BD du jour: papiers?

What is a “sans papiers”?

Sans papiers /song pah pee yay/ (LISTEN) is the French term for illegal aliens. (Un sans papiers, des sans papiers…) It comes from the word “papiers” meaning i.d. or passport (just like in English: papers). A policeman will say:

Vos papiers s’il vous plaît!  /vow pah pyay seal voo play/ (LISTEN)

But sometimes only Vos papiers! /vow pah pyay/ (LISTEN) or even Papiers! /Pah pyay/ (LISTEN)




If this ever happens to you while in France, your best option is to comply immediately by showing your passport. Check here  to find out what other documents you may produce. In France, you don’t need a specific government issued id card, but in Belgium you do, if you live there. If you don’t have anything on you, then you will be taken to the poste (police station) to be questionned for up to four hours.




Today’s quip is a drawing from Wingz  illustrating a pun on the word “papier”.

In France, a law incriminating illegal alien helpers has been lifted last year. There are still, however, some consequences to such a gesture.




un délit: an offense

sans: without

Y’a pu = Il n’y a plus (There is no more)

WC (pronounce /vay say/ LISTEN)= toilets

se démerder: to manage to do something (slang). In the imperative, it is equivalent to “You can bloody well sort it out yourself” (Reverso).

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