7 Idioms for the perfect French romance

French. The language of love.

Paris is the most visited city in the world year after year and I’m pretty sure a crazy little thing called love has something to do with it. Did you know that a bridge in Paris was recently closed due to the amount of love locks weighing it down? I guess we love love. That’s why today seemed like the perfect time to share some lovely love expressions in French with you. I promise I’ll stop saying love. Well, I’ll try.

1. Coup de foudre

Let’s start with the most obvious French love phrase: coup de foudre – love at first sight. Literally this means a flash of lightning. In English, lightening sounds kinda bad, right? A flash of lightning kills 21.2 people each year in my hometown alone (statistics not accurate. I wouldn’t trust that) so it’s interesting that the French use this to describe love at first sight. I suppose it’s the impact that lightening and love have in common that brought about the use of this expression. Regardless, I love it. I can’t say it was love at first sight though, the first time I came across this I was a young French learner and I didn’t understand it. Stopping to check the dictionary kind of took the edge off. It was love at second sight maybe.

2. Avoir le béguin pour…

If it’s un coup de foudre but you can’t quite round up the courage to tell your new found love, then you could say that tu as le béguin pour [insertcrushnamehere] – you have a crush on them. Le béguin means bonnet. I wasn’t sure if this one is a very forward thinking reference to babies bonnets, or a reference to being so shy you’re covering your face with your bonnet. So I had to do some research. Turns out it has evolved from the old expression ‘être coiffé de quelqu’un‘, which meant very much the same thing.

3. Avoir des atomes crochus

Hopefully your love won’t poser un lapin on you (literally: lay a rabbit on you – commonly: stand you up) and you’ll avoir des atomes crochus. That is to say, you’ll really hit it off and have hooked atoms, and the future will be bright and filled with lots of happy sparks from your hooked atoms.

4. Trouver la perle rare ou l’oiseau rare

If it all works out, you’ll be telling everyone that you have trouvé la perle rare or l’oiseau rare. You’ve found your one in a million. Even if you did have to dive the deepest oceans and climb the highest trees to get to your rare pearl or bird. Two ways to describe that the crush you had has become THE ONE. I like both of these. Describing your love as the rare pearl or the rare bird is rather lovely.

5. Faire des pattes d’araignée

You’ve fallen in love, it’s all working out, it’s time to make spider feet. Or touch your partner lightly with your fingertips, whichever sounds best to you. Faire des pattes d’araignée means to touch lightly with the fingertips, but the more fun literal translation is to make spider feet. Seeing as most people are at least a little tiny bit scared of spiders, even if they won’t admit it, it’s probably best to stick to your fingers rather than finding an actual spider. I mean, you’ve already been to the jungle and found the rare bird, you can stay at home now.

6. Se passer la corde au cou

Considering the reputation the French have for love, this expression to describe getting married couldn’t be scarier. Se passer la corde au cou means to get married, but literally to put a rope around one’s neck. Then again, when the French say they’re putting a rope around one’s neck, we’re tying the knot. Team effort.

7. Ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d’enfants

Providing the wedding goes well and you avoid actually putting a rope around your neck, you may well hear the pitter patter of tiny feet (not spider feet – baby feet). The perfect French romance would end this way, just as all good fairytales do in French: ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d’enfants. They lived happily and had lots of children.

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