Ma chérie / mon chéri = My sweetheart
Rue = Street
Bonsoir, mon amour. = Good evening, my love.
Ça va? = How are you?
Une tartine = A slice of baguette bread covered with jam and butter. Typical French breakfast, though French people don't eat it every day.
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Frangine = Sis.
Ma chatte = Feminine version of dear or sweetheart.
Mon lapin, mon chou, mon poussin, mon coco, mon cœur, mon canard = Dear, sweetheart, or honey. These endearing terms are used among lovers or by parents for their children.
Totalement gay = Completely gay
Putain de merde = Fucking damn it
Connard = Asshole
Elmer Food Beat = French band from the 90s, known for singing nothing but salacious songs. The characters in the books share a lot of my tastes in French food and music. Florian loves this band because so does the author. :-)
L'Hexagone = France is made of metropolitan France and its various islands. L'Hexagone is the name given to metropolitan France before of the country's hexagonal shape.
Putain = Damn it
Maman = Mom
Steak tartare = Raw grounded beef with a raw egg on top.
Charcuterie = Cold cuts such as ham and salami.
Une table pour deux, s'il vous plaît. = A table for two, please.
Un apéritif = French people take an apéritif before a meal at the restaurant, during big celebrations, or when they invite friends over. An apéritif usually consists of some strong alcohol, such as pastis (an anise drink), whiskey, etc... It also includes little snacks such as chips, tiny sausages, etc...
Un apéritif dinatoire = French people might also invite you for an apéritif dinatoire instead of a full dinner, which is the same as an apéritif, but much larger. It might include quiche, cheeses, and a large variety of snacks. In Return (book 2), Adrien invites some friends to an apéritif dinatoire.
J'ai tellement envie d'toi = I want you so much.
Vraiment? = Really?
Enzo, calme-toi! = Enzo, calm down!
Madeleines = Little cakes. In Lorraine, it is typical to eat the madeleine de Commercy, a town in Lorraine.
Plus Belle La Vie = A popular French soap opera. Many French people are addicted to this series taking place in Marseille.
Brasserie = An informal restaurant.
Arrondissement = Paris is divided in districts. Those districts are called arrondissements.
Oh mon Dieu! = Oh my God!
Merde! = Shit!
Santé! = Cheers!
Gaspard Ulliel = French actor. The fact that Florian has a crush on him is a little joke on my part because Gaspard Ulliel is the person I originally based Enzo on.
Mirabelle = A mirabelle is a yellow fruit about the size of a cherry coming from Lorraine. You are unlikely to find mirabelles in other parts of France unless they were imported from Lorraine. The alcohol made out of mirabelles is extremely strong. It is drunk as a digestive after a very large meal. It is also included in some desserts. If you see Mirabelle on a menu, be aware that it is really, really strong.
Public bathrooms in France:
There are no free public bathrooms in France. Even to access the bathrooms at the mall, French people have to pay a fee (about one euro), usually to a person at the entrance. Grocery stores usually have free bathrooms.
When French people see each other, they rarely hug. They usually kiss each other's cheeks. It's called la bise. It's more of a cheek to cheek kind of thing with a kissing sound from your lips. It's casual among friends and in the family. It can be one kiss, two kisses, three, or four based on the region. It can get awkward when people don't come from the same region and don't know how many kisses to give.
The Americanization of France:
While France still maintains its own culture and French people show extreme pride in their culture, France is more and more culturally Americanised.
For example, though burgers didn't use to be sold a lot in the 80s and 90s, it's becoming more common nowadays. In the 80s and 90s, McDonald's was the only place where you could get burgers, and McDonald's was very sparse in France. Now, France has a lot more fast food joints and burger places.
Also, though the French language is monitored by the French Academy, the French language is more and more influenced by English with a growing number of English words slipping into it, slowly erasing the authenticity of the French language.
Being a vegan in France:
It is extremely difficult to be a vegetarian or a vegan in France. Most French meals contain meat and/or dairy. Enzo's struggle is real.
The LGBT community in France:
France has a heteronormative society. The fact that some people might be queer doesn't cross many people's minds, especially in the countryside where Florian comes from. Most people are considered either straight or gay. Bisexuals and pansexuals are completely erased and viewed as non-existent in small villages like the one where Florian's parents live.
Though the LGBT community is well represented in large cities like Paris, small communities can be extremely stifling for queers who are often ostracized, pushed to the side, and treated as different and abnormal.
Everyone's experience is different, of course, and society is changing, but being bisexual in France usually means to be erased.
Plastic bags in France:
When you go to a store in France, expect to be charged for any plastic bag you may need. If you go grocery shopping, you need to bring your own bag or buy a reusable bag that you will use each time.
Though Paris is the capital of the country, it needs to be noted that many French people never even visited the city. It is a misconception to believe that Paris is France and France is Paris (a misconception that irritates French people greatly). France is mostly composed of small villages and towns besides a few large cities.
In many areas of France, French people do not speak English at all. Though French kids have to learn two foreign languages in middle school, English isn't the language of France. When you go to France, don't assume they will be speaking English to you. That's the best way to irritate a French person. Learn a few French phrases to show you at least have an interest in their culture.
Most of my male characters are not circumcised. Male circumcision isn't practiced in France, except in the Jewish and in the Muslim communities.
A misconception about French culture is the belief that all French men cheat. Not only is this belief offensive, but it is false. Cheating is not acceptable in French society. French men who cheat have a reputation, and it is not a good one. Cheating is not viewed as casual or normal in any way.
Vive la révolution!
French people are very proud of the French Revolution. Though they are aware that it was a horrifying and violent time in French history, French people carry the revolution in their blood. Enzo's views on the past French monarchy are very common among French people. The best way to irritate a French person is to diss the French Revolution.
The Muslim community:
France has a very large Muslim community as well as a large immigrant community (especially in big cities). Represented in Rewind by Amal, the Muslim community usually doesn't not eat pork or charcuterie (based on pork) and does not drink alcohol.
To access pictures and videos of the city Enzo and Florian live in, click on
To access pictures and recipes of Enzo's and Florian's favorite meals, click on
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