5 French Expressions About Bread

Learning new, common French expressions is a great way to improve your French. It can even help you sound more like a native French speaker!

French people love when people know common French expressions as it can be a great ice-breaker in conversations. They’ll quickly see you not just as a “common tourist” or “a foreign language learner,” but as someone who’s interested in their culture in a fun way.

Le pain (= bread) is very important in French culture. So, today, let’s learn colloquial French expressions referencing bread.

Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson

  • Know and use 5 new French colloquial expressions to sound more French, even to the French.

Bonjour c’est Géraldine.
Bienvenue sur Comme une Française. C’est parti !

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1) Une bouchée de pain

(Pour) une bouchée de pain = (literally, “for a mouthful of bread” ) = (for) next to nothing

Une bouchée is “a mouthful,” and “une bouchée de pain” costs next to nothing!

You can also say “Pas cher” (= cheap) or “Pour presque rien” (= literally “for almost nothing.”)

For example:
J’ai eu cette lampe pour une bouchée de pain, à la brocante.
I got this lamp for next to nothing at the flea market.

A mouthful is a very small morsel of food. You can also check out my previous lesson “French Verbs For Eating,” where I give you all the vocabulary you need for talking about eating quickly or slowly, slang about eating, and the verbs for the meals of the day.

2) Se vendre comme des petits pains

Se vendre comme des petits pains = (literally, “sell like small breads”) = “sell like hotcakes.

We also say partir comme des petits pains. Both versions mean Avoir beaucoup de succès (= to have a lot of success, to find a lot of customers.)

In colloquial French, we “eat” the “e” in “Petit”, so it’s pronounced [des p’tits pains].

For example:
Sophie Hénaff est une auteure très appréciée du public. Ses livres se vendent comme des petits pains !
Sophie Hénaff is an author that the audience likes a lot. Her books are selling like hot cakes!

A few months ago, we talked about Sophie Hénaff’s book “Poulets Grillés” in the “Book Club” of Le Salon, my live course.

Click here to learn more about Le Salon de Géraldine.

3) Long comme un jour sans pain

Long comme un jour sans pain (= literally, “as long as a day without bread”) = “as long as a month of Sundays.”

This colorful expression means très long (= “very long”) / interminable (= “endless”) / ennuyeux (= “boring”)

For instance:
Avec cette réunion interminable et ennuyeuse à mourir, ce lundi est long comme un jour sans pain.
With this endless and very boring meeting, this Monday feels as long as a month of Sundays.

4) Avoir du pain sur la planche

Avoir du pain sur la planche (= literally, “to have bread on your board”) = “to have a lot on your plate”

It’s a colloquial expression to say Avoir beaucoup de travail à [faire / finir] (= to have a lot of work to do / a lot of work that still needs to be done.)

Noël est dans 24 heures et on a encore du pain sur la planche avant l’arrivée de ta famille pour le dîner du réveillon.
Christmas comes in 24 hours and we still have a lot of work to do before the family arrives for Christmas Eve dinner.

5) Ça ne mange pas de pain

Ça ne mange pas de pain (= literally, “it doesn’t eat bread”) = “It can’t hurt, it can’t do any harm, it doesn’t cost anything important.”

It’s a cute expression to say Ça ne coûte rien. (= “It doesn’t really cost anything, we can throw it in.”)

For instance:
Oui, tu peux essayer d’appeler Gisèle pour l’inviter à dîner, ça ne mange pas de pain. Mais je pense qu’elle est en voyage.
Yes, you can try calling Gisèle to invite her for dinner, it won’t hurt. But I think she’s travelling now.

QUIZ!

How do you say the following using common French expressions about bread:

  • “It can’t hurt” ?
  • “Endless and boring”
  • “Very cheap” ?

 

 

 

 

Answers [spoiler!] → “ça ne mange pas de pain” / “long comme un jour sans pain” / “une bouchée de pain”)

 

Et toi ?

Quelle est ton expression préférée ici ?
Which French expression is your favorite?

For example, you can write: “J’aime bien “avoir du pain sur la planche” car j’ai encore beaucoup de travail à faire pour améliorer mon français.” (“I like “Avoir du pain sur la planche” because I still have a lot of work to do to improve my French.”)

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Allez, salut 🙂

Join the conversation!

  • Merci, Geraldine; les expressions sont très rigolo. J’ai préfère l’expression “se vendre comme des petits pains” parce que j’espère a vendre mon art à tout le monde!

  • J’aime bien ‘long comme un jour sans pain’ parce que c’est drôle et c’est cool. C’est comme un jour sans du chocolat.
    ‘long comme un jour sans du chocolat’
    Ce sera ma phrase!

  • Est ce que vous pouvez expliquer le utilize de “ce que” .
    Ce que j’ entends les personnes francaises disent?
    Sandra

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