I recently came across this sentence in some material I was reading and I couldn't decipher the meaning:

C'est pourquoi sa position doit se situer au-delà de toutes chapelles et de toutes querelles.

My intuition was that "de toutes chapelles et de toutes querelles" derives from an idiomatic expression, but since the sentence above doesn't use the expression directly, but, instead, adapts it to the context, I was wondering what the original expression, and its meaning, was, but I haven't been able to locate any explanations online.

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    If it was written as you quote, then the sentence was ungrammatical. It should be de toute chapelle et de toute querelle. Plural de toutes chapelles et de toutes querelles might be encountered, but you can't have toute in the singular in front of a plural noun. The phrase you are looking for is "querelles de chapelles* (we find querelles de clochers as well).
    – None
    Aug 12 '16 at 18:46
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    As a french the pural form sounds OK for me… but yeah, this Q&A must stay scholar and you are technically correct. I deliberatly write « en tous cas » instead of « en tout cas » anyway :)
    – Stéphane
    Aug 12 '16 at 20:03
  • Thank you both for your comments, I have updated the quote to reflect the correct grammar. So far as I can determine, the expression "querelles de chapelles" can be interpreted as "factional disputes". If both elements of that expression were to be substituted in the original sentence, it would lead to, "This is why it must be positioned beyond all factions and all disputes." Does this sound correct? And, are either of you aware of the etymology of "querelles de chapelles"?
    – user913304
    Aug 12 '16 at 20:16
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    @user913304 can be interpreted as "factional disputes" I don't have a better translation… Maybe there is an not less idiomatic expression in english :)
    – Stéphane
    Aug 12 '16 at 20:26

First of all I'm sorry for my bad English.

Indeed it's very idiomatic, but this expression is still used by journalists and press. Actually, it comes from the fact that in France, the church was the main symbol of the village (or the city...). Literally, that would mean "My village is better than yours", "My idea is better than yours", all in the case where all those things are very close.

So, today when someone says "c'est un querelle de clocher (ou de chapelle)" it means that it's a quarrel about something frivolous, with a very local impact, either because it's really the case or because someone wants you believe it.

Another way for saying it: "Un orage dans un verre d'eau" (literally "a thunderstorm in a glass of water")


This kind of parochial bickering should stop so that we can continue to build what truly is recognized around the world as a great country in which to live....

Is the Mount Saint-Michel in French Britannia or in Normandy? Is Haute-Savoie a better place than Savoie? Is French cheeses better than Swiss ones?

It works also well with Political local actions against global ones (especially when a mayor wants to keep his electors etc...)


« Querelle de chapelle » (or as @Laure pointed out « querelle de clocher ») is a reference to the old regime when « chapelle » was the religious-political last subdivision of the kingdom.

The only time I heard this expression used : « Ce sont des guerres de chapelles/clochers » was about the political choices to make inside a company.

Here the « clochers/chapelles » were the different services inside the company…

For sure it's very idiomatic. Just… don't use it… let it die ;)

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    Note that the exact term for the subdivision I'm talking is « paroisse ». Anyway any « paroisse » (the people) leans against a chapel or a church (the building).
    – Stéphane
    Aug 12 '16 at 20:19

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