11 of the best phrases to flirt in French

French couple kissing at the Metro
Need help with the language of love? Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
Is France’s romantic vibe making you want to learn more about flirting? A good way to start is to get familiar with the key phrases to use when it comes to this ancient art. Here’s a round-up of the basics. 

As flirting generally takes place in an informal situation, the following phrases are mostly quite colloquial, and we’ve used them all with the familiar tu form of you.

If you’re in a situation where the formal vous is required, then we would suggest that flirting is probably not appropriate (unless you’re into role play of course, but that’s a whole other article).

Draguer – to flirt. If you fancy trying your hand at the French dating scene, draguer is the perfect word, it means flirting with or hitting on someone.

You can decide to be upfront about it and say it directly to the person you fancy. Oui je te drague – Yes, I’m hitting on you.

But you can also use it to gossip: Ce mec drague toutes les nanas au bureau ! – This guy flirts with all the girls at the office! 

Find out more about that phrase here

Chiner – to hit on. The younger generation use it all the time when it comes to chatting someone up or hitting on them. Tu le chines? – Are you hitting on him?

But be careful, this word is also commonly used when you go bargain hunting for old furniture or second-hand goods at a Brocante  (a vintage or second hand market) so don’t assume that everyone at the market is flirting with you.

Find out more about that phrase here

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Faire la cour – to woo. This is a pretty dated phrase but you may still hear it, and not only if you’re watching a historical movie.

Il lui fait la cour depuis des mois – He’s been wooing her for months. 

Aborder – to approach. This can be used in several contexts to mean an approach or to broach a subject, but in a romantic sense it means making your first approach to the object of your affections.

You can use this word when it comes to talking to someone for the first time, whether it is online or in real life.

Je n’ose pas l’aborder – I’m afraid of approaching her. 

Le ou la faire craquer – to fall for someone. Craquer means to ‘give in’ so you’ll use this idiomatic phrase when you’ve managed to seduce someone or when you have been seduced.

Elle me fait trop craquer – I’ve really fallen for her.

Voici mes conseils pour le faire craquer –  Here’s my advice to snag him.  

En pincer pour to like. Pincer means ‘to pinch’ but this idiomatic phrase is used when you are really fond of someone.

J’en pince pour toi – I really like you. 

Décrocher un premier rendez-vous – To get a first date. It’s not always easy but when it happens you may want to share the news.

J’ai enfin décrocher un premier rendez-vous avec elle ! – I finally got a first date with her!

Se le ou se la taper – to have sex with someone. Taper means to ‘hit’. But the phrase se le ou se la taper is an informal way to gossip about sexual relationships. It’s a more slangy and slightly ruder alternative to the classic coucher – to sleep with someone.

Tu crois qu’il se l’est tapée ? – Do you think he had sex with her? Si seulement je pouvais me le taper ! If only I could take him to bed!

Pécho – making out. Pécho is verlan (reversing the order of syllables in a word) of choper which means ‘to grab’ or ‘catch’. This phrase can mean different things (find out more here), and one of them is ‘making out’ or ‘hooking up’.

On s’est pécho – We made out.

Smacker – to kiss (without the tongue). Although ‘to smack’ actually means slapping someone in English, in French it can be used to describe ‘un smack’, a kiss where only the lips touched (as opposed to the French kiss) and the verb ‘smacker’ derives from it. Il m’a smacké ! – He kissed me!

Séduire – to seduce. The ultimate goal is to seduce someone when you’re flirting. Séduire is now slightly old-fashioned and it’s often used in a more metaphorical sense such as consumers or voters being ‘seduced’ by a brand or a politician, but you can also use it in a romantic situation.

Elle cherche à me séduire – She’s trying to seduce me. 

Here are some key phrases to ask someone out: 

Prendre un verre – To have a drink. 

Ça te dit d’aller prendre un verre ? – Would you fancy having a drink?

Boire un coup – Grab a drink (informal) 

Tu veux qu’on aille boire un coup ? – Do you want to go get a drink? 

Tu veux boire quoi ? – What do want to drink?

Manger un bout – grabbing something to eat. Here’s an informal way to ask somebody to have dinner with you. On va manger un bout ? – Let’s go eat something?

Here are some phrases to ask for someone’s number:

Je peux prendre ton 06 ? – In France, cell phone numbers start with 06, so it’s an informal way to ask someone his or her number.  

C’est quoi ton numéro ? – What’s your number?

Je peux avoir ton numéro de portable ? – Can I get your cell phone number?

If you feel like tackling online dating in France, check out our guide


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