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75+ French Inspirational Quotes To Live By

Are you looking for the best French inspirational quotes? Here’s a compilation of the best quotes ever spoken by the great French thinkers.

France has been the “center of high culture” since the 17th century. It’s no surprise that this beautiful and extremely popular country in Western Europe has come to be associated with food, fashion, and art. 

Home to some of the most eloquent writers and speakers in the world, it’s no wonder people from across the globe are fascinated with everything French. The Francophiles are mesmerized by the culture, most particularly the language. If French isn’t the best language in the world, it is without a doubt among the most romantic and which is why it produced some of the most compelling love sayings we know today.

As we know so well, France has produced a number of authors considered among the greatest in history: Victor Hugo, Molière, and George Sand to name a few. These geniuses have penned great works, leaving their legacies for the next generations to enjoy.

From these works, we have siphoned motivational and life quotes to live by, whenever we need a dose of inspiration or when life becomes a little too unbearable.

Things you'll find in this article

75+ French Inspirational Quotes To Live By

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Whether you’re a fellow Francophile, looking for French Instagram captions, or just someone who needs a little motivation, life quotes will sure lift your spirits. And there’s no better way to do it than the French way! The following French inspirational quotes from the greatest of French thinkers will surely boost inspiration.

French Inspirational Quotes

1.“L’élégance est quand l’intérieur est aussi beau que l’extérieur.” – Coco Chanel

English translation: “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.”

2.“Tout ce que vous êtes ou deviendrez est le résultat de l’utilisation de votre esprit.” – Napoleon Hill

English translation: “Everything that you are or will become is the result of how you condition your mind.”

3. “Dans la vie, rien n’est à craindre, tout est à comprendre.” – Marie Curie

English translation: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

4. “Si vous êtes triste, ajoutez plus de rouge à lèvres et attaquez.” – Coco Chanel

English translation: “If you are sad, add more lipstick and attack.”

5. “Imaginer c’est choisir.” – Jean Giono

English translation: “To imagine is to choose.”

6. “Je veux, je peux.” – Maryse Bastié

English translation: “I want, therefore, I can.”

7. “À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible.” -Jacques Cœur

English translation: “For a valiant heart nothing is impossible.”

8. “Là où il y a une volonté, il y a un chemin.” – French Proverb

English translation: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

9. “Je pense, donc je suis.” – Rene Descartes

English translation: “I think, therefore, I am.”

10. “On n’est point toujours une bête pour l’avoir été quelquefois.” – Denis Diderot

English translation: “Being a fool sometimes does not make one a fool all the time.”

11. “Dans une grande âme tout est grand.” – Blaise Pascal

English translation: “In a great mind everything is great.”

12. “J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi.” – Simone du Beauvoir

English translation: “I accept the great adventure of being me.”

13. “L’important ce n’est pas ce que tu as dans la poche, mais ce que tu as dans le coeur.” – Cardinal Bernardin

English translation: “The important thing is not what you have in your pocket, but what you have in your heart.”

14. “L’important, ce n’est pas le lieu où on se trouve, c’est l’état d’esprit dans lequel on est.” – Anna Gavalda

English translation: “The important thing is not where you are but the state of mind you have.”

15. “Tout ce que l’esprit conçoit et croit, il peut l’obtenir.” – Napoleon Hill

English translation: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

16. “Le bonheur n’est pas quelque chose de prêt à l’emploi. Il vient de vos propres actions.” – Unknown

English translation: “Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.”

17. “Il ne faut rien laisser au hasard.” – French Proverb

English translation: “Nothing should be left to chance.”

18. “Il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir.” – French Proverb

English translation: “It is better to prevent than to heal.”

19. “Un homme seul est toujours en mauvaise compagnie.” -Paul Valéry

English translation: “A lone man is always in poor company.” 

20. “La vérité vaut bien qu’on passe quelques années sans la trouver.” – Jules Renard

English translation: “Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it.”

21. “La nuit porte conseil.” – French Proverbs

English translation: “The night brings advice.”

 22. “Après la pluie, le beau temps.” – French Proverbs

English translation: “After the rain, good weather.”

23. “Sois belle á ta façon.” – French Poetry

English translation: “Be beautiful in your own way.”

24. “Être adulte, c’est être seul.” – Jean Rostand

English translation: “To be an adult is to be alone.”

 25. “Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint.” – La Fontaine

English translation: “He who fears suffering is already suffering that which he fears.”

French Motivational Quotes


26. “Prouver que j’ai raison serait accorder que je puis avoir tort.” – Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

English translation: “Proving that I am right would be admitting that I could be wrong.”

27. “Le monde de la réalité a ses limites; le monde de l’imagination est sans frontières.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

English translation: “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

28. “Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint.” – La Fontaine

English translation: “Doing is better than saying.”

29. “L’avenir est entre les mains de ceux qui explorent.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau

English translation: “The future is in the hands of those who explore.”

30. “Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint.” – La Fontaine

English translation: “He who fears suffering is already suffering that which he fears.”

31. “On a toujours le choix. On est même la somme de ses choix.” – Joseph O’Connor 

English translation: “We always have the choice. We are even the product of our choices.”

 32. “Chacun voit midi à sa porte.” – French proverb

English translation: “Everyone sees noon at his own door.”

33. “On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne.” – French proverb

English translation: “One does not change a winning team.”

34. “La parfait valeur est de faire sand témoin ce qu’on serait capable de faire devant tout le monde.” – La Rochefoucauld

English translation: “True valor is to do in secrecy what you could just have easily done before others.”

35. “N’oublie pas de vivre.” – Unknown

English translation: “Don’t forget to live.”

