How you say…

Ardeche in France

Believe it or not, one of most famous French phrases in the world – bon appétit – is surrounded by controversy.

While many people (even in France) will set food before guests with a hearty wish for a “good appetite,” a few stuffy holdouts feel that using this phrase indicates poor manners. Unless you’re dining with diplomats, it shouldn’t be a problem – and we at Maison Parisienne will wish you a hearty “Bon appétit!” as you dig in to your meal.

The phrase “Eat well, laugh often, love much” that you see on so many decorative wall plaques is actually French in origin: “Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimes beaucoup.” It’s good advice no matter what language you speak. Even better is the French saying which translates to “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Even if you don’t drink wine, you get the idea.

Some sweet expressions…

Combining food and love is natural for the French, as you can see from these expressions:

Cœur d’artichaut (literally, “heart of an artichoke”) describes someone who falls in love easily, possibly even with several people at once. Similarly, a “cake daddy” (Papa gâteau) is a father who is wrapped around his child’s little finger. (Note that this phrase is VERY DIFFERENT from the English “sugar daddy”!).

When you are attracted to someone, you might faire des yeux de merlans frits–“make fried marlin eyes at them.” But when a love affair goes bad, it “turns to vinegar” (tourner au vinaigre), and you may drop your lover after la fin des haricots (the end of the beans, e.g. the last straw).

When you’re eating lunch or dinner at Maison Parisienne with your date, you may want to lovingly call him or her your chou (cabbage), coco (egg), poulet (chicken – yes, really), or, if you want to be really original, your sucre d’orge (barley sugar). A romantic date at Maison Parisienne will leave you in high spirits—or, as the French say, vous donnera la pêche (give you the peach).

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