The chat up lines that might actually bag you a date with a French woman

If you've tried making your move in France, you may have noticed it is far from being a walk in the park. So here's a little helping hand for better French flirting.

The chat up lines that might actually bag you a date with a French woman
Will our lines net you a snog in front of the Eiffel Tower? Let's hope. Photo: AFP

If you've just clapped eyes on the woman of your dreams in a French bar, you need to make sure that your approach won't lead to either dismissive laughter or a slap.

Classic cheesy chat up lines like Tu n’as pas eu mal quand tu es tombée du ciel? (did it hurt when you fell from the sky) are petty unimpressive even in English, but are even less likely to snag you a date with a French lady.

So we've asked a selection of our French friends which approaches might make them more inclined to accept a date with a charming English-speaker.

(Hopefully this goes without saying, but if you're getting nowhere and the lady has made it clear that she is not interested, then please don't run through this entire list, just gracefully back off and leave her to enjoy her night out.)


Je peux t'offrir un verre?

If you are in bar, Je peux t'offrir un verre? – May I buy you a drink? will be your go-to opening line. Offering someone a drink may be a classic and universal move, but it remains one of the most likely to success approach, even in France. Depending on the time of the day, you may want to suggest having a café instead.

Mes copains m’ont parié que je ne pouvais pas démarrer une conversation avec la plus belle femme du bar. Tu veux boire un coup avec leur argent ?

'My buddies bet I wouldn't be able to talk to the most beautiful woman in the bar. Wanna have a drink on them?' – which is a variant of the usual 'Je peux t'offrir un verre?' that might allow to stand out and get a positive answer. 

J'aimerais beaucoup faire ta connaissance.

'I would really like to get to know you'. Usually following an hello, a 'J'aimerais beaucoup faire ta connaissance' would be ideal if you need a break from more physics-orientated chat-up lines.

Je suis tombé sous ton charme.

'I fell under your spell.' This is where it gets serious. Je suis tombé sous ton charme is not a phrase you would use on a regular basis though – save it for someone who really took your breath away.

Tu me fais perdre tout mes moyens.

'You're making me lose myself.' Whether you seem to have lost your ability to speak, cannot think straight, feel like you are being hypnotized, are nervously sweating or all of it at the same time, this is the line for you.  

Tu me fais tourner la tête.

In the words of the famous Edith Piaf in her song Mon Manège à moi, Tu me fais tourner la tête – 'You're making my head spin' means to feel dizzy, as though you were drunk in love. Not to be mistaken with a literal translation which would be to turn somebody's head.


T'as de beaux yeux, tu sais.

As Jean Gabin said: 'You have beautiful eyes, you know'. It may not earn you an answer such as an Embrasse-moi – (kiss me) as with Gabin's co-star Michèle Morgan, but a thoughtful reference to this classic French cinema line will probably be appreciated. The French do use this line figuratively from time to time  – when changing the tone of their voice to impersonate Gabin, it makes it harder to know whether they mean it or are just quoting Quai des Brumes.

Vous venez souvent ici?

'Do you come here often?' – Another classic icebreaker, so let's learn it in French. Though it may not be the most creative or subtle approach, let's argue that it's better than not to say anything.

Excuse moi de te déranger, mais je me suis dit que je serai fou de ne pas venir te parler.

'Sorry to bother you, but I thought it would be crazy not to come and talk to you.' – With this one, you will be going straight to the point. Candid and honest, all the while being considerate by apologising right away.

Salut, j’ai envie de t’aborder. Mais j’ai peur. Je ne sais donc pas si je vais le faire ou pas.

'Hey, I really want to talk to you, but I'm scared. So I don't know if I'm gonna do it.' The paradox of approaching someone by saying you don't know if you're going to actually approach them will either have them giggling or giving you a pitying look – we are betting on a fifty-fifty chance on that one.

J'aimerai beaucoup te revoir.

'I would really love to see again'. If any of the lines above helped you strike up a conversation with a stranger, let them know you really appreciated the time spent in their company and would like a second chance, saying 'J'aimerais beaucoup te revoir' may be a way to get there!

