21 French words you need to use to sound more sophisticated

Pretentious, moi? If you want to sound like a wordsmith par excellence, sprinkling your casual conversation with these Gallic words is certainly de rigueur

1. Frisson

Use it in such sentences as: “Reflecting on how Monet captured a sense of sublime in his Water Lillies paintings always gives me a frisson of excitement”

2. Raison d’être

Use it in such sentences as: “Sipping champers on a Tuesday is really my raison d’être”

3. De rigueur

Use it in such sentences as: “A yacht in Cannes really is de rigueur these days”

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4. Soigné

Use it in such sentences as: “I picked up a few fashion essentials on the Champs-Elysée and felt sufficiently soigné”

5. Tête-à-tête

Use it in such sentences as: We talked tête-à-tête about Jean-Luc’s Godard’s new wave cinema

6. Sangfroid

Use it in such sentences as “He showed remarkable sangfroid when he realised the wine was corked”

7. Savoir-faire

Use it in such sentences as: “The savoir-faire of the film director created stunning insight into the human condition”

8. Froideur

Use it in such sentences as: “A year in Paris has her taught her the art of froideur which she exercises on her ex-lover”

9. Par excellence

Use it in such sentences as: “I only ever eat in French restaurants. The cuisine is par excellence”

10. Haute-couture

Use it in such sentences as: “I wear my latest purchase so well it could pass for haute-couture”

11. Je ne sais quoi

Use it in such sentences as: “The way she ties her scarf adds a certain je ne sais quoi to her ensemble”

12. Joie de vivre

Use it in such sentences as: “Small children playing so harmoniously in the sandpits of Place des Vosges encapsulates joie de vivre”

13. Bonhomie

Use it in such sentences as: “Allowing my butler to leave early on a Friday engenders a certain feeling of bonhomie”

14. Avant-garde

Use it in such sentences as “The way she’s positions her chaise-longue in the centre of the salon is so avante-garde”

15. Tour de force

Use it in such sentences as: “The new Louis Vuitton foundation in Paris is an architectural tour de force”

16. Soupçon

Use it in such sentences as: “That foie gras looks rather heavy. I’ll just have a soupcon”

17. En vogue

Use it in such sentences as: “My new puppy Octavia is a labradoodle. The breed is very en vogue”

18. Objet d’art

Use it in such sentences as: “My daughter’s latest clay vase could really pass as an objet d’art”

19. Crème de la crème

Use it in such sentences as: “One might say that my soufflé is the crème de la crème”

20. Rendez-vous

Use it in such sentences as: “Let’s rendez-vous after I tie my cravate”

21. Voilà

Use it in such sentences as: “I’ve always intended to employ more French in conversation. And voilà!”