It’s no surprise that Paris is the City of Love; there’s not much more amorous than the thought of cruising down the Seine drinking a smooth cabernet, staring at the stars from the base of the Eiffel Tower and sharing a baguette with your beloved. But if you’re looking to pick up a lovely lady at the Louvre or a charming chap on the Champs-Élysées, keep in mind that flirting in French is more than just batting your eyelids and sprinkling in an ooh la la. The good news is that French is generally deemed the language of love, so if you’re learning it, you’re already beginning to unlock the romantic within.
Even outside of France, there are plenty of places in the rest of the French-speaking world that have the power to light a fire of passion inside your heart. Take Martinique and its pristine beaches, for example. Or cozy Montreal and its charming cobblestone streets. Wherever you are in the monde francophone, flirting in French is an essential skill that will come in handy next time you’re lonely in a French-speaking place and looking for l’amour. If you can master it, you’ll likely come off as a romance connoisseur, capable of courting anyone who catches your eye.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all about asking someone out in French.
The Ins And Outs Of Flirting In French
What you say to someone you’re asking out, regardless of the language, should depend on the context of your relationship. Do you know this person, and do you have any indication that they’re interested in you? The way you talk to and interact with someone you’ve known for years is of course going to be different in some ways from how you flirt with a new fling you just met at a party or matched with on a dating app.
First, keep in mind that cultures around the world treat the idea of personal space and comfort with strangers differently. Whereas in the United States it’s not uncommon to approach and flirt with strangers in bars, clubs, parties or other social settings, the French are a bit more reluctant to chat with just anybody. That being said, if you’re willing to take the risk, you might find that with the right words, you’ll sweep the object of your affection right off their feet! Just don’t be weird about it.
Before you make any big moves, a proper “hello” is in order to open up any conversation, of course. If you’re not quite sure what to say, check out our guide to French greetings as a refresher.
Once you’ve gotten the attention of your potential new love, you’ve got to win over their affections. If you’re someone who likes to flatter and give compliments, here’s a list of some to get you started. Remember that French nouns have either a masculine or feminine gender, so the adjectives you use to describe these nouns (in this case, the person you’re flirting with) must match in gender as well. Some words, like magnifique, are the same for both genders.
- Tu as un beau sourire. — You have a beautiful smile.
- Tu es magnifique. — You are gorgeous.
- Tu es charmant. — You are handsome. (to a man)
- Tu es belle. — You are beautiful. (to a woman)
- Je pense que tu es très jolie. — I think that you are very pretty. (to a woman)
- Tu as l’air très séduisante. — You seem very alluring.
- Comme tu es mignon ! — How cute you are! (to a man)
- Comme tu es mignonne ! — How cute you are! (to a woman)
- J’aime tes yeux. — I love your eyes.
One common faux pas you’ll want to avoid is entangling yourself with someone who’s already spoken for. Here are a couple of questions you can ask to make sure the person you’re flirting with isn’t already dating someone else.
- Es-tu célibataire ? — Are you single?
- Sors-tu avec quelqu’un ? — Are you seeing someone?
- Tu as une petite amie ? — Do you have a girlfriend?
- Tu as un petit ami ? — Do you have a boyfriend?
If the answer to one of these questions is the good news you wanted to hear, your next step — depending on how fast the conversation is going — might be to go ahead and try to seal the deal. The most tried and true way of asking someone out is…asking them out. Tu veux sortir avec moi ? means “Do you want to go out with me?” and is a safe bet for making your intentions known. But there are a lot of other ways you can frame your proposal to include a specific activity or time of day, too.
- Tu veux aller boire une verre samedi ? — Would you like to go for a drink on Saturday?
- On peut peut-être aller au restaurant ce soir ? — Maybe we can go to a restaurant tonight?
- J’ai deux billets pour un concert à 20 heures. Veux-tu venir avec moi ? — I have two tickets for a concert at 8 p.m. Do you want to come with me?
- Tu es libre pour le déjeuner demain ? — Are you free for lunch tomorrow?
- J’aimerais vous inviter à dîner chez moi. — I would like to invite you to dinner at my place.
Use parts of these phrases and expressions interchangeably to ask someone out in the way that makes the most sense to you. They’re just suggestions that should be adapted to fit the context.
If you’re lucky enough to secure a oui from your potential date, now you’ve got to figure out how to impress them and keep them interested. Keep in mind that dating a Parisian or a French person in general can take a more traditional route than most Americans are used to, with many French people more likely to stick to conventional gender roles and to treat the concept of dating as something less casual, too. Knowing the cultural nuances of dating will take you a long way if you want to hold on to that special someone!
Cheesy French Pick-Up Lines That Just Might Work
If you’re looking for a little more creativity in your courting approach, there’s always the cringey, cheesy, clichéd pickup line, which is not just restricted to English. There’s never any guarantee that they’ll work, but desperate times can call for desperate one-liners. Some of these range from goofy to downright eye-roll-worthy. Use them at your own peril.
- Je rêve de tremper ma baguette dans ta soupe. — I dream of soaking my baguette in your soup.
- J’ai un problème avec mon portable; il manque ton numéro ! — I have a problem with my cell phone; it doesn’t have your number!
- Si le verbe « aimer » n’existait pas, je l’aurais inventé en te voyant. — If the verb “love” didn’t exist, I would have invented it upon seeing you.
- Ton père est photographe? Parce que tu es vachement bien développée. — Is your father a photographer? Because you are very well-developed.
- La seule chose que tes yeux ne me disent pas, c’est ton nom. — The only thing your eyes don’t tell me is your name.
- Si je t’aide à apprendre l’anglais, est-ce que tu m’apprendras comment embrasser à la française ? — If I help you learn English, will you teach me how to French kiss?