For members


French phrase of the day: A la bonne franquette

This phrase is for those who appreciate the simple things in life.

French phrase of the day: A la bonne franquette
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know à la bonne franquette?

It’s important to know so that you don’t turn up to a casual dinner dressed for a black-tie gathering.

What does it mean?

Fare quelque chose à la bonne franquette means doing something informally, without fuss. It’s often used in the context of a meal, where you throw something together and enjoy each other’s company, rather than worrying about cooking something complicated and creating a formal occasion.

You might hear it over the summer, when people invite friends or family over for a gathering, but don’t want them to come expecting a fancy meal.

According to the writer Claude Duneton, the term franquette developed in parallel to the word franchement (frankly). The expression à la bonne franquette was supposedly created to contrast with à la française (the French way), meaning “luxuriously” and “with lots of arrangements”.

Use it like this

Vous venez à la maison vendredi ? Je ferai quelque chose mais ce sera vraiment à la bonne franquette – Do you want to come over on Friday ? I’ll put something together, but it’ll be very simple.

Je préfère un barbeuc à la bonne franquette plutôt que d’aller au resto – I prefer a relaxed barbecue rather than going to a restaurant.


Sans chichi – with no fuss

En toute simplicité – simply

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

This might look like a mix of Spanish and French, but it is definitely not Franish.

French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

Why do I need to know mettre le holà?

Because you might need to do this if your friends go from laughing with you to laughing at you. 

What does it mean?

Mettre le holà – pronounced meh-truh luh oh-la – literally means to put the ‘holà’ on something. You might be thinking this must be some clever mix of Spanish and French, but ‘holà’ actually has nothing to do with the Spanish greeting. 

This expression is a way to say that’s enough – or to ‘put the brakes on something.’

If a situation appears to be agitated, and you feel the need to intervene in order to help calm things down, then this might be the expression you would use. Another way of saying it in English might be to ‘put the kibosh on it.’

While the origins of ‘kibosh’ appear to be unknown, ‘holà’ goes back to the 14th century in France. Back then, people would shout “Ho! Qui va là?” (Oh, who goes there?) as an interjection to call someone out or challenge them. 

Over time this transformed into the simple holà, which you might hear on the streets, particularly if you engage in some risky jaywalking. 

A French synonym for this expression is ‘freiner’ – which literally means ‘to break’ or ‘put the brakes on,’ and can be used figuratively as well as literally. 

Use it like this

Tu aurais dû mettre le holà tout de suite. Cette conversation a duré bien trop longtemps, et il était si offensif. – You should have put a stop to that immediately. That conversation went on for too long, and he was so offensive. 

J’ai essayé de mettre le holà à la blague sur ma mère, mais ils étaient sans pitié. – I tried to put a stop to the joke about my mother, but they were merciless.