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Favorite Paris Quotes

January 22nd, 2009 · 50 Comments

A Movable Feast

The quote I love the best about Paris is Ernest Hemingway’s:

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

His quote captures everything about Paris in just that one sentence, for indeed it is a movable feast for all the senses and as he says, if you are lucky enough to live in Paris as a young person (I was) then it remains with you, as a part of you, no matter where you are!

Another Hemingway quote that I love:

Il n’y a que deux endroits au monde où l’on puisse vivre heureux:  chez soi et à Paris.

(There are only two places in the world where we can live happy:  at home and in Paris.)

Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.

From The Paris Wife

(A novel about Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley.)

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

Jean Anouilh

A summer evening in Paris.

Here are some more famous and not so famous quotes that I like about Paris.

J’ai deux amours…..Mon pays et Paris.
(I have two loves…..my country and Paris.)

I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely.

Josephine Baker

America is my country and Paris is my hometown.

Gertrude Stein

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.

Mark Twain

An artist painting in the Louvre 

An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.

Friedrich Nietzsche

My best efforts were some modern things that looked like very lousy Matisses. Thank God I had the sense to realize they were lousy, and leave Paris.

Norman Rockwell

In Paris everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator.

Les Français sont des Italiens de mauvaise humeur.

(The French are Italians in a bad mood.)

Jean Cocteau

In America only the successful writer is important, in France all writers are important, in England no writer is important, and in Australia you have to explain what a writer is.

Geoffrey Cottrell

Taxi Parisien 

The first thing that strikes a visitor to Paris is a taxi.

Fred Allen

In Paris, one is always reminded of being a foreigner.  If you park your car wrong, it is not the fact that it’s on the sidewalk that matters, but the fact that you speak with an accent.

Roman Polanski

Traffic lights in London are imperative, in Paris - they’re suggestive, in Rome - they’re decorative.

Something I’ve always said.

Boy those French, they have a different word for everything.

Steve Martin

France is the only country where the money falls apart and you can’t tear the toilet paper.

Billy Wilder

(Actually, Wilder’s quote was true back in the day!  When I first came to Paris I use to write home on the toilet paper because it was so sturdy!)

Lovers in Paris 

Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography.  Rome is feminine.  So is Odessa.  London is a teenager, an urchin, and this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens.  Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.

John Berger

I thought of Paris as a beauty spot on the face of the earth, and of London as a big freckle.

When we arrived in London, my sadness at leaving Paris was turned into despair. After my long stay in the French capital, huge, ponderous, massive London seemed to me as ugly a thing as man could contrive to make.

James Weldon Johnson

It’s true that the French have a certain obsession with sex, but it’s a particularly adult obsession. France is the thriftiest of all nations; to a Frenchman sex provides the most economical way to have fun. The French are a logical race.

Anita Loos

President and Jackie Kennedy with French President Charles de Gaulle 

I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it.

Pres. John F. Kennedy

L’Americain de Paris, c’est ce que l’Amerique a fait de mieux.

 

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

 

Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.

Honoré de Balzac

The Eiffel Tower at sunset.
I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles.

Cole Porter

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

Mae West

Chestnut trees in Autumn.

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

midnight-in-paris-2.jpg

I love this film!  Woody Allen is so perceptive about how we humans are never satisfied with the here and now and we’re always yearning for another time, another era, where things were better than they are now….

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

 What is it with this city? I need to write a letter to the Chamber of Commerce.

Gil in Midnight in Paris

 Adriana:  I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.

Gil:  No, you can’t, you couldn’t pick one. I mean I can give you a checkmate argument for each side. You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.

Maya Muses: In the spirit of Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein I add my own quote:

My allegiance is to my country, but my heart belongs to Paris.

And in the spirit of Ernest Hemingway, my own quotes are:

Paris was one big party!  When I left, no matter where I was or where I went, when I thought of Paris, I had the impression that the party was still going on and I was the only one without an invitation. 

