French Proverbs

By | June 5, 2017

Sayings of French origin

  • What is learned in the cradle lasts to the grave.
  • It’s a big wind that blows on small doors.
  • Honey in the mouth, bile in the heart.
  • The heart sees farther than the head.
  • Men leap over where the hedge is lower.
  • Who can’t pretend cannot govern.
  • It is easier to abstain than to restrain.
  • A sin that is hidden is half forgiven.
  • Where wine appears the doctor disappears.
  • He who does not advance goes backwards.
  • Repentance costs dear.
  • The apple does not fall far from the tree.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • Nothing is such a heavy burden as a secret is.
  • He who wants to conquer lechery must flee from it.
  • Against change of fortune set a brave heart.
  • You only lend to rich people.
  • What is done no longer needs to be done.
  • The first half of life is spent in longing for the second, the second half in regretting the first.
  • Money is a good servant but a bad master.
  • Trust is the mother of exasperation.
  • It is not enough to run; you must start on time.
  • Such father, such sons.
  • Prices are forgotten, quality remains.
  • He who is near the Church is often far from God.
  • The friends of our friends are our friends.
  • It takes two to tango.
  • A woman who dances too much gets ill from little work.
  • A black hen lays a white egg.
  • Show me a liar, and I’ll show you a thief.
  • Better finger off as ay wagging.
  • What was hard to endure is sweet to recall.
  • If you live in Rome, don’t quarrel with the Pope.
  • A friend to my table and wine is no good neighbor.
  • It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.
  • Many enter the wood without an axe.
  • Authority has no partner.
  • Where the hostess is beautiful the wine is tasty.
  • A cow from afar gives plenty of milk.
  • Only the truth hurts.
  • There is no worse water than still water.
  • A healthy soul cannot live in a dry body.
  • If you want something done right, do it yourself.
  • Few people rise to our esteem upon closer scrutiny.
  • Who lends to a friend loses doubly.
  • Ridicule kills.
  • You always fall down in the direction of where you bend over.
  • All is well that ends well.
  • A girl unemployed is thinking of mischief.
  • A beggar on his feet is worth more than an emperor in his grave.

The French Republic

French flag with political map

France is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and had a total population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. ~ An excerpt from Wikipedia page on France

