The Four Seasons in French

Learning French is an enriching journey, and knowing how to discuss everyday topics like the weather and seasons is essential. This guide will help you master the vocabulary related to the four seasons and associated expressions. 🌸🍂❄️☀️

Autumn - L’automne

Autumn, called 'l’automne' in French, is a time when leaves fall, temperatures cool, and beautiful colors blanket the ground. In this season, French speakers might talk about "tourner la page" which translates to "turning over a new leaf" or starting anew.

Autumn Vocabulary

  • Leaves: feuilles
  • Harvest: récolte
  • Sweater: pull
  • Pumpkin: citrouille
  • Rain: pluie
  • Wind: vent
  • Acorn: gland
  • Pinecone: pomme de pin
  • Rake: râteau
  • Chestnuts: châtaignes

Autumn Festivals

  • Vendanges (Grape Harvest)

In Switzerland and France, the grape harvest is an important season, especially in wine-producing regions like Vaud or Burgundy, where festivals celebrate the harvest with wine tastings and community gatherings.

  • Halloween (Halloween)

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on October 31st of each year. Very popular in the United States, it is now also celebrated in many countries around the world, including France and Switzerland. People of all ages dress up and go knocking on doors of each house saying the famous phrase “Un bonbon ou un sort !” which means “Trick or treat.”

Winter - L’hiver

Winter, or 'l’hiver' in French, is the coldest season, marked by snow, shorter days, and festive celebrations. During the winter you might hear the phrase "Il fait un froid de canard", which translates to "it's duck cold," indicating extremely cold weather.

Winter Vocabulary

  • Snow: neige
  • Cold: froid
  • Scarf: écharpe
  • Fireplace: cheminée
  • Coat: manteau
  • Ice: glace
  • Snowman: bonhomme de neige
  • Frost: gelée
  • Gloves: gants
  • Boots: bottes
  • Snowflake: flocon de neige

Winter Festivals

  • Christmas (Noël)

Christmas or Noël, is a Christian holiday celebrated all over the world on December 25th of each year. It is associated with traditions such as the famous Christmas tree (sapin de Noël) decorations, Santa Claus (Père Noël), and his reindeers (rennes) who bring gifts (cadeaux), and festive family meals.

  • New Year (le Nouvel An)

Le Nouvel An is a worldwide celebration that takes place on the evening of December 31st. We make resolutions (résolutions) and have a good time with family or friends while wishing each other the best for the new year. Just before midnight (minuit), we do the countdown (décompte) "5,4,3,2,1…" then fireworks (feux d'artifice) explode in the sky.

Spring - Le printemps

In spring, or 'le printemps', the weather warms up, flowers bloom, vibrant colors emerge, and birds sing loudly. A common saying, “En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil; en mai, fais ce qu'il te plaît” - "In April, don’t remove a thread; in May, do as you please." This advises caution against the unpredictable weather of April and suggests that by May, warmer weather is more reliable.

Spring Vocabulary

  • Flower: fleur
  • Blossom: éclore
  • Sunshine: soleil
  • Butterfly: papillon
  • Easter: Pâques
  • Garden: jardin
  • Birdsong: chant des oiseaux
  • Ladybug: coccinelle
  • Dew: rosée

Spring Festival

  • Fête de la Tulipe (Tulip Festival)

In Morges, Switzerland, the Tulip Festival (Fête de la Tulipe) takes place from April to May, featuring over 120,000 tulips in various species and colors, creating a vibrant display in the parks of the city.

  • Easter (Pâques)

Easter or Pâques is a Christian holiday. It is marked by religious celebrations at the church (l’église), colorful chocolates, chocolate bunnies (lapins en chocolat), egg hunts (chasses aux œufs), and family meals on Sunday (dimanche).

Summer - L’été

Summer, or 'l’été', is the warmest season, starting in June. It's the ideal time for sunglasses, hats, sandals, and beach outings. Remember to apply sunscreen, or you might end up with "un coup de soleil," a sunburn.

Summer Vocabulary

  • Sun: soleil
  • Beach: plage
  • Ice cream: glace
  • Vacation: vacances
  • Barbecue: barbecue
  • Sunglasses: lunettes de soleil
  • Sand: sable
  • Flip-flops: tongs
  • Sunscreen: crème solaire
  • Pool: piscine
  • Warmth: chaleur

Summer Festivals

  • Fête de la Musique (street music festival):

Celebrated across French-speaking countries on June 21st, this festival marks the summer solstice with free concerts and performances in streets, parks, and public spaces.

  • Montreux Jazz Festival

Held in Montreux, Switzerland, this is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, attracting artists and fans from across the globe every July.

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