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Êtes-vous une bonne poire ?

Are you naive?


Bon Chrétien, Beurre Bosc, Concorde, Doyenne du Comice - a large number of the pears we eat and cook with have a decidedly French resonance but the rounded shape of the fruit has generated a number of French expressions.

The pear is often associated with a person’s face. Hence, « Se fendre la poire » means to laugh, « Se payer la poire de quelqu’un » means to make fun of someone and « Se sucer la poire » means to kiss.

However the most commonly used expression is probably « une bonne poire » which means a person who is naïve or easily duped.

Not all the expressions are face-related.

« Couper la poire en deux » is all about finding a compromise.

« Entre la poire et le fromage » means a relaxing moment of free conversation between two happenings.  It dates from the 17th when, at a meal, the fruit was served before the cheese and referred to the “free time” between the servings.

« La poire est mûre » means the occasion is favourable and the juicy nature of pears means that « Garder une poire pour la soif »  tells us to save for the future.

Not all pears are sweet and delicious to the bite. The pears from the town of Angoisse (Dordogne) were renowned for their hardness and bitterness. Despite being excellent when cooked, the expression « Avaler des poires d’Angoisse » came to mean being in a disagreeable situation or suffering cruel treatment.

To counteract such anguish, click here for the recipe for Poire Belle Helene.