When it comes to French tattoos, you’ll never be short of ideas! Here are 50 fabulous French-themed tattoos to get your juices flowing, including 25 French symbols and imagery and 25 French quotes and phrases with their meanings.
Tattoos that make you think of France
When you think of France, what comes to mind?
Chances are, you wouldn’t think of someone who looks like Sylvain Helaine, aka Freaky Hoody, the most tattooed man in France and former French kindergarten teacher.
His entire body is covered in tattoos from head to toe, including his palms, the bottom of his feet, tongue, gums, and even his eyeballs are surgically inked black.
Sylvain lost his job teaching kindergarten at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, because “some” parents complained that he scared the children.
Oh well, c’est la vie.
You don’t have to tattoo your entire body like Sylvain, but if you’re interested in getting a tattoo inspired by France and French culture, here are 50 ideas for you.
French Map tattoos
1. Map of France Tattoo
Photo source: nicklesg
A cartographer’s dream tattoo if (s)he loved France. A tattoo of a map of France is not only a fun way to show your love for the country but also your wanderlust heart. It’s not overly obvious like the
French Flag Tattoo
Photo source: j_ed3n_art79
A tattoo of the
French-inspired bird tattoos
3. Swallow tattoo
photo source unknown
Swallow tattoos were initially made popular by British sailors of the past. French fashion designer Coco
Chanel N5 tattoo
photo source of
Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne- are just some of the classical French Perfumes that have long been synonymous with wealth, class and, of course, elegance! A tattoo of your favourite French
French plant and flower tattoos
5. French Lavender Sprig Tattoo
Photo source: nothingwildtattoo
Provence France is known for many things, but the most recognizable might be the colour, the texture and the scent of its world-famous lavender fields.
6. Lily Of The Valley Flower Tattoo: “Muguet.”
Photo source: leehumphs_tattooer
The Lily of the Valley, known as “Muguet” in France, has a very special place in French culture.
On May 1st, for la Fête du Muguet, it’s customary to offer a sprig, bouquet or potted Lily of the Valley plant to friends and loved ones to wish them happiness, luck and prosperity in celebration of the arrival of spring.
Watch out, Lily of the valley is poisonous if ingested, even the water in the vase.
You should read more about the French custom of giving lily of the valley flowers (Muguet):
7. French Fleur De Lis Tattoo
photo source: lyxy666
Fleur de Lis means “flower of the lily” and is a lily composed of three petals bound together near their bases. French monarchs first used this classical French emblem on their shields. English kings later used the symbol on their coat of arms to emphasize their claims to France’s throne. It’s also on the official
French animal tattoos
8. French coq tattoo aka Gallic Rooster tattoo
Coq tattoo photo source via David Hale
“Le Coq Gaulois” or the “Gallic rooster” is one of France’s most widely recognized and identifiable symbols. It has been used intermittently since medieval times on French engravings and coins and has become the hallmark of French country design. French brands that incorporate the coq in their logo include sports brand giant “Le Coq Sportif” and “Pathé” cinemas in France.
9. French Poodle tattoo
photo source: daisybelletheheadtiltingpoodle
Despite its name, French poodles are technically not a French breed; however, the French were responsible for helping develop the breed and boost their popularity, which may be why most people associate them with France.
10. French Bull Dog tattoo
photo source: skinnysinktattoo
If you love Frenchies, there’s nothing cuter than a French bulldog tattoo “Bouledogue.”
French art tattoos
11. French painting tattoo
Edgar Dégas ballerina tattoo photo source via Angie Leaf
If you’re into French art from Famous French painters like Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, there are thousands of tattoo ideas out there waiting to be discovered. Just crack open an art book for inspiration.
Be sure to look for a tattoo artist who has the artistic ability to recreate the French work of art.
12. Tattoos of famous cartoons and comics in France
Asterix tattoo photo source from LTW tattoo studio
If you’re into comics and cartoons, you have quite a few to choose from.
There’s Astérix et Obelix, Les Aventures de Tintin, Lucky Luke and Les Daltons, to name a few.
Although many classic French cartoons are from Belgium cartoonists, they are extremely popular in France and recognizable by all French people.
I bet you didn’t know that the Smurfs was also a Belgium creation by the Belgian cartoonist Peyou. They’re called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French.
Did you know there is a French amusement park near Paris called Parc Astérix based on the French language comic book.
French Landmarks and Tourist Attractions
France is filled with famous buildings and beautiful structure.
All good tattoo artists should be able to draw any of these French monuments onto your body in any style and size of your choosing.
13. Paris city skyline tattoo
Home is where your ink is. If your love for Paris goes beyond any one thing or you can’t get enough of Paris, then a Paris skyline tattoo is a straightforward way to say it.
Paris city skyline tattoo photo source via Tatto.com
Eiffel Tower tattoo
If you love Paris, what about a tattoo of the
The style, design and even color combinations are endless.
Eiffel tower wrist tattoo photo source via Travel Each Day
photo source: lamarink
15. Notre Dame church tattoo
photo source: Black Ink Story
Tattoos for budding French chefs
Forget the stuffy clean-cut image you have of French chefs. Yes, they exist, but there’s a new breed of tattoo-wearing chefs these days.
Tattoos have become a sort of status symbol amongst professional French chefs . Just take a look at the famous French chef Ludo Lefebre who is covered in meaningful tattoos- like little badges of memory.
16. Butchers cut tattoo:
A quaint way to express your inner chef is an antique-looking butcher cut tattoo.
