130 Victor Hugo Quotes

If there’s one thing you should check out today, it should definitely be this collection of the most famous Victor Hugo quotes.

With more than 100 quotes from one of the world’s most famous French writers of all time, you’re sure to find a quote or two that’ll lift up your spirits, no matter what it is you’re going through in life.

And as a writer who gifted the world with classics like Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, there’s no doubt you’ll find entertainment through this collection as well.

Let’s get started.

And don’t miss out these Alice Walker quotes and William Shakespeare quotes.

Best Victor Hugo Quotes

Victor Hugo Quote - Those who do not weep, do not see.

1. “Those who do not weep, do not see.”

2. “Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price.”

3. “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

4. “The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.”

Victor Hugo Quote - People do not lack strength, they lack will.

5. “People do not lack strength, they lack will.”

6. “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”

7. “Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”

8. “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.”

9. “Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.

10. “Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.”

11. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

12. “Laughter is sunshine—it chases winter from the human face.”

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Albert Camus quotes.

13. “Perseverance—secret of all triumphs.”

14. “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.”

Victor Hugo Quote - To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live.

15. “To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live.”

16. “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

17. “Diamonds are to be found only in the darkness of the earth, and truth in the darkness of the mind.”

18. “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

19. “To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”

Victor Hugo Quotes on Dreams and Looking Towards the Future

Victor Hugo Quote - There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

20. “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

21. “Nihilism has no substance. There is no such thing as nothingness, and zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing.”

22. “Now, life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

23. “I had a dream that my life would be different from this hell I am living, so different from what it seemed.”

24. “Dreaming is happiness. Waiting is life.”

Victor Hugo Quote - The left-handed are precious; they take places which are inconvenient for the rest.

25. “The left-handed are precious; they take places which are inconvenient for the rest.”

26. “The world is the expanding Greece, and Greece is the shrinking world.”

27. “If you wish to understand what ‘revolution’ is, call it ‘progress,’ and if you wish to understand what ‘progress’ is, call it ‘tomorrow.’”

28. “To know, to think, to dream—that is everything.”

29. “Excitement is not enjoyment—in calmness lies true pleasure. The most precious wines are sipped, not bolted at a swallow.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Music is the vapor of art.

30. “Music is the vapor of art. It is to poetry what reverie is to thought, what fluid is to solid, what the ocean of clouds is to the ocean of waves.”

31. “Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries.”

32. “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”

33. “If we must suffer, let’s suffer on the heights.”

34. “If you don’t build castles in the air, you won’t build anything on the ground.”

Victor Hugo Quote - He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.

35. “He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.”

36. “My revenge is fraternity! No more frontiers! The Rhine for everyone! Let us be the same Republic, let us be the United States of Europe, let us be the continental federation, let us be European liberty, let us be universal peace!”

37. “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

38. “Success is a very hideous thing. Its false resemblance to merit deceives men.”

39. “Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”

Victor Hugo Quotes on Imagination and the Power of the Mind

Victor Hugo Quote - Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.

40. “Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.”

41. “A writer is a world trapped in a person.”

42. “Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.”

43. “To contemplate is to look at shadows.”

44. “You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea.”

Victor Hugo Quote - There are no weeds, and no worthless men. There are only bad farmers.

45. “There are no weeds, and no worthless men. There are only bad farmers.”

46. “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.”

47. “When you get an idea into your head you find it in everything.”

48. “He was fond of books, for they are cool and sure friends.”

49. “He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”

Victor Hugo Quote - So long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use.

50. “So long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use.”

51. “Our mind is enriched by what we receive, our heart by what we give.”

52. “Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.”

53. “A library implies an act of faith which generations, still in darkness hid, sign in their night in witness of the dawn.”

54. “Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Taste is the common sense of genius.

55. “Taste is the common sense of genius.”

56. “An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.”

57. “Freedom in art, freedom in society—this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.”

58. “The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.”

59. “Let us reflect if we wish to be brilliant.”

Victor Hugo Quotes on Life and Wisdom

Victor Hugo Quote - Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.

60. “Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.”

61. “Go out in the world and work like money doesn’t matter, sing as if no one is listening, love as if you have never been hurt, and dance as if no one is watching.”

62. “Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.”

63. “Not being heard is no reason for silence.”

64. “It is not easy to keep silent when silence is a lie.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.

65. “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”

66. “Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.”

67. “To study in Paris is to be born in Paris!”

68. “To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.”

69. “Short as life is, we make it even shorter by the careless waste of time.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Nothing is more true, more real, than the primeval magnetic disturbances that two souls may communicate to one another, through the tiny sparks of a moment's glance.

