Beautiful French Words

Fleur-de-lys Though I am a Italophile, who goes gaga over the language, my Francophile side still fights its way though from time to time.  And this is one of those times.

I do happen to think that Italian is the most beautiful language spoken in the world.  I have taken Italian lessons and I have written about my favorite Italian words.

But not to far behind Italian is my second favorite language. French.

Perhaps it is not my number one because I fail miserably at attempting to pronounce most words.  One would not think it would be that difficult to purse your lips, condense the sound of seven consonants and three vowels into one short sound that starts in the back of your throat, moves through your nostrils and exits your lips (which look like you just sucked on a very tart lemon) and resembles a noise the cat makes when he has a hairball. But for me, it is.

I think that is why when I hear French spoken well and properly, that it sounds so wonderful.

I have alot of respect for the French and their language.  It takes such hard work.  It takes concentration and use of muscles in their tongues, mouth and face that I rarely use.

Here are a list of some of my favorite French words.  When spoken by a Frenchman or Frenchwomen.

cherie {dear}

jolie {pretty}

incroyable {incredible}

soirée {gathering}

amour {love}

étoile {star}

papillon {butterfly}

fille {girl}

coeur {heart}

magnifique {magnificent}

bisous {kiss}

accoutrement {outfit, get up}

bijoux {jewels}

bourgeoisie {middle-class}

coquette {flirty girl}

mélange {a mix of things}

Care to add some of your favorites?  Do so in the comments.

  • User Gravatar
    August 5th, 2009

    Parapluie (umbrella) and oui pronounced ‘way’

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    August 5th, 2009

    Bibliotheque (Library) is on the top ten of my favourite words!
    I didn’t get to say what my favourite Italian word is so I will add it here, hope you don’t mind!
    Dunque (therefore, well then!) My cousin used this word in every sentence.

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    My Melange
    August 5th, 2009

    Exellent! I lovethe word for umbrella!

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    My Melange
    August 5th, 2009

    Oh Lucy, how could Iforget bibliotheque ?! Thanks for adding it.And I have not heard of *dunque*- have to keep me ear outfor that one.

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    August 5th, 2009

    One of my English penfriends loved the word boulevard…
    You wrote that accoutrement means little gems, it means outfit actually (a bad outfit, really!). Little gems are pierres précieuses or joyaux.

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    August 5th, 2009

    Tell me about it Robin, so much concentration…I cannot get any sound resembling it….my friend is trying to teach me. I know a little bit of french which is something, but making it sound right is a hard job!!!
    Loving your beautiful list of words :-)

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    August 6th, 2009

    All French words make my heart go aflutter for I know that if I am hearing them in a conversation I am most likely in France! Thanks for the beautiful fleur de lis.

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    My Melange
    August 6th, 2009

    What a great way of looking at it! Never thought of that. I’m gonna go with your line of thinking :) Here to our next trip to France! Whenever it may be…. xo

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    My Melange
    August 6th, 2009

    Thanks for the clarification. Guess I’ll never go to that translation site again. it really did say little gems….
    And I am sure boulevard sounds much prettier in French than our English pronounciation ;)

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    My Melange
    August 6th, 2009

    Merci beaucoup, Madam Anne :) Bonne Chance with your studies!

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    August 8th, 2009

    “Formidable”! Carries more “je ne sais quoi” than “wow” don’t you think?! :-)

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    My Melange
    August 8th, 2009

    Yes!  That’s a great one!

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    August 8th, 2009

    I love the word Inoubliable, which means Unforgettable. Saying it is like mouth candy!

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    My Melange
    August 8th, 2009

    Ooooooo- that is a sweet mouthful Loulou!  I was hoping you would weigh in at some point ;)  And thanks-I learned a new French word today.

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    victorian inn bed and breakfast
    August 10th, 2009

    No doubt that, Italian language is very lovable language. I also like Italian language and people. First time learning every language is very difficult but if doing any work from heart I believe that, it is very easily completed.

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    August 10th, 2009

    Among my favorites are parapluie (already mentioned) and pamplemousse. What fun it is to say “pamplemousse”.
    I also love the adverb-endings ‘ment’, like probablement, particulièrement, and the best one, malheureusement! :-)
    I am also trying to learn a bit of Italian right now and have to say it is so much fun to speak italian, mais, malheuresement, je ne peux pas “to roll my r’s”. :-)

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    My Melange
    August 11th, 2009

    Oh how could I forget pamplemousse???? That is a fab word.  I too take some Italian classes.  I think i’ll end up knowing a little of them all, rather than be fluent in one :(

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    Jen Laceda
    August 12th, 2009

    This is why my blog is called Folie a Deux. I love French words! So, even when I’m not in France, at least, I encounter French words everyday here in Canada — in signs, in labels, on tv/radio, etc.

