A brief conversation about our camping holidays in France earlier this week sparked a discussion about French phrases. While some of the phrases, quotes, & proverbs below are not uniquely French, they are among our favourites. How many of these have you heard whilst camping in France?
Autres temps, autres mœurs
Pronunciation: otʁə tɑ̃, otʁə mœʁ Literal translation: Other times, other customs Origin: From Cicero's First Oration against Catiline 'O tempora o mores'
Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide
Pronunciation: ʃa eʃode kʁɛ̃ lo fʁwad Literal translation: A scalded cat fears cold water English equivalent: Once bitten, twice shy
On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne
Pronunciation: ɔ̃ nə ʃɑ̃ʒ pa yn ekip ki ɡaɲ Literal translation: One does not change a winning team English equivalent: If it ain't broke, don't fix it
L’habit ne fait pas le moine
Pronunciation: labi nə fɛ pa lə mwan Literal translation: The vestment does not make the monk English equivalent: Don’t judge a book by its cover
Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amande
Pronunciation: il fo kase lə nwajo puʁ avwaʁ lamɑ̃d Literal translation: You have to break the shell to have the almond Origin: Attributed to Roman philosopher and playwright Plautus English equivalent: No pain, no gain
Qui court deux lièvres à la fois, n’en prend aucun
Pronunciation:ki kuʁ dø ljɛvʁ a la fwa, nɑ̃ pʁɑ̃ okɛ̃ Literal translation: Who runs after two hares at the same time, catches none Origin: Attributed to the Dutch theologian Erasmus English equivalent: Too many irons in the fire or spreading yourself too thin?
Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid
Pronunciation:pəti a pəti lwazo fɛ sɔ̃ ni Literal translation: Little by little, the bird builds its nest English equivalent: Step by step one goes far or every little helps
Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir
Pronunciation:mjø vo pʁevəniʁ kə ɡeʁiʁ Literal translation: It is better to prevent than to heal English equivalent: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Qui n’avance pas, recule
Pronunciation:ki navɑ̃s pa ʁəkyl Literal translation: Who does not move forward, recedes English equivalent: Expect poison from stagnant water
À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire
Pronunciation:a vɛ̃kʁə sɑ̃ peʁil, ɔ̃ tʁijɔ̃f sɑ̃ ɡlwaʁ Literal translation: To win without risk is to triumph without glory Origin: Attributed to the French tragedian Pierre Corneille from Le Cid English equivalent: In a calm sea, every man is a pilot
Qui Vivra Verra
Pronunciation:ki vivʁa veʁa Literal translation: Who will live will see Origin: From the Italian Chi vivrà, vedrà English equivalent: Wait and see
Editor - Alan Rogers Guides
Rob has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
He is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and the publication of the Alan Rogers Guides and 'Destinations' magazine.
He regularly travels with his wife and young daughter in their Dethleffs 'Campy' caravan. A keen cycling fan, Rob can often be found in a field in Belgium during the 'Spring Classics' season or riding his Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle.
France is a fantastic place for a holiday. And if you take your tent, touring caravan or motorhome, it can be even better. If you don't have these, you could book a static caravan instead and holiday in some of the best regions and at some of the best campsites and caravan parks available.