France will hold on. The French will hold on. Michel Houellebecq
Liberté, égalité, fraternité were, nominally at least, the values of the revolution. They remain the official motto of the French Republic to this day. ~ Jon Stone
France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme. ~ Matthew Arnold
With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensible. ~ Thomas Jefferson
France has no friends, only interests. ~ Charles de Gaulle
If you're totally 'apathetic to nationality', why should France accept you as a citizen if you're going to take advantage of those higher standards of living and yield no loyalty or commitment in return? This isn't hypothetical, by the way. France in particular takes this kind of thing very seriously when it comes to naturalization. ~ Thomas Anderson
When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes. ~ Klemens von Metternich
England is an empire. Germany, a country. France is a person. ~ Jules Michelet
It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. ~ George M. Fredrickson
I have never liked France or the French, and I have never stopped saying so. ~ Adolf Hitler

France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a unitary semi-presidential republic in the western part of the European Union. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, and includes the major island of Corsica in the Mediterranean. It is bordered (clockwise starting from the northeast) by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco; with Spain and Andorra to the south. France is linked to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel, which passes underneath the English Channel. Over the past 500 years, France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and in the world. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, France colonized great parts of North America, South Asia, and Africa; and built the second largest empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries.


You have to feel for the French; they were great once. ~ Mike Murphy


  • France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme.
    • Matthew Arnold, The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems, "To a Republican Friend" (c. March 1848)


  • The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
    • Francis Bacon, "Of Seeming Wise", in Essays (1625); Brian Vickers (ed.) The Major Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. 389.
  • Perhaps they know that they are in danger as much as anybody. They simply would rather see American men and women, rather than French and German men and women, dying to preserve their safety. Far better, from this cynical perspective, to signal that you will not take on the terrorists, so as to earn their good will amidst the uncertain times ahead.
  • An old sergeant said, if you want to get to France in a hurry, then join the ambulance service, the French are big for ambulance service.
    • Frank Buckles, on how he came to driving ambulances, as quoted in The Tampa Bay Online.
  • On behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa...


  • We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
  • According to current birthrate projections, France will be a majority Muslim country anyway in about 50 years... I get a lot of e-mails from Americans who think that Europeans are spineless. And I think they're right.


  • A Frenchman comes here to make money, and that is about all that need be said of him. He is only a Frenchman. He neither learns our language nor loves our country. His hand is on our pocket and his eye on Paris. He gets what he wants and, like a sensible Frenchman, returns to France to spend it.
  • And threat'ning France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
    Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.


  • France and America clash so often not because they are so irreconcilably different, but because they are so alike.


  • O France, the time of reproach has passed and we have closed like a book; o France, the day of reckoning is at hand. So prepare to receive from us our answer!
  • The creation of Modern France through expansion goes back to the establishment of a small kingdom in the area around Paris in the late tenth century and was not completed until the incorporation of Nice and Savoy in 1860. The existing "hexagon" was the result of a long series of wars and conquests involving the triumph of French language and culture over what once were autonomous and culturally distinctive communities. The assimilation of Gascons, Savoyards, Occitans, Basques, and others helped to sustain the myth that French overseas expansionism in the nineteenth century, especially to North and West Africa, was a continuation of the same assimilationist project.
  • It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. French universalism, or its equivalent, is a powerful weapon against racism, which is based on the belief in innate unalterable differences among human groups. Stressing what rights all people have because of what they have in common remains at the heart of anti-racism. A stronger awareness of such human commonality may be needed in the United States at a time when a stress on diversity and ethnic particularism may deprive us of any compelling vision of the larger national community and impede cooperation in the pursuit of a free and just society. On the other hand the identification of such universalism with a particular national identity and with specific cultural traits that go beyond essential human rights can lead to an intolerance of the Other that approaches color-coded racism in its harmful effects.
  • By 2040, France and Germany are going to be has-beens, historically. Between population crises and the redefinition of the geopolitics of Europe, the French and Germans will be facing a decisive moment. If they do not assert themselves, their futures will be dictated by others and they will move from decadence to powerlessness. And with powerlessness would come a geopolitical spiral from which they would not recover.


  • Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France.
    • Translated: "All my life I have had a certain idea of France".
    • Charles de Gaulle, opening sentence of his Mémoires de guerre.
  • La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre.
    • Translated: "France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war".
    • Charles de Gaulle, Proclamation, June 18 1940.
  • I hate the French because they are all slaves and wear wooden shoes.
    • Oliver Goldsmith, Essays (Ed. 1765), 24. Appeared in the British Magazine, June, 1760. Also in Essay on the History of a Disabled Soldier. Dove—English Classics.
  • Gay, sprightly, land of mirth and social ease
    Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please.


  • I have never liked France or the French, and I have never stopped saying so.
    • Adolf Hitler, The Political Testament of Adolf Hitler (15 February 1945)


  • With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensible. Next to this the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important and will become daily more so. Besides this the antient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish.


  • Most Frenchmen were neither collaborators nor resisters; they just kept their heads down and tried to get enough to eat, which was extremely difficult in Paris, where citizens suffered with near-starvation rations.
  • I worked at a factory owned by Germans, at coal pits owned by Frenchmen, and at a chemical plant owned by Belgians. There I discovered something about capitalists. They are all alike, whatever the nationality. All they wanted from me was the most work for the least money that kept me alive. So I became a communist.
  • There’s a reason why the French are on their fifth republic, and we are on our first, and that’s because we did not have a worship of reason at the beginning of the Founding as the French did, and then discovered that the purity, the Rousseauian idea is simply not one for the real world, or not one that avoids the guillotine.


