Literally: “selling like small breads,”
Meaning: selling like hot cakes; selling quickly, effortlessly
Synomyms: partir comme des petits pains
Origins: From the 19th century, refers to the irresistible appeal of these little loaves, especially because they were cheaper to buy than a large loaf, so people living day-to-day would have favored these.
“le petit pain” is used for small loaves of bread such as a dinner roll. It’s the kind of bread that may be served at an upscale restaurant, as individual little loaves look fancier than slices cut from a larger loaf.
Example: “Les exemplaires signés par l’artiste se sont vendus comme des petits pains.” “The copies signed by the artist sold like hotcakes.”