113 unique, cool & beautiful French words to add a little magic in life

Elinor Zucchet

French is often considered one of the most beautiful languages in the world. And some words and sayings are more striking than others.

Would you like to learn some pretty French words and beautiful French sayings to impress your French teacher, or your French speaking friends?

We have compiled some of the most beautiful French words and meanings, whether you’re already amoureux de la langue française, or not convinced — yet — it’s a lovely language.

Bonne lecture !

Beautiful French vocab

Let’s start with some of the most beloved French words. Don’t they sound pretty? And if you’re looking for powerful, beautiful French words to compliment your francophone love interest, check out this article!

Beautiful French words

Poetic, elegant or plain cute, make sure to add these words to your vocab list!

Friends going for a drive to see the beautiful French sunset.

French IPAEnglish
FlânerflɑneStroll
FeuilleterfœjəteBrowse
BadinerbadinePlay games, joke around
ÉphémèreepemɛɾəEphemeral
Gargantuesquegaɾgɑ̃tœskəGargantuan
Rocambolesqueɾɔkɑ̃bɔlɛskəRocambolesque
ÉpistolaireepistɔlɛɾəEpistolary
Sempiternelsɑ̃pitɛɾnɛlSempiternal
OniriqueɔniɾikəDreamlike
DépaysementdepɛjsəməChange of scenery
Mélancoliemelɑ̃kɔljəMelancholy
ExutoireɛgzytwaɾəOuting, escape
Époustouflantepustuflɑ̃Breathtaking
PanachepanaʃəPanache
IvresseivɾɛsəIntoxication
Merveilleux/Merveilleusemɛɾvɛj(ø)ks/mɛɾvɛjøzəWonderful
Angeɑ̃ʒəAngel
FoliefɔljəMadness
Incroyableɛ̃kɾwajabləIncredible
EffleurerɛflœɾeSkim
ChuchoterʃyʃɔteWhisper
CitronnadesitɾɔnadəLemonade
DouceurdusœɾSweetness
Envieɑ̃vjəEnvy
ParapluiepaɾaplɥjəUmbrella
Plaisirpl(e)ziɾPleasure
RêveɾɛvəDream
Appétissant/Appétissanteapetisɑ̃t/apetisɑ̃təAppetizing
Délicieux/Délicieusedelisjœks/delisjøzəDelicious
Effervescenceɛfɛɾvɛssɑ̃səEffervescence
EspoirɛspwaɾHope
UtopieytɔpjəUtopia
MiettemjɛtəCrumb
Exquis/exquiseɛkskis/ɛkskizəExquisite
Résilienceɾeziljɑ̃səResilience
FrimoussefɾimusəLittle face, cute face
Chatoyant/Chatoyanteʃatwajɑ̃t/ʃatwajɑ̃təShimmering
Étincelleetɛ̃sɛləSparkle

Beautiful French phrases, sayings and quotes

Some of these beautiful French quotes might already sound familiar. Keep reading to learn new ones!

And if you love French expressions, check out these funny sayings explained.

It is life, or C’est la vie in French, one of the most beautiful French words or phrases.

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Un je-ne-sais-quoiœ̃ ʒə-nə-se-kwaA I-don’t-know-whatA je-ne-sais-quoi
Un air de rienœ̃n‿ ɛɾ də ɾjɛ̃An air of nothingA detached look
Qui vivra verraki vivɾa vɛraWho will live to seeWait and see
L'habit ne fait pas le moinelabi nə fe pa lə mwanəClothes don't make the monkYou can’t judge a book by its cover
Chacun voit midi à sa porteʃakœ̃ vwa midi a sa pɔɾtəEach one sees noon to his own doorOne tends to prioritize one's well-being before considering the others
Mieux vaut prévenir que guérirmjø vo pɾevəniɾ kə geɾiɾBetter to prevent than to cureAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nidpətit‿ a pəti, lwazo fe sõ niLittle by little, the bird makes its nestSlowly but surely
La vie est bellela vjɛ bɛləLife is beautifulLife is beautiful
C’est la viekɛ la vjəIt is lifeC’est la vie
Fais de beaux rêvesfe də bo ɾɛvəHave sweet dreamsSweet dreams
En faire tout un fromageɑ̃ fɛɾə tut‿ œ̃ fɾɔmaʒəMake a whole cheese of somethingMake a big deal of something
Être né(e) sous une bonne étoileɛtɾə ne(ɛ) suz‿ ynə bɔn etwaləBeing born under a good starBeing born under a lucky star
Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîchevivɾə damuɾe do fɾɛʃəLiving on love and fresh waterLive a carefree existence, with no worries or responsibilities

Other cool French words related to nature

French is a very lyrical language, which is perfect to write poetry — or to describe the amazing nature that surrounds us. Nature lovers will also appreciate our articles on animals in French, birds in French and flowers in French.

