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Jeter Des Fleurs – French Compliments Guide

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Jeter des fleurs à quelqu’un. (“To compliment someone.” Or literally: “To throw flowers at someone.” )

Ever wonder how to compliment a guy in French or give your compliments to the chef after a delicious meal? If you haven’t heard compliments in French before, it may be because the French don’t do this much and tend to keep their praise a bit too much to themselves.

When I traveled to Japan with a bunch of French friends, we were stunned at how people would praise us for everything we were doing, laugh at our most wonky jokes, and compliment us at every corner on our accents, clothes, or even our choices of drinks. People would strongly react with round eyes, laughter, and what seemed to me like a general tendency to exaggerate their feelings.

I got a similar impression later about Americans, then about Colombians, and it got me thinking: Are we, Europeans, such emotionless logs, sitting in silence with a straight face and dead eyes, that we are unable to see beauty and excitement in the smallest of things like our foreign counterparts do? How deep does this phlegm of ours go?

The French are known to be sparing with their compliments, but they usually mean every single word when they do give one. You might not get much praise from them, but when you do, you’ll know it means something and it’s not overacted. It will convey just the level of enthusiasm they think it deserves, or probably less because we can also be emotionless logs. But don’t hold it against us!

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Table of Contents

  1. Good Job!
  2. Complimenting Someone’s Look
  3. Complimenting the Mind
  4. This is Amazing!
  5. What Comes After a Compliment
  6. Compliments and the French Culture of Seduction
  7. Le Mot De La Fin

1. Good Job!

Compliments

One situation where you’d compliment someone is to praise them for doing a good job on something.

Whether you’re at work or home, a job well done deserves some appreciation. Although more reserved than some in this department, your French colleagues or friends shouldn’t fail to reward the quality of your work with some nice words.

Here are some common French compliments for a job well done:

  • Bien joué ! (“Well done!” Literally: “Well played!” )
  • Bon travail. (“Good work.” )
  • C’est du bon boulot. / C’est du bon travail. (“It’s good work.” )
  • Excellent travail. (“Excellent work.” )

And here’s how to compliment them on their awards or achievements:

  • Félicitations ! (“Congratulations!” )
  • Toutes mes félicitations. (“My congratulations.” )
  • Tu l’as bien mérité ! (“You’ve earned it!” or “You deserve it!” )

You don’t have to blindly follow the average French mindset. I’m personally trying to follow Dale Carnegie’s precept: “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” By praising whenever you can, even for small wins, you’ll make a strong impression on the French people you’re socializing with, as they’ll get more appreciation from you than they’d expect.

A Businesswoman Giving a Thumbs-up Sign

Bon travail ! (“Good work!” )

2. Complimenting Someone’s Look

If there’s one situation where the French don’t keep their tongue in their pocket, it’s when it comes to flirting, seduction, or praising their partner. Whether seeking pleasure or romance, this is when we could actually over-express our feelings and get carried away.

For now, let’s be superficial and see how to compliment someone in French for their good looks:

  • Tu es beau. (“You are handsome.” ) [Male]
  • Tu es belle. (“You are beautiful.” ) [Female]

Don’t forget that French adjectives need to agree with the subject. In most cases, the adjective’s ending will simply change, as in:

  • Tu es charmant. (“You are charming.” ) [Male]
  • Tu es charmante. (“You are charming.” ) [Female]

But there are some cases, such as with beau and belle, where the two words are different.

    → You can find more on adjectives and how they work in our Complete Guide to French Adjectives on FrenchPod101.com.

With the same structure, you can make many more compliments:

  • Tu es magnifique / superbe / élégant(e) / classe.
    (“Wonderful,” “Superb,” “Elegant,” “Classy” )

We could go on for quite some time!

These are very general compliments, so let’s get more specific:

  • Tu as de beaux yeux. (“You have beautiful eyes.” )
  • Tu as de beaux cheveux. (“You have beautiful hair.” )
  • Tu as de belles mains. (“You have beautiful hands.” )

Technically, you can compliment on whatever you want, but some body parts are more popular targets and complimenting someone on their elbows or earlobes might raise a few eyebrows. Don’t let that keep you from doing it, though, if you ever meet someone whose amazing elbows leave you speechless!

It’s always nice to be complimented on your body, but unless it’s aimed at your hard-earned muscles or surgically fixed nose, chances are you haven’t done anything to deserve the praise. What about when we switch to something else?

  • J’aime bien tes chaussures. (“I like your shoes.” )
  • J’aime beaucoup ton maquillage. (“I really like your makeup.” )
  • J’adore ta robe ! (“I love your dress!” )
  • Ce chapeau te va très bien. (“This hat suits you very well.” )
  • Tes lunettes sont super cool ! (“Your glasses are super-cool!” )
  • Je veux le même t-shirt ! (“I want the same T-shirt!” )

Young and middle-aged French men are wearing lots of printed T-shirts where they can display their favorite comic characters, movie posters, video game artwork, as well as countless pop culture references. For example, if I’m wearing my Godzilla T-shirt and one of my coworkers comments on it with a subtle reference or clever remark, it instantly creates a connection, as we’re bonding over our common tastes in entertainment.

A Cat with Clothes, a Wig, and a Beard

Tu as une très belle barbe. (“You have a very beautiful beard.” )

3. Complimenting the Mind

Enough with the superficial compliments! Sure, everyone likes to be appreciated for their appearance, but we also want our minds to be praised! Let’s see some of the best French compliments regarding someone’s intellect or skills.

Tu es intelligent. (“You’re intelligent.” )
Tu es malin / futé. (“You’re smart / clever.” )

There are many other words you can use, such as:

  • Intéressant (“Interesting” )
  • Perspicace (“Insightful” )
  • Drôle (“Funny” )
  • Cultivé (“Cultured” )
  • Gentil (“Kind” )
  • Sympa (“Nice” )
  • Adorable (“Adorable” )

You can also compliment people on their skills with simple structures like:

Tu _____ bien. (“You ____ well.” )

  • Tu chantes bien. (“You sing well.” )
  • Tu écris assez bien. (“You write rather well.” )
  • Tu cuisines très bien. (“You cook very well.” )
  • Tu dessines vraiment bien. (“You draw really well.” )

Tu as une bonne / belle ______. (“You have a good / beautiful ____.” )

  • Tu as une bonne conduite. (“You have a good driving style.” )
  • Tu as un bon style. (“You have a good style.” )
  • Tu as une belle écriture. (“You have beautiful writing.” )

An Old Couple Dancing Together at a Party

Tu danses bien ! (“You’re a good dancer!” )

4. This is Amazing!

When you compliment a thing, you’re often indirectly praising a person. When you’re in awe of the food, you’re praising the cook; when you fall in love with a song, all credit goes to the artist.

