Do you want to learn some Lyonnais?

What those Lyonnais French People are talking to me?

Are you trying to understand French people?

Yes, French is the most beautiful language but also one of the most difficult to learn…the more you learn the more you realize you know very  little…Each rule has an exception and the French sounds…many of them do not exist outside France…for sure I didn’t know and could not make some of the French sounds at all…but thanks to the ‘Ca Va bien’…’Michelak show’,  ‘TeleMatin’ , ‘Dinner Presque Perfect’, ‘ Voix’, ‘Top Chef’ and daily Meteo…all those easy to understand foreign TV programmes I think I am starting to hear some accents…;-) anyway I found a nice excuse to watch more silly TV! You know…anything to learn more French is good! So I keep on watching and settling in France…parlez vous francais

But this is not all! While I have been getting more familiar with French, there is a special Lyonnais talk…well Lyonnais speak beautiful French but there are some cool (yet different and unique) words which are specific to Lyon only and I have a list ready for you below. Have you ever heard any of them?LearnLyonnaisYour Compact Glossary of Lyonnais Words:

Allée: an apartment block corridor, porch

Andouillette: kind of pork sausage, served hot

Bouchon: the traditional little Lyon restaurant serving home-made meals and run as a family business. It goes back to the days and preserved the unique look and feel of bistros offering heavy and tasty meals in a friendly, warm atmosphere

Bugne: a flat doughnut in a shape of a twist, eaten on Mardi Gras

Canon: a small glass of wine

Canut – Canuse:  the 19th century’ silk weaver from Lyon

Cyclopolitains: the green cabs – ecological and affordable taxis(€1 per person and per kilometre)

Cardon or carde: a celery-like ribbed vegetable

Carimentran: a straw doll which represents Mardi Gras

Caviar de la Croix-Rousse or du Puy: a lentil salad

Cervelle de canut: the fromage blanc seasoned with herbs and garlic, serves mainly in ‘bouchons’

Cheval de bronze: the statue of Louis XIV located in the Place Bellecour

Clapotons: sheep’s trotters, often served in a salad

Cochonnaille lyonnaise: («pigeon ficelé» or tied pigeon), a porkbased dish, such as lard chaud, grattons, paquet de couenne le Jésus and la rosette, rillettes and pâtés de campagne

Crique or paillasson: the pan fried grated potato cakes,

Faisselle: drained fromage frais

Ficelle: old style metro which will take you from/to the quarters of Saint-Jean and Fourvière. From 5 cable cars running in Lyon, today there are only two, Saint-Jean to Saint- Just and Saint-Jean to Fourvière

Fillette: a 37.5 cl bottle of wine

Gâteau de foies de volaille: chicken liver soufflé served as a starter

Gnafron: a puppet, a shoemaker, who likes to drink red wine

Gone: a child, or more generally resident of Lyon

Gratin de cardons: oven baked cardoon with beef marrow

Gratinée lyonnaise: onion soup with croutons and cheese

Grattons: grilled pork fat (scratchings), served hot or cold

Guignol: the most famous of all puppets, the symbol of the Lyonnais puppet theatre, created by Laurent Mourguet

Jésus – Rosette de Lyon: a pork sausage made with sow meat and hard pork fat, dried for 2 to 3 months

La Ré: rue de la République in Lyon, shopping street

Lumignon: small candle placed in a glass and stood on windowsills on the evening of 8 December (Last day of the Festival of Lights)

Mâchon: used to be a snack/meal taken outside normal eating hours served when the silk-workers where coming back from work, mainly charcuterie and Beaujolais wine

Mairie: town hall

Matefaim: a large Lyonnais pancake

Mariste (un): pupil of the Externat Sainte-Marie school in Lyon

Martin (un): pupil of the La Martinière school

Mères lyonnaises: ‘Lyon mothers’ – famous and robust cooks, Lyonnais restaurateurs who brought specific character to the Lyonnais cuisine

Mère Filloux: the first famous of all Meres Lyonnaises whose success attracted like-minded talents and who trained another very famous Lyon Mother – Mere Brazier

Mère Brazier: the best known and famous Mere Lyonnaise – the first woman to receive three Michelin stars. The former teacher of Paul Bocuse.

Omelette sourde: a traditional omelette made with the addition of flour

Oreillette: see bugne

Pot: 46cl bottle of wine with a very thick base

Poulet Célestine: chicken sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes, flambéed with cognac and white

wine, seasoned with garlic and parsley

Quenelle: oval-shaped soufflé of fish or poultry, whisked with flour or durum semolina, served with sauce and rice

Sabodet and saucisson à cuire: sausage made with pig’s head and rind, to be cooked in red wine or

Salade lyonnaise: curly leaf salad with bacon, croutons and soft boiled eggs

Saucisson brioché: hot sausage cooked inside a brioche

Tablier de sapeur: a dish of gras-double (beef tripe) in a long grilled slice

Traboule: a typically Lyonnais passageways used to transport silk yarn between silk workers and the silk traders. Nowadays, there are many to discover in the Croix Rousse and Vieux Lyon

Vélo’v: a self-service of 4,000 bicycles spread out over 345 pick-up and drop-off points in Lyon and Villeurbanne. Free of charge from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of rental you choose

Vogue: a popular festival or fair. The most famous is the Vogue des Marrons et du Vin Blanc Doux in Croix-Rousse which takes place from late September to 11 November

parlez vous francais parle lyonasi

Well, I hope I gave you a chance to understand Lyonnais a bit. And I mean …not their unique Lyonnais language as I don’t think something like this exists but their ‘Lyonnais lifestyle’ cause all those words represent things, habits, culture, places and traditions which are typical for Lyon only.

And I hope I made you more curious and interested in exploring Lyon…Enjoy! And if there are any other words you heard in Lyon or about Lyon please do share with me, I would appreciate it a lot!


I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

2 thoughts on “Do you want to learn some Lyonnais?

  1. Yes, we, Lyonnais, have our own vocabulary and we are proud of having it ! Aga is definitely “une fenotte” (=femme) : faut y avouer !

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