Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I know I should feel bad, but there's something about reading the words lake and fire in the same headline that reminded me of this one:
  • un lac = a lake
  • un feu = a fire. In the case of wildfires, arson or accidental fires, we use un incendie
which leads me to the expression:
il n'y a pas le feu! (y a pas le feu! for short) or y a pas le feu au lac! = no need to rush, there's no emergency (literally there's no fire and the lake is not on fire, respectively)

While it's pretty clear why the absence of a fire means there is no need to rush, the mischievous addition of the lake is (allegedly) a reference to the Swiss - and their lake Léman - whom in France have the reputation of being slow. That expression is therefore better used with a forced Swiss accent!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Le réveil

After a good week of inactivity it is time for le réveil = waking up, (re)awakening. E.g.
  • au réveil, il allume la radio = he turns on the radio as soon as he wakes up
  • un réveille-matin = alarm clock (a "morning-waker"?)
Not to be confused with le réveillon = (Christmas/New Year) eve, as in le réveillon de Noël = Christmas Eve


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Le temps

As a follow-up to yesterday's météo, I was reminded that météo usually refers more to the forecast than the current weather, which leads me to:
le temps ('p' and 's' are silent, so this is pronounced like 'tan') = weather (it also means time)
  • quel sale temps! = what awful weather!
  • le mauvais temps = bad weather
  • quel temps fait-il? = what's the weather like?


Monday, June 04, 2007

La meteo

la météo = (short for météorologie) is the weather or weather service. E.g. la météo est pourrie = the weather sucks.
It can also be an adjective, as in les predictions météo = the weather forecast

Météo France is the organization responsible for weather forecasts in France. Ironically, as the weather has been disrupting Roland Garros (the French Open), Météo France recently ordered a new NEC supercomputer that should allow greatly enhanced precision in its forecasts.