The French like petits pois fresh in the spring, in jars, or frozen. A favourite way of preparing them is petits pois à la française with onions, butter and lettuce.
The pea pods are cosses, which can be boiled up to make a velouté de cosses de petit pois.
Like artichokes, cucumbers, and broccoli, peas were said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de Medici, when she married Henri II in 1533 (although these days historians tend to give François Ier more credit for these culinary innovations).
Pois cassés are split peas; pois carrées are grass peas (gesse).
However, if a little kid offers you petits pois au lard (peas and bacon) it’s probably the old-fashioned nasty candy.
Image by Bill Ebbesen, Creative Commons License