One experiences life differently with each passing decade and although it’s wonderful to live in Paris at any moment in your life; nothing compares to living in Paris when one is young!

Photo Credits:  Flickr, Google Images, and Rita Crane

All Rights Reserved

Tags: Favorite Quotes · Paris - Paname

50 responses so far ↓

  • 1 meredith aka skylar // Jan 22, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Wow!!! I remember when I spent a month in Paris… back in 1998… I would walk down the block to the local baker and get my baguette, fougasse ou patisseries….. Un pur délice!!!!

  • 2 Lynn // Jan 22, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Meredith, I think everyone who has ever spent time in Paris keeps those memories in their hearts as though it were yesterday! There’s just something magical about Paris.

  • 3 Mia // Jan 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Well then,I will experience Paris for the first time,at the age 58,but I’m young at heart,so I think I will enjoy it!
    Maybe my first visit there will be to see you?Who knows?

    I fell in love with Madrid,maybe I do the same with Paris?

  • 4 Lynn // Jan 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    It’s a date! I loved many of the places I lived in: Madrid, Copenhagen, Rome, Amsterdam, etc., but none compare to Paris!

    I was talking to a friend recently about the time I spent in Mexico City and how much I loved it there. I always said I would return one day to live there for a year. (I think to really know a place, you need to spend all four seasons there.)

  • 5 Maya Johnson // Sep 11, 2009 at 1:21 am

    I am in Paris right now working on a very interesting project. I Googled “Paris Hemingway” and there you are! So enjoyed your blog. Please email me if you get the opportunity. Maya

  • 6 Lynn // Sep 12, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Thanks Maya! What could be better than being in Paris and working on an interesting project?! By the way, I love your name! (Lol.)

  • 7 Jennifer // Dec 12, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Such a delight to read a blog dedicated to the greatest city I have ever had the pleasure of visiting! I first experienced Paris when I was 17 (3 years ago) and went for the second time this past summer. I fell in love with it the moment I escaped the maze of Chatelet les Halles and set foot on the infamous cobble stone streets. I cannot wait to return to Paris to soak up more of the culture, the history, the fashion, the language, the food, the wine. For now, Toronto will have to do. xx

  • 8 Lynn // Dec 12, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Jennifer, I see that Paris has seduced you like so many other people!!! You’re one of the lucky ones, however, who has discovered many of her charms at a young age! I was lucky too!

    If you have to wait awhile before returning…..Toronto is not a bad place to have to wait! It’s a great city!

  • 9 Jennifer // Dec 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I agree, I love Toronto! I just don’t seem to be content unless I’m wandering the streets of some unfamiliar city. I just read your “about me” section and we have some things in common. I also have a strong love for travelling, perhaps because I have always done so since early childhood. This past summer my friend and I backpacked through France and Italy, where we spent many nights sleeping in train stations and student hostels. I loved the unpredictability, so liberating!

  • 10 Lynn // Dec 14, 2009 at 3:23 am

    So true!…..And the wonderful people you meet along the way, not to mention all the sights and sounds that are a feast for your soul!

    Thanks Jennifer, you bring back many fond memories of great times in Italy as well! I wish you as many wonderful journeys through your travels as I have had and many, many more!

  • 11 susan // May 24, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Came across this blog searching quotes about Paris for my blog, DesignDestinations.org. Wow. This is great. I love your blog and just signed on to rss feed. I think we are kindred spirits.

    Just got home from a week in Paris and can’t wait to go back.

  • 12 Lynn // May 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks so much, Susan! I popped over to your blog and it’s great! As I said, I’m sure you’ll be back in Paris soon and I look forward to reading more!

  • 13 Ange // Jun 3, 2011 at 6:45 am

    PARIS…. first visited at 14 returned at 38 to truly appreciate it after living in belfast brisbane and a few places in between, i am in brisbane australia and planning to return again to paris with my husband and 2 children, just before my 40th. Paris makes me feel alive it awoke all my senses at once the sights the tastes the smells the sounds, an amazing place :)

  • 14 Lynn // Jun 4, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Ange, Paris does cast a spell like a femme fatale and before you know it you have fallen madly in love with her because, as you said, she awakens all your senses at once!!! I’m sure you and your family will have a wonderful time here….how could you not?!!!

