So in English you might hear people say something like “Oh, I went to this little old shop the other day!” or “He bought me this little old book about space!” when they’re talking about something nice or cute or just casually what comes to mind when describing a place they went to (it can be considered a bit overused or annoying by some people).

Is there any type of wording like this in French? It doesn’t necessarily mean that what is being described is little or old, those are just adjectives thrown in to make it more appealing or to show its cuteness.

  • As a native speaker, I find these examples a little odd. Maybe with only "little" they'd be okay. What's your variety of English?
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 2:47
  • i’m american, from ohio, hahaha. i had trouble thinking of examples to explain what i meant so i think i need to edit my question a bit! Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 3:47

3 Answers 3


Mmh, what comes in my mind to replace "little old shop" would be "un charmant petit magasin", literally translated as "a charming little shop", "mignon" could also be an option but wouldn't fit in any sentence.

Here is a book called Un charmant petit village https://www.editionslajouanie.com/un-charmant-petit-village-jean-michel-lecocq.html

  • 3
    Depending on the object your refer to, you can also use "joli" or "sympa". Ex: un petit resto sympa, un joli petit village.
    – Greg
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 9:04
  • Great addition @Greg, indeed there are many words to mean it, I just chose the ones which in my opinion fits the better to the given examples and which are the most general purpose.
    – user20904
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 9:31

I find the following to be a similar expression in both form and meaning: un bon petit ..., pronounced un bon p'tit ..., and sometimes un bon petit ... des familles for extra emphasis.

For example:

On est allés dans un bon petit restaurant.

Je vais me poser tranquille et lire un bon petit bouquin des familles.

It shares with a little old ... a connotation of something nice and cozy, easygoing, not extravagant, maybe even a little secret and out of the way.

It's not a strict equivalent of the English expression though. In particular, it can't be used for people, unlike "a little old lady", which would be une petite bonne femme.


There exists an expression : "Ce qui est petit est beau".

Generally, we only say un petit magasin, un petit village, to indicate something pleasant

PS: When we were young, my sister, much smaller than me, often said this expression ce qui est petit est beau. Useless to detail what she was adding concerning me

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.