More French Proverbs

  • A dealer in onions is a good judge of scallions.
  • Youth lives on hope, old age on remembrance.
  • Glutton: one who digs his grave with his teeth.
  • Why kill time when one can employ it.
  • Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
  • What orators lack in depth, they make up for in length.
  • You are never better served than by yourself.
  • Dogs that always fight always have bleeding ears.
  • No one is so generous as he who has nothing to give.
  • The world is the book of women.
  • Only he who does nothing makes a mistake.
  • A man without money is like a wolf without teeth.
  • Better to hold with the hound than run with the hare.
  • Deal gently with the bird you mean to catch.
  • A good armchair makes the backside soft and the heart hard.
  • We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.
  • You often meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it.
  • A full belly counsels well.
  • It is only idle people who can find time for everything.
  • Love teaches even asses to dance.
  • Quick at meat, quick at work.
  • A foolish judge passes brief sentence.
  • He that makes himself an ass must not take it ill if men ride him.
  • Fretting cares make grey hairs.
  • A bad workman never finds a good tool.
  • The bird loves her own nest.
  • Follow glory and it will flee, flee glory and it will follow thee.
  • Choosy pigs never get fat.
  • None are more haughty than a common place person raised to power.
  • Old sins, new shame.
  • There are more thieves than gallows.
  • You recognize the saint by his miracle.
  • When the cage is ready the bird is flown.
  • What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight.
  • Wealth rarely brings happiness.
  • Who makes excuses, himself accuses.
  • Who falls short in the head must be long in the heels.
  • Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.
  • Don’t harness the donkey and the horse together.
  • Good riding at two anchors, men have told, for if the one fails, the other may hold.
  • Ill gotten goods never prosper.
  • So much does one shout “Christmas” that at last it comes!
  • Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak.
  • You only die once.
  • There once was a good mother-in-law but the wolf gobbled her up.
  • Words are feminine, deeds masculine.
  • You can cage a bird but you can’t make it sing.
  • Everything in time comes to him who knows how to wait.
  • You have to be rich to be able to live like a poor man.
  • Discretion is the better part of valor.
  • Charity begins at home.
  • Brevity is the soul of wit.
  • You are either hammer or anvil.
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  • God who gives the wound gives the salve.
  • No one can be the judge in his own case.
  • You must not run after two hares at the same time.
  • We know the worth of a thing when we have lost it.
  • We make big promises to avoid little presents.
  • Old habits die hard.
  • Nature is beyond all teaching.
  • He who leaves the game, loses.
  • Love me little, love me long.
  • You cannot be very smart if you have never done anything foolish.
  • We are all a long time dead.
  • Great talker, great liar.
  • Never speak of a rope in the family of one who has been hanged.
  • Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
  • Those who shine in the second rank, are eclipsed by the first.
  • A fault denied is twice committed.
  • Bad is the best choice.
  • No money, no Swiss.
  • Nothing equals the joy of the drinker, except the joy of the wine in being drunk.
  • Reason does not come before years.
  • Unless Hell is full, no lawyer will ever be saved.
  • In a good family the husband is deaf and the wife blind.
  • Muddied water does not reflect.
  • What everybody says must be true.
  • To believe a thing is impossible is to make it so.
  • If you do not have a head, you must have legs.
  • Wine has drowned more than the sea.
  • Beauty is silent eloquence.
  • The rich man has more relations than he knows about.
  • All are not hunters who blow the horn.
  • He who does not gain loses.
  • Who talks too much, nobody listens to.
  • Deeds are fruits, words are but leaves.
  • Eat with pleasure; drink with measure.
  • The friendship of a great man is like the shadow of a bush — soon gone.
  • A good mind possess a kingdom.
  • Grass will not grow on a volcano.
  • A day is lost if one has not laughed.
  • He who has a wax head must not go near the fire.
  • The shoemaker goes barefoot.
  • Those who envy die, but envy stays alive.
  • Appearances deceives.
  • When we don’t have what we like, we must like what we have.
  • If the seawater were hotter we could catch boiled fish.
  • Don’t change horses in midstream.
  • Words are wasted on a starving man.
  • There is no science without patience.
  • When a blind man bears the standard, pity those who follow.
  • He who marries a widow also marries her debts.
  • You never get clean flour from a coal sack.
  • Like will to like; birds of a feather flock together.
  • Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
  • He who is hopeless is capable of everything.
  • Love subdues everything, except the felon heart.
  • He who has a stepmother has the devil at his hearth.
  • He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
  • Love, smoke and cough are hard to hide.
  • One must learn to be bored.
  • Why hide from God what the saints already know?
  • Fear is a great inventor.
  • A fine cage won’t feed the bird.
  • Comparisons are odious.
  • Set a thief to catch a thief.
  • Example is the greatest of all seducers.
  • He who is born to be hanged shall never be drowned.
  • Never trust a woman who mentions her virtue.
  • Dead lions do not roar.
  • There is a pinch of the madman in every great man.