Here are the most useful words and sentences to share that you like something:

  • C’est bien. (“It’s good.” )
  • C’est bon. (“It’s good.” Mainly used to mean “it tastes good” or “it feels good.” )
  • C’est magnifique. (“It’s wonderful.” )
  • C’est magique ! (“It’s magical!” )
  • C’est intéressant / passionnant / divertissant. (“It’s interesting / fascinating / entertaining.” )

Don’t leave the cook hanging. Let’s see more French compliments for food:

  • C’était très bon. (“It was very good.” )
  • C’est délicieux. (“It’s delicious.” )
  • C’est vraiment excellent. (“It’s really excellent.” )
  • Ça a l’air délicieux. (“It looks delicious.” )
  • Ça sent très bon. (“It smells very good.” )
  • Mes compliments au chef. (“My compliments to the chef.” )

In France, we joke about the fact that burping is a way to show your appreciation for the food, but unless you’re among friends in a private environment, you should certainly refrain from letting it out.

    → Learn more about table manners in our Complete Guide on French Etiquette.

And here are some mild compliments for when you’re satisfied, but not impressed:

  • C’est sympa. (“It’s nice.” )
  • C’est pas mal. (“It’s okay.” )
  • C’est pas pire. (“It’s okay.” Quebec only.)
  • C’est pas dégueu. (“It’s not bad.” [Familiar] Originally about food, but we use it figuratively for any other thing.)

A Cheesecake Slice with Strawberry Topping

Ça a l’air très bon ! (“It looks delicious!” )

5. What Comes After a Compliment

Complimenting is often a two-way street and there are some social norms for the aftermath.

How should you say “thank you”? What do you answer after someone thanks you for your compliment? Should you deflect compliments? Everything will be answered in this chapter.

1 – Express Your Gratitude

The easiest thing you can do after a compliment is to accept it and thank the complimenter. Look the person in the eyes, smile, say “thank you,” and you’ll be fine! (Yes, I’m also teaching you how to look human, in case you’re an android or a disguised alien.)

  • Merci ! (“Thank you!” )
  • Merci beaucoup. (“Thank you very much.” )

What if you compliment someone and receive a merci?

  • De rien ! (“You’re welcome!” Literally: “of nothing” )
  • Je t’en prie. (“You’re welcome.” Literally: “I pray you for it.” )

2 – Answer with Another Compliment

This is the equivalent of answering “What’s up?” with “How are you doing?” but it’s still perfectly acceptable.

Complimenting someone back in French is the same as in English. You can either answer with a simple “you too” or try and be more creative.

For example:

  • Tu as de très beaux yeux. (“You have very beautiful eyes.” )
    Toi aussi. [Casual] / Vous aussi. [Formal] (“You too!” )
  • J’adore ton t-shirt ! (“I love your T-shirt!” )
    Merci, mais je ne peux pas rivaliser avec ta chemise. (“Thank you, but I can’t compete with your shirt.” )

3 – Don’t Deny Compliments or Demean Yourself

Another way to react to a compliment is to deny it by explaining why you don’t deserve it. It usually sounds awkward and may be insulting to the complimenter, so obviously, I would not recommend it. But here’s how it would sound in French:

  • J’adore ton t-shirt ! (“I love your T-shirt!” )
    C’est juste un vieux truc que je porte pour dormir. (“It’s just an old rag I sleep with.” )
  • Très bon travail, ton script. (“Very good work on your script.” )
    Je trouve ça plutôt ennuyeux, mais merci. (“I find it rather boring, but thank you.” )

In general, you should embrace the compliment and accept it with modesty. Don’t undermine the compliment with phrases such as:

  • Oh non, c’est rien. (“Oh no, it’s no big deal.” )
  • Non, ce n’était vraiment rien. (“No, but it was nothing.” )

4 – Share the Credit

If you ever answer with a compliment, do it genuinely, without entering a compliment battle.

However, you can give credit where it’s due, and accept the compliment while sharing the credit with your team or contributors. For example:

  • Rien de tout ça n’aurait été possible sans mon équipe. (“None of this would have been possible without my team.” )

Man and Woman Complimenting Each Other at a Piano

– Tu as de beaux cheveux. (“You have beautiful hair.” )
Toi aussi. (“You too.” )
– …

6. Compliments and the French Culture of Seduction

1 – Complimenting VS Showing Interest

It’s always nice to receive compliments, but what most of the French really want (besides eternal life and free cookies) is to generate interest and curiosity. If you’re hitting on a guy with a beautiful beard, don’t compliment him on his beard; he’s heard that one countless times.

You should go for something original and unpredictable, or even better: Skip the compliment entirely and just show your interest in whatever he’s doing, what he likes, his values, his core beliefs, or his favorite Star Wars characters. Anything, as long as it’s meaningful to both of you.

Especially in Paris, French girls get a lot of hassle from the sad crowd of wannabe Don Juans loitering in the streets and metro stations. As a result, compliments are just not as well-received as they used to be. Unspoken compliments, such as an eloquent stare, a smile, or a sincere show of interest can go a much longer way.

2 – The “Negs Hit,” a French Pickup Technique

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating pickup techniques in general, but I find this one culturally interesting.

Popularized by self-proclaimed “Pick-Up Artist” Erik Von Markovik, the Negs Hit is a negative comment aimed at your target (usually a girl you want to seduce) to destabilize her and get her to lower her guard.

It’s usually aimed toward girls with high self-esteem, if they get overly defensive at your approach. Using Negs Hits with someone who’s already into you and opening up would be counter-productive.

A Negs Hit is not supposed to be insulting or hurtful, and should not target any major flaw the person is likely to have a complex about. It’s a slightly embarrassing and seemingly innocent comment you’d make on a flaw in her looks or behavior. By doing so, you communicate that you’re not impressed with her desirability and that you’re not interested in her as a potential partner.

It’s supposed to create curiosity and interest toward you, as well as lower her guard for the moment you’d choose to switch to a more traditional seductive approach, should you decide to do so. I personally think it should just be called “having a sense of humor,” and it works wonders to filter people out who don’t have one, as they’ll get angry at your comment and walk away.

