Talk Like a Local: Le Tour de France

Talk Like a Local — By Alexi Ueltzen on July 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Europeans are known for their creative use of language. When I was 8 and visiting Germany with my mother, her cousin Barbara drove us to Berlin for some sightseeing. Someone cut her off, and she yelled something explosive.

“What’d she say?” I asked my mom.
“She called him a toilet bowl diver.”

At 8 years old, this was the most hilarious thing I had ever heard.

Today’s post shows that the French are equally creative when it comes to talking about one of their favorite competitive sporting events: Le Tour de France. Read on for some really ingenious ways to talk about this famous race in its native tongue.

Sucer les roues: ‘To suck wheels'; to shadow another rider

Pédaler avec les oreilles: ‘To pedal with one’s ears'; to use poor technique

Les domestiques: ‘Servants'; riders who protect their team leader

Ne pas passer un pont de chemin de fer: ‘Unable to cross a railway bridge'; to be terrible at cycling up hills

La voiture-balai: ‘The broom car'; the car at the back of the race that “sweeps” up exhausted riders

Want to learn more French? Check it out here.

Know of any other creative European slang? Leave a comment and let us know.

Tour de France photo courtesy of Adam Baker/Creative Commons
Tags: cycling, french, local, slang, Tour de France

    1 Comment

  • I got a laugh out of ‘to pedal with ones ears’ just out of it being a ridiculous metaphor, and ‘the broom car’ because it is actually a very good metaphor!

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