun mini-games, Chatbots, and engaging quizzes that will surely encourage you to practice every single day.

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