  • Men will only throw stones at trees that are laden with fruit.
  • For a wise man a fool is a good advisor.
  • A surgeon should be young a physician old.
  • That which proves too much, proves nothing.
  • Like master, like man.
  • Two sparrows on the same ear of corn are not long friends.
  • The best soup is made of old meat.
  • An old ape never made a pretty grimace.
  • A good lawyer is a bad neighbor.
  • The maxims of men disclose their hearts.
  • It is a long day, a day without bread.
  • Short reckonings make long friends.
  • Anger is a bad adviser.
  • Really to stop criticism one must die.
  • Two times good — one time stupid.
  • Divide and conquer.
  • The ugliest tomcat always has the most beautiful mate.
  • The torch of love is lit in the kitchen.
  • There’s no accounting for tastes; Different strokes suit different folks.
  • A beautiful maxim in the memory is like a piece of gold in the purse.
  • Life is half spent before one knows what life is.
  • There is a remedy for everything except death.
  • However treacherous the sea may be, women are still more so.
  • By continually scolding someone, they in time become accustomed to it and despise your reproof.
  • He who spits in the air pollutes himself.
  • A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
  • He that does not ask will never get a bargain.
  • What comes from the fife goes back to the drum.
  • The shortest follies are the best.
  • Where power reigns there is no room for reason.
  • You know a person by his nickname.
  • Every man thinks his own geese swans.
  • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.
  • Fashion is a tyrant from which there is no deliverance; all must conform to its whimsical.
  • Nothing is more contagious than a bad example.
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
  • Women believe the strangest of lies as long as they are wrapped up in praise.
  • Fish must swim three times: once in the water, a second time in the sauce, and a third time in wine in the stomach.
  • A cow does not know what her tail is worth until she has lost it.
  • Do not play with edged tools.
  • Money knows no jurisdiction.
  • Save a thief from the gallows and he will cut your throat.
  • Deep calls to deep.
  • No enemies is a sign fortune forgotten you.
  • Don’t put the cart before the horse.
  • The absent are always in the wrong.
  • There is no lock on the purse of a gambler.
  • He who carries nothing loses nothing.
  • The tiredness of the body is the health of the soul.
  • Fear the man of one book.
  • People will ignore their misfortunes and their interests when they are in competition with their pleasures.
  • Quick judgments are dangerous.
  • A fool is always beginning.
  • Who is known as an early riser may sleep longer.
  • If you lend something you may lose it, but not if you give it.
  • A father is a banker provided by nature.
  • A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.
  • To heaven for the music but to hell for a good conversation.
  • Good health is above wealth.
  • There is one who kisses, and the other offers a cheek.
  • A friend’s meat is soon ready.
  • The chicken sings what the cock teaches him.
  • A goaded ass must trot.
  • You can’t get something for nothing.
  • Better to have a friend on the road than gold and silver in your purse.
  • The fool’s mother is always pregnant.
  • So many mates; so many enemies.
  • Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves.
  • In your own company no one is boss.
  • I love my friends, but myself better.
  • When you are rich you suffer in a more comfortable way.
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • He who marries for love has good nights and bad days.
  • Put something sweet in his mouth and send good news to the heart.
  • Who knows nothing doubts nothing.
  • No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  • The less one thinks, the more one speaks.
  • One man alone is prey to the wolf.
  • If there isn’t too much, there is too little.
  • Pray, pray very much; but beware of telling God what you want.
  • Small people always cast big shadows.
  • When the head is sick, the whole body is sick.
  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • To enjoy life is worth so much more than it costs.
  • A fool’s head never whitens.
  • When sheep get angry they are worse than wolves.
  • A fair promise binds a fool.
  • God visits us often, but most of the time we are not home.
  • Love makes the world go round.
  • Gluttony kills more than the sword.
  • Religious contention is the devil’s harvest.
  • What the sober man thinks the drunkard tells.
  • I know by my own pot how the others boil.
  • Every one for himself and God for us all.
  • The attack tames the beast.
  • You hear little from the drummer that is paid in advance.
  • Small wells are better to quench your thirst.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
  • There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.
  • A fool may give a wise man counsel.
  • As changeable is the moon so is the opinion of the woman.
  • Rats desert a sinking ship.
  • Everything passes, everything perishes, everything palls.
  • He that parts with his property before his death prepares himself for much suffering.
  • Who wishes to travel far spares his steed.
  • Envy takes no holiday.
  • Love me, love my dog.
  • Some fathers love another man’s daughter most.
  • Economy is the wealth of the poor and the wisdom of the rich.
  • A door must either be open or shut.
  • Loaning money causes loss of memory.
  • A clear conscience is a good pillow.
  • A closed mouth catches no flies.
  • Nothing resembles an honest man more than a cheat.
  • He who sows the seed of discord works in the devil’s barn.
  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