A Man Flirting with a Woman from a Window

Jolie coiffure ! C’est une perruque ? (“Nice hairstyle! Is it a wig?” )

7. Le Mot De La Fin

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about French compliments: how to compliment a guy or a girl, how to cheer the chef, and even how to flirt in French. You’ve also learned many praise words in French and how to put them together. Did I forget any important compliment you’d like to know about? Do you feel ready to express your appreciation and gratitude using everything we’ve learned today?

FrenchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and free resources to boost your studies and keep your French learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher help you practice compliments and more, using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples for you. Your teacher can also review your audio recordings to help improve your pronunciation.

Happy learning on FrenchPod101.com!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

Celebrating Whit Monday in France

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The majority of France’s population (around sixty-five percent) identifies as Christian, with most of those Christians being Catholic. Considering the large Christian population, Christian holidays are a big deal here!

In this article, you’ll learn about the Whit Monday holiday in France. We’ll dive into the Whit Monday meaning, explore the most common traditions in France, and go over some important vocabulary you should know.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Whit Monday in France?

The Shape of a Dove Against the Sun

Whit Monday is a Christian holiday that celebrates the descent of the Saint-Esprit (“Holy Spirit” ) onto Jesus’s disciples. The Holy Spirit’s descent is said to mark the “birthday” of the Christian church. Catholics celebrate this holiday as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

The name of this holiday is thought to stem from Pentecost’s other name (Whit Sunday or Whitsun), with “whit” referring to the white garments worn by those hoping to be baptized. Others speculate that “whit” could refer to the Anglo-Saxon “wit,” which refers to one’s understanding. After all, the Holy Spirit is thought to provide understanding and wisdom to Christians.

Whit Monday in France is a jour férié (“public holiday” ), which means that the majority of businesses are closed. However, due to an unprecedented canicule (“heatwave” ) that took place from 2005 to 2007, many people had to work during this holiday to help provide service de santé (“health services” ) for the older population. Today, Whit Monday is still considered a public holiday, though many French people do end up working.

    → See our vocabulary list on Religion to learn some useful vocab.

2. What Date is Whit Monday This Year?

A Rabbit in an Easter Basket

Whit Monday is a moveable holiday, meaning that its date changes each year according to the Christian calendar and the date of Pâques (“Easter” ). For your convenience, we’ve outlined this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: June 1
  • 2021: May 24
  • 2022: June 6
  • 2023: May 29
  • 2024: May 20
  • 2025: June 9
  • 2026: May 25
  • 2027: May 17
  • 2028: June 5
  • 2029: May 21

3. Whit Monday Traditions & Celebrations

Someone Having Their Baby Baptized

Whit Monday is a time to commemorer (“commemorate” ) the gift of the Holy Spirit, though this holiday doesn’t have quite the same religious connotation as Whit Sunday (Pentecost) does. The Whit Monday holiday is often considered a perfect opportunity for baptême (“baptism” ), with many Christians being baptized for the first time or re-baptized.

In addition to religious celebrations, a common French Whit Monday tradition is to visit with family and friends. This often involves eating a nice meal or going out together. Some people prefer to stay at home and enjoy their time off work, while others engage in outdoor activities if the weather permits.

As mentioned, on Whit Monday, France’s businesses are largely closed, though a few may be open for people’s enjoyment.

4. Shavuot

Shavuot is a major Jewish holiday, and it’s thought that the apostles were in the process of celebrating this holiday when the Holy Spirit descended on them.

During Shavuot, a holiday celebrating the wheat harvest, Jews offer bikkurim (first fruits) at the temple, read the Book of Ruth, and eat dairy products.

5. Must-Know French Vocabulary for Whit Monday

A Cemetery with White Crosses and Purple Flowers

Let’s review the most important words and phrases for Whit Monday in France!

  • Cinquante — “Fifty” [n. masc]
  • Jour — “Day” [n. masc]
  • Religion — “Religion” [n. fem]
  • Service de santé — “Health services” [n.]
  • Jour férié — “Public holiday” [masc]
  • Pâques — “Easter” [fem]
  • Messe — “Mass” [n. fem]
  • Jésus — “Jesus”
  • Commemorer — “Commemorate” [v.]
  • Saint-Esprit — “Holy Spirit” [masc]
  • Apôtre — “Apostle” [n. masc]
  • Venue — “Descent” [n. fem]
  • Baptême — “Baptism” [n. masc]
  • — “Elderly” [adj.]
  • Canicule — “Heatwave” [n.]

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to visit our French Whit Monday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Whit Monday in France with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you celebrate Whit Monday in your country? If so, are traditions there similar or quite different from those in France? We look forward to hearing your answers in the comments.

If you want to continue learning about French culture and the language, FrenchPod101.com has many free resources for you:

This only scratches the surface of everything FrenchPod101.com can offer the aspiring French-learner. To make the most of your study time, create your free lifetime account today; for access to exclusive content and lessons, upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans.

We want to help you reach your goals in the most fun and straightforward way possible, and we’ll be here every step of your language-learning journey!

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Celebrating Mother’s Day in France

Did you know that people have been celebrating mothers and motherhood for a very long time? After all, what would the world be like without mothers? A lot bleaker than it is already, I imagine!

Like many countries around the world, France has a special holiday set aside to honor one’s mother. In this article, you’ll learn all about Mother’s Day, France’s take on this holiday, and some new vocab.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is thought to have originated as far back as Ancient Greece, where the population organized springtime ceremonies for Rhea, the grandmother to the gods (and Zeus’ mother). The Ancient Romans had a similar holiday for celebrating mothers, called Matronalia. What we think of as Mother’s Day today, however, likely originated in the United States when Anna Jarvis publicly commemorated her deceased mother.

In 1929, the French government officially made Mother’s Day a holiday after many years of smaller celebrations throughout the country. The village of Artas refers to itself as the “cradle of Mother’s Day” due to a celebration it held in 1906 for mothers of large families. In 1920, this holiday was recognized, later becoming Mother’s Day as we know it today. In 1941, the Vichy Regime put this holiday on the calendar, and it was set to be the last Sunday of May; this took effect after the war.

In modern times, Mother’s Day is simply a holiday dedicated to honoring one’s mother and showering her with gifts.

