Cinq à sept
Cinq à sept (literally, "five to seven"; French pronunciation [sɛ̃kasɛt]; English pronunciation // sengk-a-SET) is a french term for activities taking place after work (sometime with late work as a cover up), and before returning home or having dinner (roughly between 5 and 7 p.m.). It may also be written as 5 à 7 or 5@7.
The term stands for a social gathering. It may bring together friends or colleagues or may be organized around a specific event, such as a book launch or vernissage. Wine, beer, and cocktails are served along with finger foods and other hors d'oeuvres. Such a party held later may be named for the specific time (e.g. six à huit).
A cinq à sept can be a formal gathering held in a wide range of public and private spaces, such as art galleries, University campuses, and places of work, but it is also commonly used more informally as a promotion in bars to attract patrons. The English equivalent might be a "wine and cheese" gathering in the more formal usage or "happy hour" in the informal usage.
cinq à sept was originally used as time for a tryst, and consequently a metonymy for visit to one's mistress, an affair, and the mistress (or lover) involved. It derived from the time of day French men would make such a visit. It is still commonly considered today as the moment of the day to meet one's mistress or lover, and the term is understood with a sexual content (as opposed to Quebec habit).
- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,843018,00.html "Love in the Afternoon," Time Magazine, November 11, 1966.