French Language Blog

Let Them Eat Du Gâteau – French Cakes Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Culture

I recently celebrated mon anniversaire (my birthday). I had a nice time with un gateau (a cake) and des cadeaux (presents). However, The first time I celebrated mon anniversaire in France, I was surprised by quelque chose (something) that was a little different. When I tried to find a birthday cake, all I could find was un gâteau d’anniversaire (a birthday cake).

I went to au moins (at least) 6 different boulangeries (bakeries) looking for le gâteau, but still couldn’t find one. Even trying to find the muffin man was useless. The right frosting covered gâteau with Happy Birthday or Joyeux Anniversaire written in icing was nowhere to be found.

After a confusing conversation avec un ami (with a friend), I learned that traditional American birthday cakes are available in France, but they usually need to be special ordered in advance, parce que (because) it’s not the standard gâteau d’anniversaire.

En fait (in fact), there is no real standard, any cake can be un gâteau d’anniversaire! Par exemple, ma copine aime bien la forêt noire (For example, my girlfriend likes Black Forest cake). De plus (what’s more) the Happy Birthday message isn’t always written across the cake in icing. Joyeux anniversaire will often be neatly placed on a chocolate square à la place (instead).

Voici une photo de mon gâteau d’anniveraire cette année !

Photo by John Bauer.

Photo by John Bauer.


Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Melany:

    Very interesting.The cake and the chocolate square look delicious. Joyeux Anniversaire!

  2. Alison:

    I adore all those goodies from the boulangeries! Joyeux anniversiare a vous, and happy eating.