We recently explored these two topics on the @livingfrenchly Instagram page.

Oh là là

You’ve probably used this phrase before…and maybe even said “ooh la la”. You might have heard it or used it to indicate that something is beautiful or sexy.

However, Francophones don’t really use the phrase in that way. Instead, it’s used to express surprise, disappointment, or delight. Kind of how we, Anglophones, say “oh my gosh!” or “wow!”.

In fact, if you type “oh la la” into google translate, it translates to “oh dear”.

And the French pronounce the oh like oh, not ooh.

Here are some examples:

“Sorry I’m late. I got a flat tire!”

“Oh là là.”

If something is really a disaster, you might get a few more “la”s thrown in.

“Sorry I’m late. I got a flat tire! And before that I was fired!”

“Oh là là là là là…”

Here, it’s used in a positive situation:

“You brought my favorite rosé? Oh là là!”

Try it out and let me know how it feels!

Onto the topic of April Fish or Poisson d’avril

Did you know that instead of “April Fools” the French say “April Fish” on April 1st?

The tradition in France is to tape a paper fish to your target’s back as a joke.

There are many theories on where this tradition came from; but, from what I’ve read no one seems to know for certain.

Personally, I like the idea because you can get in the spirit of the day, yet it’s in good fun (not mean or potentially harmful).

I hope these tidbits helps you when you’re chatting with a French-speaking friend or when traveling in the future!

Photos: Living Frenchly

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