2. When is Mother’s Day in France?

Mother’s Day is on a Sunday

Each year, the French celebrate Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in May (unless it falls on the same day as Pentecost, in which case it’s moved to the first Sunday of June). For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: June 7
  • 2021: May 30
  • 2022: May 29
  • 2023: June 4
  • 2024: May 26
  • 2025: May 25
  • 2026: May 31
  • 2027: May 30
  • 2028: May 28
  • 2029: May 27

3. Mother’s Day in France: Traditions & Celebrations

A Little Girl Holding Up a Handmade Mother’s Day Card

The most popular way to celebrate this holiday is by giving Mother’s Day gifts.

Starting from an early age, children make gifts for their mothers by hand; common items include cards and jewelry that were made in school. As children grow older, they may buy their mother things like clothes, perfume, or Mother’s Day flowers. Other popular gifts include chocolat (“chocolate”), a carte de vœux (“greeting card”), or a bon d’achat (“gift certificate”).

In addition, some children may give their mother a petit déjeuner au lit (“breakfast in bed”), and her husband may take the family out for a nice Mother’s Day dinner somewhere.

4. Médaille de la Famille

In France, there’s an honorary medal called the Médaille de la Famille that’s given out to families who have done well in raising a great many children.

Originally, this medal was created in hopes of giving mothers the honor and appreciation they deserve. Later on, however, fathers and other caregivers were allowed to receive this award as well.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Mother’s Day in France

A Family Eating Dinner Together

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here are the most important words and phrases for Mother’s Day!

  • Dîner — “Dinner” [n. masc]
  • Dimanche — “Sunday” [n. masc]
  • Chocolat — “Chocolate” [n. masc]
  • Aimer — “Love” [v.]
  • Fille — “Daughter” [n. fem]
  • Fils — “Son” [n. masc]
  • Cadeau — “Present” [n. masc]
  • Rose — “Rose” [n. fem]
  • Mère — “Mother” [n. fem]
  • Célébrer — “Celebrate” [v.]
  • Petit déjeuner au lit — “Breakfast in bed” [masc]
  • Carte de vœux — “Greeting card” [fem]
  • Bon d’achat — “Gift certificate” [n. masc]

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our French Mother’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about French Mother’s Day celebrations with us, and that you took away some valuable information from this article.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day in your country? We’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to learn even more about French culture and the language, FrenchPod101.com has several more great articles for you:

This just scratches the surface of all that FrenchPod101.com can offer the aspiring French-learner. Create your free lifetime account today and make the most of your study time, or upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans to gain access to exclusive content and lessons.

Wherever you are in your language-learning journey, we want to help you reach your goals with confidence and finesse.

Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

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“Excuse My French” – Getting Angry in French, with Style!

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Did you know that anger is a sign of weakness? These intense emotions bursting out of us like a raging volcano can be intimidating and mistaken for a show of strength, but they’re quite the opposite. We get angry when we’re afraid or weak, when we feel overwhelmed or outsmarted. However, properly channeled, it can be a spark, igniting you with power and purpose.

If you get upset in France, better do it with flair and panache! It’s important that you know the various words and expressions for how to say “I’m angry” in French, because in the heat of the moment, you won’t have time to think it through!

You should know that profanity is far from being as much of a taboo in France as it is in the U.S., and it’s not uncommon to hear seemingly obscene swearing in public places or even at work. The French are quite open about it and, to be honest, are often oblivious to the actual meaning of our colorful expressions.

However, in this article, we’ll focus on the family-friendly angry French phrases that you can use just about anywhere without having to carefully assess the situation.

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Orders
  2. Angry Questions
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing Your Frustration
  5. Culture: How to Make the French Angry
  6. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. Angry Orders

Negative Verbs

1- “Shut your trap!”

Whether you want the person to be quiet or you’ve lost the argument but won’t admit it, you might want to firmly ask someone to shut up. Here are a couple of ways to demand the silence you so dearly desire:

  • Tais-toi ! (“Shut up!” )

The verb se taire means “to keep quiet.”

Je me tais. (“I keep quiet.” )

Used in the imperative form, it’s a common way to request someone’s silence without being too harsh.

  • La ferme ! (“Shut up!” )
  • Ferme-la ! (“Shut up!” )

The verb fermer means “to close” or “to shut” and this is the closest expression to the English phrase “shut up.” Literally meaning “Shut it!” it’s a shortened and slightly more polite version of “Shut your trap,” but still more rude than tais-toi.

2- “Watch your tone!”

If someone is being aggressive, offensive, or raising their voice at you, it might be time to tell them to pipe down with a sharp: “Watch your tone, buddy!”

  • Surveille ton langage ! (“Watch your language!” )

This one can be used when unnecessary profanities have been put to the table. It’s a polite expression that can be used even in formal situations if you use the vous.

Surveillez votre langage. [Formal]

  • Ne me parle pas sur ce ton. (“Don’t you use that tone with me.” )

This second expression is more focused on the tone than the choice of words. It’s also perfectly suitable for a formal situation when things are heating up too much and you feel like you’re owed more respect.

Ne me parlez pas sur ce ton. [Formal]

Man Yelling at Someone

La ferme ! (“Shut up!” )

3- “Stop it!”

Whatever you want to stop, you need to be clear and articulated. Here are two variations that should get similar results:

  • Ça suffit ! (“That’s enough!” )

The verb suffire means “to be sufficient” or “to be enough,” so it’s hard to find more straightforward angry French expressions than ça suffit !

  • Arrête ! (“Stop!” )

Coming from arrêter (“to stop” ), this is the shortest and most explicit way to tell someone to stop whatever they’re doing. You might want to be a little more specific, depending on the context:

  • Arrête de me parler. (“Stop talking to me.” )
  • Arrête tes bêtises. (“Stop your nonsense.” )
  • Arrête de faire ça ! (“Stop doing this!” )
  • Arrête de chanter du Reggaeton. (“Stop singing Reggaeton.” )

4- “Get away from me!”

Sometimes, the best way to avoid getting even angrier at someone is to get them out of your sight. Let’s see how to handle that:

  • Dégage ! (“Get away!” )

This is a simple yet quite aggressive way to ask someone to get out of your face. You can spice it up a little with:

Dégage de là. (“Get away from there.” )

  • Fous le camp ! (“Get out of here!” )

Foutre le camp or Ficher le camp (the old-fashioned and more polite version) is an old expression from the XVIII century. Ficher used to mean “to take” and camp unsurprisingly translates to “camp.” The expression roughly means “to pick up your tent and leave camp.”