  • 15 Marissa // Jun 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Im from Mexico and I’ve been in paris last month, i visited the eiffel tower, euro disney, louvre museum, notre dame, and so much more in just 3 days!! I totally love it!! Im 15, im young, and i wish i could go again some day.. its too pretty for me. Also London, and Italy are nice, but nothing compares to my lovely Paris.

  • 16 Lynn // Jun 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Ahh Marissa, I see that Paris has seduced you as well! I’m sure you will come back again, just don’t wait too long! As I’ve said, Paris is wonderful at any age, but nothing compares to living here when one is young!

    (Still, no rush, you have a long way to go before becoming old!!! LOL!)

  • 17 Jane // Feb 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    hello i love paris

  • 18 Lynn // Feb 3, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Oh, Jane, welcome to the club!!!

  • 19 Anastasia // Feb 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Great blog Lynn! I am Anastasia from Greece and I am in love with Paris. The moment I walked into its streets, I knew that I had to live there because its air felt so familiar to me. Been there 2 times, planning the third (following the advice of Honore de Balzac)…In my blog my first post was about Paris with some photos too. I hope I will post from Paris soon!

  • 20 Lynn // Feb 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks Anastasia! I love the photos you took of Paris and wish you a quick return. I, also, felt the way you did when I first came to Paris and I have now spent half my life here. (The better half!)

  • 21 Mazen ABBOUD // Feb 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Paris is hunted with ghosts of great women & men. You will smell their scents everywhere there: in the streets, museums, palaces, churches & gardens. Paris is indeed an incarnation of what the kingdom of God on earth.

  • 22 Lynn // Feb 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Well said Mazen. It’s a good haunting and it must be why it’s such a pleasure to walk the streets of Paris. And, who knows, maybe Heaven resembles a little bit like Paris….well, some parts of Paris, not all! Lol. Thanks for writing!

  • 23 eenjay // Feb 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

    My dream place. Paris <3

  • 24 Lynn // Mar 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Join the club Eenjay…..there’s plenty of room for new members!!!

  • 25 Ana Sofia // Mar 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I visted France for the first time this past summer and spent a month in Paris. It was without a doubt the best expience of my life. Like you said Paris awakens all your senses at once…what an undescribable feeling! I had plans to return and stay for a year, but like they say…life happened and I won’t be able to do so. I now feel as though I’m going thru the worst heart break I have ever experienced! Can that even be possible?? How could a city have this much hold on me?? HELP?!?!?

    I once read somewhere that to feel what heaven is like you just have to go to Paris and feel the sunshine on you….how true that is!!

  • 26 Ernilyn // Mar 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I love Paris so much…Even though I haven’t been there…It has been my dream to go there…

  • 27 Lynn // Mar 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Ana Sofia, believe me, it is possible!!! The same thing happened to me when I first left Paris years ago! I was so sad and heartbroken, it was like I was carrying on a love affair with a city! I was jealous when someone I knew was going to Paris, or someone who knew someone who was going and I wasn’t there! I thought I was crazy, but I realized that Paris does that to so many people.

    Paris makes you fall in love with Paris! It’s as simple as that! And once you’re under its spell, you’ll be like so many of us who couldn’t stay away, so I know…..sooner or later you’ll be back.

    I love the quote from The Paris Wife: “Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.” Well, actually there is one. The only cure is to do what I did; I came back to Paris.

    As you said, “….life happened….” but there are so many turns in life, so don’t give up and believe that you’ll be back!

  • 28 Lynn // Mar 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Ernilyn, as I told Ana Sofia, believe and it’s one step closer in making that dream come true! All the best to you!

