When it comes to love, no city does it better than Paris. Is it the elegant Haussannian facades, the sun-dappled banks of the Seine or the charming cafes around every corner that give the city its fame?
Or maybe it’s the unabashed PDA (hand-holding or kissing) for all to see or simply the French language itself? Whatever the reason, Paris is the perfect place to fall in love or to be in love. The next time you find yourself in the City of Love, here are ten different ways to express your fervent flamme to your French amoureux or amoureuse.
This is the most basic and literal way to say “I love you” and is also an essential phrase that serves as the building block for expressing various degrees of love in French. You’ve probably heard it before – either sung in a serenade or whispered into the waiting ear of a special someone in French films. Feel free to shout it from the rooftops to a lover or family member, but keep in mind that it is a serious expression of true love not to be thrown around lightly.
🎵Je t’aime…Moi non plus, Serge Gainsbourg ft. Jane Birkin
Je t’aime bien
Not in love, but definitely in like? Then this is the phrase for you! It might seem counter-intuitive, but adding an adverb to the phrase “je t’aime” actually reduces its intensity. By adding bien (which means “good” or “well” in English) to the end of “I love you”, the phrase changes from an expression of deep love to a more moderate “I like you very much”. In romantic relationships, it’s often a stepping stone that comes right before “je t’aime”.
🎵J’t’aime bien Lili, Philippe Chatel
Je t’aime beaucoup
One of the murkiest things about dating in France is understanding the various degrees of je t’aime. Here we have added beaucoup (which means “a lot” in English), but ironically the phrase translates to “I like you a lot”. Still, it is the perfect phrase for communicating your affection to close friends who feel like family. It’s a step down from je t’aime bien and two steps down from je t’aime. But…if you hear this from a potential lover, you either have a long way to go or are being friend-zoned.
🎵Je t’aime beaucoup, Yanns
Je t’aime à la folie
Are you feeling crazy in love and ready to sing it to the world like Beyoncé did back in 2003? Then make a mental note of this phrase for your next romantic dinner! Je t’aime à la folie means “I love you like crazy” in English. You will hear it in the “Loves me, Loves me not” game children play in France: Il/Elle m’aime…un peu…beaucoup…à la folie…pas du tout!
🎵Je t’aime à la folie, Serge Lama
Je suis fou/folle de toi
This is another way of expressing feelings of l’amour fou (crazy love)-the kind of love that makes your heart beat faster and sparks butterfly wings in your ventre. It translates to “I am crazy about you” in English and shouldn’t be used lightly.
🎵Fou de toi, Manu Chao
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Je t’aime de tout mon coeur
Yes, yes there are still more nuances to je t’aime and this is the perfect expression to write on your next Valentine’s card to your chéri(e). In English, it means “I love you with all my heart.”
Je t’aime fort
This is a phrase you will hear uttered in families, especially between parents and their children. It means “I love you so much” in English, but it isn’t the only French phrase that translates to “I love you so much.” There’s also je t’aime tant and je t’aime tellement.
🎵Je t’aime fort tu sais, Charles Dumont
Je suis amoureux/amoureuse de toi
Much like in English, there is a difference between saying “I love you” and “I’m in love with you” in French. Je suis amoureux/amoureuse de toi is the latter, meaning “I’m in love with you.” Aimer is the act of loving and être amoureux/amoureuse is the state of being in love. Maybe you are one or the other or both…
🎵Je suis amoureuse de toi, Dorothée
Not quite ready to say je t’aime but want to show that your feelings are moving in that direction? Je t’adore is the expression you’ve been looking for. It means “I adore you” or “I like you very, very much” and is one step above je t’aime bien. It’s the perfect response if you aren’t quite ready to say those three little words yet…
🎵Je t’adore, Luísa Sobral
Je te kiffe
If you see these words graffitied on street corners or recited by teenagers holding hands in the park, you have witnessed a proclamation of love. Je te kiffe is French slang for “I love you”. The verb kiffer comes from the Arabic word “kiff”, which means “amusement” or “pleasure” and up until the 17th century it was associated with the consumption of alcohol. In modern day France, kiffer is argot for aimer.
🎵La kiffance, Naps
Other love-related words in French
Un baiser, un bisou: a kiss
Embrasser, s’embrasser: to kiss
Draguer: to hit on
Flirter: to flirt
Tomber amoureux/amoureuse: to fall in love
Avoir un coup de foudre: to fall in love at first sight
Déclarer sa flamme: to declare your love
Sortir avec quelqu’un: to date someone
Faire des câlins: to cuddle
Se fiancer: to get engaged
Se marier: to get married
Un amoureux/amoureuse: a sweetheart
Un petit-ami/un petit-copain: a boyfriend
Une petite-amie/une petite-copine: a girlfriend
French terms of endearment
Mon coeur: my heart
Mon ange: my angel
Mon trésor: my treasure
Mon chou/mon chouchou: my sweet bun (from the chou à la crème puff pastry)
Mon doudou: my sweetheart
Mon biche/ma bichette: my deer, my doe
Mon chaton: my kitten
Now that you can profess your love to the amour de ta life, check out our online French lessons so you can keep the conversation (and your flamme) going strong.
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