Interesting French expression N°16 : Tourner la page

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This is one very interesting French expression that I wish I could put into practice more often. It is linked to our history manuals ! 📚 Tourner la page !

Tourner la page
Tourner la page

Tourner la page Meaning

This is one common French expression that you will have no problem understanding what it means because it is the same in English ! 😉

Let’s look at the clues:

a book with pages being turned !

Two important French words :

Tourner : to turn ↪️

La page : the page 📃

It literally means “to turn the page”

Tourner la page origin

tourner la page origin
Photo by JJ Jordan from Pexels

This expression started being used, at the very beginning of the 19th century, and was a reference to history books. Indeed, a “history page” then “a page” has been a metaphor which designates a period in the life of an individual, of a group or country (even though one period is hardly ever described on one single page ) 🤓.


If the ‘page’ thus corresponds to a slice of life, what could be simpler, to go to the next slice, than to turn the page, as one turns that of a book to continue reading it, which has the advantage of hiding the content of the previous one, a new metaphor that marks the desire to forget the content of the previous ‘page’. 😀

This French expression is found in North Africa and especially in Tunisia in the following proverb “nfasskhou w naaoudou men jdid“, one erases and one starts again, allusion made to the slate of the Koranic schools on which one learned to read and write then that was deliberately erased to learn a new lesson. Source

Tourner la page Examples in French

Tourner la page French examples
Photo by Ismael Sanchez from Pexels

Here are a few examples of how this French expression “Tourner la page” could be used :

Ça fait 5 ans qu’il est parti, il est temps de tourner la page.

He has been gone for five years, it’s time to move on.

Tu entretiens une longue rancune avec ta famille. Il est temps de tourner la page sur le passé.

You have a long grudge against your family. It is time to turn the page on the past.

Tourner la page Alternatives in French

Photo by Visually Us from Pexels

These are a couple of fancy expressions that could be used in French to express the same idea.

Passer à autre chose

Start something new (else)

Faire table rase

Empty the table

Tourner la page Translation in English

Tourner la page Translation in English
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Here are two English idioms which could be used to communicate the same idea 🇬🇧

To turn a new page

Tourner la page

To turn over a new leaf

Tourner la page

Tourner la page illustration in music

Here is an easy-listening song from the French artist Zaho which illustrates well this popular French expression. Enjoy 👍

Zaho – Tourner la page

French song by Zaho – Tourner la Page lyrics

I saw on my road full of landscapes
J’ai vu sur ma route plein de paysages

With words I paint pictures
Avec des mots je peins des images
Out of my cage, go up one floor
Sortie de ma cage, monter d’un étage

Today I’m hovering in the clouds
Aujourd’hui je plane dans les nuages
I let life carry me
Je laisse la vie m’emporter
I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter
It’s not so easy to turn the page
C’est pas si facile de tourner la page

When the present escapes me
Quand le présent m’échappe
And that the passing stalks me
Et que le passer me traque
I sigh to say too bad
Je soupire pour dire dommage
I stop for a moment
Je m’arrête un moment
Just for a song
Juste pour une chanson
I’m making up for time
Je rattrape le temps

Fickle
Volage
And I let life take me away
Et je laisse la vie m’emporter

I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter

My joys and my sorrows
Mes joies et mes peines
And I let life take me away
Et je laisse la vie m’emporter

I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter

I hear this voice calling me
J’entends cette voix qui m’appelle
To forgive the silent words
Pour pardonner les mots muets

Time flows in the hourglass
Le temps coule dans le sablier
To forget, don’t bend
Pour oublier, ne pas plier

I advance without knowing where I’m going
J’avance sans savoir où je vais
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
Turn the page
Tourner la page

I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
Drunk as a poet
Ivre comme un poète

Free as a seagull
Libre comme une mouette

I accompany the lonely offshore
J’accompagne les solitaires au large
In an ocean of rage
Dans un océan de rage

Under the good weather or the storm
Sous le beau temps ou l’orage

I lay down my shadow and I swim
Je dépose mon ombre et je nage
And I let life take me away
Et je laisse la vie m’emporter

I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter

It’s not so easy to turn the page
C’est pas si facile de tourner la page
To those who listen to me
À ceux qui m’écoutent

And who of themselves are hostages
Et qui d’eux même sont otages

I write to tell you courage
J’écris pour vous dire courage
To those who listen to me
À ceux qui m’écoutent

Even when I doubt
Même lorsque je doute

I sing thank you, I love you when I’m a coward
Je chante merci, je vous aime quand je suis lâche
And I let life take me away
Et je laisse la vie m’emporter

I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter

My joys and my sorrows
Mes joies et mes peines
And I let life take me away
Et je laisse la vie m’emporter

I let my pen carry me
Je laisse ma plume me porter

I hear this voice calling me
J’entends cette voix qui m’appelle
To forgive
Pour pardonner

Dumb words
Les mots muets

Time flows in the hourglass
Le temps coule dans le sablier

To forget
Pour oublier

Do not bend
Ne pas plier

I advance without knowing where I’m going
J’avance sans savoir où je vais
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page

I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page

I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page
I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page

I try to turn the page
J’essaie de tourner la page

Turn the page
Tourner la page
I saw on my road full of landscapes
J’ai vu sur ma route plein de paysages

With words I paint pictures
Avec des mots je peins des images
I saw on my road full of landscapes
J’ai vu sur ma route plein de paysages

With words I paint faces
Avec des mots je peins des visages
I saw on my road full of landscapes
J’ai vu sur ma route plein de paysages

With words I pay homage
Avec des mots je rends hommages


Source: LyricFindSongwriters: Philippe Greiss / Zehira Darabid
Tourner la page lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Voilà, this was today’s French idiom in English, I hope you liked it. Click here to find out about the challenge of 50 French idioms in English.

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