Top 5 typical French expressions from the southwest

French expressions - southwest France - MyFrenchLife™

All countries have their own regional expressions that might leave the most fluent speakers, and even natives, confused. France is no exception. 

If you don’t want to sound like a tourist while traveling in the southwest region of France, here are our five favorite French expressions from the southwest you’ll need to blend in with the locals…

1. Une chocolatine –  Pain au chocolat

Ordering one of these delicious treats in a boulangerie might be a little tricky. In most of the southwest it is called a ‘chocolatine, so if you don’t want to be labeled as a tourist you should definitely remember this one. 

2. Une poche – Un sac plastique

If in need of a plastic bag at the store, think twice before asking for a ‘sac plastique’ as in the south it is ‘une poche’. 

3. Gavé – Beaucoup

This one won’t cause as much confusion. If you are in Bordeaux and want to blend in like a local, you probably should sneak it in some of your conversations. 

French expressions - southwest France - Boudu - MyFrenchLife™4. Boudu

Pronounced ‘Bouduuuu’, you should use it to show excitement or irritation – ‘Boudu! Que calou aujourd’hui’, which sort of means ‘Oh my God! It’s so hot today’. 

5. Il me tarde – J’ai hâte

We know you are ‘looking forward’ to come visit the south of France, and while in some parts of France you will show your excitement with the phrase ‘J’ai hâte’, in the south we suggest you replace it with ‘Il me tarde’. 


Bonus: Rocade – Périphérique

We don’t want you getting lost while driving around Toulouse, so if someone tells you to take ‘la rocade’  they mean ‘le peripherique’.

Do you know any other typical expressions from the Southwest or other regions in France? Share yours in the comments below!

Image credits
1La carte des résultats “pain au chocolate vs chocolatine by Adrien Hamme
2. Boudu film poster via Figaro

About the Contributor

Dalet Vargas

Originally from Mexico, I am a passionate traveler. While living in Australia I met a French man and we've been living in Toulouse, France since 2013. I am looking forward to share some of my French Life with you. You can find me on Google+, Instagram, and my website.

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  1. Sahara Wilson Aug 12, 2014 at 11:07 AM - Reply

    I love the variations in French from place to place, so thanks for this Dalet. When I was living in Paris, I had a friend from the North of France and some of the words he used were so bizarre, I never quite got used to him using them!

  2. Jill Craig Aug 14, 2014 at 12:43 AM - Reply

    I didn’t know about any of the changes apart from the first one, merci! ‘Une poche’ is a slightly strange one, but it makes sense I guess..

  3. emma cazabonne Aug 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM - Reply

    I would not consider ‘la rocade’ specific to the Bordeaux region. We used it daily both in Champagne and Burgundy, where I lived for many years

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