Remembering Bastille Day With French Idioms

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On this day 220 years ago, protesters stormed the Bastille in Paris and released the seven prisoners inside. In honor of the day, Morning Edition uses this opportunity to introduce listeners to some French idioms.

: the Bastille in Paris. And you know that revolution ran parallel to a revolution in eating that gave rise to the restaurant. Even the sans cullotte loved eating out.

: C'est la fin des haricots.


Um, green beans?

: Yes, green beans. To be exact, it's the end of the green beans, meaning it's hopeless.


: France has an abundance of idioms that are based in food. Those aristocrats might also have said: Les carottes sont cuites.

INSKEEP: Les carottes - that's carrots?

: Carrots indeed. Where we might say the die has been cast - too late to do anything now - the French say the carrots are cooked. Obviously, oh, puree would be a little bit tame; oh, mashed potatoes, darn it.


INSKEEP: Okay. Anything that might apply to moi?

: Well, actually, Steve, you could be called a grand asperge because you're so tall. You'd be referred to as a grand asperge.


: And if you were, by chance, to tell a lame joke, I could roll my eyes and say: Ca tombe com un cheveux dans la soupe - a hair has dropped into the soup.


: Happy Bastille Day.

INSKEEP: Thanks.

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