36 Jokes in French With Audio and Translation
Don’t be fooled by national stereotypes. Although the French may appear to be super serious and all about culture and the arts, they’re really just a bunch of jokers deep down!
In fact, jokes are a great way to immerse yourself in the silly side of the French language.
Below, I’ll give you 36 ways to humorously break the ice with a French speaker!
- Laugh Yourself Fluent: 36 Crowd-Pleasing French Jokes
- 1. Histoire de pomme de terre
- 2. Petit, rond, vert
- 3. Le plus grand fleuve du monde
- 4. Toto et la conjugaison
- 5. Vieilles lettres
- 6. Toto et le temps qui passe
- 7. Au secours !
- 8. Monsieur et Madame Ouzi
- 9. Un citron et ses enfants
- 10. Un vol
- 11. Bouchon de champagne
- 12. Chaise électrique
- 13. Poubelle
- 14. Dentifrice
- 15. Train qui tousse
- 16. Pingouin
- 17. La chauve-souris et l’électricité
- 18. Chat musicien
- 19. Le chat et la souris
- 20. Le boulanger
- 21. Le magicien et le yaourt
- 22. Le coq dans l’ascenseur
- 23. Le koala au restaurant
- 24. Perroquet magicien
- 25. Chat timide
- 26. Sandwich au jambon
- 27. Kangourou bilingue
- 28. Nuage timide
- 29. Lapin acrobate
- 30. Poisson météo
- 31. Voleur de légumes
- 32. Le ver de terre musicien
- 33. La tortue bricoleuse
- 34. Chien qui fait des affaires
- 35. Le chat et le saut en parachute
- 36. Le poisson et le restaurant
- How Learning Jokes in French Can Help Your Conversation Skills
- And one more thing...
Laugh Yourself Fluent: 36 Crowd-Pleasing French Jokes
1. Histoire de pomme de terre
C’est l’histoire de deux pommes de terre. L’une d’elles se fait écraser et l’autre s’écrie “Oh purée !”
This is the story of two potatoes. One of them is run over and the other one says “Oh purée !”
In French, the exclamation oh purée is used as a way of showing shock, or saying “goodness!” At the same time, purée, if you’re talking about food, is the French word for “mashed.” So one little potato is run over by a car, and in response, the other says “oh my goodness / mashed potato.” Clever wordplay, and surely worth telling!
2. Petit, rond, vert
Qu’est-ce qui est petit, rond, vert, et qui monte et qui descend ?
Un petit pois dans un ascenseur !
What is small, round, green and goes up and down?
A pea in an elevator!
If you have young children or know any who speak French, this is a really great joke. One of the more purely silly jokes, it’s a wonderful example of French playfulness and wry humor. The joke is exactly what it seems to be, and that’s why it works so well!
If you’re interested in more child-friendly jokes, “Devinettes pour enfants” (Riddles for children) is the perfect resource to have on hand. It tends towards wordplay, and has great content for practicing your French.
3. Le plus grand fleuve du monde
Toto est à l’école et demande s’il peut aller au WC. La maîtresse dit non.
Puis, elle demande à Toto, “Où est le plus grand fleuve du monde ?”
“Sous mon banc,” il répond.
Toto is at school and asks if he can go to the toilet. His teacher says no.
Then, she asks Toto, “Where is the largest river in the world?”
“Under my bench,” he answers.
Toto is a popular figure in French jokes and pops up time and again. He made his debut in “On purge bébé,” (Baby’s Laxative), the vaudeville play (and later film) by Georges Feydeau. (Feydeau’s work is broadly useful for French learners.)
4. Toto et la conjugaison
La maîtresse demande à Toto, “Conjugue-moi le verbe savoir à tous les temps.”
“Je sais qu’il pleut, je sais qu’il fera beau, je sais qu’il neigeait,” il répond.
The teacher asks Toto, “Conjugate the verb savoir in all the tenses.”
“I know that it’s raining, I know that it will be nice, I know that it was snowing,” he responds.