  • Va te faire voir ! (“Get lost!” )

Literally: “Go make yourself seen.”

Va te faire voir is a greatly watered down version of another popular expression using the French F-word, but this one is much more offensive: Va te faire foutre !

Conversely, a cute alternative would be:

Va voir ailleurs si j’y suis. (“Go somewhere else and see if you can find me.” )

Complaints

2. Angry Questions

These French angry phrases are ALL rhetorical questions. Let’s be clear about the fact that you’re not expecting an answer. Should you receive one anyway, it’s likely to anger you even more!

  • Et alors ? (“So what?” )

First of all, you should know that et alors is not always an angry phrase. It has two distinct meanings:

1- “Tell me more!”, “And then, what happened?”

    J’ai vu le dernier Tarantino hier. (“I’ve seen the latest Tarantino yesterday.” )
    Et alors ? (“Tell me more.” )

2- “So what?” is more of an exclamation than a question. It means that you don’t really care about the previous statement or objection.

    Ma mère est très malade. (“My mother is very ill.” )
    Et alors ? (“So what?” )
    T’es vraiment un con. (“You’re such an ass.” )
    Et alors? (“So what?” )
  • Qu’est-ce qui te prend ? (“What’s gotten into you?” )

Literally: “What is taking you?”

  • Qu’est-ce que tu fous ? (“What the hell are you doing?” )

F-word is back with a vengeance. You can soften it with Qu’est-ce que tu fiches ? or Qu’est-ce que tu fabriques ? However, this last variation is so innocuous that it should be said with a sharp tongue to convey your exasperation.

  • Et puis quoi encore ? (“And what’s next?” )

Literally: “And then, what again?”

I couldn’t find a satisfying English equivalent, but we use this phrase to express disapproval or exasperation. You can also use it when you feel like the other person is asking too much.

    Est-ce que je peux emprunter ta voiture, coucher avec ta femme et terminer ta bière ? (“Can I borrow your car, sleep with your wife, and finish your beer?” )
    Et puis quoi encore ? ( [Ironically] “And what’s next?” )
  • Tu veux ma photo ? (“What are you looking at?” )

Literally: “Do you want my picture?”

Use this when someone is staring at you to the point where it makes you upset.

Women might want to remember this one when they go out and attract unwanted stares from creepy weirdos.

  • Qu’est-ce que c’est que cette histoire ? (“What on earth are you talking about?” )

Literally: “What is this story?”

This can be said when someone tells you something crazy, difficult to understand, hard to believe, or tough to swallow.

    On m’a dit que je n’avais pas été recrutée à cause de ma coupe de cheveux. (“I’ve been told I wasn’t hired because of my haircut.” )
    Qu’est-ce que c’est que cette histoire ? (“Wait, what?” )
  • Tu te fous de moi ? (“Are you kidding me?” )

Softer versions are available: Tu te fiches de moi ? or Tu te moques de moi ?

They all express the same level of incredulity.

  • Ça va pas ? (“What’s wrong with you?” )

Literally: “Are you unwell?”

We use this phrase to express disbelief over what a person is doing or saying.

  • T’es malade ou quoi ? (“Are you crazy or what?” )

Literally: “Are you sick or what?”

Man Angrily Staring Over Sunglasses

You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here.

3. Angry Blames

Weakness or not, la coupe est pleine (“enough is enough” ). You’re officially angry and ready to come down on someone like a ton of bricks. Heads will roll!

  • C’est n’importe quoi ! (“That’s bullsh*t!” )

Literally: “That’s anything!”

You can also shorten it to N’importe quoi ! (“Bullsh*t!” )

Note that you can use this n’importe quoi in other sentences like:

  • Tu fais n’importe quoi. (“You’re acting stupid.” )
  • Tu dis n’importe quoi. (“You’re talking nonsense.” )
  • Il ne manquait plus que ça. (“Just what we needed!” )

Literally: “We were only missing this.”

You’d say this when sh*t just keeps piling up, one annoyance after another.

  • Tu ne m’écoutes pas. (“You’re not listening to me.” )
  • C’est une honte. (“It’s a disgrace.” )
  • C’est inacceptable. (“It’s unacceptable.” )
  • Ce ne sont pas tes affaires. (“It’s none of your business.” )
  • T’occupes ! (“Not your business!” )

T’occupe is short for T’occupe pas, which comes from the imperative sentence: Ne t’occupe pas de ça. (“Do not worry about this.” or “Do not deal with this.” )

This isn’t necessarily an angry sentence. You could use it to refrain someone from helping you if you feel like you have everything under control, or when you don’t want to answer questions on something that you want to keep secret or private.

  • Tu es sûre que tu n’as pas besoin d’aide ? (“Are you sure you don’t need help?” )
  • T’occupe ! (“Stay out of it!” )
  • Tu me saoules ! (“I’m sick of you!” )

Literally: “You’re making me drunk!” (But in a bad way! )

We have many words in French for “to get drunk,” and se saouler is more often used in the context of being fed up and exasperated.

This is one of those angry things to say in French when someone has been pissing in your ear for a while and you just can’t take it anymore, or when a task is really tedious or unpleasant.

  • Ce mec m’a saoulée toute la matinée. (“This guy annoyed me all morning.” )
  • Ça me saoule, ce boulot ! (“I’m sick of this job!” )
  • Tu me gonfles ! (“You’re getting on my nerves!” )

Literally: “You are inflating me!”

The origin of this slang expression is unclear. Some see a sexual reference, but the most probable interpretation is that you feel like you’re slowly inflating with anger, close to the point of figurative explosion.

  • Tu me prends la tête ! (“You’re driving me crazy!” )

Literally: “You’re taking my head!”

I use this every time someone (or something) is busting my chops. IE: makes my life miserable, with useless complication or just plain nonsense.

  • Ce formulaire me prend la tête. (“This form is driving me crazy.” )
  • Cette fille me prend la tête. (“This girl is driving me crazy.” )

You can also do it to yourself:

  • Je me prends la tête sur ma compta depuis ce matin. (“I’ve been driving myself crazy on my accounting since this morning.” )

And finally, it can be used when people are complicating their lives for no reason, or spending too much time brooding over something.

  • Tu te prends encore la tête là-dessus ? (“Are you still losing your head over this?” )
    → Make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Curse Words, with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101.

