by Clare Jones

Many thanks to the BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours for helping my son get his money back from the driving instructor agency Drive Dynamics after a 4-month battle. If you live in the U.K., you can hear the article here starting at about 20 minutes into the programme.

Rouler dans la farine

Picture by Tamsin Edwards, ©Texart

This has reminded me of a useful, colloquial French expression which features in my book, Je mourrai moins bête: 200 French expressions to help you die less stupid (available on Amazon or from The Oundle Bookshop).

  • rouler quelqu’un dans la farine  – to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes; to deceive or dupe somebody

Literally: to roll somebody in flour

  • se faire rouler dans la farine – to be deceived or duped; to be had; to have the wool pulled over one’s eyes

Literally: to have oneself rolled in flour


Ils ont essayé de nous rouler dans la farine mais ils n’ont pas réussi.

They tried to dupe us but they didn’t succeed.


This 19th century expression is a happy combination of two ideas, each to do with being conned. Se faire rouler on its own means ‘to be done’: je me suis fait rouler ! – I’ve been done! La farine once had the meaning of ‘deceitful arguments’ and, also, might have referred to the makeup used by actors to disguise their faces when taking on a role. Put the two halves together and you have been well and truly duped!


When Jacques Chirac was président de la République, it was sometimes cheekily said that his Prime Minister (2002-2005) Jean-Pierre Raffarin “roulait la population dans la raffarine”.


By the way, if you have read my book and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon!

A bientôt!


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About the author

Clare Jones was born in the North of England in 1960. She fell in love with the French language at the age of 11 and went on to study it to degree level at Leicester University, where she also became a qualified teacher. In 2011 Clare collaborated with Tamsin Edwards to produce an iPhone application, “Figure out French, Rouler un patin: to give a French kiss and other French expressions for leisure and health”. Though she now lives in England, Clare always has her nose in a French book and she surrounds herself by all things French. She is currently very busy teaching French as a private tutor and when she has the time, she writes a blog on the subject of the French language (click on the blog tab to read it). Clare enjoys tai-chi, swimming, and cycling in the local country park. She is also an enthusiastic member of her local community choir.

About the illustrator

Tamsin Edwards studied art at both Nene Art College, Northampton, and Derby School of Art during the early 1980s. Though well known for her atmospheric watercolour landscapes, Tamsin also creates quirky pen & wash illustrations, often portraying comic images of people and places. Tamsin has already collaborated with Clare Jones to produce an iPhone application. Past commissioned projects also include the children’s storybook ‘Tales of Two Shires’ and a book of poetic verses. As well as regularly exhibiting work and selling to clients around the world, Tamsin has also had several paintings published in an international magazine. To view further examples of her work or to buy original artwork from this book, please visit Tamsin can be contacted at

Author Photo

Illustrator Tamsin Edwards (left) and author Clare Jones (right)

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