Try these compliments in French to charm like a native

Génial, un crack, raffiné - find out how to authentically show your approval

Make your French friends smile with these compliments
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It is a sure sign you are fitting in when you start receiving compliments in French - on condition that you know what they mean! 

Here are 10 common compliments that you can use in all walks of life from admiring someone’s handiwork to charming the neighbours.


A close English translation would be ‘wonderful’ or ‘great’. If a French person says ‘tu es génial’, then you should feel very happy. It can be used in professional or informal settings. 

It is informal language and a common compliment in French.

While it is linked to the word ‘genius’, the French term does not only mean smart or intelligent. In this respect it is something of a ‘false friend’, or faux ami.

Read more: Five language ‘faux-amis’ that confused me as a French person in US 


The word means very beautiful, but suggests strong attraction and as such is an intimate expression. 

If your partner sees you in a new outfit and says that you are ravissante, then you can be sure that they like how you look.

It is most commonly used to describe women, so much so that the masculine form of the word is rare. The term cannot apply to objects.


Literally meaning worthy of love, aimable is a formal word and fairly old-fashioned. 

If you help an old lady to cross the street, you will most likely be treated to: ‘merci, vous êtes très aimable’ (thank you, you are very kind). 

It is formal language and can be used to refer to anyone who is kind to others and polite. 

Read more: Tata, frangin, papounet: Cute French names for family members


This has the same meaning as in English but it is more common in French. 

It can also be used when someone offers you help, then a good response is ‘merci, tu es vraiment adorable’ (thank you, you are really lovely). 

Adorable is very similar to aimable but it is a stronger compliment and more familiar language.

Un crack

Like ‘a crack-shot’ in English, this means you are good at something.

The term un crack is highly colloquial in French and only to be used with friends or people you know well. 

It is informal language. When discussing a common friend, someone might say ‘c’est vraiment un crack, lui’ (‘he really is a great guy’). 


This direct translation of ‘remarkable’ is common in French. 

It is neutral language, and appropriate for formal and informal situations.

Read more: Mistakes that English-speakers make in French that make natives laugh

Ca te va à merveille

Meaning ‘it looks amazing on you’, this is a big compliment to receive. 

If you are trying on clothes at a shop with a friend, they might gush and tell you: ça te va à merveille ! 

It is familiar language.


This means ‘gifted’ or ‘skillful’ but it is employed more often in French. If someone is good at something, then you would refer to them as being doué

The term ‘surdoué’ means ‘overly skillful’ and is used to describe someone who is exceptionally intelligent. 

It is neutral language.


This word means ‘refined, elegant’. 

Like in English, it also describes something that has had unwanted elements removed and refers to someone or something that is stylish and cultured. 

It is formal language.

Read more: Ways to apologise in French and how to say ‘pardon, I didn’t hear you?’

Le sang de la veine 

This translates to ‘the blood of the vein’. If someone refers to you as this, it means that they see you as family and that you are very important to them. 

This informal expression was popularised by French rappers and is strongly associated with Marseille in the south of France.