This joke is a perfect example of the multitude of meanings present in different French words. Les temps in French is probably translated most commonly as “the weather,” and is used to describe how the day has been. However, temps can also refer to verb tenses, such as the present tense and past tenses, which is the way that it’s initially used in this joke.
5. Vieilles lettres
Quelles sont les deux plus vieilles lettres de l’alphabet ?
C’est clair: A, G
What are the two oldest letters in the alphabet?
It’s obvious: A, G
A great example of the potential humor in French pronunciation, this joke only really works when told in its native form, and out loud. Spoken in French, the letters A and G sound like the word âgé, which translates as “aged.” In that sense, the letters A and G have to be the oldest in the French alphabet!
6. Toto et le temps qui passe
La maîtresse demande à Toto : “Quel est le futur de ‘je bâille ?”
“Je dors !”
The teacher asks Toto: What is the future of “I yawn”?
As in the other examples, Toto’s response can’t really be considered dishonest as it does tell the truth, albeit in a somewhat clunky way. In the joke, Toto shows how the meaning of “the future” can be misconstrued and, when understood as a literal progression in time, can cause no end of confusion.
7. Au secours !
Deux traducteurs à bord d’un navire conversent.
“Savez-vous nager ?” dit l’un d’entre eux.
“Non,” répond l’autre, “Mais je peux crier ‘Au secours !’ en neuf langues.”
Two translators are talking aboard a ship.
“Do you know how to swim?” says one of them.
“No,” answers the other, “But I can shout ‘Help!’ in nine languages.”
A great way of poking fun at the process of learning a language, this is a brilliant joke to pull out in any social situation. Most of us won’t get a chance to use French in an emergency situation (hopefully!), but if we do, it sure does pay to know the word for “help.”
8. Monsieur et Madame Ouzi
Monsieur et Madame Ouzi ont un fils, comment s’appelle-t-il ?
Mr. and Mrs. Ouzi have a son, what is his name?
There’s wordplay aplenty in the French language and no end to the jokes about the name of Mr. and Mrs. such-and-such. This is actually a great joke to use in many languages, as the word for “jacuzzi” tends to be universal.
9. Un citron et ses enfants
Une maman citron dit à ses enfants : “Pour vivre longtemps, il ne faut jamais être pressé !”
A mother lemon says to her children: “To live for a long time, you must never be pressed!”
To être pressé means to be rushed, or literally, “to be pressed (for time).” Of course, the verb presser means to be squashed. In relation to fruit, pressé is understood with this second meaning, so the mother lemon advises her children both not to be rushed and not to be squashed in order to live for a long time.
10. Un vol
Un voleur est au vingtième étage d’un immeuble. Tout à coup son pied glisse et il tombe en bas.
Les policiers disent : “Ce fut son dernier vol.”
A thief is on the twentieth floor of a building. Suddenly his foot slips and he falls down.
The police say: “This was his last flight.”
Proving that the French love nothing better than a bit of wordplay, this joke makes good use of the double meaning of the word vol. Meaning both “flight” and “theft,” vol can be used to say either thing. In the context of the joke, however, it stands in for both, and while the robber might meet a somewhat grisly end, his fate serves a humorous and useful purpose for French learners!
11. Bouchon de champagne
Pourquoi le bouchon de champagne a-t-il été arrêté ?
Parce qu’il faisait sauter tous les bouchons de la ville !
Why was the champagne cork arrested?
Because it was popping off all over the city!
This is one of those French jokes that double as fun vocabulary mnemonics! Bouchon means both “cork” and “traffic jam.” Not only do you get this unforgettable image of a cork popping off all over the city (hopefully not causing too much damage!), but you also pick up on the double meaning of “bouchon.”
12. Chaise électrique
Quelle est la chaise préférée d’un électricien ?
La chaise électrique, parce qu’elle est chargée à bloc !
What is an electrician’s favorite chair?
The electric chair, because it’s fully charged!
In French, the word “chargée” can mean both “charged” (as in electricity) and “loaded” (as in having a full charge). The humor comes from the double meaning of “chargée à bloc,” which can be interpreted as “fully charged” in the context of an electric chair.
