Life in Paris

The French you Don’t Learn at School – Part 3

The French you Don’t Learn at School is back and I can’t wait to share some new expressions with you! The goal of these posts is to help anyone learning French understand some well known and popular phrases that you definitely won’t learn at school but that you’ll need to understand a lot of Parisian people.

J’ai la dalle/avoir la dalle – this expression is used in informal situations to say that you are hungry! Amongst friends it’s more commonly used than j’ai faim!

C’est quoi ce délire? – A very common phrase which translates as “what the heck is going on??”

Ça me gonfle! – A fun and quick way to say that something is annoying you.

J’ai la patate! – Literally I have the potato meaning I’m feeling energised!

Péter un plomb – je vais péter un plomb means to break a fuse and it means thats someone is going to go crazy/mad (in an angry way).

Avoir la gueule de bois –  literally to have a wood mouth, this expression meaning to have a hangover comes from the idea that your mouth is really dry when you have drunk too much alcohol!

Des fringues – the slang way to say clothes!

Il y avait que dalleImagine you go shopping for des fringues and you find nothing, this is what you would say to your roommates when you come home. It means “there was nothing.”

Il/elle se la pète – this funny expression means someone is bragging about themselves.

Je suis sur la paille – I’m broke/I have no money, literally I am sleeping on the straw in the barn!

And that’s all for this week! I hope you enjoyed this installment and if you want to check out The French you Don’t Learn at School Part 1 and Part two simply click on the links. Until next time…à  très bientôt!


  • Aslam Ansari

    Hello Chloe
    I am a documentary filmmaker living in Paris. I am also the author of the book, Hanging Out in Paris and Hollywood “The Turbulent Journey of a Filmmaker.” I read about your “Drunk Writers.” I would like to join your next meetup. I have already sent my message through facebook. Please let me know about your program. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards
    Aslam Ansari

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