  • 29 Ana Sofia // Mar 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Lynn, thank you so much for your words! I also do truly believe that wherever life will take me…that is will eventually take me back to Paris!

    I decided to go there on a whim…it was either go back to the country of my birth, Portugal…which I’ve been to many times…or go to Paris, which I had never been to, to visit my aunt…so I decided on a new experience, why not go somewhere I’ve never been…and boy, I will never regret that decision….it was life altering….

    Again, thank you so much for your response. It gave me some hope that I will one day be reunited with the one place that truly opened up my eyes and as corny as it may sound…made me find myself and the woman that I am and was intended to be….

  • 30 Lynn // Mar 14, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Well said, Ana Sofia! It’s not corny at all, actually it makes sense to me. Like you, I wasn’t going to come to Paris at all. Paris didn’t interest me at the time, I wanted to go to London, Rome and Athens, but in some strange way, I think Paris chooses us! You can read how I first came to Paris if you like here: http://itsallmaya.com/seduced-by-paris/ All the best to you!

  • 31 cindy // Mar 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    My first time in Paris was when i was 15 years old. was my best experience for example the food, clothes, people. museums, hotels were the most amazing things that i have seen. the tower is incredibly amazing triumphal arch is beautiful. for those That never been at Paris can not leave without trying macarrons.
    and go Elysian Fields

  • 32 Lynn // Mar 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks Cindy, I think you managed to include just about everything! Lol.

  • 33 John // Apr 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I just came wondering if someone felt as bad as me in Paris.It really made me so sad.Saw no beauty there.Its just so depressing.I lived in New York,Madrid,Rome and now i live in London and wouldnt swap any of them for Paris.As a writer,it really destroyed me.Actually,it almost killed me.Dont see the point in selfdestruction as you can enjoy “la boheme” even in Seville and it makes you happy,full of joy.Paris,to me,has no joy.Its a writers cemetery.I hope Chuck Palahniuk never leave the States.

  • 34 Lynn // Apr 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    John, thank you for writing your point of view. Paris isn’t for everyone and thank goodness for that! Most people who come here to my blog, however, are those who love Paris. Some are those who have never been to Paris, but dream of coming here, others have been here and have fallen in love with this beautiful city and dream about returning. So far, you’re the only one who has been here and is happy to have left! (I mean, as far as comments go. I’m sure there are others who feel like you.)

    I’ve also lived in Madrid and Rome and I’ve spent time in New York and London, but in all the places I’ve lived, I was never really happy like I was in Paris and so I finally decided to come “home”.

  • 35 H M Hallman // Jun 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    As I pursued the post I noticed that only one male (John) posted and that he did not like Paris. The only dissenting post I believe.So I thought I would give another male perceptive.

    I also love Paris. Been there twice, wished I lived there, found all the negative stereotypes to be wrong and the history and beauty of Paris should be a writer’s dream. I am sorry John had bad experiences, but you can have them anywhere.

  • 36 Lynn // Jun 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for giving another male perspective, HMH, and a positive one at that!!! I tell people all the time (mostly in the States) that those negative stereotypes are exactly that!

    Parisians, in general, are very nice and helpful - as long as you are. I’ve noticed, people often experience what they expect in life, but that’s a whole other topic! (Once again, I’m speaking in general and not alluding to the experiences that John had here in Paris.)

  • 37 adriana // Jun 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Paris is a city that the words can’t describe!, im living here for this year so i leave in august!, even that i miss my family i don’t want to leave Paris! I’ll miss it so much

  • 38 Lynn // Jun 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Adriana, it sounds like you’re already missing Paris even though you haven’t left yet…. I’m sure you’ll be back!

  • 39 Lynn // Jul 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I left Paris in May and I miss it horribly. Seriously thinking about moving in there in the next two years.

  • 40 Lynn // Jul 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Paris will do that to you, Lynn! There’s something magical about Paris that gets to the very depth of your soul….not everyone, mind you. Paris just calls some of us lucky ones!

