Ce n'est pas aux vieux singes qu'on apprend à faire la grimace.
You don't teach old monkeys how to grimace.
This is an admonition I hear often enough from a cranky and exacting French friend of a certain âge. It means that experienced or mature men don't need advice on how to act, especially when the advice is coming from an uppity younger person.
This 18th century Regency allegorical decor of monkeys and Chinese figures in the drawing room at the Château de Chantilly is known as La Grande Singerie, The Grand Monkey Room.Vocabulary
un singe: a monkey
une singerie: a monkey house
les singeries: monkey tricks; monkeying around
une grimace: a grimace, frown, scowl
d'un certain âge: a euphemism for rather old
©2013 P.B. Lecron