10 Ways to Say “I Love You” in French

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.

Je t’aime

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

Je t’adore

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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