French expression of the day: Comme une fleur

French expression of the day: Comme une fleur
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Another French expression that sounds nice but isn't.

Why do I need to know comme une fleur ?

Because if you are a foreigner living in France, chances are that you are sometimes acting 'like a flower'.

What does it mean ?

Comme une fleur is a form of fake politeness, most often used to make fun of naive or unprepared people.

It is generally used when someone has arrived unprepared in a given situation. For example, you have arrived comme une fleur in Paris if you were expecting the entire city to look like Montmartre.  

Originally, comme une fleur was used to describe something happening naturally, like a flower blooming in springtime, but over time has come to be used more in its ironic sense.

Comme une fleur can also mean that your presence is embarrassing or unwanted.

So even though comme une fleur sounds like a poetic phrase, it is not exactly nice. If somebody says that you have been arriving comme une fleur, ask yourself whether you have a clue about what is going on.

Use it like this

Je ne pensais pas que ce serait si difficile d’avoir un pass Navigo. Je suis arrivée comme une fleur au guichet, et on m’a dit qu’il fallait donner cinq documents – I never thought it would be that difficult to get a Navigo pass for the Metro. I arrived innocently at the counter, and I was told I needed to give them five documents.

J’en ai assez de Gabriel, il ne prépare jamais rien. Il est encore arrivé comme une fleur à la réunion ce matin – I can’t stand Gabriel’s attitude, he never prepares anything. As usual, he did not have a clue at this morning’s meeting.

On s’amusait bien à la fête de Léo, et Antoine est arrivé comme une fleur alors que personne ne l’avait invité – We were having a good time at Leo’s party, and Antoine showed up even though no one invited him. It was awkward.


Comme un cheveu sur la soupe – To come at the worst possible moment.

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