How to say you're beautiful in French plus 76 more compliments

Elinor Zucchet

If French seems like a difficult language, you’re in for a treat. Beautiful in French is pretty straightforward, and you can use the same word for both people and objects.

There’s a small caveat though: the feminine and masculine forms are different, and of course, so are plural forms. But if you’ve started to learn French, you already know that.

If the person or object is masculine, use beau or bel depending on what comes after it. If the person or object is feminine, use belle. For plural, respectively, “beaux and belles. Easy, right? If not, here is a little video help.

Positive words, like compliments, are a wonderful way to engage in a conversation and make friends. French people might not be the most generous with compliments, but they will certainly appreciate one and reward you with a big merci. Just make sure to use an adequate expression, and of course, choose wisely between “tu” and “vous”.

In the list below, we’ve mostly used “tu”, as most compliments are said to a friend or somebody you know well. We’ve only used “vous” for compliments in a professional environment.

C’est parti !

How to say beautiful in French

Oh là là, French is such a romantic language! But “beautiful” can be used in a wide variety of situations. From describing a landscape to complementing your friends or colleagues, we have you covered. C’est pas beau ça ?

How to say you are beautiful in French

You fell in love with a handsome Montréalais, or a good looking Marseillaise? Or maybe you just want to compliment a friend before going out? Here is a small guide to know exactly what to say… and to whom!

Man gives woman a bunch of flowers to tell her she is beautiful in French.

English French IPA Context
You look beautiful! Tu es magnifique ! tyɛ maɲifikə !
Simply stunning outfit! Cette tenue est superbe ! sɛtə tənɥɛ sypɛɾbə !
You are beautiful, inside and out Tu es beau/belle, à l'intérieur comme à l'extérieur tyɛ bo/bɛlə, a lɛ̃teɾjœɾ kɔm a lɛksteɾjœɾ
You’re so handsome Tu es très beau/belle tyɛ tɾe bo/bɛlə
You are so pretty Tu es très joli(e) tyɛ tɾe ʒɔli(ɛ)
You’re really good looking! Tu es vraiment beau/belle ! tyɛ vɾɛmə bo/bɛlə !
You look gorgeous! Tu es superbe ! tyɛ sypɛɾbə !
You’re attractive Tu es séduisant(e) tyɛ sedɥizɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re hot Tu es canon tyɛ kanõ For a close friend or a love interest
You look nice Tu as fière allure ty a fjɛɾ alyɾə
You’re cute Tu es mignon(ne) tyɛ miɲo(nɛ)
You’re lovely Tu es charmant(e) tyɛ ʃaɾmɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re sexy Tu es sexy tyɛ səgzi For a love interest only
You’re delightful Tu es ravissant(e) tyɛ ɾavisɑ̃t(ɛ)

How to say a thing is beautiful in French

Imagine this: You’re visiting the Louvre, and all of the sudden, you find the most amazing painting. How do you share your amazement with everybody else? Well, here’s how!

Nature is beautiful in French.

English French IPA
What a beautiful lamp Quelle belle lampe kɛlə bɛlə lɑ̃pə
I love your home office J'adore ton bureau à domicile ʒadɔɾə tõ byɾo a dɔmisilə
Exquisite choice of decor Un choix de décor exquis œ̃ ʃwaks də dekɔɾ ɛkski
It’s a nice table C'est une belle table sɛt ynə bɛlə tablə
What a pretty painting Quelle belle peinture kɛlə bɛlə pɛ̃tyɾə
This landscape is breathtaking Ce paysage est époustouflant sə pɛjsaʒɛt epustuflɑ̃
This waterfall is wonderful Cette cascade est merveilleuse sɛtə kaskadɛ mɛɾvɛjøzə
This coffee shop is delightful Ce café est charmant sə kafeɛ ʃaɾmɑ̃

How to compliment someone on their work in French

Compliments in a workplace can go a long way. Here are a few expressions to help you maintain a positive vibe au travail!

Woman receives compliment in French on her work.

English French IPA Context
You did a really great job today Vous avez fait un excellent travail aujourd'hui vuz ave fɛt œ̃n ɛkssɛlə tɾavaj oʒuɾdɥi
You excelled at that presentation! Vous avez excellé dans cette présentation ! vuz avez ɛkssɛle dɑ̃ sɛtə pɾezɑ̃tasjõ ! Formal
I was very impressed by your report J'ai été très impressionné(e) par votre rapport ʒe ete tɾɛz ɛ̃pɾɛsjɔne(ɛ) paɾ vɔtɾə ɾapɔɾ
You are really talented Vous avez beaucoup de talent vuz ave boku də talə
Congratulations on a job well done! Félicitations pour votre travail ! felisitatjõ puɾ vɔtɾə tɾavaj !
Nice work Beau travail bo tɾavaj
Good job Bon travail bõ tɾavaj
Thumbs up Chapeau ʃapo
I congratulate you Je vous félicite ʒə vu felisitə
Congratulations Félicitations felisitatjõ
My compliments Mes compliments me kõplimɑ̃
Bravo Bravo bɾavo
You earned it Vous l'avez mérité vu lave meɾite
It’s well deserved C'est bien mérité sɛ bjɛ̃ meɾite
Your hard work paid off Votre travail acharné a porté ses fruits vɔtɾə tɾavaj aʃaɾne a pɔɾtese fɾɥi Formal

How to compliment someone on their appearance, clothing or things in French

In France, looks are important — sometimes too important. Many French will carefully select their outfit just to go get a baguette. So, complimenting somebody on their style is sure to faire plaisir, especially in the French capital of fashion!

