French Weather & Seasons Vocabulary

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This French vocabulary section deals mainly with the weather and the seasons

After living in the ruthlessly cold state of Minnesota for over a decade, let me tell you that my conversation topic of choice when I am out of ideas is, guess what, the weather. 

It doesn't take too much effort to start making comments about the weather, especially if you are a *shy* dude like me (hehehe, I'm shy, what did you think?). 

And believe me, after you found yourself digging your car out of a couple of feet of snow,  complaining about the weather is probably all you would want to do when you meet a stranger, while waiting for the bus, with hands and toes (and butt, too) frozen. But maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I've had a great time in Minnesota (DESPITE the rough winters) - Both my children born in that lovely state clearly are evidence of this fact :-)

OK, now, let's study the French words and expressions relating to the weather and seasons.

1. How to Start a Weather Conversation

1.1 Most common weather questions

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1. quel temps fait-il?

What's the weather like? / How's the weather?

Quel temps fait-il à Moscou aujourd'hui?/ What's the weather like in Moscow today?

2. quelle est la météo?

What's the (weather) forecast?

Quelle est la météo pour demain?/ What is the forecast for tomorrow?

1.2 The 3 weather sentence structures with *il...*

The sole purpose of the next two sections is to teach you the most typical sentence structures to use when describing any weather condition. Therefore, you do not need to study the weather condition itself. Just familiarize yourself with the following French weather phrases. Later on, I will provide more detailed French expressions you can use to talk about the weather.

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3. il fait...(chaud/froid/frais/beau, etc)

It is... (+ weather condition)

Il fait froid ce matin./ It is cold this morning.

4. il y a (du soleil/ de la neige, du brouillard, etc)

It is... (+ weather condition) / There is (+ weather element)

Il y a de la neige au sol ce matin./ There is snow on the ground this morning.

5. il (+ verb)

it is... (+ verb)

il pleut tous les jours./ It is raining every day.

1.3 Describing the weather with adjectives

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6. le temps est...

The weather (or It) is...

Le temps est ensoleillé./ The weather is sunny.

1.4 The prepositions to use with the seasons

Use the French prepositions en and au to talk about the seasons. Other than that, use the definite article (le) or (l') [Summer is hot --> l'été est chaud].

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7. en hiver

In winter...

En hiver, il neige./ It snows in winter.

8. en automne

In fall (automn)...

En automne, les feuilles tombent des arbres./ In fall, leaves fall from trees.

9. au printemps

In spring...

Au printemps, il pleut beaucoup./ It rains a lot in spring.

10. en été

In summer...

En été, il fait chaud./ It is hot in summer.

2. Weather Vocabulary

2.1 Temperature-related words

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11. la chaleur

Heat

Le bébé ne supporte pas la chaleur./ The baby can't stand the heat.

12. froid

Cold (noun)

Le froid en hiver est difficile à supporter. / In winter, the cold is hard to bear.

13. la fraicheur

Coolness

Je profite de la fraicheur du matin./ I enjoy the coolness of the morning.

14. glacial

Freezing

Je ne sortirai pas dans ce froid glacial./ I will not go out in this freezing cold.

2.2 Rain-related words

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15. la bruine

Drizzle

La bruine et le brouillard rendent la conduite dangereuse./ Drizzle and fog make driving hazardous.

16. l'inondation (f)

Flood

Les grosses précipitations ont causé une inondation./ The heavy rainfall caused a flood.

17.

la pluie

Rain

J'aime entendre la pluie tomber./ I like to hear the rain fall down.

18.

la pluie torrentielle

Downpour

On a arrêté le concert à cause de pluie torrentielle./ The concert was stopped due to the downpour.

19.

des averses (f.pl)

Showers

Des averses sont attendues pour lundi./ Showers are expected for Monday.

20.

humide

Damp

L'herbe est souvent humide le matin./ The grass is often damp in the morning.

2.3 Cold-related words

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FRENCH

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21.

le givre

Frost

Ma fenêtre est couverte de givre./ My window is covered with frost.

22.

le flocon de neige

Snowflake

Je vois des flocons de neige dans le ciel./ I can see snowflakes in the sky.

23.

le blizzard

Blizzard

J'annulerai la randonnée à cause du blizzard./ I will cancel the hiking activity because of the blizzard.

24.

la neige fondue

Sleet

La neige fondue ralentit la circulation./ The sleet slows down traffic.

25.

la grêle

Hail

La grêle peut endommager les voitures./ Hail can damage cars.

26.

la neige

Snow

Une forte tombée de neige./ A heavy snowfall.

2.4 Cloud-related words

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27.

le nuage

Cloud

Les nuages cachent le soleil./ Clouds are hiding the sun.

28.

la clarté du ciel

Clear sky

La clarté du ciel ce matin est éblouissante./ The clear sky this morning is dazzling.

29.

maussade; sombre

Gloomy

Un temps maussade./ A gloomy weather.