  • Better ten people hurt than one dead.
  • Truth gives a short answer, lies go round about.
  • The graveyards are full of young lawyers, lost inheritance and young doctors.
  • Love makes time pass away and time makes love pass away.
  • When a man stops thinking he stops feeling.
  • Penny wise is often pound foolish.
  • Punishment is lame but it comes.
  • He that wants to keep his house clean must not let priest or pigeon into it.
  • When the woman wants something God quakes.
  • It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.
  • There are no miracles for those that have no faith in them.
  • He who lends to a friend loses twice.
  • Who risks nothing, gets nothing.
  • It is a hard winter when one wolf eats another.
  • Take the will for the deed.
  • Better the second husband of a widow than the first.
  • A swallow doesn’t make the summer.
  • If you would understand men, study women.
  • No good dog barks without reason.
  • Don’t try to fly before you have wings.
  • Least said, soonest mended.
  • Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.
  • One may go a long way after one is tired.
  • Don’t have too many irons in the fire.
  • Let sleeping dogs lie.
  • You cannot satisfy the whole world and your father.
  • When all men say you are an ass it is time to bray.
  • Beautiful grapes often make poor wine.
  • Whom God will destroy, he first make mad.
  • One dish does not feed two gluttons.
  • Give the devil his due.
  • He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned.
  • Such mother, such daughter.
  • The tongue goes to where the tooth aches.
  • Hatred watches while friendship sleeps.
  • A new broome sweepeth cleane.
  • Many a true words are spoken in jest.
  • Every little helps.
  • Take a woman’s first advice and not her second.
  • Nothing looks more like an honest man than a villain.
  • A coward often deals a mortal blow to the brave.
  • Try to reason about love, and you will lose your reason.
  • Mistrust is the mother of certainty.
  • He that would eat the kernel must crack the nut.
  • A person is unlucky who falls on his back and breaks his nose.
  • He that waits for a dead man’s shoes may long go barefoot.
  • One must bless the new moon when it is visible in the sky.
  • You cannot have the bacon and the pig at the same time.
  • Early ripe, early rotten.
  • Well done is better than well said.
  • Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.
  • No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.
  • Every priest recommends his relics.
  • Vice hides under a cloak of virtue.
  • Barking dogs seldom bite.
  • The same heat that melts wax, bakes clay.
  • It’s a foolish sheep that makes the wolf his confessor.
  • Children have more need of models than critics.
  • Night brings counsel.
  • Flying birds have no master.
  • In love and war don’t seek counsel.
  • Where love sets the table food tastes at its best.
  • Youth is wasted on the young.
  • Crooked logs make straight fires.
  • If youth but had the knowledge and old age the strength.
  • Bad news has wings.
  • When one door closes another opens.
  • You easily lend bread to the one who has flour.
  • A golden key opens any gate but that of heaven.
  • A lawyer needs three bags: one full of papers, one full of money, and one full of patience.
  • The city that negotiates is half conquered.
  • Lazy people are always eager to be doing something.
  • Between man and woman there is little difference, but vive la difference.
  • A beggar is never out of his road.
  • The little fish will grow big.
  • In youth, one has tears without grief; in age, grief without tears.
  • When the kitchen maids are together the roast burns.
  • A woman and a melon are hard to choose.
  • A good burgundy does a lot for women, especially when men drink it.
  • Nothing ages more than a good deed.
  • A mother can more easily feed seven children than seven children can feed one mother.
  • A stingy man is always poor.
  • A silent woman is a gift from God.
  • Even the tiniest little chapel has its saint.
  • The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
  • Not every thunderclap is followed by lightning.
  • Every fox carries his tail his own way.
  • In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek.
  • Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion.
  • Desperate maladies require desperate remedies.
  • The first chapter of fools is to think themselves wise.
  • When he was fifteen the devil was a good looking boy.
  • Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
  • There are more old drunkards than old doctors.
  • The best defense is a good offense.
  • Every woman needs two men — one to be married to and the other to compare.
  • A living dog is better than a dead lion.
  • A good cat deserves a good rat.
  • Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
  • To contradict means sometimes to knock at the door to see if anyone is at home.
  • Justifying a fault doubles it.
  • He who seeks evil will find it.
  • Only a fool gets drunk from his own bottle.
  • A clown enriched knows neither relation nor friend.
  • As you make your bed, so you must lie.
  • New brooms sweep clean.
  • The worst jests are those which are true.
  • What you love is always beautiful.
  • Repetition is the mother of memory.
  • The patient one always wins.
  • There is no such thing as an insignificant enemy.
  • At night all cats are grey.
  • Speech is silver, Silence is golden.
  • If the wine bothers you while you work, stop working.
  • Where the woman goes the devil follows.
  • Second thoughts are best.
  • To want to forget something is to remember it.
  • More haste, less speed.
  • Laughing is not always the proof of a mind at ease.
  • In wine there is truth.
