FRENCH FOR BEGINNERS: FOOD (La Nourriture) and DRINK (Les Boissons) Part 2

C’est l’heure du déjeuner. c’est l’heure A table! a table Bon appétit!  bon appétit(it’s lunch time. Let’s eat!) In my previous blog,  we learned the names of the 3 main meals in France and some of the food and drink items, so now it is time to go to the restaurant. Allons au restaurant!   allons au restaurant (Let’s go to the restaurant!)

Types of restaurants in France

There are many different types of eating places in France from the Cafés which serve basic food and are focused on coffee to the Michelin-star type restaurants.

There are bistrots (bistros) which are not clearly defined and can be a pub, a bar or a restaurant. There are brasseries (the name means ‘brewery’) which resemble cafés but serve full meals. There are also speciality shops such as Crêperies  (which serve pancakes or crêpes) and Salons de Thé which specialise in teas but also serve quiches, tarts, cakes, etc.

Salon de Thé

Cutlery and Crockery (Argenterie et Vaisselle) argenterie

The way the table is set is very important – it is almost an art in France.

le couvert = table setting couvert

la nappe = tablecloth nappe

la serviette = the napkin serviette

le couteau = the knife couteau

la fourchette = the fork fourchette

la cuillère = the spooncuillere

la cuillère à soupe = the soup spoon cuillere a soupe

la petite cuillère = the teaspoon petite cuillere

le verre = the glass verre

un verre à vin = a wine glassverre a vin

la tasse = the cuptasse

la soucoupe = the saucer soucoupe

la bouteille =  the bottle bouteille

une assiette = a plate assiette

le bol = bowl bol

le plateau = tray plateau

Idioms about eating and drinking

mettre les petits plats dans les grands = to put on a great spread

manger à la bonne franquette = to eat without fuss/simply or informally

manger à l’oeil = to eat without paying

manger comme un moineau = to eat like a sparrow, i.e. very little

manger la grenouille = to eat the frog, i.e. to spend one’s savings (in the XVIIIth century, piggy banks were shaped like frogs)

manger son chapeau = to eat one’s hat i.e. to admit to a mistake

boire comme un trou = to drink like a hole, i.e. they never stop

mettre son grain de sel = to put in one’s salt’s worth i.e. to give one’s unsolicited opinion

la moutarde me monte au nez = the mustard is getting up my nose, i.e. I am getting angry

la vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin = life is too short to drink bad wine


Famous French Dishes

Many French dishes have become famous throughout the world and may be found on different menus.

Of course, there are frogs’ legs (cuisses de grenouilles), snails (escargots) and steak tartare to be sampled.

Then there are dishes such as :

le canard  à l’orange   (duck à l’orange),

le boeuf bourguignon (beef stew),

 le coq au vin (chicken in wine),

la soupe à l’oignon (onion soup),

le cassoulet (beef and bean stew),

la salade niςoise (niςoise salad)

la ratatouille

French Desserts

la Tarte Tatin: legend has it that this luxury-type of apple pie came about because of an error with caramelisation. It is now made with pears, apples, quinces and prunes.

le Mille feuille  (also known as a Napoleon cake): delectable layers of pastry and custard cream. Its name means a thousand leaves which refers to the countless layers of pastry used to make it.

la Crème brûlée:

le Macaron: this meringue-based sweet has been around since the Middle Ages and was introduced to France by Catherine de Medici.

la crème caramel;

la mousse au chocolat:


The above desserts are just some  of the many French desserts.  There are also certain desserts that are made on special feast days, such as:

Christmas (Noël) : la bûche de Noël (Christmas log)

Mardi Gras: crêpes (pancakes)

Epiphany: la Galette des Rois (King’s cake)


My next blog will include phrases about going to the restaurant. So make sure to look out for it.




FRENCH FOR BEGINNERS: FOOD (La Nourriture) and DRINK (Les Boissons) in French Part 1

When one thinks about France, one of the things one thinks about is its food and its drinks. So if you are learning French what better way is there to improve your vocabulary than to learn that of la nourriture (food) and les boissons (drinks). Not to mention the fact that it is tied to French culture.

Donc, allons-y! (so, let’s go!) Let us start with the names of meals (les repas) in France: le petit déjeuner (breakfast = literally means ‘small lunch’), le déjeuner (lunch) and le dîner (dinner).

Le Petit Déjeuner à la française (French Breakfast)

Qu’est-ce que tu manges au petit déjeuner? qu’est-ce que tu manges au petit dejeuner

(what do you eat at breakfast?)

je voudrais =  je voudrais I would like

donnez-moi = donnez moigive me

Breakfast is eaten between 6h30 and 8h30 a.m. It differs from a full English breakfast and is usually called a continental breakfast by hotels. It usually consists of the following items:

j’ai faim  = j’ai faim(I’m hungry)

un croissant  un croissant

des céréales cereals

des fruits fruits

un yaourt (yoghurt)yaourt

le pain (bread) pain

la baguette (French bread) baguette

un pain au chocolat pain au chocolat

un pain aux raisins  pain aux raisins

une tartine (a slice of bread with butter) tartine

avec beurre (with butter)  avec beurre

avec de la confiture (with jam) avec confiture

avec du miel (with honey)avec miel

Qu’est-ce que tu bois au petit déjeuner? (what do you drink for breakfast?)  qu’est ce que tu bois

j’ai soif (I’m thirsty) j’ai soif

du café (coffee) du cafe

du thé (tea) du the

du lait (milk) du lait

du sucre (sugar) du sucre

du chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) du chocolat chaud

un jus de fruits (fruit juice) jus de fruits

un jus d’orange (orange juice) jus d’orange , un jus de pomme (apple juice)  jus de pomme , un jus d’ananas (pineapple juice)

An excellent resource is a voiced powerpoint created by a Welsh school. It has a voiced slide show, role play tasks and speaking tasks. It is also fun.

Le Déjeuner (Lunch)

Qu’est-ce que tu manges au déjeuner? (What do you eat at lunch?) qu’est-ce que tu manges au déjeuner

Le déjeuner (lunch) dejeuner usually takes place between 12h and 14h p.m. It consists of the following courses:

l’entrée (the starter) entrée

le plat principal (main course) plat principal

le dessert (dessert)  dessert

le fromage (cheese) fromage

The Welsh site mentioned above is also great for food and has an illustrated vocabulary with pronunciation.

Food Items

le riz (rice)

la viande (meat):

le boeuf (beef)

le bifteck (steak)

le mouton (mutton)

le veau (veal)

le poulet (chicken)

le porc (pork)

le poisson (fish)

l’agneau (lamb)

les saucisses (sausages)

les légumes (vegetables):

les pommes de terre (potatoes)

les petits pois (peas)

les haricots verts (green beans)

le chou (cabbage)

le chou-fleur (cauliflower)

les champignons (mushrooms)

les carottes (carrots)

French Desserts (to name but a few):

la mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse)

la crème caramel  (crème caramel)

les crêpes suzette 

la crème brûlée

les profiteroles


la tarte tatin


le vin (wine)

le vin rouge (red wine)

le vin blanc (white wine)

le vin rosé (rosé wine)

le champagne (champagne)

la bière (beer)

Le Dîner (Dinner)

Qu’est-ce que tu manges au diner? (what do you eat at dinner?)

The French eat dinner at about 20h and it’s usually something lighter than lunch.

So there you have it: some of the French food items, drinks and meals.  More in the next blog.