Saying “I love you” in France

Saying “I love you” in France. They say love makes the world go round. I say, especially when you’re in Paris. “Je t’aime.” Luscious words full of romance and passion, intimacy and affection. L’amour et Paris, can you think of anything more romantic?

Saying I love you in France | Trilingual Mama


And yet when I questioned my French friends, I also got a sense that they are not words that are handed out freely. During one friend’s various travels to the United States and Canada, she noticed that “I love you” was said with more frequency and more openly than in France. Christelle, married and in her 30’s, was unequivocal: she would never say “Je t’aime” to someone she didn’t have an intimate relationship with. Her husband, her parents and siblings and very close friends were the select few to hear those special words. Another friend, single and in her 30’s, admitted that even saying it to her family would leave her feeling naked, revealing a sense of deep vulnerability, and in my opinon, the sign of a person who truly gives his or her heart. I loved the words of Amélia, wife, mother and grandmother, who stated: “J’aime ce mot. Je t’aime. Il est magnifique et magique.” (I love this word. I love you. It’s wonderful and magic.)

And once this wonderful, magical word is said by the French, it’s said often. Several gals admitted to saying it numerous times a day to their “cher et tendre” (dear and beloved) and to saying it to their children at spontaneous moments throughout the day or whispered in their ears as they lay snuggled asleep late at night. Most agreed: even to those to whom it’s not said everyday, tender moments, departures or special occasions were opportunities not to miss, to not only say “je t’aime” but also how much.

And je t’aime can be said in so many ways…

  • je t’aime – I love you
  • je t’aime bien – I like you
  • j’ai des papillons au ventre quand je te vois – I get butterflies in my stomach when I see you.
  • mon coeur bat la chamade pour toi – My heart beats fast for you.
  • je t’aime, mon amour – I love you, my love.
  • je t’aime de tout mon coeur – I love you with all my heart.
  • je t’aime plus que tout – I love you more than anything.
  • je t’adore – I adore you.
  • je suis fou de toi – I’m crazy about you.

And my absolute favorite…

  • je t’aime. un peu. beaucoup. passionément. à la folie. pas du tout. – I love you. A little. A lot. Passionately. Like crazy. Not at all.

In the states, we pluck the petals of a daisy and say “He loves me, he loves me not.” In France, it’s a bit more sophisticated as only you can expect from the romantic Frenchies. You can see it in the words above and in the short video below where you’ll see two young French girls earnestly plucking the petals of their marguerites to secretly surmise the romance that lies in their lover’s hearts… or not.

How about you? To whom do you say “Je t’aime“? And do those words come naturally, easily or do you save them for special moments?

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2 Responses

  1. Great post! I’ve always loved the phrase sequences the French use when plucking petals from a flower.

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