  • Nothing speaks more eloquently than money.
  • Don’t wash your dirty linen in public; It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
  • Small gifts maintain friendship, big ones maintain love.
  • When the blind man carries the banner, woe to those who follow.
  • He who has no health has nothing.
  • Gossipers are the devil’s trumpeters.
  • As you sow, so you shall reap.
  • People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.
  • A sin confessed is half forgiven.
  • Hope is the dream of a soul awake.
  • A glaring sunny morning, a woman that talks Latin, and a child reared on wine, never come to a good end.
  • If you lose your wife and fifteen pennies — oh ! what a pity about the money.
  • Misfortunes come on horseback and depart on foot.
  • A good cock is always slim.
  • Man proposes, God disposes; Everything in its season.
  • A smile shortens the distance.
  • Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
  • Divorce is the sacrament of adultery.
  • There are none so blind as they who will not see.
  • Don’t dance on a volcano.
  • There is something in the misfortune of our best friends which does not displease us.
  • He that flees and runs away might live to see another day.
  • Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
  • There are toys for all ages.
  • Everything comes to the man who does not need it.
  • No man is indispensable.
  • They forgive the wine but they hang the bottle.
  • A full belly sets a man jigging.
  • Think much, say little, write less.
  • Everyone should sweep before his own door.
  • Drumming is not the way to catch a hare.
  • A good meal ought to begin with hunger.
  • Half an egg is better than an empty eggcup.
  • Africa is a cold land where the sun is warm.
  • Better a small fire that warms you than a big one that burns you.
  • One today is worth two tomorrows.
  • A drowning man clings to a blade of grass.
  • Tell a woman once she is beautiful and the devil will repeat it ten times.
  • Men eat fish — thanks to the sauce.
  • Love makes the time pass.
  • Poets are born, but orators are trained.
  • No clock is more regular than the belly.
  • Fine feathers make fine birds.
  • Good swimmers are often drowned.
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed.
  • While the grass grows the steed starves.
  • What you keep rots; what you give flourishes.
  • When a man’s friend marries, all is over between them.
  • Ingratitude is the mother of every vice.
  • Better be alone than in bad company.
  • All the treasures of the earth can’t bring back one lost moment.
  • Sickness comes in like a horse and leaves like a snail.
  • Widows comfort themselves when they remarry, widowers take revenge.
  • Better foolish by all than wise by yourself.
  • It is easy to go on foot if you are holding your horse by the rein.
  • A party of two is that of God; of three of the king; of four is of the devil.
  • It is more difficult for beautiful women to stay chaste.
  • The art is to eat it with taste.
  • Marriages sealed with rings end with drawn knives.
  • A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
  • There are no beautiful prisons or ugly loved ones.
  • A gilt bridle for an old mule.
  • Patience is the virtue of the donkeys.
  • Might is always right.
  • Something that has happened once can happen again.
  • Faint heart never won fair lady.
  • He who is too proud to ask is too good to receive.
  • A glutton is one who digs his grave with his teeth.
  • Do not throw pearls before swine.
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
  • The cassock does not make the monk.
  • Man is preceded by forest and followed by desert.
  • He who fondles you more than usual has either deceived you or wants to.
  • Every wise man is afraid of a fool.
  • There is nothing new, but what has become antiquated.
  • Man is the only mammal that can be skinned more than once.
  • Great boasters, little doers.
  • Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
  • Give neither salt nor counsel till you are asked for it.
  • Diffidence is the right eye of prudence.
  • He had need rise early who would please everybody.
  • Opportunity knocks only once.
  • They are not free who drag their chains behind them.
  • A golden bit does not make the horse any better.
  • If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
  • Whores and thieves are always very pious.
  • Faith is half the battle.
  • Who loves well, chastises well.
  • One is rated by others as he rates himself.
  • Better beloved than admired.
  • A party of one alone is not a party.
  • Men are like fish, the big ones devour the small.
  • Who rises late must trot all day.
  • Love is often the fruit of marriage.
  • No one became poor by giving alms.
  • When the daughter dies, the son-in-law is dead as well.
  • Variety is the spice of life.
  • There is no such thing as a pretty good omelet.
  • He who recovers but the tail of his cow does not lose all.
  • A good fox does not eat his neighbor’s chickens.
  • All that glitters is not gold.
  • He who has two women loses his soul; he who has two houses loses his mind.
  • When you can’t find peace within yourself, it’s useless to seek it elsewhere.
  • He who excuses himself accuses himself.
  • Appetite comes with eating; the more one has, the more one would have.
  • Ready money works great cures.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • It is not the hen who cackles the loudest who hatches the most eggs.
  • The monk responds to the abbot’s chants.
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
  • Good blood always shows itself.
  • A brain is worth little without a tongue.
  • A scalded cat fears cold water.
  • Who expects the bowl of others makes a poor dinner.
  • The urine of one dog will not pollute the ocean.