Friends enjoying a morning walk at twilight.

French IPAEnglish meaning
CanopéekanɔpeəCanopy
ClapotisklapɔtiSmall splash
PapillonpapijõButterfly
CoccinellekɔkinɛləLadybug
AbeilleabɛjəBee
AlbatrosalbatɾoAlbatross
HirondelleiɾõdɛləSwallow
MyrtillemiɾtijəBlueberry
PluieplɥjəRain
ÉtoileetwaləStar
Voie lactéevwaə lakteəMilky Way
CoquillagekɔkijaʒəShell
Pamplemoussepɑ̃pləmusəGrapefruit
TournesoltuɾnəsɔlSunflower
Hippocampeipɔkɑ̃pəSeahorse
Bernard l'hermitebɛɾnaɾ lɛɾmitəHermit crab
Brindillebɾɛ̃dijəTwig
RoséeɾozeəDew
PâquerettepɑkəɾɛtəDaisy
PlageplaʒəBeach
SoleilsɔlɛjSun
BoisbwɑWoods
LoupluWolf
OrignalɔɾiɲalMoose
MédusemedyzəJellyfish
CîmekiməRidge
NeigenɛʒəSnow
BrumebɾyməMist
PaysagepɛjsaʒəLandscape
Champêtreʃɑ̃pɛtɾəCountry
Océanɔseɑ̃Ocean
TourterelletuɾtəɾɛləTurtle Dove
Banquisebɑ̃kizəSea ice
AuroreɔɾɔɾəDawn
Aurore boréaleɔɾɔɾə bɔɾealəNorthern lights
LagonlagõLagoon
CrépusculekɾepyskyləTwilight
FirmamentfiɾmaməFirmament

How to sound cool in French

Cut words in half

The French language is long-winded, and, admittedly, a little pompous at times. So what can you do to sound cool when you speak French? Well, you can start by learning these 275 slang words and phrases.

Then, you can apply the guillotine technique, which became infamous during the Révolution. Just kidding, today, we’re only going to cut… words! Watch this video to find out how you can cut French words in half and sound like a local. Trop cool !

Adopt the “Je m’en fiche” attitude

If you want to sound and look cool in France, adopt a “blasée”, “nonchalante” attitude. In other words, just act like you don’t care.

In fact, French people have dozens of expressions to say they don’t care! You can learn the most common ones in this video.

Je m'en moque / je m'en fous / Je m'en ...

And even more unique French words… related to love

French is the language of love, right? Or at least, one of them. Therefore, we had to include a special section on l’amour ! You might also want to learn these weird and wonderful ways to say I love you in French.

Couple holding hands while walking along the beach.

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning (if different)
AmouramuɾLove
ChériʃeɾiDarling
BisoubizuKiss
CœurkœɾHeart
PassionpasjõPassion
Romantiqueɾɔmɑ̃tikəRomantic
Câlinkɑlɛ̃Cuddle
MoitiémwatjeHalfOther half
Concubin/Concubinekõkybin/kõkybinəPartner
Amoureux/amoureuseamuɾ(ø)ks/amuɾøzəLover
Épris/Épriseepɾis/epɾizəIn love
Coup de foudreku də fudɾəLightning strikeLove at first sight
AmouretteamuɾɛtəFling

French can be weird…

We are aware that some of these unique and cool French words and phrases might be a bit challenging to learn. You might also think they don’t make sense. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one struggling! In this hilarious video, Loïc Suberville explains some of the craziest, weirdest, and maybe most frustrating aspects of French. And since we love weird, here is a list of bizarre French words.

Boy flying a kite.

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning (if different)
CaoutchouckautʃukRubber
YaourterjauɾteYogurt (verb)Pretend that you know the lyrics of a song when singing
Frappadinguefɾapadɛ̃gəNutcaseCompletely crazy
HurluberluyɾlybɛɾlyOddball
Tohu-bohutoy-boyHurly-burlyHustle and bustle
Chauve-sourisʃovə-suɾiBold mouseBat
Cerf-volantsɛɾf-vɔlɑ̃Flying deerKite
SaperlipopettesapɛɾlipɔpɛtəDamm
Fute-futefytə-fytəSmart
RaplaplaɾaplaplaFlat, with no energy
VachementvaʃəməVery

If you’ve read the entire article, we hope that you’ve enriched your vocab with some unique, weird and beautiful French words. Words are very powerful in any language. If you’re a word lover like us, don’t miss this ode to words — “Les mots”, by the French singer and songwriter Renaud. C’est si beau !

Keep up your beautiful and FREE French language learning journey via our French blog here.

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