Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas.
There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.
By Napoleon Bonaparte
Said by Napoleon to De Pradt, the French ambassador to Warsaw, after the retreat from Moscow in 1812.
Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.
Let them eat cake.
This quote is often attributed to Marie-Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI. Where it really comes from is unknown. As early as in the 1760s, the sentence is found in the memoirs of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau - when Marie Antoinette still lived in Vienna and was only 10 years old. Some historians attribute it to Theresa of Spain (1638-1683), the first wife of Louis XIV.
Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him
C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute.
It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.
By Antoine Jacques Claude Joseph, comte Boulay de la Meurthe, French Politician
Reaction to the 1804 drumhead trial and execution of Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, on orders of Napoleon.
Je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.
By Blaise Pascal
In his Lettres Provinciales (1656-1657). What he was saying, of course, is that it's easy to ramble on, it takes effort to be succinct.
Après moi, le déluge.
Ruin, if you like, when we are dead and gone.
By King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV said ot to Madame de Pompadour. It is generally considered a nihilistic expression of indifference to whatever happens after one is gone though it may also express a more literal forecasting of ruination. The phrase refers to the biblical flood and is believed to date from after the 1757 Battle of Rossbach, which was disastrous for the French.
L'homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers.
Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
By Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Opening sentence of the first chapter of his book "The Social Contract".
Il existe une beauté particulière qui naît dans le langage, du langage et pour le langage.
A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.
By Gaston Bachelard, French philosopher
Honi soit qui mal y pense.
Evil to him who evil thinks.
By Edward III of England, Monarch of England
It´s the motto of the British Order of the Garter originated by Edward 3rd (in 1348 or 1349).
Et qu'est-ce qu'il a voulu dire par ça?
And what did he mean by that?
By Klemens von Metternich
19th century Austrian diplomat Metternich is said to have asked of Talleyrand when he heard the French statesman had died.
Tous pour un, un pour tous.
All for one, and one for all.
By Alexandre Dumas
It is associated with the characters of his novel The Three Musketeers (1844).
Créer, c’est vivre deux fois.
To create is to live twice.
By Albert Camus, French author