beautiful french words

21 Beautiful French Words and Phrases That’ll Make You Fall in Love With the Language [With Audio]

Caution: these beautiful French words may cause shortness of breath or weakness at the knees.

Whether you want to impress your significant other, impress a French speaker or just add some beauty to your life, you’ll love this list of 21 beautiful French words!


1. Coquillage


The next time you visit the South of France, take a walk along one of the beautiful beaches and you may come across a coquillage (seashell).

Keep the memories of your holiday by collecting the seashells, and then bring them home as un petit souvenir  (a little souvenir).

Ils ont trouvé des coquillages sur la plage. (They found seashells on the beach.)

2. Bisous


A little tip for your next visit to France, the French greet each other with one bisou on each cheek in many regions. In some areas of France they offer the left cheek first and in others the right cheek, so be careful!

Je t’envoie de gros bisous. (I’m sending you big kisses.)

3. Hippocampe


Not only does the hippocampe (seahorse) travel the lengths of the sea, but the males carry the babies rather than the females!

Of course a creature like this needs a beautiful name to reflect their wonderful exterior and strength.

L’hippocampe a nagé dans la mer. (The seahorse swam in the sea.)

4. Chuchoter


Who wouldn’t love an intimate chuchoter (whisper) in French? Although it might be a little bit harder to understand, the excitement of it might send you all a quiver.

Peut-être (maybe) the context won’t even matter as long as it’s in French!

Il chuchote des mots doux. (He whispers sweet nothings.)

5. Parapluie


If you hear rain on the weather forecast, just make sure you have your parapluie (umbrella) in your bag.

The origin of this beautiful French word can be explained if you split parapluie in half to make para pluie. Para- is a prefix used to indicate protection and pluie  is the French word for “rain.” Protection from the rain! Voila, ça marche !  (There you go, it works!)

Il va pleuvoir cet aprés-midi, donc apporte ton parapluie. (It is going to rain this afternoon, so bring your umbrella.)

6. Envie


If you’re in France having a nice time with one of the locals, and you hear the word envie (desire), then you know they’re interested.

When expressing that you want to do something in French, the grammar construction is avoir  (to have) + envie   (desire) + de  (to) + verb in the infinitive form. This means that you only conjugate avoir, leaving the second verb in its infinitive form.

J’ai envie de te voir (I have desire to see you. / I want to see you.)

7. Pamplemousse


Pamplemousse (grapefruit) might not be the most used word in the French language, but it’s definitely a beautiful one.

The French have wonderful markets all around the country, so the next time you’re near the fruits, why not look for a pamplemousse

Monsieur, deux pamplemousses s’il vous plaît ! (Sir, two grapefruits please!)

Une salade de fruits avec du pamplemousse. (Fruit salad with grapefruit.)

8. Plein de vie


Many things can make you plein de vie (full of life), including the excitement and wonder of a new relationship. Maybe take your newfound energy for a trip to France.

There, you and your partner can stroll down the belles rues (beautiful streets) of France and celebrate the little things that make life wonderful.

Elle est pleine de vie quand elle est avec son enfant.  (She is full of life when she is with her child.)

9. Joli / Jolie


It seems fitting to include joli/jolie (pretty) in this list of pretty French words, as all of the words included in it are… très jolis  (very pretty)!

The next time you meet someone pretty in France, you should tell them so!

Cette fille est vraiment jolie ! Peut-être je devrais parler avec elle. (This girl is really pretty! Maybe I should talk to her.)

10. Étoile


Talking about beautiful French words, étoile (star) is most certainly one of them! On a clear night in the French countryside what would be an ideal date?

How about a romantic evening picnic followed by observation des étoiles avec votre chéri/chérie (star gazing with your darling)?

Il avait des étoiles dans les yeux. (He had stars in his eyes.)

11. Je t’aime


With all the beautiful French phrases out there, this is probably the one that carries the most weight.

Remember that words are ordered differently in French than in English. So instead of having “you” at the end of “I love you,” the t’ (you) is in the middle of the sentence: Je t’aime (Literally: I you love).

12. Coucou


Salut (hi), bonjour (hello), bonsoir (good evening)there are many options for greetings in French! Most are dependent on the time of day and some are more formal than others.

However, if you’re speaking to a friend or loved one, the very informal coucou (hello) can be used no matter the time of day.