“La Marseillaise” is the national anthem of France.

Lyrics (English)

Arise, children of the Fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody banner is raised,
Do you hear, in the countryside,
The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
They’re coming right into your arms
To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
Let an impure blood
Soak our fields!

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!
To arms, citizens…

What! Foreign cohorts
Would make the law in our homes!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would strike down our proud warriors!
Great God! By chained hands
Our brows would yield under the yoke
Vile despots would have themselves
The masters of our destinies!
To arms, citizens…

Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
The shame of all parties,
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will finally receive their reward!
Everyone is a soldier to combat you
If they fall, our young heroes,
The earth will produce new ones,
Ready to fight against you!
To arms, citizens…

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Bear or hold back your blows!
Spare those sorry victims,
Who arm against us with regret.
But not these bloodthirsty despots,
These accomplices of Bouillé,
All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Rip their mother’s breast!
To arms, citizens…

Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Fight with thy defenders!
Under our flags, may victory
Hurry to thy manly accents,
May thy expiring enemies,
See thy triumph and our glory!
To arms, citizens…

We shall enter the (military) career
When our elders are no longer there,
There we shall find their dust
And the trace of their virtues
Much less keen to survive them
Than to share their coffins,
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or following them
To arms, citizens…

Additional French Sayings

  • It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.
  • One meets his destiny often on the road he takes to avoid it.
  • A woman’s heart dries quicker than her tears.
  • Every art requires the whole person.
  • What is learned in the cradle is carried to the grave.
  • Old cats love young mice.
  • Better fed than taught.
  • You have to give time some time.
  • Where there is no temptation there is no glory.
  • Without grace beauty is an unabated hook.
  • Nothing dries so fast as tears.
  • Popularity is the small change of glory.
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • The wise do as much as they should, not as much as they can.
  • The man who has nothing to do is always the busiest.
  • Too much is never good; too little is never enough.
  • With the help of an “if’ you might put Paris into a bottle.
  • Don’t slaughter more pigs than you can salt.
  • Preachers say: Do as I say, not as I do.
  • There is no old bread that cannot find its cheese.
  • There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing.
  • What you lose in the fire, you will find amongst the ashes.
  • A man who is afraid of suffering suffers from fear itself.
  • There’s a pinch of the madman in every great man.
  • For some of us happiness comes while we sleep.
  • Confidence begets confidence.
  • A dog may look at a bishop.
  • It is only the first bottle that is expensive.
  • A good name is the best of all treasures.
  • A big nose never spoiled a handsome face.
  • A good bottle of wine does not need a cork.
  • Fields have eyes and woods have ears.
  • After us the deluge.
  • Where there’s a will there’s a way.
  • Every doctor thinks his pills are the best.
  • The communal donkey gets the heaviest burden.
  • Even the strongest person will find his master.
  • No wind is of service to him that is bound for nowhere.
  • He that spends more than he is worth spins a rope for his own neck.
  • The best herbs are in the smallest bags.
  • Deceit always returns to its master.
  • The while we keep a man waiting, he reflects on our shortcomings.
  • He who teaches, learns.
  • There is no little enemy.
  • Poverty is the reward of idleness.
  • Every mother-in-law is a piece of the devil’s pants.
  • Rich people never know who their friends are.
  • Everyone according to their talent and every talent according to its work.
  • The cart ruins the road, the woman the man, the water the wine.
  • I sing the song of the person whose bread I eat.
  • A saint that cannot cure anyone has few disciples.
  • A cheerful wife is the spice of life.
  • When everybody is wrong then everybody is right.
  • Paper is forbearing.
  • The love that you die from is too big.
  • Courage is often caused by fear.
  • No love without bread and wine.
  • One pleasure, a thousand pains.
  • Short prayers reach heaven.
  • The soup makes the soldier.
  • We need to let the world go the way it is.
  • A fat kitchen makes a lean will.
  • He who is waiting for someone else’s bowl often dines late.
  • You don’t have to kill the chicken to get eggs.
  • Quarrels do not last long if the wrong is only on one side.
  • When a man begins to reason, he ceases to feel.
  • Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
  • If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
  • He who is not with me is against me.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • A colt is good for nothing if it does not break its halter.
  • Skeptics are never deceived.
  • There are more buyers than connoisseurs.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Those who are absent are always wrong.
  • If you don’t want to be deceived, then marry on February 30th.
  • The head and feet keep warm; the rest will take no harm.
  • Learning is the eye of the mind.
  • Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be cooked together but they will never be tender.
  • Nothing is more expensive than the first beer.
  • Loving with the eyes only, has blinded a lot of fools.
  • Let us get back to our sheep.
  • Gratitude is the heart’s memory.
  • Bad merchandise is never cheap.
  • One bad general is better than two good ones.