Man Holding Head in Hand

Ça me prend la tête ! (“It’s driving me crazy!” )

4. Describing Your Frustration

Negative Feelings

Now that you’ve let off some steam with angry French sayings, it’s time to tell people how you feel. Are you fed up? Sick and tired? Dazed and confused or violently furious?

  • J’en ai marre ! (“I’m tired of it!” )

Literally: ..?

The literal meaning is hard to tell because the very origin of this expression is still debated. Does it come from old French’s marrir (“to afflict” ), from the Spanish “mareo” (“sea-sickness,” but also “boredom” ), or from the 17th century expression avoir son mar (“to have enough” )?

  • J’en ai ras-le-bol ! (“I’ve had enough of this!” )

Literally: “I have my bowl full!”

What about the origin of this wildly popular expression? To be honest, I had to look it up and I believe most French have no idea that the bol (“bowl” ) is a slangy analogy for the butt.

Short of knowing about this, I’ve heard this expression in all kinds of circles, including professional contexts where people complain about their filled butt without second thought.

  • J’en ai assez ! (“I’ve had enough!” )
  • J’en peux plus ! (“I can’t take it anymore!” )
  • J’en ai jusque là ! (“I’ve had enough!” )

Literally: “I have it up to here!”

Once again, it’s difficult to trace the exact origin of this expression, but it implies that you’re full of whatever is upsetting you and you can’t take any more of it.

  • Ça me fait une belle jambe. (“A fat lot of good it does me.” )

Literally: “It makes me a beautiful leg.”

With this ironic expression, you’re answering to something that’s supposed to give you some comfort or satisfaction but really doesn’t. This “something” is useless, worthless, and doesn’t have the intended effect.

    Je sais que tu as perdu ton travail, mais au moins, il fait beau ! (“I know you’ve lost your job, but at least it’s a sunny day!” )
    Ça me fait une belle jambe. (“A lot of good it does me.” )

In the 12th century, French men started wearing tights. Yes, just like our modern-day superheroes, except that we didn’t wear our underwear over it. Then, in the 17th century, displaying muscular and elegant male leg became increasingly fashionable. You had to wear stylish tights on well-shaped legs, and this is where the expression faire la belle jambe (“to do the beautiful leg” ) appeared.

Fast-forward to the 19th century. After 200 years of evolution, we get to today’s ironic version of the original expression: Ça me fait une belle jambe.

Girl Frustrated with Homework

J’en peux plus… (“I can’t take it anymore…” )

5. Culture: How to Make the French Angry

“You’re making me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” (Bruce Banner)

1- “French are lazy!”

If you know something about the French working culture, you might have this mental image of us working five hours a day and enjoying months of vacations while being showered with social benefits and perks all year round.

It’s true that France is doing very well in the field of social welfare and that French workers benefit from a neat package of bonuses and protection. In many other countries, if you lose your job, you’re in serious life-threatening trouble.

That being said, generations of French fought hard for these rights throughout several social revolutions, and we’re keeping the fight alive today. French workers are often considered by foreign employers to be hard and dedicated workers, and there are few things they hate more than being called lazy!

2- “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ?”

French women have a reputation for being easy. Where this is coming from is beyond me. Maybe because the French are comfortable with nudity, or not too prudish about public displays of affection. However, the fact that French women speak openly about sex and seem confident about what they want doesn’t make them any easier to seduce. In fact, the French dating scene is likely to feel very confusing for North Americans.

So please, don’t go quoting Lady Marmelade with a bold Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir ? (“Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” ) and expect French girls to fall in your arms like butter melts in the hot pan. They might find it funny or lame, but they hate when foreigners assume they’re just waiting to jump in their bed.

Couple Drinking Champagne on Christmas

No, one drink is not enough. You also have to be charming!

6. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about how to say “I am angry” in French, from bitter words and expressions to furious questions and outraged blames.

Did we forget any important expressions that you know? Do you feel ready to burst out in anger using everything you’ve learned today?

Besides getting angry yourself, which I wouldn’t wish for you, knowing how people express their anger in French may be useful when you’re taking the blame for something you did or didn’t do. Better prepared than sorry!

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. Our vocabulary lists are also a great way to review these words and learn their pronunciation.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice talking and listening in French with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with pronunciation.

Happy French learning!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

French Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in French & More

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Have you ever stopped to ponder on how much our lives revolve around defining moments? These could be happy or tragic, once-in-a-lifetime or recurring events, and depending on where you live, you might experience them in dramatically different ways.

If you live in France, have French friends, or have an interest in French culture, you need to know how major life events are handled there, and how to talk about them. You’ll need to know how to wish a happy birthday in French, a Merry Christmas or New Year, and how to offer condolences or wish for a swift recovery. Further, you’ll wish to know how to congratulate friends on their new degree, spouse, or offspring.

In this article, we’ll go through the ten major French life events and their cultural ins and outs. We’ll also provide you with a list of the most useful French phrases for congratulations (and condolences) so that you can take part in these pivotal moments, and as a result grow much closer to the people involved.

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Table of Contents

  1. Joyeux Anniversaire ! (Happy Birthday!)
  2. Bonne Fête ! (Happy Name Day!)
  3. Naissance (Birth)
  4. Remise de Diplôme (Graduation)
  5. Nouvel Emploi (New Job)
  6. Retraite (Retirement)
  7. Mariage (Wedding)
  8. Funérailles (Funerals)
  9. Convalescence (Recovery)
  10. Fêtes (Holidays)
  11. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. Joyeux Anniversaire ! (Happy Birthday!)

Happy Birthday

Just like in many other European countries and North America, French birthdays usually involve a party with friends or family, a cake, some optional singing, blowing out candles, and receiving presents.

  • There are no fixed rules on who should throw your fête d’anniversaire (birthday party). It could be friends, family, or even yourself. Most birthdays in France are celebrated either at home or a restaurant. In the latter case, you’re not expected to pay for everyone, but your friends might want to pay for you. It’s your special day, after all!
  • Le gâteau d’anniversaire (The birthday cake) can be absolutely whatever: fruits, cream, chocolate, nuts, you name it. The white frosting cliché isn’t really a thing in France. Some like to cook the cake, while others prefer to buy it at the pâtisserie (pastry shop). We put les bougies (the candles) on it.
  • Les cadeaux (The presents) are equally not codified and really depend on the person. For a kid, we usually go for a toy or book. Adults are tricky, but if you’re close enough to buy them a present, you should know what they like, right?
  • La chanson (The song) is the easy part, with lyrics as simple as: Joyeux anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire Nicolas ! Joyeux anniversaire ! (Assuming the birthday boy is called Nicolas). Or you could go for this nightmarish song from humorist and singer Patrick Sebastien.
  • Les cartes d’anniversaire (Birthdays cards) used to be a thing, and it never hurts to send one, but the younger generations go through social networks.