  • 41 Brittany // Dec 18, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I am moving to Paris in February to study at Paris Ouest University. I cannot wait to visit the old movie theaters, chateaux and cake shops. If anyone has any insights into what to expect from life in Paris, do let me know. If am working on a blog which will document my time over there and will provide gorgeous photos to make you all jealous :)

  • 42 Lynn // Dec 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Brittany, you will love it or hate it! There are no in betweens with Paris, but don’t worry, most people fall in love with Paris and carry on that love affair for the rest of their lives!!! All the best to you on your exciting new life in Paris! I’m sure you’re going to love it here!

  • 43 andrea // Jan 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

    “I’d like to see Paris before I die”
    :(( dying to see and come to Paris :(

  • 44 Lynn // Jan 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Andrea, if you’re dying to see Paris before you die (Lol!) imagine that you’re here and keep that image of yourself in Paris. They say that our thoughts are the most powerful thing in the universe and if we focus our thoughts on what we want, it’ll eventually come true! (Every single thing that you see in the world that is man made began with just a thought!) All the best!!!

  • 45 ALEXANDER // Aug 28, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I live in Paris when I was still a teenager … so as Hemingway said : ” … then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you …”

  • 46 Lynn // Aug 28, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Alexander, it’s so true! There’s something about Paris, that stays with you no matter where you go. I also came as a teenager and then left several times and came back several times. I couldn’t stay away so now Paris has been my home for more than half my life.

  • 47 may // Nov 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    ‘Nuff already about Paris glamour! What about the sleaze, eh? The dog foo-doo on the streets; the rude waiters; the urine-smelly metro; the homeless beggars all over?! Ever heard of the Paris Syndrome, eh? It’s not all honky-dory.

  • 48 Lynn // Nov 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

    And good morning to you too, May!!! Yes, there is sleaze and if you think the dog poo is bad now, you should have seen it years ago when there wasn’t a risk of being fined! Now, you can be if you don’t pick up after your dog!!! And speaking about urine, well be glad that there aren’t any outside urinals like they use to have here on the sidewalks back in the day! The smell wasn’t only down in the Métro!

    As for the homeless, what city doesn’t have homeless people? You make it sound as if it’s only in Paris. Go to NYC or SF and you’ll see your share! Oh, and you forgot to mention the pickpockets. Now that the Eastern European countries are able to travel throughout Europe there are groups of young kids (all minors so they can’t be jailed) that pickpocket at all the tourist sites!

    You ask if I’ve ever heard of the Paris Syndrome! I wrote a blog post back in 2008 on that very subject called, Has There Been A Cure For The “Paris Syndrome”? I also wrote, the same year, about The American In Paris Syndrome - TAPS.

    All I can say is thank God there are people like you May who don’t like Paris, otherwise we would have even millions more people here and Paris is already way too crowded!!! Oh yeah, one last thing. I’ve been here since 1971 and I can’t even count on one hand the number of times a waiter has been rude! I think people are treated (in general) the way you treat them. I’ve seen my share of people who are rude to waiters, sales clerks, etc. and yes they get the same treatment back. I’m not saying that people can’t have a bad day, but I’ve yet to see a place here in Paris like the restaurant I was in, in NYC. Before I wrote the post, “Rude-nella” Opps! Lunella Restaurante New York City I looked on line and there were so many people complaining about the restaurant and the wait staff! You want a rude waiter - go there!!!

    Anyway, cheers and Happy Holidays!

  • 49 gema // Dec 28, 2013 at 3:30 am

    Hi! Lynn.
    I’m happy to read your blog.
    i read every your writing !!

    Now, i m mad in Paris!!
    Paris is just like junk drug ^^

    She make me spent so much money and time..
    Every year I’v to go to Paris !!

    Thank for your kindness^^
    from Seoul, Gema..

  • 50 Lynn // Dec 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks, Gema, for your kind words! Yes, no doubt you can spend a lot shopping in Paris and for some people it is like a drug! Sounds like you enjoy yourself every time you come!

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