  • A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.
  • It’s the exception that proves the rule.
  • He who has much, wants more.
  • The ear is the road to the heart.
  • Men talk only to conceal the mind.
  • They will be hushed by a good deed who laugh at a wise speech.
  • Bread and wine start a banquet.
  • The servant of the devil does more than is asked for.
  • If the fire does not burn you the smoke will blacken you.
  • So long as the wolf is captured the dog will bite his leg.
  • He who is master of his thirst is master of his health.
  • The beauty of a woman does not make a man richer.
  • Fear and restlessness kill more than do illnesses.
  • It is always the impossible that happens.
  • Lead by example.
  • A girl without a friend is like the spring without roses.
  • Tasty is the chicken that is fed by someone else.
  • People always make the wolf more formidable than he is.
  • Paris is owned by the early risers.
  • Walls have ears.
  • Sometimes the cry of the animal is worse than the animal itself.
  • A covetous woman deserves a swindling gallant.
  • When a man finds no peace within himself, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.
  • You do not always have to believe what you see.
  • It is more disgraceful to suspect our friends than to be deceived by them.
  • Money is there to be spent.
  • A foolish woman is known by her finery.
  • The longer the way, the more tired the man.
  • If you want to keep your credit you must use it as little as possible.
  • He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.
  • It is at home, not in public, that one washes his dirty linen.
  • Our hairs are numbered.
  • Who has not served cannot command.
  • It is a sorry house in which the cock is silent and the hen crows.
  • A crooked log makes a good fire.
  • The art of pleasing is the art of deceiving.
  • The eye of the master fattens the steed.
  • Let him who is cold blow the fire.
  • The silence of the people is a warning for the king.
  • A churl never liked a gentleman.
  • If you have a good case, try to compromise; if you have a bad one, take it to court.
  • Love does wonders, but money makes marriages.
  • He who believes his wife too much will regret it in the end.
  • Life is like an onion, which one peels crying.
  • To wish to know is to wish to doubt.
  • Life is a dung pie from which you take a bite every day.
  • A fault confessed is a half redressed.
  • You dance better with a full belly than with a new dress.
  • Even the best mule still saves a kick for his master.
  • A bad craftsman blames his tools.
  • He who sows everywhere harvests nowhere.
  • One good argument is worth more than ten better ones.
  • A good swordsman is not given to quarrel.
  • Mean fathers, wasteful sons.
  • When you have not what you like, you must like what you have.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Gambling is the son of avarice and the father of despair.
  • A man’s worst enemies are often those of his own house.
  • You cannot clear fog with a fan.
  • True love never grows old.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
  • When glory comes, memory departs.
  • One finds little ingratitude so long as one is in a position to grant favors.
  • Heaven helps those who help themselves.
  • He that leaves certainty and sticks to chance,
  • A good figure is better than a reference letter.
  • The secret of two people is God’s secret, the secret of three people is everybody’s secret.
  • I cried when I was born and each day now I realize why.
  • Too many doctors too few medicines.
  • He that will not endure the bitter, will not live to see the sweet.
  • Good advice is as good as an eye in the hand.
  • Buy on the cannons, sell on the trumpets.
  • Pride can only lose.
  • There are no women or horses without shortcomings.
  • The enemy never sleeps.
  • Men make laws; women make morals.
  • A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.
  • The one with a running nose always wants to blow someone else’s.
  • Money makes even dogs dance.
  • When it rains it pours.
  • The chicken that crows the loudest does not always give the biggest eggs.
  • You do not fatten pigs with pure water.
  • It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.
  • The burden tames the beast.
  • One nail drives out another.
  • Do not let grass grow on the path of friendship.
  • The world is a barrel, for all to draw from.
  • The villain that becomes rich knows neither friends nor family.
  • Many kiss the hand they wish cut off.
  • Every why has a wherefore.
  • If you are going to eat with the devil, you must have a long spoon.
  • If we have not the thing we love, then must we love the thing we have.
  • To compare is not to prove.
  • He that will not when he may, when he will he may have nay.
  • Marriage is the sunset of love.
  • His own desire leads every man.
  • Better bread in the basket than a feather in your cap.
  • It is not wise to open old wounds.
  • There is no flying without wings.
  • Every age wants its playthings.
  • They who come from afar have leave to lie.
  • Starlings are skinny because they fly in a group.
  • Nothing is more elegant than ready money!
  • A liar should have a good memory.
  • Glow worms are not lanterns.
  • A dead man has neither relations nor friends.
  • Everybody has a hump when he stoops.
  • He who steals an egg will steal an ox.
  • A woman would rather swallow her teeth than her tongue.
  • Everybody to whom much is given, much is expected.
  • Build a golden bridge for the fleeing enemy.
  • They who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young.
  • It is the belief in roses that makes them flourish.
  • Young people tell what they are doing, old people what they have done, and fools what they wish to do.
  • No river swells without getting muddy.
  • For most people love of justice is no more than the fear to suffer injustice.
  • A cake and a bad custom ought to be broken.
  • When in doubt, Gallop!
  • Where god has a church the devil will have his chapel.
