For members


French Expression of the Day: Colis des aînés

This expression describes a charming festive tradition practised in France every December.

French Expression of the Day: Colis des aînés
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know colis des aînés?

Because French solidarity is alive and well. 

What does it mean?

Colis des aînés, pronounced “cohl-ee dez-ai-nay”, are Christmas packages gifted to older people by local authorities in France. 

The term literally translates as “parcels of the elders”. 

Typically, they are distributed in hampers and contain culinary delights like sausage, foie gras, chocolate and booze.

READ MORE Why French mayors give out food hampers at Christmas

In some small villages, colis des aînés are delivered personally to the elderly by local mayors. 

This gifting is not enshrined in law but many areas across France are proud of the tradition, which goes back as far as the 1940s. The whole operation is generally paid for by local  neighbourhood committees or residents’ associations. 

Eligibility to receive a colis des aînés varies by area, with different age and earnings requirements in place. 

Use it like this

Les colis des aînés du village ont été distribués – The village’s Christmas hampers for the elderly have been distributed

Cent colis des aînés seront distribués – 100 Christmas hampers for the elderly will be given out

As-tu reçu ton colis aux ainés? – Have you received your Christmas hamper? 


Colis des vieux

Colis de Noël

Colis cadeaux

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For members


French Expression of the Day: À la one again

Half of it is in English, but this 'franglish' expression is not logical for native speakers of English.

French Expression of the Day: À la one again

Why do I need to know à la one again ?

Because if you finished your task in a rush, you may have done it like this.

What does it mean?

À la one again – roughly pronounced ah la wun eh-gehn –  means to do something carelessly, quickly, or nonsensically. It translates precisely to “in the manner of the one again.”

This slang expression first entered the French vocabulary in the 1990’s, and as you may have noticed it combines French and English words, in a way that does not make much sense to your average English-speaker. 

The phrase is popular amongst young people in France, but its origins are up for debate. Most people in France would recognise it as having been popularised again by the comedian Franck Duboscq in his sketches.

Use it like this

J’ai oublié que j’avais un projet à rendre aujourd’hui, alors j’ai fait un truc à la one again. – I forgot I had a project due today, so I threw something together carelessly.

J’ai fait la liste des invités à la one again donc ce sera un groupe de personnes au hasard. – I made the invitation list haphazardly so the group will be random.