1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Colette Quotes

Colette (1873-1954)


Colette was a writer known for her novels in which women were depicted as full sexual beings. Her husband published her first works under his own name. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette married twice and was involved with women and men outside her marriages. One of the most famous adaptations of Colette's work was the play and movie, Gigi.

Selected Colette Quotations

• 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.

• A woman who thinks she is intelligent demands the same rights as man. An intelligent woman gives up.

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

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

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

• Never touch a butterfly's wing with your finger.

• We only do well the things we like doing.

• Hope costs nothing.

• On this narrow planet, we have only the choice between two unknown worlds. One of them tempts us - ah! what a dream, to live in that! - the other stifles us at the first breath.

• By an image we hold on to our lost treasures, but it is the wrenching loss that forms the image, composes, binds the bouquet.

• Writing only leads to more writing.

• Sit down and 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.

• 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.

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

• Total absence of humor renders life impossible.

• Don't ever wear artistic jewellery; it wrecks a woman's reputation.

• It is wise to apply the oil of refined politeness to the mechanisms of friendship.

• What a delight it is to make friends with someone you have despised!

• Give me a dozen such heartbreaks, if that would help me lose a couple of pounds.

• The day after that wedding night I found that a distance of a thousand miles, abyss and discovery and irremediable metamorphosis, separated me from the day before.

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

• For to dream and then to return to reality only means that our qualms suffer a change of place and significance.

• Let's buy a pack of cards, good wine, bridge scores, knitting needles, all the paraphernalia needed to fill an enormous void, everything needed to hide that horror -- the old woman.

• The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.

• My true friends have always given me that supreme proof of devotion, a spontaneous aversion for the man I loved.

• The faults of husbands are often caused by the excess virtues of their wives.

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

• A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.

• Her childhood, then her adolescence, had taught her patience, hope, silence and the easy manipulation of the weapons and virtues of all prisoners.

• It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.

• There is no need to waste pity on young girls who are having their moments of disillusionment, for in another moment they will recover their illusion.

• Perhaps the only misplaced curiosity is that which persists in trying to find out here, on this side of death, what lies beyond the grave.

• Boredom helps one to make decisions.

• If we want to be sincere, we must admit that there is a well-nourished love and an ill-nourished love. And the rest is literature.

• Can it be that chance has made me one of those women so immersed in one man that, whether they are barren or not, they carry with them to the grave the shriveled innocence of an old maid?

• It's nothing to be born ugly. Sensibly, the ugly woman comes to terms with her ugliness and exploits it as a grace of nature. To become ugly means the beginning of a calamity, self-willed most of the time.

• In the matter of furnishing, I find a certain absence of ugliness far worse than ugliness.

• A kindly gesture bestowed by us on an animal arouses prodigies of understanding and gratitude.

• Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.

• Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.

• The cat is the animal to whom the Creator gave the biggest eye, the softest fur, the most supremely delicate nostrils, a mobile ear, an unrivaled paw and a curved claw borrowed from the rose-tree.

• Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

• Smokers, male and female, inject and excuse idleness in their lives every time they light a cigarette.

• My virtue's still far too small, I don't trot it out and about yet.

• You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

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

• I believe there are more urgent and honorable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.

• Is suffering so very serious? I have come to doubt it. It may be quite childish, a sort of undignified pastime. I'm referring to the kind of suffering a man inflicts on a woman or a woman on a man. It's extremely painful. I agree that it's hardly bearable. But I very much fear that this sort of pain deserves no consideration at all. It's no more worthy of respect than old age or illness.

• There are days when solitude, for someone my age, 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.

• You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

• Nothing ages a woman like living in the country.

• One keeps forgetting old age up to the very brink of the grave.

• Truffles must come to the table in their own stock and as you break open this jewel sprung from a poverty-stricken soil, imagine -- if you have never visited it -- the desolate kingdom where it rules.

More About Colette

More Women's Quotes:


Explore Women's Voices and Women's History

About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Colette Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/Colette.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.