Qui n’avance pas, recule

img_20160629_101557I think we have bitten off more than we can chew. Photo by permission of The Grandson

Is that a proverb? an idiom? an adage? weigh it up right here-


Anyway, my French neighbour V has decided that she will improve my language skills and my appreciation and understanding of French vocabulary, culture, attitudes & history by teaching me some classic French sayings.

I found two of them listed as a Top Ten here-


V says that “Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid”  applies perfectly to our slow  and considered progress on the village house project. It does, and my blog-buddy, the elegant Ellen A also refers to this saying at-


The short, pithy and pertinent “ Qui n’avance pas, recule” chimes with me too.

“Qui n’avance pas, recule” is a truth that none can counter. It is translated as, “Who does not move forward, recedes”. There can be no standstill in life, only evolution or devolution. Either one evolves, or one devolves. To be stagnant is the same as to recede. “Expect poison from stagnant water,” the English poet William Wordsworth once wrote. This proverb can be used as encouragement in the need to persevere. It may be persistently employed, given its truth content”.

Maxim? aphorism? Debate and discuss if that’s your bag. Meanwhile, we are putting the “petit a petit” quote on the front of the house……..Yes, really.


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Art, design and inspiration blog, Renovation and restoration diary- France and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Qui n’avance pas, recule

  1. gabriele says:

    I learned a different take on it…another idiom: Reculer pour mieux sauter. Withdraw to better leap/jump (etc) ahead. It has worked well for me since forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Osyth says:

    I too love that little saying and we get it regularly in the context of Maison Carrée – it calms me and it is a lovely idea to incorporate it into your house in some way. How much better it sounds than ‘one step forwards two steps back’ which would certainly apply to us!!


  3. Ellen A. says:

    Love that you are putting the saying on the front of the house, Gill. On a small plaque? Now I’m wondering if there isn’t a patron saint of some sort for home renovation to encourage us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. francetaste says:

    And sometimes we just go in reverse.
    When it comes to renovations, little by little usually is a good thing. Gives opportunity to change minds.


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