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The 10 Provençal expressions to discover during your immersion in Provence

Provence has an undeniable charm. That is why it continues to captivate visitors from all over the world. This emblematic region of the South of France is also the guardian of words and expressions specific to its region.

Following the article «Le provençal en Provence par Virginie In Provence», new Provençal expressions were requested. I share here the 10 Provençal expressions to know absolutely if you come to Provence.

From the origin of these expressions to their profound meaning, we invite you to dive into this rich cultural universe.

The 10 Provençal expressions to know - Introduction

1.The first Provençal expression to know - Fada

This expression means to be “silly”, “crazy”.

It is also a name given by the Marseillais to Le Corbusier’s La Cité Radieuse.

The Cité Radieuse is a historical monument located in the 8ème arrondissement of Marseille.

La Cité Radieuse or “La maison du Fada” was nicknamed as such because Le Corbusier’s project seemed “crazy” at that time.


2.The seconde Provençal expression to know - Pitchoune

“Pitchoune” is a phrase used by elders. It means “little child”.

It is used by a person older than himself.

3.The third Provençal expression to know - Dégun

“Il y a “dégun” ici.” 

Have you ever used that expression?

In Provence this familiar word means “person”.

In the pejorative sense, “degun” can also refer to an unimportant person.

For example: “Tié dégun toi!” which means “You are nobody you!”

4. The fourth Provençal expression to know - Mouligas

 Today I propose the following expression: “Mouligas”.

It means “pasty”, “soft”. You can use it when you’re talking about something or someone.

For example, a cake can be said to be “mouligasse”. We can also say that a person is “mouligasse” in the sense that the latter would be “soft”, “slow”.

5. The fifth Provençal expression to know - Kéké

“Stop doing the “kéké”!” “Look at me, this “kéké”!”

Often used with a contemptuous tone, “kéké” is a familiar expression, which refers to a person who does everything to show himself. A “keke” is a boastful and presumptuous person.

 6.The sixth Provençal expression to know - Fatche 

“Fatche!” is an interjection. It is used to express surprise, or admiration.

It is often used as follows: “Fatche! It is beautiful your home!”.

It can also be used in another way that is more vulgar “Fatche de con”.

It means “What a jerk” or “What a jerk!


 7.The seventh Provençal expression to know - Mariole 


The word 'mariole' refers to a turbulent character, who likes to joke and attract the attention of others with a delusional behavior.

The following expressions can often be heard:

“Being a puppet”: getting noticed in a ridiculous way

“Playing mariol”: playing the smart guy

“Do the mariol”: do the clever

Although these words are the same, they do not have the same meaning depending on how the sentence is made. They do not have the same origins.

“Mariole” refers to Dominique Gaye Mariole, who was part of Napoleon’s imperial army and was called “the indomitable” because of his exploits and size.

And as for “Mariol”, it comes from the Italian word “Mariolo” which meant “trickster” in the 16th century.

8.The eighth Provençal expression to know - Have eyes lined with anchovies


The expression I propose to you today is: “Have eyes lined with anchovies”.

Welcome to the South!

This typically Provencal expression means having red eyelids because of fatigue.

“Did you party or what? Your eyes are lined with anchovies!”

 9. The ninth Provençal expression to know - Adiou

“Adiou” is a Provençal interjection used to approach someone/ But it is also used to say “Goodbye”.

This interjection literally means “Farewell”. But like any good expression of the South that respects itself, it is always used in a different and contradictory way!


10.  The tenth Provençal expression to know”- Ensuqué

This expression comes from the Occitan “ensucar”. The verb “ensuquer” means to be stunned or asleep by something (heat, fatigue, illicit products, etc.).

The 10 Provençal expressions to know - Conclusion

Provencal expressions are much more than just a set of words, they reflect a cultural heritage deeply rooted in the heart of Provence.

So, whether you are a visitor or an inhabitant proud of its roots, let yourself be impregnated by the Provençal and its Provençal expressions. By using them, you can feel the very essence of Provence invading you.

So feel free to incorporate these expressions into your conversations, share them enthusiastically, and celebrate the richness of a warm culture.

If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!