Although word pieces are quite common, few can create as much romance as French tattoos. These works are most frequently used to express feelings of love and joy, to recite prose or show pride in heritage. Most of these works are done in a swirling, loose design, and consist of common sayings such as “c’est la vie,” and “la vie est belle.” However, it is not uncommon to see them in a variety of fonts, mingled with other languages, or even interspersed with images.
Though the scrolling, cursive-type lettering may be most common for French tattoos, some people like to use something a little different. For example, art deco – which originated in Paris – is quite popular for French-themed pieces. In this style, the lettering tends to be geometric, with a sharp, straight and streamlined slope. These words are often surrounded by crisp borders or deeply stylized images. Some people prefer a more natural font for their French tattoos. These often consist of the wearer’s own handwriting, but may also feature the handwriting of a celebrity or artist, a parent, sibling, spouse or child.
Some French tattoos – along with quotes, poems and phrases – also feature well-known French iconography. For instance, it is not uncommon to see a quote jutting out from the side of the Eiffel Tower, placed around the entrance the Arc de Triomphe, or etched into the stained glass of the Sainte-Chapelle. Others like to place their words within, above or below a scene from a classic piece of French art. For example, you may see a particularly poignant scene from Tristan and Iseult, or Le Cid painted onto a large area of skin, along with corresponding text. Other images may be more fanciful, such as cartoon-styled poodles or French bulldogs surrounded by text; or spindly-limbed lovers sitting in a cafe, murmuring words of passion to each other. Many people, however, use these tattoos to express a pride in ancestry. Although most of these pieces simply show quotes placed in or around a drapeau tricolore, there are other interesting ways to show pride. For example, you may use quotes culled from a famous artist, politician or humanitarian, and place them under a silhouette of said idol.
Even though French pieces have become increasingly common, it is not difficult to make them wholly original and unique. Whether you decide on using a different type of font, an unusual quote or phrase, or simply choose to invent a brand new design to border your lettering, you are certain to create something that is totally your own.