Paris Quotes (France, La Seine …)

Paris Quotes (France, La Seine too)

To be Parisian
is not to have been born in Paris,
but to be reborn there. — Sacha Guitry

… here’s what Paris is: it is a giant reference work, a city which you can consult like an encyclopaedia: whatever page you open gives you a complete list of information that is richer than that offered by any other city. Take the shops… in Paris there are cheese shops where hundreds of cheeses, all of them different, are displayed, each labelled with its own name, cheeses covered in ash, cheeses covered in walnuts: a kind of museum or Louvre of cheese… Above all this is a triumph of the spirit of classification and nomenclature. So if tomorrow I start writing about cheese, I can go out and consult Paris like an enormous cheese encyclopaedia. — Italo Calvino in Hermit in Paris

Two days and three endless nights later we arrived in Paris… Paris looked much bigger than Bordeaux, but much uglier. The bread tasted flat. Everything, even the sun, seemed rotten. And I missed my land, trees, and animals! Rosa Bonheur, 7 years old, 1828

There is but one Paris and however hard living may be here, and if it became worse and harder even—the French air clears up the brain and does good—a world of good. ― Vincent Van Gogh

All Parisians know instances of serenity and grace: crossing the Seine and looking to the left and the right and saying to themselves, “Ooh la!” – Cédric Klapisch

The Seine is the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves. – Kirsty Lang

We secured rooms at the hotel, … and then we went out to a restaurant, just after lamplighting, and ate a comfortable, satisfactory, lingering dinner. It was a pleasure to eat where everything was so tidy, the food so well cooked, the waiters so polite, and the coming and departing company so moustached, so frisky, so affable, so fearfully and wonderfully Frenchy! — Mark Twain

Photographing couples on the banks of the Seine in spring – what a cliché! But why deprive yourself of the pleasure. Every time I encounter lovers, my camera smiles; let it do its job. – Willy Ronis

I forgot everything I was running away from… on the edge of the Seine and the forest of Fontainebleau… I felt completely different there, exclusively in love with navigating the river. I honor the river. – Stéphane Mallarmé

The Seine sings, sings, sings, sings

Sings all day and all night,

Because she is in love

And her lover is Paris. – “La Seine”, 1948 popular song

The Seine is a silent river. She has no torrents or waterfalls. She sinks and meanders and has great difficulty getting to the sea. She takes her time. I have lived Sequana from the inside. She has touched me and talked to me even in her silence. – Antoine Hoareau

Paris. Paris. There is something silken and elegant about that word, something carefree, something made for a dance, something brilliant and festive, like champagne. Everything there is beautiful, gay, and a little drunk, and festooned with lace. — Nina Berberova

The Seine! I painted it all my life, at all hours, in all seasons, from Paris to the sea… I never tired of it. – Claude Monet

She goes to the sea

Passing through Paris.

The Seine is lucky

She has no concerns

And walks between the quays

In her beautiful green dress

And her golden lights. – Jacques Prévert, Chanson de la Seine

I used to think the pictures exaggerated these distance and these dimensions beyond all reason, and that they made Versailles more beautiful than it was possible for any place in the world to be. I know now that the pictures never came up to the subject in any respect, and that no painter could represent Versailles on canvas as beautiful as it is in reality. …We walked through the great hall of sculpture and the one hundred and fifty galleries of paintings in the place of Versailles, and felt that to be in such a place was useless unless one had a whole year at his disposal. – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Paris Quotes

Ernest Hemingway by Nate Vandenbos

  • Paris is so very beautiful that it satisfies something in you that is always hungry in America.
  • London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.
  • But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.
  • “There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other,” he wrote.
  • “Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.” — Ernest Hemingway

The Seine was an ally, but more than an ally. A serene, tranquil force supporting us against the chaos of the flames… The water of the Seine saved Notre Dame. — Jean-Claude Gallet, commander of the firefighter brigade of Paris,  April 2019

In England, everything is permitted except what is forbidden. In Germany, everything is forbidden except what is permitted. In France, everything is allowed, even what is prohibited. In the USSR, everything is prohibited, even what is permitted. — Winston Churchill

The Pont Neuf is to the city what the heart is to the body: the center of movement and circulation. – Louis-Sebastien Mercier, Tableau de Paris

French and English
The French have taste in all they do,
Which we are quite without;
For Nature, that to them gave goût
To us gave only gout. — Erskine, c.1850

J’aime cette île, j’aime cette symphonie des pierres: Notre-Dame. — John Steinbeck