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    My Melange
    August 12th, 2009

    Yes, and I think I know a bit about French blog titles :) Ahem. Mélange. Vive la French Canadians!

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    October 31st, 2009

    Hi, just stumbled on your page randomly
    The french word for heart is Coeur (with the o and e attached together) not Couer :P

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    January 26th, 2010

    My all time favorite french words are pamplemousse…which means grapefruit, and aubergine…. which means eggplant. the french versions are a lot more fun than saying grapefruit and eggplant!

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    July 20th, 2010

    There’s A LOT of french words I love!! The first word that impressed me during my first period in Paris was “franchement”, used in every single conversation! And what about gingembre (ginger) and coquelicot (poppy)? I’ve recently discovered your website, it is very very interesting. Merci beaucoup!!

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    August 6th, 2010

    I’d have to admit my favorite saying is:
    “Sacre Bleu!”
    I probably say it on a day to day basis.
    That’s what happens when you suppress you french needs for expression with a lack of french friends.

    Another great is “Merde”, since even the most anglephone person knows what im trying to express with that ;)

    For those who don’t know, sacre bleu and merde are both in fact ‘naughty’ words… sacre bleu literally translated means: “sacred blue or curse the blue” but what it actually means is more or less.. “Curse the Heavens”
    Merde on the other hand is the french word for Sh*t… so be careful on when you say them ;)


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    August 15th, 2010

    Those are all beautiful sounding words, I like these ones;

    Couture – Fashion
    Chic – Stylish

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    August 18th, 2010

    i love the word ‘libellule’ which means dragonfly, ‘mignon’ which means cute and also ‘génial’ which is great.
    La libellule est génial et mignon!! :P x

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    August 23rd, 2010

    i think lucy meant “donc” not “dunque.”

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    August 26th, 2010

    pamplemouse……, me, too

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    September 5th, 2010

    Ma langue maternel est le Français et je suis sincèrement flattée de voir que certaines personnes s’intéressent encore à la langue française … Merci de cette attention toute particulière … Mais de quel pays êtes vous ?

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    September 6th, 2010

    Citrouille (pumpkin) has always been my favourite :) I also just love the way r’s are pronounced!

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    Jeff Titelius
    October 13th, 2010

    One of my favorites I haven’t seen listed here is joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas). I just think that’s so beautiful!

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    Linda Dini Jenkins
    October 13th, 2010

    I personally love “pamplemousse”!

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    October 14th, 2010

    I just learned this one yesterday while discussing the text of a French article that I wrote with a collegue in tourism!
    It sounded just so lovely: PEAUFINER
    She used the word to express to somebody the way that we were finalising our written text.
    I looked up to give you the exact meaning (in french of course …):
    - Sens : Finir quelque chose avec soin, jusque dans les moindres détails [Familier].
    - Synonyme: fignoler, polir, soigner

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    October 14th, 2010

    I agree, “malheureusement” is one of my favorites! And what about “d’accord”? I love the way it sounds so off-hand, and you can just roll… that ‘r’ a bit and either stretch it out or clip it! So, so many wonderful words…

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    October 15th, 2010

    Do you know that the French consider Italian the most beautiful language, and linguistically Italian does have the highest content of vowels versus consonants?

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    November 23rd, 2010

    Pamplemouss was already on my list, but I completely forgot about accoutrement! Here are my others…


    Thanks for popping by to share yours Athena :)

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    January 3rd, 2011

    These are my favourite words and sayings in French ever:

    Chèvrefeuille – honeysuckle;
    (en) catimini – (on the) sly / quiet;
    vachement – really, very, etc.
    flou/e – blurred, hazy, vague;
    un flemmard – lazybones;
    une manigance – a little scheme, plan;
    saperlipopette! – goodness gracious me!
    le rififi – fisticuffs, fights;
    mon petit doigt m’a dit – a little birdie told me;
    avoir la fringale – to be absolutely starving;
    un ange passa – there was a lull in the conversation
    arobase – @ (‘at’ symbol)
    mystère et boule de gomme! – nobody knows!
    vagabonder – to wander around

    Cool site by the way! I need to go back to France!

