The French quote "Ça coûte la peau du cul" revealed

Get ready to find out all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic French expression “Ça coûte la peau du cul”.

To be more precise, it includes a complete guide of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. And because we want you to learn efficiently, we also added super useful stuff like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonym and more!

Finally, on this page you can find more of these expressions pages plus the ultimate directory of all our French words content on this page. Ready to learn? C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

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Translation in English

Audio pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


The literal meaning is:

  • Ça coûte → It costs
  • la peau → the skin
  • du cul → of the ass

I don’t know for you but I would really appreciate not losing my skin in this area, not in any other area, actually.

That’s why we use this expression when we judge that something is extremely expensive. So expensive that if we pay for it, it would be like losing a part of ourselves.

How to use it

Don’t forget that it’s a vulgar expression and you shouldn’t use it in formal contexts. Even though there is another version, a bit less vulgar: “Ça coûte la peau des fesses” (It costs the skin of the buttocks).

For informal contexts, you would be fine using “Ça coûte la peau des cul” or any of the synonyms below.

But in case you are not sure, you can stick with the neutral way to express this idea: “Ça coûte une fortune” (It costs a fortune) or even simpler “Ça coûte très cher” (It’s very expensive).

Synonyms and similarities

  • Ça coûte très cher → It’s very expensive (Neutral)
  • Ça coûte une fortune → It costs a fortune (Neutral)
  • Ça coûte la peau des fesses → It costs the skin of the buttocks (Vulgar)
  • Ça coûte une jambe → It costs a leg (Informal)
  • Ça coûte un rein → It costs a kidney (Informal)
  • Ça coûte bonbon → It costs candy (Informal)
  • Ça coûte une blinde → It costs a lot (Informal)
  • Ça coûte les yeux de la tête → It costs the eyes of the head (Informal)

Example in a story with slow French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this expression in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Un sac très spécial
A very special bag
Emily venait d’arriver chez Philippe.
Emily had just arrived at Philippe’s place.
Philippe remarqua qu’elle avait les yeux brillants…
Philippe noticed that she had shining eyes…
Il était curieux… alors il lui demanda :
He was curious… so he asked:
Philippe:   Qu’est-ce qui se passe ? Tu as l’air tellement excitée…
What is happening? You look so excited…
Emily:   Ce n’est rien…
It’s nothing…
Philippe:   Maintenant je suis encore plus curieux ! Dis-moi !
Now I am even more curious! Tell me!
Emily:   Eh bien, je viens de voir un sac magnifique dans une boutique !
Well, I just saw a wonderful bag in a shop!
Philippe:   Et alors ? Achetons-le !
So what? Let’s buy it!
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