36. “Créer, c’est vivre deux fois.” – Albert Camus

English translation: “To create is to live twice.”

37. “Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.” –  Hannibal

English translation: “To want is to be able.” This basically means to either find a way or make one.

38. “Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir.” – Henri Matisse

English translation: “There are flowers everywhere for whoever wants to see them.”

39. “Tu ne traverseras jamais l’océan si tu as peur de perdre de vue le rivage.” – Christophe Colomb

English translation: “You’ll never cross the ocean if you’re afraid of losing sight of the shore.”

40. “Qui court deux lievres a la fois, n’en prend aucun.” – French Proverb

English translation: “He who runs after two hares catches neither.”

41. “Quand on n’a pas ce que l’on aime, Il faut aimer ce que l’on a.” – Bussy-Rabutin 

English translation: “When we have not what we love, we must love what we have.”

42. “Nous sommes nos choix.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

English translation: “We are our choices.”

43. “Le bonheur est parfois caché dans l’inconnu.” –  Victor Hugo

English translation: “Happiness is sometimes hidden in the unknown.”

44. “Impossible n’est pas français.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

English translation: “Impossible isn’t French.”

45. “Mieux vaut tard que jamais.” – French Saying

English translation: “Late is worth more than never.”

46. “Le monde est un livre dont chaque pas nous ouvre une page.” – Alphonse de Lamartine

English translation: “The world is a book – with each step we open a page.”

 47. “Tout est bien qui finit bien.” – French Proverb

English translation: “All’s well that ends well.”

48. “Ce n’est pas la mer à boire.” – French Saying

English translation: “It’s not as if you have to drink the sea.”

49. “Tout ce qui vaut la peine d’être fait vaut la peine d’être bien fait.” – Philip Chesterfield

English translation: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

50. “Il n’y a pas de verités moyennes.” – Georges Bernanos

English translation: “There are no half-truths.”

French Quotes About Success


51. “A vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire.” – Pierre Corneille

English translation: “To win without risk is a triumph without glory.”

52. “Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.” – French proverb

English translation: “Little by little, the bird makes its nest.

53. “La Raison c’est la folie du plus fort. La raison du moins fort c’est de la folie.​” – Eugène Ionesco

English translation: “Reason is the madness of the strongest. The reason for those less strong is madness.”

54. “Voir le possible là où les autres voient l’impossible telle est la clé du succès.” – Charles-Albert Poissant

English translation: “Seeing the possible where others see the impossible is the key to success.”

55. “Pour ce qui est de l’avenir, il ne s’agit pas de le prévoir, mais de le rendre possible.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

English translation: “As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to make it possible.”

56. “Ce n’est pas parce que les choses sont difficiles que nous n’osons pas, c’est parce que nous n’osons pas qu’elles sont difficiles.” – Sénèque.

English translation: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

57. “Ce n’est pas la force, mais la persévérance, qui fait les grandes oeuvres.” – Samuel Johnson

English translation: “It is not strength, but perseverance, which does great works.”

58. “Se libérer de la peur, c’est le premier pas, la clef du changement.” – Antonella Verdiani

English translation: “To free oneself from fear is the first step, the key to success.”

59. “Gardez toujours à l’esprit que votre propre décision de réussir est plus importante que n’importe quoi d’autre.” – Abraham Lincoln

English translation: “Always keep in mind that your decision to succeed is more important than anything else.”

60. “C’est toujours le bon moment.” – Unknown

English translation: “It’s always the right time.”

61. “Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.” – French proverb

English translation: “Chase the natural, it comes back at a gallop.”

62. “Il ne faut pas attendre d’être parfait pour commencer quelque chose de bien.” – L’Abbé Pierre

English translation: “Don’t wait to be perfect to start something great.”

63. “Savoir, penser, rêver. Tout est là.” – Victor Hugo

English translation: “To know, to think, to dream. That is all.”

64. “Qui n’avance pas, recule.” – Unknown

English translation: “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

65. “L’important, ce n’est pas ce qu’on réussit, c’est ce qu’on essaie.” – Marcel Achard

English translation: “The important thing is neither you succeed or not, it’s that you’ve tried.”

66. “Il n’y a pas de raccourci pour aller là où ça vaut la peine d’aller.” – Unknown 

English translation: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

67. “Le plus grand danger pour la plupart d’entre nous n’est pas que notre but soit trop élevé et que nous le manquions, mais qu’il soit trop bas et que nous l’atteignons.” – De Michel-Ange

English translation: “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our goal is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

68. “Le meilleur moment pour planter un arbre était il y a 20 ans, le deuxième meilleur moment c’est maintenant.” – Chinese Proverb

English translation: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.”

69. “Peu importe la lenteur à laquelle vous allez tant que vous n’arrêtez pas.” – Unknown

English translation: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

 70. 100 % des choses qu’on ne tente pas échouent – Wayne Gretzky. 

English translation: “You will fail at 100% of the things you don’t try.”

 71. “Les chefs-d’oeuvre ne sont jamais que des tentatives heureuses.” – George Sand

English translation: “Masterpieces are never anything else but happy attempts.”

72. “C’est pas demain la veille!” – French Saying

English translation: “It’s not the day before tomorrow!”

73.“On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.” – French Saying

English translation: “We can’t have the butter and the money from it.” This basically means that we can’t have it both ways.

74. “Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés.” – French Proverb

English translation: “Shoemakers always have the worst shoes.”

75. “Un mauvais ouvrier a toujours de mauvais outils.” – French Proverb

English translation: “The bad workman blames his tools.”

If you enjoy these inspirational quotes, check out our list of travel quotes, quotes about France and love quotes too!

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