My French is excellent, except for the verbs. — Averell Harriman

Paris, France is just like any other big city – London, New York, Tokyo – except for two little htings. In Paris people eat better. And in Paris, people make love, well, perhaps not better, but certainly more often. – Maurice Chevallier voice-over in the 1957 film Love in the Afternoon

France was long a despotism tempered by epigrams. — Thomas Carlyle

Hôtel de Crillon is Paris, Paris is Champagne, Champagne is France and France is my heart so Hôtel de Crillon is my heart. — Henri Salvador

Paris is the world. The rest of Earth is nothing but its suburbs. — Marivaux, 1734

The sun finally died in beauty, flinging out its crimson flames, which cast their reflection on the faces of passers-by, giving them a strangely feverish look. The darkness of the trees became deeper. You could hear the Seine flowing. – Georges Simenon, Inquest on Bouvet

Paris is not only the capital of France, but of the entire civilized world. — Heinrich Heine

  • [La Tour Eiffel] is a superb idea. Eiffel’s triumph comes from the shear size of the project and the audacious execution. … I like the French. They have grand ideas.
  • [Paris], is, for me, the city of beautiful view points, not the city of light. New York is more impressive at night.
  • The roads of France are the most beautiful in the world. In fact France is just one gigantic park. the farms are lovely…  — Thomas Edison

God was easier to understand than French. — Singer Pearl Bailey explains why she dropped a French class to take up theology

What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world! — Charles Dickens

When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise. — Henry Miller

Every time I look down on this timeless town,
 whether blue or gray be her skies, whether loud be her cheers, or whether soft be her tears,
 more and more do I realize that…I love Paris. –– Ella Fitzgerald

The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant. –T.S. Eliot

Good talkers are only found in Paris. — François Villon

French, for me, is not just an accomplishment. It’s a need. — Alice Kaplan

That was the moment I fell in love with Paris and the moment that I felt that Paris had fallen in love with me. — Carol, in the 2006 series of mini-films about Paris and love, called Paris Je t’aime

To err is human. To loaf is Parisian. — Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Everything ends this way in France – everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs – everything is a pretext for a good dinner. — Jean Anouilh

You can really feel you’re having breakfast in Paris without even making the trip. — Julia Child on making croissants

Secrets travel fast in Paris — Napoleon Bonaparte

Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient winding medieval streets – as vast and indestructible as nature itself. –Anne Rice

I’d like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do. — Mae West

You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden. — Allen Ginsberg

Coming [to Paris] has been a wonderful experience, surprising in many respects, one of them being to find how much of an American I am. –Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Everything culture has an attitude towards nature. I think the French feel that you  have to fit into nature and control it, but live along with it. You cannot violate it without paying for it. It is not necessarily hostile, but you have to be careful to keep nature civilized. —  Laurence Wylie in Contemporary French Culture and Society, 1981

Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die here. —  Attributed to Joan of Arc

The national characteristics… the restless metaphysical curiosity, the tenderness of good living and the passionate individualism. This is the invisible constant in a place with which the ordinary tourist can get in touch just by sitting quite quietly over a glass of wine in a Paris bistro.” –Lawrence Durrell

The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything. — James Thurber

An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Paris est la ville où les caniveaux sont les plus propres du monde parce que les chiens les respectent.  — Alain Schifres

Paris Quotes

John Lennon by Nate Vandenbos

Listen, the snow is falling over town… between Tokyo and Paris, between London and Dallas, between your God and mine. Listen, the snow is falling everywhere… —John Lennon, Listen, the Snow is Falling

Do you know why there are so many churches in Paris? So that pedestrians can go in to say a prayer before crossing the street.  Art Buchwald

America is my country and Paris is my hometown. — Gertrude Stein

I could spend my whole life watching the Seine flow by. It is a poem of Paris. — Blaise Cendrars

Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past. –Michael Simkins

Paris is always a good idea.
— Audrey Hepburn

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café. — Oscar Hammerstein

It is perfectly possible to be enamoured of Paris while remaining totally indifferent or even hostile to the French. –James Baldwin

« Je suis a stranger here, » I said in flawless French. « Je veux aller to le best hotel dans le town. » –F. Scott Fitzgerald

Good Americans when they die go to Paris. — Thomas Appleton: quoted in O.W. Holmes’s The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table VI