30.

le brouillard

Fog

On n'y voit rien dans cet épais brouillard./ You can't see a thing in this thick fog.

31.

la brume

Haze

Il y a une brume épaisse sur la ville./ There is a thick haze over the city..

2.5 Wind-related words

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32.

le vent

Wind

Le vent souffle fort./ The wind is strong.

33.

la brise

Breeze

Je sens la douce brise sur le visage./ I can feel the gentle breeze on my face.

34.

la rafale de vent

A gust of wind

Une rafale de vent a emporté mon chapeau./ A gust of wind blew my hat away.

35.

la tornade

Tornado; Twister; Whirldwind

La tornade a déraciné plusieurs arbres./ The tornado uprooted several trees.

36.

l'ouragan

Hurricane

L'ouragan Katrina a laissé de mauvais souvenirs./ Hurricane Katrina left some bad memories.

37.

le cyclone

Cyclone

Les cyclones sont assez rares dans cette région./ Cyclones are quite scarce in this region.

38.

le typhon

Typhoon

Les typhons causent des dégâts immenses./ Typhoons cause enormous damages.

3. Most-Used French Weather Expressions By Type

3.1 Type No1: [il fait...]

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39.

il fait (très) chaud

It's (very) hot

Il fait chaud en été./ It's hot in summer.

40.

il fait (très) froid

It's (very) cold

Il fait froid en hiver./ It's cold in winter.

41.

il fait beau

It's nice out; The weather is nice

Il fait beau aujourd'hui./ It's nice out today.

42.

il fait un temps splendide

The weather is gorgeous

Il fait un temps splendide ce soir./ She broke her arm during practice.

43.

il fait mauvais

The weather is bad

Il a fait mauvais toute la journée./ The weather has been bad all day.

44.

il fait moche

The weather is bad

Il fait moche cette semaine./ The weather is bad this week.

45.

il fait un temps maussade

The weather is gloomy

Dehors, il fait un temps maussade: il pleut./ The weather is gloomy outside: it's raining.

46.

il fait du vent

It is windy

Il a fait du vent toute la nuit./ It was windy all night.

47.

il fait (du) soleil

It is sunny

Il fait toujours du soleil dans mon beau pays./ It is always sunny in my beautiful country.

3.2 Type No2: [il y a...]

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48. il y a du brouillard

It is foggy

Je conduis prudemment quand il y a du brouillard l matin./ I cut my fingernails every week.

49. Il y a du vent

it is windy

La promenade avec les enfants est annulée parce qu'il il y a du vent./The children's walk has been canceled because it is windy.

50. il y a du soleil

It is sunny

Je mets un chapeau quand il y a du soleil./ I put on a hat when it is sunny.

51. il y a un orage

There is a storm

il y a des orages fréquents dans cette région./ There are frequent storms in this region.

52. il y a des éclairs

There's lightning

Mon petit frère a peur quand il y a des éclairs./ My little brother is scared when there is lightning.

53. il y a du tonnerre

There is thunder

Je me couvre les oreilles quand Il y a du tonnerre/ I cover my ears when there is thunder.

3.3 Type No3: [il + verb]

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54. il neige

It is snowing

Il met ses bottes de neige quand il neige./ He puts on his snow boots when it snows.

55. il pleut

It is raining

Je suis certain qu'il pleuvra demain./ I am certain it will rain tomorrow.

56. il grêle

It is hailing

Je range ma voiture au garage quand il grêle./ I park my car away in the garage when it hails.

3.4 Type No4: [le temps est + adjective]

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57. le temps est orageux

The weather/It is stormy

Le temps sera orageux demain./ It will be cloudy on tomorrow.

58. le temps est nuageux

The weather/It is cloudy

Le temps sera nuageux demain./ It will be cloudy on tomorrow.

59. le temps est pluvieux

The weather/It is rainy

Je reste chez moi quand le temps est pluvieux./ I stay home when the weather is rainy.

60. le temps est couvert

The weather/It is overcast

Le temps est couvert et frais./ The weather is overcast and cool.

61. le temps est ensoleillé

The weather/It is sunny

le temps est ensoleillé et clair./ The weather is sunny and clear.

4. Weather-related French Idioms and Expressions

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GENERIC FRENCH STATEMENT

|ENGLISH EXPLANATION

ACTUAL PHRASE

62. faire un froid de canard

Said about a freezing weather

Il fait un froid de canard./ It is freezing.

63. pleuvoir des cordes

Raining cats and dogs (a lot)

Il pleut des cordes./ It's raining cats and dogs.

64. faire un temps de chien

Said about an awful weather

Il fait un temps de chien./ The weather is terrible.

65. Cailler

Said about a bitter cold

Ca caille!/ It's bitterly cold.

66. être trempé jusqu'aux os

Said when completely soaked

Je suis trempé jusqu'aux os./ I am soaked to the bones.

I hope this French weather word list was as helpful as we intended it to be for you. Leave us some comments or questions below. We love reading and answering them. 


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