Wednesday 14 January 2015

Bon voyage, bon appétit and bon everything!

Posted by Rosie

Many of you will, I am sure, have used the expressions "Bon Voyage" and "Bon Appétit".  They are 2 French expressions that have slipped effortlessly into the English language and are used as much in English now as in French.  Quite literally Bon Voyage means Good Journey and Bon Appétit means good appetite where-as what they actually mean is "Have a good/safe journey" and "Enjoy your meal".  

Here in France you will hear any number of  "Bon" expressions and popular ones include: 
  • Bon courage - good luck or keep up the good work
  • Bonne chance - good luck
  • Bonne continuation - carry on enjoying what-ever it is you are doing or best wishes
  • Bon week-end - have a good week end
  • Bonne Année (often coupled with Bonne santé) - Happy New Year
  • Bonne santé - stay healthy
  • Bonne promenade - have a good walk
  • Bonne soirée - have a good evening
  • Bonne rentrée - good luck with the return to the new school year
  • Bonnes vacances - have a good holiday
  • Bonne journée - have a good day and said by practically everyone when you say goodbye.

Then there are some more idiomatic ones which I really like and must try and use more:

  • à bon chat bon rat - tit for tat (literally, to a good cat, a good rat)
  • de bon matin - bright and early 
  • L'enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions - The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 
  • de bon cœur - heartily (literally, of good heart)
  • une bonne fourchette - a hearty eater (literally, a good fork)
  • avoir un bon fromage - to have a cushy job (literally, to have a good cheese)

If you are shopping you may well come across these expressions:

  • Un bon d'avoir - a credit voucher, often given if you have taken goods back to the shop
  • Un bon de caisse - a deposit receipt
  • Un bon de commande - an order form
  • Un bon de livraison - a delivery slip
  • Un bon de réduction - a money off voucher/coupon
  • This is just a small number of French expressions with bon included.  Do you know any more that I should try to get into my every day speech?  In the meantime may I just wish you a ...

    Lou Messugo


    1. One of my faves is bonne degustation! I'm popping over from Phoebe's linky #Allaboutfrance

    2. Et bien! Je me rends compte combien les français sont accros aux expressions, par rapport aux anglophones qui ont des mots plus précis (heartily, voucher, receipt, etc). On aime faire des mélanges, des jeux de mots!
      Merci pour cet article, je le partage tout de suite.

    3. I especially like "avoir un bon frommage", which I hadn't heard before. I guess if you have a good job you can buy a good cheese... Some of it is actually quite expensive. :-)

    4. We say "bon effort" on the volleyball court to each other. I like to say it off the court, as well, and I get some funny looks, but isn't that what makes language learning great?! :)

    5. I like "bon débarras" -- "good riddance," but maybe a bit less old-fashioned. Also "bon vent," which is a little like "bon courage" but with a little note of finality to it. I feel it is used when you might not see someone in a while.


    6. I would just add "de bon poil" (in a good mood). Great post. You must have spent ages collecting these phrases!


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