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    January 5th, 2011

    I quite like époustouflant (staggering) mainly because it looks funny, but truly beautiful words: l’insouciance (recklessness) and inoubliable (unforgetable). Five syllable words really excite me! (I know how odd that sounds)

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    February 22nd, 2011

    My favourite, which I don’t think has been mentioned yet, is “coquelicot” meaning poppy. :)

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    March 11th, 2011

    I like almost all the words here. One thing I’d like to add is that a lot of people tend to choose words more by the meaning, than the balance or mere phonaesthetics of the word itself.

    I decided I am going to speak french after I heard Julie Delpy say “il m’est arrive quelquechose incroyable” on the phone when sitting with Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise.

    I also wish someone comes up with a website that would discuss the most beautiful word in the world.

    Incroyable is a fave of mine too!

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    March 12th, 2011

    vivre – to live

    It sounds so inspriring when my french teacher says it.

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    May 23rd, 2011

    the second comment with ‘danque’ or ‘donque’ is spelt donc ;) xx

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    May 25th, 2011

    Victoire :)

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    June 3rd, 2011

    Lovely post! These all sound so nice.

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    June 6th, 2011

    One of my favorite verbs is ‘éffleurer’ which is to lightly touch, or even graze. I think that captures the sensitivity and romance of french. For fun though, ‘écoper’ is fun, it can be translated (intransitively) as- to get the short end of the stick

  • User Gravatar
    June 9th, 2011

    Love this it gave me the inspiration to find the name of my restaraunt.
    Thank you so much!

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    July 11th, 2011

    Hello My Mélange! I found your blog on google and it’s really cool! I’m a french and I’m currently studying in England, and I feel the same for british english language. I like the way the English pronounce their own words but also when they try to speak french (please don’t lose your accent!). Here are my favourite english words:

    -lullaby (so beautiful!)
    - widsom, boredom (because they sound as if they were from Lord of the Rings lol)
    - wire
    - rendez-vous and cul-de-sac but pronounced with an english accent, which sound much more romantic!
    - and others…

    I like when you say that you have a lot of respect for the French and our language (because you find it beautiful and hard to learn), but it’s not hard for us to speak french because it’s our language! ^^

    Thank you!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Romain :)

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    July 15th, 2011

    What do you think of ‘invraisemblable?’ I think that I spelled it (unbelieveable) correctly. If not 5, pretty close. I had a French professor once who really like ‘robinet.’

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    August 9th, 2011

    J’aime tout les mots francaises! J’aime le langue, le pays, et les hommes (et les femmes aussi!). Imagine a man who is able to pronounce incroyable, with a low, dark voice while he is looking at you with his brown eyes.
    Je propose “châtaigne” ou “d’asperges” ou “concombre” peutêtre?

  • User Gravatar
    September 10th, 2011

    Hi guys! I saw this website and i just HAD to submit a word of my own.So my word is Délicieux. That means delightful. It sounds really pretty in peoples mouths who have that french accient. I could sit outside all day in italy and listen to peoples voices, it sounds like they are singing! Well, heres my italian word…Godere. This means enjoy. Well i hope you love my words thanks!!!! =-]


    Thanks for sharing Nänä! :)

  • User Gravatar
    September 23rd, 2011

    @lucy Did you mean “donc” (instead of “dunque”)?

  • User Gravatar
    December 11th, 2011

    Here are some that make my heart flutter (when pronounced correctly)

    pâtisserie (PAH-Tee-s-ree)
    saucisson (sah-see-sohn)
    le Champs-Élysées (too hard to write phonetically haha)
    je sais dis

    A lovely list, Charisse.

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    Maxime Legez
    December 18th, 2011


    i love your words! My last name is french (Legez) (pronounced as Lay Shay) and it means: light (as i’m weight, like skinny) but then in a more beautiful way haha. I’m from the Netherlands, and i have lived in Paris. I love the language. i’m proud of my last name, even though i’m not french. :) haha and i love how you guys spell how you have to pronounce the words! If you want to learn Dutch, you’re more than welcome :)

  • User Gravatar
    December 19th, 2011

    I love the phrase “L’amour est perdu”. It means love is lost.
    As well as “Pleurer des amoureux”. Which means cry of love, or crying lovers.
    It’s beautiful.
    Melancholy, yet alluring.

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