Paris Quotes

Mark Twain by Nate Vandenbos

  • …anywhere is better than Paris. Paris the cold, Paris the drizzly, Paris the rainy, Paris the damnable. More than a hundred years ago somebody asked Quin, « Did you ever see such a winter in all your life before? » « Yes, » said he, « Last summer. » I judge he spent his summer in Paris. Let us change the proverb; Let us say all bad Americans go to Paris when they die. No, let us not say it for this adds a new horror to Immortality. – letter to Lucius Fairchild, 28 April 1880
  • The French… always tangle up everything to that degree that when you start into a sentence you never know whether you are going to come out alive or not.
  • In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language. – The Innocents Abroad
  • Trivial Americans go to Paris when they die.
  • But above all things, [Napoleon] had taken the sole control of the empire of France into his hands and made it a tolerably free land – for people who will not attempt to go to far in meddling with government affairs. No country offers greater security to life and property than France, and one has all the freedom he wants, but no license – no license to interfere with anybody or make anyone uncomfortable. – The Innocents Abroad
  • I suppose French morality is not of that straight-laced description which is shocked at trifles. –The Innocents Abroad — Mark Twain
Paris Quotes

Babe Ruth by Nate Vandenbos

Paris ain’t much of a town. –Babe Ruth

Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant. –Honoré de Balzac

“The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.”
― Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within

  • « A more benevolent people, I have never known, nor greater warmth & devotedness in their select friendships. Their kindness and accommodation to strangers is unparalleled, and the hospitality of Paris is beyond anything I had conceived to be practicable in a large city. »
  • “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”
  • “I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds, and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant pleasures of this gay capital [Paris]”.
  • « … so ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?— certainly in my own, where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of my life.—Which would be your second choice?—France. »
  • “France is every man’s second country”.― Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, « …with all his extraordinary versatility of character and opinions, » the historian Henry Adams wrote, « seemed during his entire life to breathe with perfect satisfaction nowhere except in the liberal, literary, and scientific air of Paris…. »

Paris a mon coeur dès mon enfance. Je ne suis français que par cette grande cité. Grande surtout et incomparable en variété. La gloire de la France et l’un des plus nobles ornements du monde. — Michel de Montaigne

There is an atmosphere of spiritual effort here. No other city is quite like it. I wake early, often at 5 o’clock, and start writing at once. — James Joyce

  • J’ai deux amours…..Mon pays et Paris.
    (I have two loves… country and Paris.)
  • I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely. — Josephine Baker

« To inhale Paris preserves the soul. » — Victor Hugo, ‘Les Misérables

Paris Quotes

Humphrey Bogart by Nate Vandenbos

Nous aurons toujours Paris… — Humphrey Bogart dans « Casablanca »

You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden. –Allen Ginsberg

This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain’s very important. That’s when Paris smells its sweetest.  It’s the damp chestnut trees. — Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me. — Adriana in Midnight in Paris

The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older – intelligence and good manners. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art. — Carlos Ruiz Zafón

A final reminder. Whenever you are in Paris at twilight in the early summer, return to the Seine and watch the evening sky close slowly on a last strand of daylight fading quietly, like a sigh. — Kate Simon

Even the pigeons are dancing, kissing, going in circles, mounting each other. Paris is the city of love, even for the birds. — Samantha Schutz

It is no accident that propels people like us to Paris. Paris is simply an artificial stage, a revolving stage that permits the spectator to glimpse all phases of the conflict. Of itself Paris initiates no dramas. They are begun elsewhere. Paris is simply an obstetrical instrument that tears the living embryo from the womb and puts it in the incubator. –Henry Miller

I have sampled every language; French is my favorite. Fantastic language, especially to curse with. — The Merovingian, in The Matrix Reloaded

Most of the streets of this wonderful Paris are nothing but intestines, filthy and permanently wet with pestilential water. — Henri Lecourturier, 1848

They were dancing the renowned ‘Can-can.’… The idea of it is to dance as wildly, as noisily, as furiously as you can; expose yourself as much as possible if you are a woman; and kick as high as you can, no matter which sex you belong to . . . I suppose French morality is not of that straight-laced description which is shocked at trifles. I moved aside and took a general view of the can-can. Shouts, laughter, furious music, a bewildering chaos of darting and intermingling forms, stormy jerking and snatching of gay dresses, bobbing beads, flying arms, lightning flashes of white-stockinged calves and dainty slippers in the air, and then a grand final rush, riot, a terrific hubbub, and a wild stampede! Heavens! — Mark Twain

This city is another world
Therein a flowerful world
Of people very powerful
To whom all things abound. — on a map Paris made by Matthaus Merian in 1615

Paris Quotes, France, La Seine and songs