Quelle est la poubelle préférée des espions ?
La poubelle confidentielle !
What is a spy’s favorite trash can?
The confidential trash can!
As you can see (or rather, hear), the French words poubelle (trash can) and confidentielle (confidential) rhyme with each other. The absurdity of whispering secrets into an inanimate object aside, you have to admit: if there’s anything capable of keeping top-level secrets, it’s a thing that doesn’t have any vocal cords whatsoever!
Quel est le moment préféré du dentifrice ?
Quand il fait sa toilette en se brossant les dents !
What is toothpaste’s favorite moment?
When it cleans itself by brushing its teeth!
There isn’t any wordplay, pun or double meaning here. The joke lies in the absurdity of the expression: toothpaste is nice to have when you’re brushing, but it’s definitely not capable of brushing itself, let alone having teeth. And if you do need to clean your toothpaste for any reason, you certainly wouldn’t go about it by “brushing” the toothpaste!
15. Train qui tousse
Pourquoi le train tousse-t-il ?
Parce qu’il a pris froid en dormant sur les quais !
Why does the train cough?
Because it caught a cold while sleeping on the platforms!
Here’s another joke that doesn’t rely on wordplay or puns. It’s simply absurd: trains cannot cough (unless you count spouting copious amounts of smoke as “coughing”) or catch a cold, and I’m pretty sure it needs fuel rather than shut-eye to run. Even if a train is capable of sleeping or contracting respiratory illnesses, you probably wouldn’t want to ride a train like that!
Quel est le sport préféré des pingouins ?
Le ping-pong !
What is a penguin’s favorite sport?
The French word for penguin is pingouin, which sounds similar to “ping-pong.” The image of a penguin playing ping-pong is cute, and also helps you add to your vocabulary of cute animals in French using fun mnemonics!
17. La chauve-souris et l’électricité
Qu’est-ce qui fait peur à une chauve-souris ?
L’électricité, car elle a peur des ampères mortes !
What scares a bat?
Electricity, because it’s afraid of dead amperes!
Considering how bats are scary-looking enough as they are, it’s hard to imagine that anything can scare them. Apparently, dead amperes can—or rather, the fact that ampères mortes (dead amperes) sounds like en père mort (in dead father). (I wonder if bats have their own version of Hamlet?)
18. Chat musicien
Pourquoi le chat musicien est-il toujours sourd ?
Parce qu’il passe son temps à faire de la “miaou-sique”!
Why is the musician cat always deaf?
Because it spends its time making “miaou-sic”!
This joke combines miaou (meow) with musique (music) to create the wordplay “miaou-sique.” It’s unfortunate that the cat went deaf because of what it does for a living, but hey—all jobs have some kind of hazard, I suppose!
19. Le chat et la souris
Qu’est-ce qu’un chat dit à une souris pour la faire pleurer ?
“Gouda nuit !” (au lieu de “Good night !”)
What does a cat say to a mouse to make it cry?
“Gouda night!” (instead of “Good night!”)
This joke plays on the similarity between the English phrase “Good night” and the French word “Gouda,” a type of cheese. (As you know, cheese is the food that mice supposedly love the most.) The punchline creates a lighthearted and cheesy (pun intended) twist to the joke. If I heard a joke like that, I’d cry from embarrassment too!
20. Le boulanger
Que dit un boulanger lorsqu’il embrasse sa femme ?
“Je t’aime plus que le pain !”
What does a baker say when he kisses his wife?
“I love you more than bread!”
Now this is an adorable one! Bakers literally make a living out of bread, so if they manage to say to their spouses that they love them more than pain, that speaks volumes. (By the way, if you did a double take after seeing “pain,” know that it’s the French word for “bread”—pronounced like “pan”—not the English word for that feeling that makes you want to scream “Ouch!”)
21. Le magicien et le yaourt
Pourquoi le magicien ne mange-t-il jamais de yaourt ?
Parce qu’il préfère “dé-“jeûner !
Why doesn’t the magician ever eat yogurt?
Because he prefers to “un-“eat!
