Weather Talk in French

The English are always talking – and usually complaining – about the weather, but the French do their fair share too. In fact, one way to translate the expression “to make small talk” into French is parler de la pluie et du beau temps, literally ‘to talk about the rain and the fine weather’.

To ask what the weather is like, you can say Quel temps fait-il?

The weather forecast is les prévisions métérologiques or la météo, presented by a présentateur/présentatrice météo.

To talk about the weather, all you really need to know is: il fait … (it is), and then add:

du ventwindy
du soleilsunny
du brouillardfoggy

For “it’s raining” say il pleut, and for “it’s snowing” il neige. (Note that the “il” in all these weather expressions does not mean “he” like in il mange (he eats); it is impersonal, like in English “It’s sunny”.)

Here are some interesting French expressions incorporating weather vocabulary:

Elle n’est pas née/tombée de la dernière pluieShe wasn’t born yesterday.
(Literally ‘She wasn’t born/didn’t come down in the last shower’).
Il a senti le vent du bouletHe had a narrow escape.
(Literally ‘He felt the breeze from the cannonball’).
Être dans les brumes du sommeilTo be half asleep.
(Literally ‘To be in the mists of sleep’).
Passer comme un éclairTo fly/flash past/by.
(Literally ‘To go past like a flash of lightning’).
Comme un coup de tonnerre dans un ciel bleuLike a bolt from the blue.
(Literally ‘Like a thunderbolt in a blue sky’).
Aller à la neigeto go to the ski resorts.
(Literally ‘To go to the snow’).
Après la pluie vient le beau tempsEverything’s fine again.
(Literally ‘After the rain comes the fine weather’).
Prendre le temps comme il vient To take things as they come (Literally ‘To take the weather as it comes’).

And finally, a couple of English expressions and their equivalents:

To be under the weatherNe pas être dans son assiette.
I haven’t the foggiestJe n’en ai pas la moindre idée.

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