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

photo credit: sleepyneko via photopin cc

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

Pin it to share it!

favourite expressions in French


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


Enjoyed this post? Please share it