  • The French work to live, but the Swiss live to work.
  • Snakes prefer to hide under flowers.
  • When the miller is also the mayor, there are two thieves in one pair of trousers.
  • Where there’s life, there’s hope.
  • The reputation of a man is like his shadow; it sometimes follows and somtimes precedes him, it is sometimes longer and sometimes shorter than his natural size.
  • A nice wife and a back door oft make a rich man poor.
  • A courtier should be without feeling and without honor.
  • Even the smallest little bush casts some shadow.
  • The ball always looks for the best player.
  • A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.
  • He who sells the ox sets its price.
  • A fine girl and a tattered gown always find something to hook the them.
  • Everyone thinks his own burden heavy.
  • Big winds, small showers.
  • Rich people eat gold and shit lead.
  • A man is no happier than he thinks himself.
  • There is no pride like that of a beggar grown rich.
  • We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence.
  • Better bow than break.
  • Friendship is love without wings.
  • A problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Don’t burn the candles at both ends.
  • With money you can comfort any woman.
  • Wait until it is night before saying it has been a fine day.
  • You can’t milk a bull.
  • A dog with a docked tail is not afraid that its backside can be seen.
  • If the sky falls, we shall catch larks.
  • Seekers of art; finders of the beggar’s bag.
  • Desperate times call for desperate measures
  • All roads lead to Rome.
  • Conceal not the truth from thy physician and lawyer.
  • Patience is bitter but its fruits are sweet.
  • Everything is worth its price.
  • The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it off the mouse.
  • The worst is not always certain but it’s very likely.
  • To be willing is to be able.
  • Diligent youth makes easy age.
  • Even the king does not dine twice.
  • When all other sins are old, greed still stays young.
  • To taste the sweet, you must taste the bitter.
  • The word of a woman is as a little feather on the water.
  • The long awaited Easter feast is over in one day.
  • Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume.
  • Speak little and well if you wish to be esteemed a person of merit.
  • When we cannot get what we love, we must love what is within our reach.
  • You can catch more flies with a drop of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.
  • Travelers from afar can lie with impunity.
  • Avoid the pleasure which will bite tomorrow.
  • Being loved is the best way of being useful.
  • Small profits are good if they come often.
  • Do as you may, if you can’t do as you could.
  • Fools are more useful to the wise than wise are to fools.
  • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • Self — love is the worst of all flattery.
  • Absent people do not inherit.
  • You must give credit to coincidence.
  • Work relieves us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and want.
  • Common sense is not so common.
  • The law says what the king pleases.
  • A bellyful is a bellyful.
  • If you want to love your household as much as your bread then you will have to knead your wife like dough.
  • One must step back to take a good leap.
  • It is a wise man who lives with money in the bank, it is a fool who dies that way.
  • Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble.
  • It is easier to climb down than up.
  • Silence is the soul of all things.
  • Time makes love pass.
  • Small brooks make big rivers.
  • Marriage teaches you to live alone.
  • An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.
  • The weather, fleecy clouds, and a made up woman don’t last long.
  • Young saints, old devils.
  • The bad man thinks that everybody looks like him.
  • He who has everything is content with nothing.
  • There is danger in delay.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Real love is when you don’t have to tell each other.
  • All good women are in the graveyard.
  • A woman like a horse needs spurs.
  • Not until the tree is felled can you see how tall it was.
  • It’s difficult to chain up an old dog.
  • Long absence changes friends.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • The last will be first, and the first last.
  • If you give a gift to a rich man, the devil sniggers.
  • A blind hen can sometimes find her corn.
  • Nobility forces.
  • Who is born a chicken loves scratching.
  • The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease.
  • Everyone blames his memory, but never his judgment.
  • A little absence does a lot of good.
  • The night brings counsel.
  • Only great men may have great faults.
  • Most men employ the earlier part of their life to make the other miserable.
  • To be a fool at the right time is an art.
  • Once a drunkard always a drunkard; Once a thief always a thief.
  • He who dispraises a thing wants to buy it.
  • Fortune favors the brave.
  • You can sell the devil if he is well cooked.
  • The devil sweetens another man’s wife with a spoonful of honey.
  • The best thing about a man is his dog.
  • Liberty has no crueler enemy than license.
  • Bad charcoal only makes smoke.
  • To love is to choose.
  • Books know more than years.
  • The sin is not in the sinning, but in the being found out.
  • It is good to dance on another man’s floor.
  • Strike while the iron is hot.
  • Cut off your nose to spite your face.
  • After rain comes sunshine.
  • Good advice is often annoying — bad advice never is.
  • If it rains on the pastor it drops on the vicar.
  • If youth knew! If age could!
  • The first love letters are written with the eyes.
  • True love never rusts.
  • Jealousy is nourished by doubt.
  • There are more foolish buyers than foolish sellers.
  • Fools never get grey hair.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • There is no dying by proxy.
  • He who marries on a rainy day will be happy for the rest of his life.

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