1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Laura K. Lawless

French expression: Avoir du pain sur la planche

By February 4, 2013

Follow me on:

What does the idiomatic French expression avoir du pain sur la planche mean? Click to learn all about it.
More: French expressions


May 29, 2009 at 9:16 am
(1) Frenchsalsa13 says:

Yes, this expression is used in France. I remember it from when I lived there years ago, however, as a former Québécoise I can tell you that it is not an expression one would have used in Québec unless you were of European origin. We have our own expressions.

May 29, 2009 at 9:37 am
(2) margot.w says:

Hi. My French prof (de Quebec)uses this expression. The first time I heard it was during her class.

May 30, 2009 at 2:52 am
(3) Roger P says:

Very timely. The phrase was in the Geneva free paper last week due to late snow not melting in a pass. Could puzzle it out even though the sub editor had used “piste” instead of “planche”…

May 31, 2009 at 11:50 am
(4) Luke says:

Ou “long comme un jour sans pain” et “gangner son pain a la sueur de son front”

L’essayer :)

June 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm
(5) Henk S. says:

A century ago the working class could easily be without bread (food) when out of work. So a farmhand in wintertime could get a loan from the farmer–but he had to work for it later on. Bread, yes, but the work is waiting.

September 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm
(6) MC says:

I don’t know where Frenchsalsa13 is from, by I am from Quebec and this is a VERY common and often used expression meaning there’s a lot of work to do.

October 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm
(7) cuardoir says:

I was told by a French teacher that the expression refers to the “planche” of the bread baker which, when loaded with loaves, he slides into the furnace. Thus the idea of work to be done.

So it’s not the bread board at the eating stage.

August 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm
(8) eric says:

i’m using your lessons to try and learn french for going to school in montreal, i was wondering if expressions like this and the others you use are universal french expressions or are only used in france itself

. . . . . . . . . .

Unless otherwise stated, they are “standard French,” meaning that as far as I know, they are not specific to France. However, it’s impossible to say whether every expression is used in every French-speaking country. You’d have to ask native speakers from Québec, Switzerland, Belgium, etc.

Laura K. Lawless
Learn French at About

February 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm
(9) Serge says:

I don’t think the equation “work to do” = “food to eat” is a judgment about the food – it’s rather an understatement about the work. But it French, “work to do” = “bread to bake”.

February 5, 2013 at 10:12 am
(10) c says:

Perhaps it’s more about having a lot of bread to slice. They do seem to like their baguettes cut into inch think pieces, they are rather long and they do eat a lot of them!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.