9 Fake French Things


Enfin ! It’s summer here in France.
The sun is out, short dresses too and it’s the beginning of endless apéros in the garden.

With « French » apéros so famous all around the world,
today, we’ll cover another « very French » topic.

When you talk about « French [something] » to a French person, they usually don’t know what you’re talking about.

Same if I talked to you about « English cream » or « American kitchen ». 🙂

But on top of that, the label “French” is often overused. Sometimes to sell more, and more expensive. (Which drives me crazy)

How to get yourself understood when looking for something « French » in France?

Click to watch « 9 “French” things that aren’t »:

Note: This is all for free. Want more? Check out the course « Improve your French comprehension in 30 days »

Et toi ?
What have you always seen “labeled” as French in your country that you can’t find in France?
Or the other way round, what have you seen labeled as “American” or “English” or from YOUR country that you’ve NEVER heard of?

I’m very curious about your experience here. And the community too!
Share your story below!



Join the conversation!

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  • Il y a aussi la French braid, mais à ma grande surprise, on appelle ça la “tresse française” en français ?!

  • Hi, Geraldine! What about ‘French knickers’ ? This is ladies’ underwear, usually silk, with wide legs, and a button fastening underneath 🙂
    I have no idea what the French is for this!

    • Bonjour Heather,
      I had to Google it. 🙂
      And have no idea how to call those in French. Sorry!

  • This may sound silly (especially since I do not own any), but I do not understand the difference between “American Classic” and “French Country” china dish patterns……?

  • Hi everyone!
    In Spain we call the omelette with any kind of addition “french omelette” (tortilla francesa), because if it’s made with potatoes is spanish omelette (tortilla española or tortilla de patata). If you leave some place with saying a single word is “despedirse a la francesa”.

  • Salut Géraldine,
    A l’école quelquefois on jouait à ‘French skipping’-il fallait au moins trois enfants, une qui sautait sur l’élastique et deux autres qui se tenaient debout avec l’élastique autour de leurs jambes.

  • An expression used in English a lot about anything that has an air of something special is “it’s got a certain je ne sais quoi ” I have been informed that the French never say that

  • The liqueur “Chambord” much preferred by King Louis XIV, so they say.
    Could only find the cute little touristy bottles at the actual chateau , here in Las Vegas, you can buy it at the drugstore.

  • Quand j’étais à l’université de Hong Kong, un jour j’ai commandé un “American Breakfast” pensant aux céréales, et le serveur m’a donné un hotdog avec du toast.

  • Apparement, “French onion soup” s’appele “soupe à l’oignon gratineé” en France. Est-ce qu’on ajoute le fromage râpé et les croûtons en France? C’est normale? La chose avec le fromage est nouveau pour moi…mais a l’air de délicieux!

    • Bonjour Matt,

      Oui, tout à fait. On l’appelle juste “Soupe à l’oignon”. Et on rajoute en effet du fromage et des croûtons.
      Personnellement, j’en rajoute toujours dans toutes mes soupes !
      Quand penses-tu pouvoir goûter cette soupe à l’oignon ? C’est en effet délicieux !

  • This is such a fun and great post Geraldine! In England, we have always referred to the little green peapods as ‘mange-tout’. But when I used this word in France, I was greeted with a seriously blank expression. After much explaining and gesturing (try acting out being a little peapod!), I discovered that the French call these peas ‘pois-gourmands’! 🙂

    • Bonjour Peter,
      Wow, didn’t know this one either!
      Is it me or most of the “French” things have a sexual meaning? 😉

  • Bonsoir Geraldine. 🙂

    There is also one of the triceps exercises called ” French press” which also exists in Polish language (”Wyciskanie francuskie”) and according the one of the French websites is called ”Barre au front”. Source: http://rouibamuscul.skyrock


  • Bonsoir à tous,
    Il y’a aussi la phrase en anglais, “excuse my French,” en tant qu’une excuse quand on a dit un mot jurez. Mais, je n’ai pas entendu les française dire “pardon mon Anglais” encore. 🙂

  • J’ai des amis francais qui étaient totalement perplexes quand j’ai dit que je voudrais faire “french toast.” Apres, j’ai appris qu’on dit “pain perdu.”

    • J’ai découvert le “French toast” à l’étranger. 🙂
      Plein de Français ne connaissent pas, c’est fou !

  • Je suis d’origine chinoise, et j’ai remarqué qu’ici au Québec on parle de plusieurs choses “chinois” que je n’ai jamais entendu dans ma vie. Comme la pâté chinoise pour “shepherd’s pie”, un encan chinois pour “silent auction” et une marionnette chinoise pour “shadow puppet”.

    • Wahou! Merci Amy pour cet ajout ! C’est super d’avoir un point de vue chinois sur le Québec !

  • Merci pour la vidéo. Voici celui que j’ai remarqué: en France le boucher vend “canadian bacon”. Au Canada, nous n’utilisons pas ce terme. Nous appelons le bacon de dos “back bacon” ou “peameal bacon”. Comme les Américains, les Canadiens consomment généralement bacon qui est du ventre et est fumé. Désolé pour mon mauvais français…j’essaie;)

    • “Pardon my French”….but: French: manicure, onion rings, poodle, provincial, roast coffee, seam, twist, braid, vanilla, and vermouth, to add a few more to this list!

      • Yes! I want to know about these Geraldine!! French Roast Coffee, French Braid, and French Manicure to be specific!!!

    • Bonjour Kate,

      Ton français est super ! Est-ce que le “Canadian bacon” est le même que le “Back Bacon” ?

  • Ce sujet me fait penser aux paroles d’une chanson de Mistinguett dans laquelle elle chante “un baiser à la cannibale”. La chanson s’intitule “Je cherche un millionnaire.” Connaissez-vous cette expression?

  • Merci, Géraldine, comme toujours! Aux États-Unis, on ne pense pas de «French dressing» comme une vinaigrette. C’est une sauce composé de mayonnaise et de catsup – très lourde.

    • Non, Martha—la sauce composée de mayonnaise et de catsup est appelée « Russian dressing» . « French dressing » c’est une vinaigrette avec de catsup.

  • The “American” sandwich with fries stuffed in? NOT American. I also got an “American” waffle cone and they filled it with the tiniest scoop of ice cream ever and then covered it in whipped cream to make the cone look full. AWFUL! I most certainly did not want an ice cream cone filled with more cheap spray can chantilly than ice cream.

    • French fries in a sandwich? Visit The Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh! Choose salami, turkey or roast need, then, your sandwich is topped with crispy coleslaw and French fries on top of soft Italian bread. Amazing.

    • That’s very simple Steve: you’ve just taught me the existence of “french letter”. 😉
      Did everybody know but me? hihihi

  • In the US, we say “French Door”, not French window. We also use “French Drain” for a drain with a big hole to go into and soak into the ground. We said that to our French neighbors when we first moved to France and they were very confused!!!

  • Salut Geraldine!
    I remembered “baiser” as an embarrassing mistake from a previous video, so is it used here specifically with this expression?
    Fortunately, I quickly learnt not to translate phrases directly from English with my Swiss cousins, who are very quick to correct stupid mistakes! 😀
    Thanks for the wonderful videos!

  • Chez nous en Finlande, une ‘visite française’ veut dire une visite courte. Ou plutôt voulait dire ; je ne sais pas si les jeunes connaissent cette expression.

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