French is considered by many to be the language of love.
Truthfully it does have many romantic expressions some of which you may even be unaware you are familiar with.
“Mon amour”, for example, means “my love” and you have probably heard the saucy phrase “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir” courtesy of singer Patti Labelle in her song “Lady Marmalade”.
Or perhaps you are more familiar with Stevie Wonders’ “My Cherie Amour”?
The language itself is romantic to listen to without understanding a word because the pronunciation runs from one word to the next.
In this article, we are going to take you through words and phrases that relate to friendship, courting, and love. So get ready to learn how to express yourself romantically in French.
Romantic Expressions in French – An Overview
|Mon ami/e My Friend||My friend|
|Mon amour||My love|
|Mon chérie/Ma chérie||My dear/darling|
|Mon cœur||My heart|
|MonMon bébé||My baby|
|Mdoux/ma douce”||My sweet|
|Mon rève||My dream|
|Mon rayon de soleil||My ray of sunshine|
|Ma passion||My passion|
|Ma raison de vivre/ d’être||My reason for living|
|Mon petit chou||Sweetie|
|Ma fraise||My strawberry|
|Mon bijou||My jewel|
|Ma reine||“My queen|
|Mon prince||My prince|
|Mon Homme||My man|
|Mon ours||My bear|
|Mon loup||My wolf|
|Mon Roméo||My Romeo|
Expressing Your Love in French
Contrary to Hollywood depictions, most of us don’t have that love-at-first-sight moment, we fall in love slowly.
We get to know someone, so we are going to start with how to say “Friends” in French before we dive into some terms of endearment that hold deeper significance.
Most relationships begin with friendship in some form or other. Friendships can blossom into something else, sometimes the boundaries of friendship are crossed and we marry our “best friend”.
It sounds cliché, but how many times have you heard someone describe their spouse that way?
The way to say “a friend” in French is gender specific, for male friends we say “un ami” and for females “une amie”.
Most of us have more than one friend so you might want the plurals before we move on. (for female friends).
For a female group of friends, you would use “les amies” and for a group of male friends or referring to a mixed gender group “les amis”.
Friends have feelings for one another whether platonic or otherwise. Interestingly, the word that the French use for “boyfriend/girlfriend” also simply translates as “friend” but holds a deeper meaning.
“Boyfriend” in french is “copain” and “girlfriend” is “copine”. You can use the words for a regular friend but it does insinuate there might be something more felt between you both!
When you call someone your boyfriend or girlfriend you will want to put the word “my” (mon/ma) before “copain/copine”.
However, to say “my friend” in French, we stick with “mon” because “ma amie” doesn’t flow correctly with the two “a” sounds next to one another.
What if there is far more between the two of you?
Then you might want to know how to say “My Love” in French!
The word for love in French is “amour” which like “ami” begins with “a”. This means again regardless of whether you’re speaking to a man or a woman, we use “mon”; the masculine form of “my” in French.
Whilst we are on the subject, the word for “Lover” is “amoureux/amoureuse”.
You may even hear people profess their feelings with the phrase “L’amour de ma vie” which means “Love of my life”.
Mon chéri/ma chérie
“Mon amour” is considered pretty intimate, in English, we can call family members “love”.
In France, it is usually reserved for a significant other. The word they use instead is mon chéri for men and ma chérie for women, which you will undoubtedly hear a lot!
It means “my dear” or “my darling”, and is used more generally with close loved ones other than your romantic partner.
We often call someone “sweetheart” in our native language, in French How to say “Heart” in French they simply say “heart”, or “my heart” to be exact.
“Mon cœur” is a very common way to refer to someone you love and care about but not romantically. Usually, this will be for younger family members, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts will often call children by this fond nickname.
The word “cœur” is also easy to remember via a variety of cognates. Our words for cardio, core, accord, and courage share a common Latin ancestor.
More French Terms of Endearment
The French have a lot of different pet names you can use for children and partners. Here are but a few of the best;
- “Mon bébé” (“My baby”)
- “Mdoux/ma douce” (“My sweet”)
- “Mon rève” (“My dream)
- “Mon rayon de soleil” (“My ray of sunshine”)
- “Ma passion” (“My passion”)
- “Ma raison de vivre/ d’être” (“My reason for living”)
- “Ange” (“Angel”)
- “Mon petit chou” (“Sweetie”)
- “Ma fraise” (“My strawberry”)
- “Mon bijou” (“My jewel”)
- “Ma reine” (“My queen”)
- “Mon prince” (“My prince”)
- “Mon Homme” (“My Man”)
- “Mon ours” (“My bear”)
- “Mon loup” (“My wolf”)
- “Mon Roméo” (“My Romeo”)
Les Sentiments; Talking about “Feelings” in French
When we declare we have feelings for someone in English it insinuates we like them more than a friend that we are attracted to them and interested in pursuing things further.
In French, you have to be much more specific. You can’t say “I have feelings for you,” it doesn’t infer anything and is an unfinished sentence.
“A feeling” in French is “un sentiment” and the plural “feelings” is “Les sentiments” but if you are bearing your soul you need to define your sentiments.
You might say “Tu me plais” which literally translates as “You please me” but is used to say “I like you”.