How to say Happy Birthday in French:

Joyeux anniversaire !
Bon anniversaire !
Heureux anniversaire !
“Happy birthday!”
(Postcard greetings)
Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire et plein de bonheur.
“I wish you a happy birthday and plenty of happiness!”

Older Woman Blowing Out Birthday Cake Candles

Don’t spit on the cake!

2. Bonne Fête ! (Happy Name Day!)

A tradition mainly in Europe and Latin America, name days are originally based on the Christian calendar of Saints, but everyone can celebrate it in France, even though we don’t make a big deal out of it.

Just locate your name on the calendar and you’ll know when your fête, or “name day,” is. You’re not featured there? Well, tough luck, but you won’t be missing much more than nice words and a pat on the shoulder. Presents and parties for a name day aren’t unheard of, but definitely not commonplace.

So, how do we celebrate a name day? More often than not, we don’t. Should you wish to do it, a small present or a postcard are safe bets, but buying a drink might work just as well.

Here’s how you can offer your congratulations in French to someone on their name day:

Bonne fête ! “Happy name day!”
Bonne fête, Nicolas ! “Happy name day, Nicolas!”
C’est la Saint Nicolas aujourd’hui, bonne fête ! “It’s Nicolas’ day. Happy name day!”

3. Naissance (Birth)

Talking About Age

We don’t do baby showers in France and have no pre-birth equivalent. This American tradition has been pushed through advertisement companies, but people are resisting, seeing it as consumerism or even something prone to bring bad luck. However, celebrations are held after birth with the regular shower of gifts.

Religious rituals have become unusual in France, and although biblical names are still popular, parents don’t choose the name of their newborn based on the Saint’s name of the birthday. Christian families can choose to baptize their children before their first anniversary, which leads to a Fête de baptème, or “Baptism party.”

Toutes mes félicitations !
Sincères félicitations !
“Congratulations!”
(Postcard greetings)

Bienvenue au petit Nicolas ! Meilleurs voeux de bonheur à tous les trois !

Félicitations pour la naissance de votre fille ! Puisse sa vie être faite de rires, de chansons, d’allégresse et de découvertes !

“Welcome to little Nicolas! Best wishes of happiness to all three of you!”

“Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! May her life be filled with laughter, songs, joy, and discoveries!”

Newborn Baby, Mother, and Doctor

Congratulations, it’s a baby!

4. Remise de Diplôme (Graduation)

Graduations are usually not cause for wide-scale celebrations in France, but we have nothing against it! Graduated students can celebrate among themselves over a drink or a party, while schools or universities can also organize festive events on graduation day.

Parents sometimes offer presents to their children to celebrate their success, but there are no conventions on what these gifts should be.

Félicitations !
Bien joué !
Bon travail !
“Congratulations!”
“Well done!”
“Nice job!”
Bravo pour ta réussite !
Bravo pour ton diplôme !
Félicitations pour ton examen !
“Congratulations on your success!”
“Congratulations on your degree!”
“Congratulations on your test!”
(Postcard greeting)

Bravo pour ton diplôme bien mérité après tout ce travail acharné.

“Congratulations on a well-deserved degree after all of your hard work.”
    → Learn more about education and degrees with our free vocabulary list on the Graduation Season.

5. Nouvel Emploi (New Job)

Basic Questions

Work isn’t as prominent in French mentality as it is in other countries. It’s generally accepted that you should work for a living but not live for your work, and as a result, the French are trying to strike the right balance between their professional and personal lives, without dedicating too much to their workplace.

Similarly, new jobs and promotions are usually not a big thing. Your new job can typically be celebrated with your partner, while promotions are a good excuse for a drink among colleagues.

[Casual] Bravo pour ton nouveau job !
Bravo pour ton nouveau poste !
“Congratulations on your new job!”
“Congratulations on your new position!”
[Formal] Félicitations pour ton nouvel emploi.
Félicitations pour ta promotion.
“Congratulations on your new position.”
“Congratulations on your promotion.”
(Postcard greeting)

Toutes mes félicitations pour votre promotion ! Etant donné la qualité de votre travail, une telle reconnaissance est amplement méritée.

“Congratulations on your promotion! Considering the quality of your work, such a recognition is well-deserved.”

Coworkers Celebrating

Embrace your new career with a cheesy smile.

    → Get ready to congratulate your friends on any new position with our free vocabulary list on Jobs.

6. Retraite (Retirement)

Most French retire between the ages of sixty and seventy, but l’âge de la retraite, or “the retirement age,” is steadily rising. This is a cause for concern and social unrest in the country.

The pension system is contribution-based. A retiree’s pension is proportional to the amount of contributions he paid during his working life. Those contributions are directly taken from the salary, in the form of a tax.

When their retraite, or “pension,” (yes, this is the same word as for “retirement” ) allows for it, it’s fairly common for the French to enjoy their retirement by traveling, either in the countryside or abroad.

Here are some ways to go about congratulating someone in French for their retirement:

[Professional] Bonne continuation ! “All the best!”
[Casual] Profite bien de ta retraite ! “Enjoy your retirement!”
(Postcard greeting)

Je te souhaite une heureuse et sereine retraite.

“I wish you a happy and peaceful retirement!”

7. Mariage (Wedding)

Marriage Proposal

Weddings in France can be celebrated in many different ways, depending on your religion, social status, and personality. The celebrations range from an unpretentious informal event to a fastuous large-scale banquet of expensive delicacies, with awe-inspiring choregraphies and expertly crafted speeches.

  • A French marriage is typically planned up to years in advance, and don’t leave much to improvisation (or spontaneity, for that matter). Hiring a wedding coach is a new trend for the wealthiest couples.
  • The tradition of enterrement de vie de garçon (“bachelor party,” but literally “Burial of boy’s life”)—enjoying your single life to the fullest, with heavy drinking and strippers, before shackling yourself to your spouse for the rest of your days—appeared recently and is gaining in popularity.
  • Mariage religieux, or “religious weddings,” have been on the decline for a while, and most people marry at their town hall. The PACS (civil union, that used to be the only option for same-sex unions before) is quickly becoming the most popular option.
  • We don’t do wedding rehearsals or rehearsal dinners.