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

Only joking! Unless you are actually part of a Lady Marmalade tribute act, do not ever use this one.




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IN PICTURES: 7 of the French government’s sexiest public health adverts

An advertising campaign aimed at convincing young people to get the Covid vaccine has attracted international attention, but it’s not the first time that French authorities have sexed up their public health messaging.

IN PICTURES: 7 of the French government's sexiest public health adverts
Image: AIDES.

It’s an international cliché that France is the land of l’amour – or at least the land of le sexe – and that reputation does seem to be justified, given how often French public health bodies have turned to sex in an attempt to get their message across.

From the suggestive to the downright scandalous, here are seven examples of health campaigns which relied on that oh so French fondness for romance.

Get vaccinated, get laid

The Covid campaign in question was created by regional health authorities in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region.

The poster which has got people hot under the collar features two very attractive and very French-looking people kissing, seemingly in the back of a cab after a night on the town. “Yes, the vaccine can have desirable effects,” it says.

The campaign has proved so popular that it will soon be expanded.

Promoting road safety

Earlier this year, the French Road Safety Delegation released a video ahead of Valentine’s Day, which showed a couple sharing an intimate moment in the bedroom.

The full 30-second video featured the slogan, “Life is better than one last drink for the road”.

Another image of two people kissing, seemingly without clothes, included the line, “Life, love. On the road, don’t forget what truly matters.”

Fight against HIV/AIDS

While the link between road safety and sex isn’t immediately obvious, less surprising are the references to intimacy in the health ministry’s HIV awareness campaign from 2016.

Each of the different posters shows two men embracing. Straplines include, “With a lover, with a friend, with a stranger. Situations vary, and so do the protective measures.”

The posters shocked conservative sensibilities, and several right-wing mayors asked for them to be taken down in their towns. 

HIV awareness campaign

Just a few days after the controversy over the ministry’s posters ignited, the non-profit AIDES launched its own campaign, and it didn’t hold back.

The posters showed scuba instructors, piano teachers and parachutists, all of them naked alongside their students. The slogan: “People undergoing treatment for HIV have a lot of things to pass onto us. But the AIDS virus isn’t one.”

“Even if we’ve been spreading this information since 2008, we realise that a lot of people don’t know that antiviral treatments prevent spreading,” head of AIDES Aurélien Beaucamp told France Info.

“People are still afraid of those who are HIV-positive.” 

Government-mandated pornography

It’s common for sexualised advertising campaigns to be labelled pornographic by critics, but in 1998, the French government went a step further and created actual pornography.

READ ALSO Language of love – 15 of the best romantic French phrases

The health ministry commissioned TV station Canal Plus to create five short erotic films to encourage the use of condoms and prevent the spread of HIV. The campaign featured up-and-coming directors such as Cedric Klapisch and Gaspar Noé.

“The only possible way to look at, to get people to protect themselves, is to show, show everything, show simply and without creating an obsession of the sexual act and the act of wearing a condom,” Klapisch said, according to an Associated Press story published at the time. 

You didn’t really think we’d include images of this one, did you? (OK, here’s a link for those who are curious).

A controversial anti-smoking campaign

It’s time to forget what we said about romance, because there is nothing romantic about this 2010 campaign from the Droits des Non-Fumeurs (Non-smokers’ rights) association and the BDDP & Fils communications agency.

The campaign featured several images of young people with a cigarette in their mouths, looking up at an adult man who rested his hand on their heads. The cigarette appeared to be coming out of the man’s trousers.

The slogan said, “Smoking means being a slave to tobacco”. The association said the sexual imagery was meant to get the attention of young people who were desensitised to traditional anti-smoking messages, but the posters caused outrage, with members of the government publicly criticising the choice of imagery.

Celebrating LGBTQ+ love

On the other end of the spectrum is this very romantic video from the national health agency Santé Publique France. It was released on May 17th 2021, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and was part of a campaign against anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. It is set to Jean-Claude Pascal’s Nous les amoureux

Showing a diverse range of couples kissing, holding hands, and healing each other’s wounds, the video ends on the word play: “In the face of intolerance, it’s up to us to make the difference.”