70. “Nothing is more true, more real, than the primeval magnetic disturbances that two souls may communicate to one another, through the tiny sparks of a moment’s glance.”

71. “Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just.”

72. “Curiosity is gluttony. To see is to devour.”

73. “Let us sacrifice one day to gain perhaps a whole life.”

74. “Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.

75. “Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.”

76. “If a man has his throat cut in Paris, it’s a murder. If 50,000 people are murdered in the east, it is a question.”

77. “What is history? An echo of the past in the future—a reflex from the future on the past.”

78. “To divinize is human, to humanize is divine.”

79. “Inspiration and genius—one and the same.”

Victor Hugo Quotes on Religion and Faith

Victor Hugo Quote - Go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

80. “Go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”

81. “Conscience is God present in man.”

82. “What makes night within us may leave stars.”

83. “There is, in every village, a torch—the teacher; and an extinguisher—the priest.”

84. “God knows better than we do what we need.”

Victor Hugo Quote - There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.

85. “Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.”

86. “Emergencies have always been necessary to progress. It was darkness which produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration. And it took depression to teach us the real value of a job.”

87. “There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering—a hell of boredom.”

88. “There is one spectacle grander than the sea—that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky—that is the interior of the soul.”

89. “Freedom begins where it ends ignorance.”

Victor Hugo Quote - The sewer is the conscience of the city.

90. “The sewer is the conscience of the city.”

91. “The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.”

92. “Animals run no risk of going to hell. They are already there.”

93. “Death belongs to God alone; by what right do men touch that unknown thing?”

94. “Toleration is the best religion.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.

95. “Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.”

96. “God has made the cat to give man the pleasure of caressing the tiger.”

97. “We are all under sentence of death, but with a sort of indefinite reprieve.”

98. “God created the flirt as soon as he made the fool.”

99. “A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in—what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

Victor Hugo Quotes on Love and Hope

Victor Hugo Quote - To love beauty is to see light.

100. “To love beauty is to see light.”

101. “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

102. “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned!”

103. “When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.”

104. “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.

105. “Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.”

106. “The malicious have a dark happiness.”

107. “I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, and the stars through his soul.”

108. “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.”

109. “You who suffer because you love—love still more.”

Victor Hugo Quote - To die of love, is to live by it.

110. “To die of love, is to live by it.”

111. “The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.”

112. “Woman, nude, is the blue sky. Clouds and garments are an obstacle to contemplation. Beauty and infinity would be gazed upon unveiled.”

113. “I have been loving you a little more every minute since this morning.”

114. “Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.”

Victor Hugo Quote - The first symptom of true love in a man is timidity; in a young woman, boldness.

115. “The first symptom of true love in a man is timidity; in a young woman, boldness. This is surprising, and yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming each other’s qualities.”

116. “Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.”

117. “Religion, society, and nature—these are the three struggles of man.”

118. “All who suffer are full of hatred; all who live drag a remorse—the dead alone have broken their chains.”

119. “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart; I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses, as at twenty years ago.”

Victor Hugo Quote - The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.

120. “The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.”

121. “If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.”

122. “Is it not when the fall is the lowest that charity ought to be the greatest?”

123. “What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain?”

124. “A house is built of logs and stone, of tiles and posts and piers; a home is built of loving deeds that stand a thousand years.”

Victor Hugo Quote - There shall be in the future neither darkness nor thunderbolts; neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood.

125. “Love, thine is the future. Death, I use thee, but I hate thee. Citizens, there shall be in the future neither darkness nor thunderbolts; neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood.”

126. “Love each other dearly, always. There is scarcely anything else in the world but that—to love one another.”

127. “The human soul still has a greater need for the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.”

128. “The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.”

129. “Morality is truth in full bloom.”

Victor Hugo Quote - Love is reducing the universe to one being.

130. “Love is reducing the universe to one being.”

Did These Victor Hugo Quotes Help You See How Fiction Melds With Reality?

There’s no way you haven’t heard of the literary classics, Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And if you have heard of them, then it’s impossible you don’t know who Victor Hugo is. His works, aside from these two classics, are enduring legacies that withstood modernization and the passage of time. This is because Victor Hugo wrote with a passion for real life events that happened during his lifetime. And even though the settings of his stories have been in the past, the social structures and paradigms he incorporated in it still exist today—just in different forms and aspects. His words remind us to be conscious of what’s around us—the people, the environment, the government, everything. He inspires us to always speak our minds and to push our limits, and always be consistent. It is only through these things that our opinions and our stand will be heard, and in the end, we might actually help change the world for the better.

Have you read any of his works in the past? Which quotes are your favorites? Let us know which of his works you’d like us to make a collection on in the comments section below.


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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