Beyond Words - Language Blog

How Not to Flirt in French: 10 Pick-up Lines to Avoid when Traveling in Paris

Ah, the language of love. Whether it is the cooing of French, the rolling purr of Spanish, or the tremulous richness of Italian, come along with me, the Poly-flirt, on a tour of the romantic side of language. We will explore pick-up lines, dating customs, and humorous anecdotes about love around the world.

Let’s get things rolling in this first installment of the poly-flirt with a French anecdote. Having arrived some time ago in France with a dangerously limited vocabulary, I found myself tongue-tied on more than one occasion. One day as I sat in the public library of the city of Aix-en-Provence, a well-dressed and white-haired gentleman took a seat next to me. He noticed my notebooks filled with French grammar and vocabulary and offered to help me to improve my French.

Fantastic, I thought! What an opportunity! But before I could finish the thought, he threw in an old favorite: “So, what’s your sign?”

When asked a question by a kind-looking senior citizen – any question – one must oblige. However, unfamiliar at that point with even the days of the week in French, I certainly could not list the signs of the zodiac. The only approximation I was able to force out was: “La femme qui n’a jamais couché avec un homme,” which translates to “The woman who has never slept with a man.” Ah, Virgo, the virgin! The old man got my meaning and corrected me with a smile: “La vierge.”

Pick-up lines rarely work, even in French! Here are ten French-language pick-up lines to avoid like an old man who lurks in the reference section of a library:

– Est-ce que ton père a été un voleur ? Parce qu’il a volé les étoiles du ciel pour les mettre dans tes yeux.
(Was your father a thief? Because he stole the stars from the sky to put them in your eyes)

– Tu n’as pas eu mal quand tu es tombé du ciel ?
(Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?)

– Tu dois être fatiguée parce que tu as trotté dans ma tête toute la journée.
(You must be tired, because you’ve been running through my head all day)

– Excuse-moi. On dirait que j’ai perdu mon numéro de téléphone… Est-ce que je pourrais emprunter le tien ?
(Excuse me, I lost my phone number…could I borrow yours?)

– Est-ce que tu crois au coup de foudre au premier regard ou est-ce que je dois repasser ?
(Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?)

– Excuse-moi. Est-ce que tu embrasses les inconnus ? Non ? Donc, je me présente.
(Excuse me, do you kiss strangers? No? Then let me introduce myself)

– Tes pieds doivent sûrement te faire mal, parce que tu t’es promenée dans mes rêves toute la nuit.
(Your feet must surely hurt because you’ve been walking through my dreams all night)

– Je viens d’arriver dans ta ville. Est-ce que tu pourrais m’indiquer le chemin jusqu’à ton appartement?
(I just arrived in this city. Could you tell me the way to your apartment?)

– Est-ce que tu as un plan ? Je me suis perdu dans tes yeux.
(Do you have a map? I’m lost in your eyes)

– 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)

As you see, there’s not much difference between French pick-up lines and the ones people use in bars and cafes the world over, so if you’re interested in making eyes roll on more than one continent, you know what to do.