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19 inspirational French sayings and quotes that will boost your motivation

Updated: Mar 29

Learning a language goes beyond learning grammar rules and vocabulary. When speaking, native speakers often use imagery structures like idioms, quotes, and proverbs. As a French learner, it is worth learning these sayings so that you might not remain speechless because you simply don’t understand.

Some people may say that using proverbs is a little bit old school but don’t get misled. They are phrases or sentences with great meaning, sometimes full of wisdom and they can easily be slipped into conversations.

Using them at the right place and moment shows a certain language mastery.

Today, you’ll discover 19 popular and inspirational French sayings and quotes, that are conveying positive messages. I hope they will be enough useful to boost your motivation to learn French and your daily life.

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1. Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

Better prevent than to cure/heal. => This saying refers to health and is used to say that one must be cautious and take the dispositions necessary to avoid facing later consequences of one’s acts.

2. Ce n’est pas la mer à boire

It’s not the sea to drink. => It simply means it’s not something difficult.

Example : Apprendre le français, ce n’est pas la mer à boire si tu t’exerces régulièrement. => Learning French is not so difficult if you practice regularly.

3. Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid

Little by little the bird makes his nest. => This idiom means that great achievements are made of small success. Progress doesn’t come overnight but step by step. Another synonym is “les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières” => Little streams make big rivers.

4. Qui ne risque rien n’a rien

Who doesn’t risk anything can’t get anything. =>That means that you can’t get anything if you don’t make a minimum of sacrifices. A synonym of this expression is “On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs » => One can’t make omelet without breaking eggs.

5. Après la pluie, le beau temps

After rain, the nice weather. => That means that good times can come after hard times.

This is one of my favorite proverbs as it is very positive in itself. It’s a good way of encouraging a person that even if he is facing difficult times, the best moments are just ahead. Just remain optimistic.

6. Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut

What women want, God wants it. => A woman can obtain anything if she really wants it. The equivalent expression in English is “a woman’s will is God’s will”.

7. Vouloir c’est pouvoir

To want is to be able. => When you want something, you get the strength and power to do it. The equivalent expression in English is “when there is a will there is a way”.