How to flirt in French (and how not to)

Posted by Josh on 30th Sep 2022 in the blog in the learning french category

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When people call French a romance language, they’re not just referring to its language family. The grandeur of Paris or the rustic charm of French villages may contribute to this stereotype, but the real reason French is known as the language of love is simple: everything sounds sexier in French.

It's therefore no surprise that people often feel more confident flirting in French - even when they don't know a word of the language. They may find that certain words or phrases sound more glamorous, or that the language barrier sweetens some of the more risqué expressions used these days.

Whether it's a uniquely French expression, or simply a translation of something you would normally say in your first language, make sure to try out these flirtatious French phrases that are sure to make an impression wherever you are in the world.

Je peux vous offrir un verre ? | Can I offer you a drink?

This is a good line to use in a bar, but if you’re not in a bar it could also imply that you want to take someone on a date to a bar. Either way, it’s flirty without being too on-the-nose, and the other person has an easy choice of accepting or declining: oui or non!

Tu veux sortir avec moi ? | Will you go out with me?

Try this for when you want to be up front and get to the point. It means ‘would you like to go out on a date with me?’ It probably shouldn't be the first thing you say to someone, but if you know them well enough, and suspect they like you back, then this is probably the simplest way to ask them out.

Je n'arrive pas a croire qu'une personne comme toi soit encore célibataire. | I can't believe you're still single

This flirt's a little less direct, but that makes it a little more original too. It’s a good way to compliment someone on their attractiveness in a subtle — or perhaps not so subtle — way. A little confidence goes a long way!

Je veux être avec toi pour toujours. | I want to be with you forever.

Here’s one expression you should reserve for the love of your life, and not just any old stranger. It means ‘I want to be with you for ever’, so it's quite the statement. A good line for anyone planning on proposing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Je suis fou de toi. | I’m crazy about you.

Short and sweet, but a powerful line nonetheless. Use these five words to really let someone know how you feel.

Don't say...

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? | Do you want to sleep with me?

While this particular phrase is among the most renowned, and most commonly used, expressions that people associate with French, it is generally never used by French people themselves. It has become popular in English language media as part of the stereotype of French as the language of love, thanks to its usage by writers such as John Dos Passos and its appearance in the song 'Lady Marmalade'. But not only is it somewhat crass, it's also incongruously formal, since the phrase uses the formal 'vous' instead of the informal 'tu'. It might sound catchy in the songs; it's a little less catchy when spoken as a genuine question.

Ménage à trois

Less a flirty expression than a popular phrase, ménage à trois literally means 'household of three', implying a relationship between three partners. Most English-speakers who use the expression however tend to interpret it — and use it to mean — a 'threesome', in the explicit sense of the word.

Perhaps because the phrase doesn't exist in English, there is an impression that ménage à trois is a peculiarly French phenomenon. Like many stereotypes of course, this isn't necessarily true, and it probably shouldn't be the first thing you mention when trying to flirt with someone — or two people, for that matter — in French.

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