French expression of the day: Coureur de jupons

French expression of the day: Coureur de jupons
If you've been reading any tributes to the late French president Jacques Chirac it probably won't be long before you arrive at this phrase.

Why do I need to know courer de jupons?

It's a slightly old fashioned phrase, but one that has been liberally scattered around the French press this week to describe the late president.

What does it mean?

Its literal translation is 'petticoat runner' but it's probably best translated as 'skirt chaser' or womaniser. Many tributes to the former French president have used it to describe the fact that Chirac apparently enjoyed the company of a pretty lady or two.

So for example a profile in French newspaper Sud Ouest included the line : “Les femmes, justement. Elles étaient l’une des passions de Jacques Chirac, grand coureur de jupons.”

“The women, that's just it. They were one of the passions of Jacques Chirac, a great skirt-chaser.”


If you want to use it yourself to describe someone, you could say: “Il a la réputation d'un coureur de jupons” – “He is a known womaniser.”

The phrase is probably a little old fashioned nowadays, but is certain to be wheeled out from time to time to describe high profile Frenchmen from a certain era when it seems that womanising was practically compulsory.

Jacques Chirac, according to the French press, was something of a coureur de jupons. Photo: AFP

For more French words and expressions, check out our French word of the Day section.


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