Things Parisians Say

French proverbs explained

My French mates have been teaching me typical things Parisians say. Most of these things are not really on the radar of expats so I thought it would be fun to collect all of them on this page. I've tried my best to explain them as best I can. If the below explanations have errors or make no sense, please reply with your revision so I can update the page.

Things Parisians Says

It's freezing. To be very cold. "Ça caille ici !" Means "it's bloody freezing here!" You can also say: "l'escargot eat dans as coquille": "the snail is in his shell", snail being here the man's asset.

Going down the crapper or to go pear-shaped. Or as many Parisians would say it: My whole life is going to crap. Can also be: "ça part en live" or "ça part en cacahuète", cacahuète being literally translated as... nuts

Se saouler or se soûler literally means to get drunk. However, in this case (while working with a difficult client) "ça me saoule" means: "I am getting tired of this shit". Can also say: "ça me fair chier". Literally: "it makes me take a dump".

The French version of who is wearing the pants in the relationship.


The French version of who is wearing the pants in the relationship. It's because, the culotte was the wardrobe of men before French revolution (noble one's). Whereas at this time women only wore dresses.

Literally: Tim wiped off some casts. It means (I think): "Tim dealt with it but it wasn't without consequences."


"Essuyer les plâtres" is actually "wipe off the plaster". That's when the coating walls in your new place are so freshly and recently done that you have to clean the last dust and specks adhering to it. Nowadays it means taking care of the last small issues of something newly created. The closest English equivalent would be "iron out the kinks".

By @kaikasaurus_rex: Literally "it sends wood", i.e. it's powerful (haha. wood.) Variants by Sam Latchman: ça envoie du petit bois, ça envoie du pâté, ça envoie du lourd, ça déchire tout, ça roxx du poney.

Literally means your ass sits on two chairs at once. You're supposed to say it like this: "J'ai le cul entre deux chaises". It means eyou feel uncomfortable of two choices you have to make.

Literally "to cause someone to shit". Used in this context: "Tu me fais chier avec tes conneries". You piss me off with your bullshit. Or as many of my Parisian workmates use it: "Je me fais chier aujourd'hui". Today is such a pain in the ass.

Literally: "Do you have the potato?". Mostly used to ask if you are ready to kick ass at a day full of meetings or any other event which needs determination and energy.

Literally: "I'm dying". This is a throwback to before modern medicine, when you could actually die from the common cold. Mostly used to say you have a cold and you are feeling shitty.

This means you are gloating about something you are doing. In my case: I replied to an email saying I would finish some work while waiting backstage at the Hermès 2016 mens hiver fashion show.