French culture is rich with expressions that reflect its history, values, and way of life. French sayings often carry deep meanings and offer insights into the French perspective on various aspects of life. Mastering these common yet useful sayings is a great way to learn French by yourself. You can use them in your conversations to sound like native speakers.

Learn useful French sayings

In this blog post, we will explore some of the most captivating and meaningful French sayings, digging into their origins and uncovering the wisdom they hold.

10 French sayings you must learn

Many people dream about mastering the French language. The journey of learning starts with basic French words and moves towards fluency. Knowing the cultural context of different French words and phrases is necessary to get along well with native speakers.

“C’est la vie” – Such is life

It is one of the most famous French sayings. “C’est la vie” summarizes the French attitude towards life’s ups and downs. It reflects a sense of acceptance and resilience in the face of difficulty, accepting that life is full of unexpected twists and turns.

“Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid” – Little by little, the bird builds its nest

It highlights the power of determination and incremental progress. It teaches us that consistent effort and willpower can accomplish even the most frightening tasks, mirroring the French appreciation for patience and persistence.

“Qui vivra verra” – He who lives will see

This saying reflects a sense of curiosity and openness to the future. It implies that life is full of surprises and that it is only by living and experiencing that we can truly understand what lies ahead. It embodies the French spirit of embracing life’s worries with hopefulness and adventure.

“Mieux vaut tard que jamais” – Better late than never

This French saying highlights the importance of taking action, even if it’s later than expected. It conveys the idea that it is never too late to chase your goals or make compensations. It emphasizes the value of seizing opportunities when they arise.

“C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron” – It’s by forging that one becomes a blacksmith

A famous French saying underlines the importance of practice and hard work in mastering a skill or craft. It suggests that expertise is not inborn but is developed through effort and persistence. It perfectly reflects the French value of craftsmanship and dedication.

“Les voyages forment la jeunesse” – Travel broadens the mind

It highlights the transformative power of travel in expanding one’s horizons and understanding of the world. It reflects the French appreciation for exploration and cultural exchange. This French saying advocates for the value of experiencing different cultures and perspectives.

Learn contextual use of French sayings

“Loin des yeux, loin du cœur” – Out of sight, out of mind

It is one of the most widely used French sayings. It reflects the idea that absence can reduce feelings of love or attachment. It acknowledges the human inclination to prioritize immediate experiences over distant ones, reminding us of the importance of nurturing relationships through regular contact and communication.

“Chacun voit midi à sa porte” – Everyone sees noon at his door

This French saying reminds us that everyone perceives things from their perspective or point of view. It emphasizes the subjectivity of experience and perception. It is also about encouraging empathy and understanding towards others’ viewpoints.

“L’appétit vient en mangeant” – Appetite comes with eating

This saying, attributed to François Rabelais, suggests that the more you experience something, the more you will come to enjoy it or desire it. It speaks to the idea that familiarity breeds comfort and liking, encouraging us to embrace new experiences with an open mind.

“Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point” – There’s no use in running; you have to start on time

This saying, attributed to Jean de La Fontaine’s story “The Tortoise and the Hare,” emphasizes the importance of planning and pacing oneself. It suggests that rushing recklessly into a task without proper preparation is futile and that success often comes to those who approach things methodically and patiently.

You must learn these ten amazing French sayings along with their contextual usage. We always recommend that our readers start small. If you want to become a fluent French speaker, start by learning basic words and phrases such as hello, good day, thank you and you are welcome in French. Building a consistent learning schedule is also necessary.

Get a private French tutor

To do so, you can hire a private French tutor through italki. The tutor will keep you on the right learning track and provide professional help in achieving your desired goals and objectives.

Learn the French language with italki

Learn French online with italki and have an unforgettable learning experience with our top tutors and engaging online French classes. The majority of the italki tutors are native speakers. You can meet with your preferred tutor to discuss your objectives and goals. It only takes a few clicks on italki to find an online French tutor who provides the best French class online. You can find a list of tutors on the website and select the one that best meets your requirements.

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italki’s online French speaking lessons are enjoyable because they include additional learning material, practical exercises, and real-world scenarios to help you improve your French speaking and writing skills. All you have to do is stay consistent and adhere to the instructions provided during the lessons.

Apart from this, you can create a learning schedule that does not conflict with your daily activities. Consult with your tutor, make a learning schedule, and stick to it to achieve your objectives.

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The enrollment process at italki

The enrollment process is simple. Visit the website, create a profile, and complete the required information. Please enter your preferred style, schedule, and so on. The option to ‘find the instructor’ will appear in the upper right corner.

Choose a tutor. You can also set up a free trial lesson to evaluate your learning experience. The trial session is available at a discounted rate. Develop a learning schedule and objectives if the teaching method meets your requirements.

You will learn French quickly if you pay attention to constructive feedback from your tutor and track your progress regularly.

Frequently asked questions

Can French sayings be translated directly into English?

While some French sayings can be translated directly into English, others may lose their meaning in translation. It’s often necessary to provide a cultural context or explanation to fully convey the intended message of a French saying in English.

How can I use French sayings in everyday conversation?

You can use French sayings to add fun and sophistication to your speech and express certain sentiments or beliefs concisely and poetically. They can be handy in formal or literary contexts.

Are there regional variations in French sayings?

There are regional variations in French sayings, with different regions of France and French-speaking countries having their unique sayings and expressions. These variations often reflect local customs, traditions, and dialects.


French sayings offer a window into the soul of French culture, revealing its values, beliefs, and attitudes toward life. They are words and reflections of centuries of wisdom and experience passed down through generations. As we dig into these sayings, we gain a deeper understanding of French culture and timeless insights into the human condition.

You can also book your lessons with italki and kick-start the journey of accomplishing French fluency from the comfort of your home. 

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