Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of sayings and quotes by Colette on wisdom, grief, smile, curiosity, tears, time, writing, solitude, wine, home, happiness, humour and insomnia.

66 Quotes & Sayings By Colette, The Renowned French Novelist

Quick Facts

Famous As: Novelist

Born On: January 28, 1873

Died On: August 3, 1954

Born In: Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, France

Died At Age: 81

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, popularly known as Colette, was a French novelist, actress and journalist, who went on to become one of the best known authors in the first half of the 20th century. She was born in a prominent family in France and was sent to school; which was something that was rare among girl children at the time. After her marriage to publisher Henry Gauthier-Villars in 1893 her career as an author really took off. Colette’s earliest works were the ‘Claudine stories’ which were published in 4 parts titled ‘Claudine in School’, ‘Claudine in Paris’, ‘Claudine Married’ and ‘Claudine and Annie’. During the First World War, she worked as a journalist but she also contin-ued with her writing at the same time. Some of her noted works include’ La Vagabonde’, ‘Mistou’, ‘La Ble en Herbe’, ‘Cheri, Sido’, ‘Duo’ and ‘Le Kepi’ among others. However, her most famous work among the many novels that Colette has written is ‘Gigi’, published in 1944 that was later made into a film and also a play. Colette’s sterling work throughout her career earned her a nomination in the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her writings covered several subjects and viewpoints. Here is a collection of thoughts, quotation and sayings by Colette on foolishness, silliness, flowers, letters, enthusiasm, animals, companions, inspiration, creativity and friends. These quotes have been excerpted from Colette's novels, stories and writings.
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You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

Colette

I went to collect the few personal belongings which...I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.

Colette

Time spent with a cat is never wasted.

Colette

Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it." (Casual Chance, 1964)

Colette

There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.

Colette

There are no ordinary cats.

Colette

Hope costs nothing.

Colette

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

Colette

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.

Colette

No one asked you to be happy. Get to work.

Colette

What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.

Colette

I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer.

Colette

Look for a long time at what pleases you, and longer still at what pains you...

Colette

Be happy. It's one way of being wise.

Colette

If he's getting married, he's not longer interesting.

Colette

When she raises her eyelids, it's as if she were taking off all her clothes.

Colette

The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.

Colette

I did not look for her, because I was afraid of dispelling the mystery we attach to people whom we know only casually.

Colette

I want nothing from love, in short, but love.

Colette

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.

Colette

Total absence of humor renders life impossible.

Colette

Music is love in search of a word.

Colette

I have found my voice again and the art of using it...

Colette

So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days.

Colette

To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

Colette

Then, bidding farewell to The Knick-Knack, I went to collect the few personal belongings which, at that time, I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.

Colette

If I can’t have too many truffles, I’ll do without truffles.

Colette

Youth is not the age to seduce, it's the age to be seduced.

Colette

You don't think before you do something foolish. You do your thinking afterwards.

Colette

That lovely voice; how I should weep for joy if I could hear it now!

Colette

The lovesick, the betrayed, and the jealous all smell alike.

Colette

Beautiful December grapes, blue as plums, every grape a little skinful of sweet, tasteless water

Colette

The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.

Colette

It is the image in the mind that links us to our lost treasures; but it is the loss that shapes the image, gathers the flowers, weaves the garland.

Colette

Jealousy is not at all low, but it catches us humbled and bowed down, at first sight. For it is the only suffering that we endure without ever becoming used to it.

Colette

Live in the moment!

Colette

A few days later, I found my mother beneath the tree, motionless with excitement, her head turned toward the heavens in which she would allow human religions no place.

Colette

I have no equals, I have only my fellow wayfarers.

Colette

I heard on their lips the language of passion, of betrayal and jealousy, and sometimes despair - languages with which I was all too familiar.

Colette

I liked being with him, as I like being with swift animals who are motionless when at rest.

Colette

Love is not an honorable sentiment

Colette

They exchanged looks full of mischievous security.

Colette

The only virtue on which I pride myself is my self-doubt; when a writer loses her self-doubt, the time has come to lay aside her pen.

Colette

At the top of the iron staircase leading to the stage, the good, dry, dusty warmth wraps me round like a comfortable dirty cloak.

Colette

People who are perfectly sane and happy don't make good literature, alas.

Colette

... what an ennobling sadness you lent to my evening's enjoyment.

Colette

Curious how people can go on doing the same thing day after day!

Colette

Writing only leads to more writing.

Colette

Don't you think, that there are very few men who know, without raising their voice or changing their tone, to say...what has to be said?

Colette

Don't cudgel your brains over my little problems.

Colette

Love...is also a form of poison, for to fall in love is to want and to need everything necessary for survival from one all-powerful and barely differentiated Other.

Colette

And since, through lack of vocation or from habit, [Julie] was prone to confuse pity with boredom, she felt herself practically a prisoner...

Colette

Don't ever wear artistic jewelry; it wrecks a woman's reputation

Colette

My true friends always gave me this supreme proof of attachment: a spontaneous aversion to the men I loved.

Colette

As for an authentic villain, the real thing, the absolute, the artist, one rarely meets him even once in a lifetime. The ordinary bad hat is always in part a decent fellow.

Colette

There is no doubt that, if ever my heart were to call my master Chance by another name, I should make an excellent Catholic.

Colette

Mothers sound so stupid when they praise their daughters to the skies.

Colette

My son, be rich and live your own life! Tell yourself that you're the incarnation of an ancient aristocracy. Model yourself on the feudal barons. You're a warrior

Colette

We all go through that. Everyone's feeling a little out of sorts. No one knows exactly where he stands. Work is a wonderful way of putting you on your feet again, old boy

Colette

...She (her mother) noticed that I was prettier than I was at home. Thus do girls change color in the warmth of masculine desire, whether they are fifteen or thirty.

Colette

Trudno zadowolić jednocześnie wszystkich i samą siebie. Wolę zacząć od siebie...

Colette

Her nature is like a demonstrative cat's; she is delicate, acutely sensitive to cold, and incredibly caressing in her ways.

Colette

The seventeenth, Desmond! Come along at once; everything's all right. We're going to buy a huge bracelet for my wife, an enormous cigarette-holder for Madame Peloux, and a tiny tie-pin for you

Colette