Another way to say “I like you” is with the phrase “Je t’aime bien” but be careful to ensure you say “bien” because “je t’aime” on its own is far more serious and means “I love you” in French.
Perhaps you do want to say“I love you”?
In this case in addition to “Je t’aime” you might want to know the response “I love you, too” which is “Je t’aime aussi”.
Another way to let someone know you love them is to tell them how much their company means in their absence with the phrase “I miss you”. The way to say that in French is “Tu me manques”.
If you are in love and looking for ways to express it in French, then you might find our Saying I love you in French article worth a read.
Giving Compliments in French
There is nothing like a good compliment to flirt with somebody and hint that you are interested.
Paying compliments requires vocabulary.
So let’s take a look at how to say “Beautiful” in French and how to say “Pretty” “cute” and “amazing” in French.
In French, you can call both men and women “beautiful”, the masculine form is beau which can be thought of as “handsome” in English and the feminine is belle.
Neither word is much use on its own. So let’s take a look at a handful of ways to put the romantic french word into a sentence;
- “Tu es beau” (“You are beautiful” (to a man))
- “Tu es belle” (“You are beautiful”(to a woman))
- “La vie est belle” (“Life is beautiful”)
The word for beauty is “la beauté”, you might be pleased to know that the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a universal one!
Here it is in French;
- La beauté est dans l’œil de celui qui regarde.
If you prefer the adjective pretty then look no further than Joli/Jolie. Again pretty isn’t reserved for the fairer sex in France. A Man can be just as pretty- and why not?
You can think of it as “good-looking” or “attractive”.
So maybe you are wondering how to say “Cute” in French?
The French word for cute is in itself pretty cute!
They don’t use it much for attraction in the way we do, it is utilized for things that are adorable. Mignon is the masculine way to say cute in French and “Mignonne” is the feminine form.
You might recognize it if you have ever ordered a great steak and that’s a great way to remember it! The word means anything from lovely to dainty!
If you forget the word and are in Quebec then you can use “cute” as they have adopted the English loanword into their French.
Saying “Amazing” in French
When someone truly special comes along, we want to tell them, a go-to compliment in English would be to let them know they are amazing
However, the word doesn’t translate very well.
Fortunately, there is a plethora of synonyms that suffice to put in place of it. So let’s take a look at some positive adjectives you could use as ways to describe someone as “amazing” in French.
- “Super” (“Super”)
- “Génial” (“great”)
- Fantastique (“fantastic”)
- “Magnifique” (“magnificent”)
- “Merveilleux” (“marvelous”)
- “Incroyable” (“incredible”)
- “Suprenant” (“surprising”)
- “Étonnant” (“astounding”)
- “Exceptionnel” (“exceptional”)
- “Extraordinaire” (“extraordinary”)
To use them in a sentence you would say “Tu es (insert adjective)” for example” Tu es super”.
Expressing Attraction in French
Compliments are all fine and dandy and love is about more than just the physical but what if you want to communicate your physical attraction? Here’s how to say “sexy” and “hot” in French.
Saying “Sexy” in French
This one is nice and easy, because the French use the English word Sexy as a loanword, but it certainly seems sexier with the accent!
Saying “Hot” in French
To tell someone they are “hot” is slang, so it should come as no surprise that the literal translation into other languages isn’t going to work!
In fact, you have to avoid thinking and translating the phrase in French like the plague because if you say “Il/Elle est chaud” you are actually saying “he/she is sexually aroused”.
So be careful!
Describing someone as “hot” in French would be “sexy” but in English, you might feel a little coy to use such a strong adjective, hot is considered more casual these days.
The Other French word you could employ instead is “canon“. It can be used to describe men or women as attractive.
If speaking about a man you would say “il est canon”, or if it is a woman in question “elle est canon” to say “he/she is hot!”.
As it sounds, the word “canon” is the same noun we use to describe an accepted degree of measurement a standard of sorts.
And trust us, colloquially it is a huge compliment in French.
The roots can be traced back to the phrase “un canon de la beauté” which means “a canon of beauty” where the “canon” spoken of was in reference to an ‘ideal’ or ‘gold standard.’
It is used informally, often with the word “mec” or “nana”;
- “Un mec canon” (“a gorgeous guy”)
- “Une nana canon” (“a gorgeous girl”)
The word “canon” is also used with the verb “to be” “être”;
- “Le mec est canon” (“he’s a hot guy”)
- “Je trouve qu’il est canon” “(I think he’s hot”)
But remember it is very casual and has sexually charged undertones, stick to “Joli/e” or “Beau/belle” to describe people and things unless you are sexually attracted!
But if you find yourself with some real eye candy and want to take things further then you might want the following phrases to us- if you are brazen enough;
- “T’es un vrai canon” (“You are really hot”)
- “Il est trop canon, ce mec” (“That guy is so hot”)
Romantic French Words – Final Thoughts
Whether love is in the air or not you will have no doubt seen the romantic side of French that the world so often speaks about presented to you today.
Now you know how to say “my friend, my love, my heart” and a whole lot more.
You can tell someone they are amazing, pretty, beautiful, or downright sexy!
So no matter how steamy you are hoping things might get, you have some of the ‘hottest French vocabulary’ in your hands and are ready to use the language of love at your will!
If things get really serious, head on over and read our article about Ways to Say “I love You” in French.