agent provocateur A disguised policeman who incites someone to commit a crime.
à la mode In the fashion.
bella figura Putting up a good front.
donnée What the Americans call a "given" – something you take as read.
enfant terrible Child-like person who is always "accidentally" blurting out unpleasant truths.
genre Category of fiction.
heure gris Moment in the day when everything always starts going wrong.
idee reçue One of those "facts" that everybody just "knows".
idiot de la famille Runt, scapegoat, last hen in the pecking order.
mauvais quart d’heure Those terrible few moments when you reach for your handbag and find it gone – before you remember you left it in your hotel room.
monstre sacré Person like Lady Catherine de Burgh in Pride and Prejudice, who is appallingly rude, abusive and self-centred but has such power over their coterie that they are surrounded by fawning courtiers.
mouton enragée Gentle, harmless person who is put upon by everybody else until one day they can't stand it any more and the others don't know what's hit them.
savoir faire Street smarts.
Schadenfreude Enjoying someone else's misery.
tour de force Game, set and match.
vis a vis Conversational partner.
Weltanschauung Outlook, mindset.
Zeitgeist Spirit of the age.