Take your pick, beef, chicken or pork.
photo source of beef cut tattoo: Juanita Mac Photographer
photo source: tattoosalonen
17. Chef Knife
photo source: summerfaith96
A chef knife is the perfect tattoo for home chefs and professional chefs with mad chopping skills.
Take it a step further with French cooking term such as “Mise en place”- which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It’s the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service.
French food and wine tattoos
From famous French dishes, to French wine and stinky French cheese, the possibilities are endless for you French foodies when it comes to French cuisine inspired ink tattoos.
18. French macarons
photo source: Raptorazor
Get a tattoo in every flavour and in full colour to show your love of French confectionery.
Brown ones are usually chocolate or coffee, red ones are strawberry, blue ones are blueberry.
19. Red Wine or Champagne tattoo
photo source unknown
No explanation is needed here. The French consume more wine per capita than any other nation of people- possible designs are endless.
Have a favorite bottle of wine or champagne? Dom Perignon, veuve clicquot, Tattinger?
20. Tattoo of a Croissant
photo source: danetattoo
21. French baguette tattoo
Photo source: bitchinkworldwide
22. French Cheese tattoo
Photo source: jadee.ellen
The French produce hundreds of different types of cheese. Pick one- anyone for your next tattoo.
Don’t forget stinky French cheese.
23. Escargot tattoo (snails) YUMMY!
photo source: bradywillmott
When it comes to French cliches, escargot (edible snails) should be at the top of the list along with the French better and stopped shirts.
See also: Weird French foods
Tattoos of French Inventions
A little-known fact about the French is that they’re responsible for many important inventions and technological advances, including movies, the hot air balloon, the bicycle and the bra!
Which French invention tattoo do you like?
24. French HotAir Balloon & Submarine Tattoo:
Photo source: sarahktattoo
Two French brothers were the first to successfully attempt a manned hot-air balloon ascent in 1783.
25. Bicycle tattoo:
Photo source: small.tatoo
25 tattoo ideas using French words, quotes and phrases:
The beauty of getting a tattoo of a French quote, French word or French phrase is that there are thousands to choose from.
The quote can be a French phrase from a favourite book, song or movie. For instance, if you’re a Star Trek fan and love its opening credit matra, “Space: the final frontier”, you could get it translated and inked on your body. In case you’re interested “L’espace, l’ultime frontière.”
Another great tattoo idea is to get inked with a loving word dedicated to a loved one such as “AMOUR”, French for love or “BELLE”, French for pretty.
The length and number of words in your tattoo will determine the best placement.
If you’re going with a longer quote, the back or along your thigh is a good place. Go with a shorter French quote if you want to put a quote on your inner arm, foot, wrist or collar bone. And then there are of course, chest tattoo quotes which can be as big or as small as you like.
For those that want to be a little more discreet, you can always put your tattoo in a private place where no one can see it unless you let them.
On to the list of French phrases that would make great French tattoos.
I’ve translated their meaning from French to English.
26. C’est la vie:
For all you Pulp fiction fans, “C’est la vie” is the Chuck Berry song that John Travolta and Uma Therman did that wild dance to.
27. Je t’aime:
I love you.
28. Il était une fois:
Once upon a time.
“Once upon a time” is a great literary tattoo not only because it’s the first line of most fairy tales; it also reminds us not to dwell too much on the past because there are always new beginnings. Getting it in French adds even more magical elegance to it.
29. La vie est belle:
Life is beautiful.
30. Non, Je ne regrette rien:
No, I regret nothing.
Non, Je ne regrette reien” is the name of a song, sung by French singer Edith Piaf.
31. Crois en toi
Believe in yourself.
32. Tout ce dont tu as besoin c’est l’amour:
All you need is love.
33. J’aime mes parents.
I love my parents.
34. Il y a toujours de l’espoir:
There is always hope.
35. Nourris ta foi:
Feed your fait.
36. Vis tes rêves:
Live your dreams.
37. Le monde est à mes pieds:
The world is at my feet.
38. Rien n’est impossible:
Nothing is impossible.
39. Rien n’est éternal:
Nothing is eternal.
40. L’amour ne manque jamais:
Love never fails.
41. Tout arrive pour une raison:
Everything happens for a reason.
42. Rien à prouver:
Nothing to prove.
43. Je veux aimer et être aimé:
I want to love and be loved.
44. Un amour, une vie:
One love, one life.
45. L’amour c’est ma vie
Love is my life.
46. Joie de vivre:
Joy of living.
47. Mon bonheur ne dépend que de moi:
My happiness depends only on me.
48. C’est La Vie, C’est L’Amour.
That’s life, that’s love.
This is also the name of a song sung in 1959 by Jane Morgan.
49. Croire en l’impossible:
Believe in the impossible.
50. Jamais plus jamais:
Never ever again.
“Jamais plus jamais” is also the French movie title for the James bond movie “Never say Never Again.”
And Much More
French smoking pigeon with Eiffel tower, wine and baguettes tattoo: created by Shaw Hebrank
The more you delve into French culture, the greater the chance of getting even more fabulous French tattoo ideas.
If you’re still short of ideas after looking through this blog post, inspiration is never far away, with thousands of books, magazines and French websites just waiting to light your imagination.
Remember, though – tattoos are for life. Make sure you’re certain that you want something inked onto your body forever, and make sure you take care of your new tattoo as best as possible to ensure it looks beautiful for as long as you live.
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Thanks to Authority Tattoo for co-authoring this post with me.