Daughter compliments her mother in French.

English French IPA
Love your shoes! J'adore tes chaussures ! ʒadɔɾəte ʃosyɾə !
You have a gorgeous home Tu as une maison magnifique ty az ynəm(e)zõ maɲifikə
That’s an incredible dress you’re wearing Quelle robe géniale ! kɛlə ɾɔbə ʒenjalə !
Great outfit Superbe tenue sypɛɾbə tənɥə
Nice dress Belle robe bɛlə ɾɔbə
I like your style J'aime ton style ʒɛmə tõ stilə
I like your look J'aime ton look ʒɛmə tõ loo
You’re very classy Tu as beaucoup de classe ty a boku də klasə
You look very elegant Tu es très élégant(e) tyɛ tɾɛz elegɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re trendy Tu es branché(e) tyɛ bɾɑ̃ʃe(ɛ)
You’ve great taste Tu as beaucoup de goût ty a boku də gu
Where did you get this purse? Où as-tu trouvé ce sac à main ? u a-ty tɾuve sə sak a mɛ̃ ?
That’s very flattering C'est très flatteur sɛ tɾe flatœɾ
It fits you well Il/elle te va bien il/ɛlə tə va bjɛ̃

How to compliment someone on their personality or lifestyle in French

Even to French people, looks are not the only thing that matters. If you are looking for compliments in French that are a little less… shallow, we have compiled a list of positive qualities you can highlight.

Friends compliment the food van chef in French.

English French IPA
You are so brave! Tu es très courageux/courageuse ! tyɛ tɾe kuɾaʒ(ø)ks/kuɾaʒøzə !
You are charming Tu es charmant(e) tyɛ ʃaɾmɑ̃t(ɛ)
You are very sweet Tu es adorable tyɛz adɔɾablə
You are generous Tu es généreux/généreuse tyɛ ʒeneɾœks/ʒeneɾøzə
You are very kind Tu es très gentil(le) tyɛ tɾe ʒɑ̃til(lɛ)
You are very thoughtful Tu es très attentionné(e) tyɛ tɾɛz atɑ̃tjɔne(ɛ)
You’re smart Tu es intelligent(e) tyɛz ɛ̃tɛliʒɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re funny Tu es drôle tyɛ dɾolə
You’re inspiring Tu es inspirant(e) tyɛz ɛ̃spiɾɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re hard working Tu travailles dur ty tɾavajə dyɾ
You’re so patient Tu es très patient(e) tyɛ tɾe patjɑ̃t(ɛ)
You’re wonderful Tu es merveilleux/merveilleuse tyɛ mɛɾvɛj(ø)ks/mɛɾvɛjøzə
You’re amazing Tu es incroyable tyɛz ɛ̃kɾwajablə
You’re awesome Tu es génial(e) tyɛ ʒənjal(ɛ)
You’re genius Tu es un génie tyɛz œ̃ ʒenjə
You’re very creative Tu es très créatif/créative tyɛ tɾe kɾeatif/kɾeativə
You’re reliable Tu es fiable tyɛ fjablə
You’re trustworthy Tu es digne de confiance tyɛ diɲə də kõfjɑ̃sə
You’re a free spirit Tu es un esprit libre tyɛz œ̃n ɛspɾi libɾə
You’re independent Tu es indépendant(e) tyɛz ɛ̃depɑ̃dɑ̃t(ɛ)
You rock Tu déchires ty deʃiɾə
You’re the best Tu es le/la meilleur(e) tyɛ lɛ/la mɛjœɾ(ɛ)
You’re a good person Tu as bon cœur ty a bõ kœɾ
You have a good character Tu as bon caractère ty a bõ kaɾaktɛɾə
You’re nice to be around Tu es agréable à côtoyer tyɛz agɾeabl a kotwaje

How to respond to compliments in French

Last but not least, here are a couple of ways to answer a compliment in French. You can also check out this article on ways to say thank you. Trop gentil !

English French IPA
That’s very kind of you C'est très gentil de ta part sɛ tɾe ʒɑ̃til də ta paɾ
Thank you so much Merci beaucoup mɛɾsi boku
That means a lot Cela signifie beaucoup pour moi səla siɲifjə boku
That’s very kind C'est très gentil sɛ tɾe ʒɑ̃til
I appreciate J'apprécie ʒapɾesjə
I can return the compliment Je te retourne le compliment ʒə pø tə ɾətuɾne lə kõplimə

Compliments in France: a mitigate culture

Who doesn’t love compliments? Well, while French people certainly appreciate them, they don’t give them as easily as some other cultures. For example, in the US or Canada, it’s very common to be encouraged by your boss or your teacher, but not in France. Basically, if you don’t hear any complaints, it means that people are happy with you.

Friends or relatives might compliment each other, but many people will not give “fake” compliments. For example, if they think your outfit is questionable, they might say “C’est original mais je ne le porterais pas” (It’s original but I wouldn’t wear it) but they won’t say “C’est joli”.

In general, they also tend to be a little less enthusiastic about things. You will not see a French person (except me, maybe), screaming and jumping in awe in front of a breathtaking landscape… or a super cute dress.

Finally, it’s rare to receive a compliment from a total stranger… unless they are trying to sell you something or have another agenda! A sociologist explains why French culture is so compliment-greedy in this short video.

Even though French people can be sparing with their compliments, if they tell you one, it’s likely they really mean it. So don’t be shy and return the compliment when you can. Just make sure to refer to this list to have the perfect compliment at hand, et le tour est joué !

And if you love learning fun French vocabulary for free? You know where to go (our French learning blog).

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