Quotes about France

It’s nearly Christmas so time for something light-hearted – a selection of famous French quotes – and some less famous quotes. Enjoy, and let me know any well known or amusing ones that have been missed…

“France has more need of me than I have need of France”


“There is far less envy in America than in France, and far less wit”


“France is the only place where you can make love in the afternoon without people hammering on your door”

Barbara Cartland

“What I gained by being in France was learning to be better satisfied with my own country”

Samuel Johnson

“I am just like 99% of my friends in France, who say on their resume they can speak fluent English. In reality, they can’t even count up to three”

Greg Ackelrod

I have tried to lift France out of the mud. But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I cannot prevent the French from being French

Charles de Gaulle

“I like Ireland because it means I’m near France”

Harry Harrison

“I think you get better at staring into space. Especially living in the South of France”

Adrian Lyne

“If the French were really intelligent, they’d speak English”

Wilfrid Sheed

“If it were not for the government, we should have nothing to laugh at in France”

Nicolas de Chamfort

“The French are a logical people, which is one reason the English dislike them so intensely. The other is that they own France, a country which we have always judged to be much too good for them”

Robert Morley

“It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important”

Gertrude Stein

“Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die there”

Joan of Arc

“France is the most civilized country in the world and doesn’t care who knows it”

John Gunther

“The best thing I know between France and England is the sea”

Douglas William Jerrold

“In France one must adapt oneself to the fragrance of a urinal”

Gertrude Stein

…it would be good to hear any other French quotes, just post them below if you know any!

Advertisement (place your ad here)


  1. French Jim December 17, 2010 at 6:27 am |

    A well known Mark Twain quote: “France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country”

  2. Johnny Norfolk December 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm |

    “We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be, detested in France.” —Duke of Wellington

  3. Dominique December 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm |

    “France is an extremely fertile country: If you plant civil servants, what grows is taxes” Georges Clémenceau

  4. fly in the web December 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm |

    Uncle Matthew in ‘Love in a Cold Climate’…the wogs begin at Calais.

  5. Johnny Norfolk December 18, 2010 at 12:17 am |

    “I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.” —General George S. Patton

    Slightly off topic but another interesting quote i came across made by Cicero in 55 BC

    “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.”

    We never learn.

  6. Boris December 18, 2010 at 6:54 am |

    Some great quotes, thanks!
    (Johnny, I let your off-topic quote through as it’s such a great quote!)

  7. Miss Footloose December 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm |

    Fantastic! I collect country quotes and you made my day! Here’s one about France I did not see on your list:

    How can you expect to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese? Charles de Gaulle (again)

  8. Boris December 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm |

    Ah yes, thanks! I don’t know how I forgot that one…

  9. Johnny Norfolk December 21, 2010 at 12:27 am |

    “What I gained by being in France was learning to be better satisfied with my own country.” —Samuel Johnson

    That worked for me as well.

  10. Jontenoy December 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |

    The South of France is a sunny place for shady people.

    France would be a great place if there were no French in it

  11. Dominique December 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm |

    well I have to admit it was nice to have fun at France, but I am now waiting for a new paper on quotes… about UK!

  12. Boris December 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm |

    Dominique, you’re right of course but that wouldn’t have much to do with France – the general theme of this site and blog!

  13. Dominique December 28, 2010 at 1:53 am |

    OK, but as you have been so hard hitting with us, I will try an act of revenge in French with some of my favourites quotes about England!

    Les Anglais sont un peuple d’une ténacité presque surhumaine. Ils ne s’avouent jamais vaincus. Et ils finissent toujours par ne pas l’être.
    Robert de Roquebrune

    Un homme qui parle trois langues est trilingue. Un homme qui parle deux langues est bilingue. Un homme qui ne parle qu’une langue est anglais.
    Claude Gagnière

    Je sais maintenant pourquoi les Anglais préfèrent le thé : je viens de goûter leur café.
    Pierre-Jean Vaillard

    L’eau est l’élément fondamental de la cuisine anglaise.
    Daniel Darc

    Dans la bonne société anglaise, le talent plus le utile est de savoir bâiller la bouche fermée.
    Oscar Wilde

    Les Anglais sont simples, un rien les amuse, ils préfèrent même que ce soit un rien.
    Abel Hermant

    Si les Anglais hésitent à aller voir une comédie le samedi soir, c’est qu’ils ont peur d’en rire à l’office du dimanche.
    Peter Ustinov

    Les anglais sont le meilleur public du monde : ils applaudissent toujours, même quand vous jouez bien.
    Arthur Rubinstein

  14. Boris December 28, 2010 at 6:40 am |

    Great quotes Dominique! Especially Claude Gagnière: Even my daughter took to drinking tea in England after she’d had one cup of coffee..

  15. Raphael Mour November 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    “English? It is only French badly pronounced”
    Georges Clemenceau

    Which is a bit true in a way, as more than half of English words derive from French.