To Switch Dairy Shop or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

France is well-known for its cheese and dairy products. It is not surprising that there is a French expression using the national bounty.


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The crémerie in late 19th century France was an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant where simple food was served with coffee.

One said that late customers, asked to leave at closing time, would protest saying they would go to another crémerie.

Since late 20th century this French expression is used in a commercial context. Unhappy customers take their business elsewhere.

A crémerie is not longer a small restaurant in contemporary France but the shop where dairy products (we’ve got a ton in France!) are sold.


A to Z Challenge

P.S. As always if you know a similar expression either in French or American English, go ahead! I am very fond of idioms as they say so much about a culture and its people.


  1. Sisyphus47 says:

    J’adore les fromageries: mon commerce préféré en France! Cette expression me fait encore rire maintenant! (une des favorites de feu mon père…) 🙂

  2. Moi aussi! Ce sont sans aucun doute ces magasins qui me manquent le plus aux US. Il y a maintenant toutes sortes de fromages venant du monde entier, mais rien de comparable en tant que boutiques avec la France. L’expression est imagée comme la plupart le sont en France. Je l’ai sans doute apprise par mon père qui était aussi un amateur de ces phrases si typiques de notre beau pays. A demain sur votre blog!

  3. I don’t know of an English equivalent other that the long form but I dm noting this series.

  4. Behind the Story says:

    I don’t know about the 19th century, but in the US, I think the equivalent of the small restaurant you describe would be the bakery. In small towns in the early 20th century, I think people gathered to eat, drink and talk either at the tavern or the bakery. Now the bakery is becoming eclipsed by the coffee shop, although the bakery in my town still has a loyal clientele.

    • You are lucky to have a bakery in your town, Nicki. So many people don’t enjoy that nowdays. France of course has always had many different venues around food!

    • Wow! I can’t imagine sitting in a bakery, having coffee. Probably a good thing, I’d order one of everything.

      • Actually we don’t drink coffee in bakeries in France. Only in cafes and tea shops where you traditionnally have tea and hot chocolate. This place where you could eat plain food and drink coffee date from older times.

      • I have to research then go on a journey to find a bakery in Brooklyn. Or Manhattan.

  5. Another great expression Evelyne – so far I can’t think of any similar expressions in England, but I’ll be thinking as I read more 🙂

    • For some expressions there is an American equivalent and I’m sure an English too. Sometimes it’s almost identical but often it’s either very different or there is no equivalent. If you ever find an English one, go ahead as I’m sure Americans would love to know too.
      See you, Andrea.

  6. Yum! Yes, that’s a charming expression. I love idioms, too. One of my favorites is “go to town,” not meaning to travel into the city, but to go after something with a passion. For instance, you give a child a lollipop and he licks it as if he wants to eat it before somebody takes it away. You says, “He’s going to town on that sucker.”

    • I didn’t know that one, so this is great! It was sometimes frustrating for me to limit myself to one expression per letter. For C there are many that are really cool too. It will get harder as we reach the end of the alphabet. Thanks, Luanne, for stopping by.

  7. I am loving the series as well Evelyne:)

    • Thank you! I had meant to write about these idioms a while ago and took the opportunity of the A to Z challenge to finally do it. See you soon, then.

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