  • The Trump-Cruz police state exists. It's called France.


  • [Mi manca] il calore delle persone [italiane]: c'è una grande facilità nella comunicazione, mentre i francesi non sono così estroversi. D'altra parte, in Francia c'è una grande vivacità nel mondo del cinema: si producono almeno duecento film all'anno e le occasioni di lavoro sono moltissime. Purtroppo non c'è paragone col cinema italiano
  • [I miss] the warmth of the [Italian] people: it is very easy to communicate with them, while the French are not such extroverts. On the other hand, there is a vibrant film industry in France: at least two hundred films are produced there, and the job opportunities are many. Unfortunately, the Italian film industry does not compare.
  • You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it.
  • When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes.
    • Klemens von Metternich, reported by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) as unverified in the English translations of his Mémoires. It is attributed to him in George P. Gooch, The Second Empire (1960), p. 18 and, in variant form, in Alan W. Palmer, Quotations in History (1976), p. 154. An American variation is: "There are those in South Carolina, and Mr. Pickens among the number who do not 'sneese when Mr. Calhoun takes snuff.' We are always amused when we hear the oft repeated slang—that South Carolina never speaks until Mr. Calhoun is heard." The Charleston Mercury (June 20, 1846), p. 2, referring to former Representative Francis W. Pickens and to Senator John C. Calhoun.
  • England is an empire; Germany, a country — a race; France is a person.
    • Jules Michelet, History of France: from the earliest period to the present time (1845), Volume 1, D. Appleton & Co., 1845, p. 182.


  • How old I am! I'm eighty years!
    I've worked both hard and long,
    Yet patient as my life has been,
    One dearest sight I have not seen—
    It almost seems a wrong;
    A dream I had when life was new,
    Alas our dreams! they come not true;
    I thought to see fair Carcassonne,
    That lovely city—Carcassonne!
    • Gustave Nadaud, Carcassonne; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 89.


  • I just want to make a few brief comments about the attacks across Paris tonight. Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.
    We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
    Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté and égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share. And those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.
    We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.


  • In France, the characteristic attitude of newcomers from North Africa, Turkey, and sub-Saharan Africa is predominantly one of alienation, confrontation, rejection, and hatred.
  • Ah! This movement of force and energy, this love of happiness, this plan of courage amid the insane who surround us attests to the strength of reason, which has imperceptibly advanced across the centuries. So many sublime outbursts of patriotism on the part of the French prove that servitude is an outrage to the dignity of human nature, and that there is no nation on earth that can return them to their former slavery.
    • "Jacques Roux, "On the Majesty of the French People" (August 12, 1793)


  • We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers become Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government
  • Fuck the French! Fuck the French, if we hadn't had saved their ass in two World Wars, they'd be speakin' German right now!


  • One doctor said, `In France, we think that abortion is more moral earlier.' And I thought to myself, we think so too in the United States, but we don't dare say it.
    • Charlotte Taft, abortion counselor and consultant, "When abortions come late in a pregnancy; Though rare, most aren't for medical reasons", US News & World Report (January 19, 1998).
  • Paris was attacked not because of what the French do, as some Blame-The-West intellectuals claim, but because of what the French are: infidels who refuse to see the light of Islam. The hope is that just as the Prophet forced the Arab tribes to accept Islam in exchange for protection, the “infidel” nations will also decide that it is in their best interest to submit. Today, however, I see no sign the French tend toward submission. As always, the terrorists may end up like the man who, having won a great many tokens at the roulette table, is surprised when the casino tells him his winnings cannot be cashed.
  • "They order," said I, "this matter better in France."
  • A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
    • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, (1865-1869). Book 9, Chapter 10.


  • Without the Jews, France is no longer France. It's the oldest community. They have been French citizens since the French revolution.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 293-294.
  • La France est une monarchie absolue, tempérée par des chansons.
    • France is an absolute monarchy, tempered by ballads.
    • Quoted by Chamfort.
  • The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
    Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
    Is always happy, reign whoever may,
    And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
  • Adieu, plaisant pays de France!
    O, ma patrie
    La plus cherie,
    Qui a nourrie ma jeune enfance!
    Adieu, France—adieu, mes beaux jours.
    • Adieu, delightful land of France! O my country so dear, which nourished my infancy! Adieu France—adieu my beautiful days!
    • Lines attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, but a forgery of De Querlon.
  • Yet, who can help loving the land that has taught us
    Six hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs?
  • Have the French for friends, but not for neighbors.
    • Emperor Nicephorus (803) while treating with ambassadors of Charlemagne.
  • On connoit en France 685 manières differentes d'accommoder les œufs.
    • One knows in France 685 different ways of preparing eggs.
    • De la Reynière.
  • Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
    Hark! Hark! what myriads bid you rise!
    Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
    Behold their tears and hear their cries!
  • In 1793, the French were shouting: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!' What they got was Napoleon.
    • Ayn Rand, as quoted in The Ayn Rand Column.
  • Une natione de singes à larynx de parroquets.

See also

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  • Encyclopedic article on France at Wikipedia
  • Media related to France at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of france at Wiktionary
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