In French, dejeuner meets “to have breakfast.” On the other hand, the prefix de- means “no” and jeuner means “eat.” So the punchline can mean that the magician prefers breakfast over yogurt, or not eating over eating yogurt. (Hey, as long as the breakfast is a nice galette, I don’t mind at all!)
22. Le coq dans l’ascenseur
Pourquoi la chauve-souris et la mouche ne jouent-elles jamais ensemble ?
Parce qu’elles n’ont pas les mêmes battements d’ailes !
Why don’t the bat and the fly ever play together?
Because they don’t have the same wingbeats!
In this context, “play” refers to playing instruments, as opposed to games or sports. Since the bat and fly don’t flap their wings the same way, the beats of their “instruments” wouldn’t jive well with each other.
23. Le koala au restaurant
Que commande un koala au restaurant ?
Des feuilles à la carte !
What does a koala order at a restaurant?
Leaves à la carte!
This one’s a pretty simple (and cute!) joke. Koalas are one of only four animals that can eat eucalyptus leaves, which are toxic to other animals. So if it’s capable of ordering at a restaurant, the only thing a koala can really ask for is feuilles (leaves). Hopefully, the waiter knows enough to give it the right kind!
24. Perroquet magicien
Quel est le tour préféré du perroquet magicien ?
Celui où il fait disparaître les graines de tournesol !
What is the magician parrot’s favorite trick?
The one where he makes sunflower seeds disappear!
Apparently, sunflower seeds are some of the parrot’s favorite food. I’m not sure why making its favorite food disappear (rather than appear) would be a magician parrot’s preferred trick, but if it gets the audience to suspend their disbelief even for a little while, that’s what matters!
25. Chat timide
Pourquoi le chat est-il si timide ?
Parce qu’il a “chat-peau” !
Why is the cat so shy?
Because it has a hat!
In French, chat means “cat” while hat is chapeau. This joke works on a couple of levels: chat-peau is a portmanteau of “chat” and “chapeau” and conjures an image of a cat that’s so shy, it wants to hide its face underneath a hat!
26. Sandwich au jambon
Comment appelle-t-on un sandwich au jambon qui fait du ski ?
Un sandwich qui dévale les pistes !
What do you call a ham sandwich that goes skiing?
A sandwich that races down the slopes!
This pun relies on the wordplay between dévaler les pistes (racing down the slopes) and dévaler les pâtés (racing down the sandwiches). It’s a funny mental image and mnemonic—just remember not to eat any sandwiches that have gone skiing!
27. Kangourou bilingue
Comment reconnaît-on un kangourou bilingue ?
Il a un accent sautillant !
How can you recognize a bilingual kangaroo?
It has a hopping accent!
This is another joke you can share with fellow French language learners. At the very least, you can remember that sautillant means “hopping.” Speaking of which, you can learn more about the various French accents here.
28. Nuage timide
Pourquoi le nuage est-il timide ?
Parce qu’il est toujours à découvert !
Why is the cloud shy?
Because it’s always uncovered!
If you think about it, the only thing that can cover a cloud (other than flying objects) is… another cloud. But what if that one cloud isn’t the only shy cloud? What if all clouds are shy? It’s not like they can hide behind the brightness of the sun! My point is, this is another cute joke that teaches you the word découvert or “uncovered.”
29. Lapin acrobate
Pourquoi le lapin est-il un bon acrobate ?
Parce qu’il est “saut-naturel” !
Why is the rabbit a good acrobat?
Because it’s “saut-naturel”!
Again, this joke works best in the original French. Saut means “jump” while surnaturel means “supernatural.” Since rabbits are already good jumpers to begin with, the portmanteau saut-naturel gives the image of a lagomorph that has the potential to become a legendary enough acrobat to surpass even its human counterparts!
30. Poisson météo
Pourquoi le poisson est-il bon en météo ?
Parce qu’il est “mare-téorologue” !
Why is the fish good at weather forecasting?
Because it’s “mare-téorologue”!
Mare is the French word for “pond,” while météorologue means “meteorology.” While fish don’t live exclusively in ponds, they can make good predictions about the weather by virtue of the portmanteau mare-téorologue.