The phrase is typically used as an initial greeting, upon arrival home for example.

Coucou mon chéri (Hello my love.)

13. Mon chouchou


Chouchou (sweetheart) or (beloved) is a term of endearment that just sounds and feels so nice to say. If you’re in a relationship with a French-speaker, you’ll likely use this word a lot. Additionally, if one day you have French-speaking children, it’s another popular term used by parents for their little ones.

For even more affection, use mon petit chouchou (my little sweetheart).

Mon chouchou tu es si belle ! (Sweetheart, you are so beautiful!)

Watch the official video for la chanson  (song), Mon Chouchou here.

14. Doudou


Doudou (teddy) may just be the most adorable term in this list and not just because it sounds precious. If you’re around French-speaking children, you’ll hear them ask for their doudou when their favorite stuffed animal has been misplaced.

It doesn’t have to be a teddy, any plush toy will likely fit the term. If the child is young and still learning to speak, they may shorten the word to even sweeter, dou.

Où est doudou ? (Where is teddy?) 

15. Charmante


If you are dating a French person you should expect to be called charmante (charming) at some point. And you should definitely say the same to your chéri  (love) or person with whom you’re flirting.

Tu es très charmante chéri. (You are very charming dear.)

Vous avez une sourire charmante. (You have charming smile.)

16. Flâner


This verb is one that is difficult to fully translate into English. Flâner (to stroll, to wander, or dawdle) is a favorite pastime of the French. There’s nothing better than walking around town with little-to-no purpose.

Un flâneur or une flâneuse  (person who strolls) can often be seen out and about in French cities enjoying the quiet of Sundays when many things are closed in the country.

Ils flânent dans la ville chaque dimanche. (They stroll in town every Sunday.)

17. Choupette


Another term of endearment, choupette (cutie or sweetie) is a darling term used for loved ones. It can also be shortened to choupie , typically used for children.

Je t’adore, ma choupette. (I love you, sweetie.)

Ma choupette, je t’adore tellement. (My love, I love you so much.)

Fun fact: the late designer Karl Lagerfield’s cat was named Choupette

18. Coccinelle


A lovely-sounding word for an even-lovelier meaning, what good luck you’ll have if a coccinelle (ladybug) lands on you. These spotted cuties are likely the only beetle you’ll rejoice upon finding anywhere near you.

Une coccinelle s’est envolée. (A ladybug flew away.)

19. Papillon


In spring and summer all over Europe you’ll see papillons  (butterflies, or singular, butterfly — papillon) emerge. The French use the word interchangeably for both butterflies and moths. 

Not only are the creatures the word refers to precious, the syllables themselves just roll so smoothly off the tongue.

Oh, regardez-vous ! C’est un beau papillon ! (Oh, look! There’s a beautiful butterfly!)

20. Sirène


Ariel is the world’s most famous sirène (siren or mermaid), and her popularity does not wane in France. She is well-known throughout the country and “The Little Mermaid” is a popular children’s book.

La Petite Sirène aime le prince. (The Little Mermaid loves the prince.)

21. Soleil


Try and say soleil (sun) without a bit of a smile or added pep in your step. The term just sounds plain happy, which makes sense as a bit of sun, especially in the dreary winter of northern France is always welcome. 

If you’re somewhere in the lovely south, you’ll likely enjoy a bit of soleil no matter the season. Or, as the French say — vous prenez le soleil  (you are sunbathing).

Le soleil brille aujourd’hui ! (The sun is shining today!)

Where to Find More Beautiful French Words

These are just a few examples of beautiful words in French. Believe me, I could carry on all day, but even with just a tidbit of knowledge I think my point is made.

Though if you do want to find more beautiful French words, you can’t go wrong with immersion. Surround yourself with the language and its beauty will naturally make its way into your life. A language learning program like FluentU, for example, will expose you to authentic French videos such as movie trailers and inspiring talks and allow you to make flashcards out of any beautiful word you come across!

It’s always a great idea to keep a pen and paper or your cell phone ready as you interact with French media!


Now you have 21 beautiful French words and phrases you can add to your vocabulary!

Try and practice these pretty French words before your next trip abroad, and who knows—you may be able to trick the French population into thinking you are French too!

With beautiful French words like this, I can safely say to the French language: Je t’aime ! (I love you!)

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