The French language is peppered with expressions and being such a gastronomic place it should come as no surprise that it is particularly rife with culinary-inspired idioms.  Here are 9 of my favourite French expressions.

Tomber dans les pommes

favourite french expressions

photo credit: Leading Line Photography via photopin cc

Literally “fall in the apples”.  Meaning: to faint, to pass out.

Long comme un jour sans pain

favourite french expressions

photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via photopin cc

Literally “long like a day without bread”.  Meaning:  something very long and dreary, both physically like a long road, or more commonly the duration of an event like a long speech.

C’est la fin des haricots

fin des haricots

photo credit: Mr.TinDC via photopin cc

Literally: “it’s the end of the beans”.  Meaning:  it’s the last straw, all hope is gone, the end of the world.

Sucrer les fraises

sucrer les fraises

photo credit: Tim@creighton via photopin cc

Literally “to sugar the strawberries”.  Meaning:  to have shaky hands, be doddery.  Implies getting old.  This is probably, possibly in my top 3 favourite French expressions!

C’est pas tes oignons

cest pas tes oignons

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Literally: “they’re not your onions”.  Meaning:  it’s none of your business.

Avoir la pêche


photo credit: I Nancy via photopin cc

Literally: “to have the peach”.  Meaning:  to be in high spirits, in a good mood.

Pédaler dans la choucroute


Literally:  “to pedal in the sauerkraut”.  Meaning:  to be in a tricky situation and every effort to get out of it only makes it worse.

Mettre son grain de sel

favourite french expessions

Literally:  “putting in your grain of salt”.  Meaning:  to stick one’s nose in, interfere with a conversation with an unsolicited comment.

En faire tout un fromage

en faire tout en fromage

photo credit: Chiot’s Run via photopin cc

Literally:  to make a whole cheese about it.  Meaning:  to exaggerate something, make a big fuss.

favourite french expressions

The photo above is of a local supermarket’s doors, covered in food idioms!  What do you think of these expressions?  Do you have similar ones in your language?

Related reading:

Franglais or Englishisms in French

Movies in France – how to find a film in English

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All expressions added to photos have been made by me.  Photos credited where appropriate.


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