31. Voleur de légumes
Pourquoi le voleur de légumes est-il toujours triste ?
Parce qu’il est “raciné” dans le malheur !
Why is the vegetable thief always sad?
Because he is rooted in misfortune!
Racine means “rooted.” While “rooted” can mean “attached to something,” it can also mean “the part of a plant (e.g. a vegetable) that keeps it stable on the soil.” This is another pun-based joke you can tell if you want to make your audience groan—and maybe give you an amused smile.
32. Le ver de terre musicien
Quel est l’instrument de musique préféré du ver de terre ?
Le “trompeterrain” !
What is the earthworm’s favorite musical instrument?
The earth trumpet!
Trompeterrain is a portmanteau of trompette (trumpet) and terre (earth), so it makes sense that an earthworm would prefer to play it! Now, as to how something that doesn’t have visible fingers or limbs can play a trumpet…
33. La tortue bricoleuse
Pourquoi la tortue est-elle douée en bricolage ?
Parce qu’elle est “carapentière” !
Why is the turtle skilled at DIY?
Because she’s a “carapentière”!
Like the last joke, this relies on a portmanteau. Carapentière combines carapace (shell) and charpentière (carpenter), conjuring an image of a turtle with a DIY kit beside her. (And yes, you read that right: in both French and English, this joke acknowledges that women can be handy with tools as well!)
34. Chien qui fait des affaires
Quel est le chien qui aime faire des affaires ?
Le “chien-tracteur” !
What is the dog that loves doing business?
In French, the English word “contractor” (someone who provides services for a fee) is translated as contracteur. Presumably, this joke comes from chien (dog) and contracteur. I’m curious to know what sorts of businesses a dog can come up with. What about you?
35. Le chat et le saut en parachute
Pourquoi le chat n’aime-t-il pas le saut en parachute ?
Parce qu’il a peur des “miaou-lancholiques” !
Why doesn’t the cat like skydiving?
Because he’s afraid of “miaou-lancholiques”!
As we’ve established earlier, miaou is the French word for “meow,” while mélancoliques is “melancholic.” Sure, cats have nine lives, but they’re certainly smart enough not to risk any of those for skydiving!
36. Le poisson et le restaurant
Pourquoi le poisson ne paie-t-il jamais au restaurant ?
Parce qu’il n’a pas “de sous-marins” !
Why does the fish never pay at the restaurant?
Because it doesn’t have any submarines!
Let’s unpack this last joke a bit. Recall that “de-” is a French prefix that denotes the lack of something. Sous means “money,” while sous-marin is the masculine form of “submarine.” (The female form is sous-marine.) So we’re closing out our list with a joke that works because it’s both a portmanteau and a pun!
How Learning Jokes in French Can Help Your Conversation Skills
They help break the ice
Approaching new people can be daunting in any language, but when you add in the challenge of speaking in French, it can be a really unnerving prospect. Telling a joke is a great way to loosen up and allow the people around you to relax, too. Making others laugh works wonders for your confidence, and will make conversations down the line much easier.
They help you understand the French language and culture
There’s a lot more to French culture than meets the eye. While we all may look up to the country’s effortless style and eye for art, the French also have a much more playful side, and some of that connects to how the language is constructed. Understanding what makes the French tick and discovering double meanings of words are just a couple of great reasons to get to know French jokes.
They’re a great way to have fun with the language
While it’s important to watch out for the technical side of French, that’s not to say that the language can’t be fun. Making jokes part of your learning routine is sure to shake things up and might just be the change you need to really get motivated! What’s more, you’re much more likely to remember things that leave a lasting impression on you, and jokes are guaranteed to do just that.
There’s a whole world of French to be learned from native jokes.
Ranging from grammatical misunderstandings to pronunciation and double word meanings, French jokes are really rich in learning points.
If you’re looking for more jokes, “101 Blagues,” and “Learn French with Jokes” are great resources.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Laughter just might be the best way to learn, and that’s surely a perfect reason to have a little more fun with your French.
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.