Here are some of the most common French marriage congratulations:

Tous mes voeux de bonheur. “Best wishes of happiness.”
Toutes mes félicitations pour votre union
Toutes mes félicitations pour votre mariage.
“Congratulations on your union.”
“Congratulations on your wedding.”
(Postcard greeting)

Sincères félicitations et meilleurs voeux de bonheur.

“Sincere congratulations and best wishes of happiness.”

Bouquet on the Ground

“Wait, did you bring the bouquet?”

    → Practice your romantic fluency with our free vocabulary list on Quotes about Love.

8. Funérailles (Funerals)

Some peoples around the world see death as a cheerful event, cause for celebration and rejoicing. French funerals, however, are as grim and depressing as you can expect them to be if you grew up in a western country.

  • Enterrement, or “burial,” is the most common way to go, but crémation, or “cremation,” is also an option.
  • The tradition of veillée funèbre, or a “wake,” is on the decline but still going strong in villages. The modern version is often held in a dedicated rented place (and not in the house of the deceased, like it used to be), and usually not through the night.

Here’s some French condolences messages and French phrases for condolences:

Repose en paix.
Paix à son âme.
“Rest in peace.”
“May he/she rest in peace.”
Toutes mes condoléances. “My condolences.”
(Postcard condolence)

Nous partageons votre douleur et sommes de tout coeur avec vous.

“We share your pain and our hearts go out to you.”

9. Convalescence (Recovery)

Serious illnesses or grave injuries are tragic yet important events for anyone. In France, it’s fairly common for friends and family to visit someone at the hospital, to keep them company or bring them gifts in the hope of helping with their recovery by lifting their spirit.

At the workplace, when someone is away on a long sick leave, their coworkers can write a group card with greetings and wishes.

Bon rétablissement ! “Get well soon!”
[Casual] Prends soin de toi ! “Take care!”
[Formal] Je te souhaite un prompt rétablissement. “I wish you a swift recovery.”

Kids Giving Their Sick Mother a Gift

“Look mom, we found you a new kidney on Craigslist!”

10. Fêtes (Holidays)

Classic French holidays include:

  • Noël (Christmas).
    Most French celebrate it without any religious connotation, but this is still arguably the biggest holiday of the year. Our traditions involve un arbre de Noël (Christmas tree), une crêche (a small nativity scene) in Christian families, une bûche de Noël (log-shaped Christmas cake), and lots of cadeaux de Noël (Christmas gifts), especially for kids.
  • Nouvel an (New Year).
    This one comes a little too close after Christmas’ hangover, but it’s duly celebrated by most French anyway. It’s not as traditional, though, and may take any form, from a family dinner to a restaurant with friends, a romantic walk on the Seine, or a gathering of fireworks enthusiasts.
  • Pâques (Easter).
    Celebrating Easter in France involves bells, des oeufs de Pâques (Easter eggs), and most of all, LOTS of chocolate. It’s common to hide chocolate eggs around the house and/or garden and let the children go on a treasure hunt. Adults gift each other with fancy Belgian chocolate treats.

We have many more holidays! You can find them all on our French Calendar, on FrenchPod101.

A few more celebrations worth mentioning:

  • Halloween started growing in popularity roughly a decade ago, and is now widely celebrated throughout the country.

    Unsurprisingly, our most conservative fellow citizens see it as overly commercial and a threat to our traditions, but it doesn’t prevent the younger generation from throwing Halloween parties and wearing their ghoulish costumes in the street.

    The French Halloween is mainly for adults celebrating at home or in local bars, while children rarely go door-to-door for trick-or-treating.

  • Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in France, and most French don’t even know what it’s about. However, given our love for never-ending dinner and delicious food, I’m sure there’s hope for this tradition to eventually land on our shores.
Joyeux Noël ! “Merry Christmas!”
Bonne année ! “Happy New Year!”
Joyeuses Pâques ! “Happy Easter!”
Poisson d’avril “April’s Fool”
Saint Valentin “Valentine’s Day”

A Christmas Light Display

Joyeux Noël ! (“Merry Christmas!” )

    → Don’t let the Christmas season take you off-guard; learn more festive vocabulary with our free list on Christmas!

11. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about the main life events as experienced in France, from birth to birthdays, weddings, and funerals. You’ve also learned the most important French phrases of congratulations, condolences, and well-wishing.

Did I forget any important event that you’ve been through or heard about? Do you feel ready to take part in these defining moments of the lives of your French friends with all the right words and phrases?

FrenchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings, and free resources to boost your studies and keep your French learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and practice life event phrases with your private teacher. You’ll gain access to assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples, and an experienced tutor to review your work and help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

Your Guide to Talking about French Weather

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Do you often imagine yourself as Nicolas Cage in the movie The Weather Man? Are you looking for a couple of lines to chat with your French neighbors or catch the attention of a charming coworker by talking about the weather in Paris, France? Or are you engrossed in how climate change is threatening the future of mankind and eager to tell everyone about it?

No matter your level of French, commenting on the weather is a common way to engage in conversation with someone you don’t know anything about, as it’s the kind of innocuous universal topic anybody can talk about. Sure, it may not lead to a passionate debate (or maybe it will, on how the weather used to be forecasted before the time of satellites!) or a thought-provoking exchange of opinions, but as an ice-breaker or a casual conversation topic among strangers, it gets the job done.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to talk about the weather in French, from sunny days to pouring rain, and misty mornings to windy nights.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is the Weather Today?
  2. What is Your Favorite Season?
  3. Be the Coolest and the Hottest!
  4. How to Break the Ice?
  5. Is it True that the French Dislike Small Talk?
  6. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. What is the Weather Today?

Weather

1- Just Four Easy Phrases

Talking about weather in French is nothing complicated. Describing the different weather conditions in French comes down to only four common sentences, and nothing more. How beautiful is that?

  • il fait ___ (it does ___)
  • il y a ___ (there is ___)
  • il ___ [verb] (it ___)
  • c’est ___ [adj] (it is ___)

Using only these four structures, you can describe any kind of weather in French. Let’s have a closer look before moving onto French weather vocabulary:

  • il fait ___ is used to describe the most basic weather states.
    • il fait chaud (it is hot; literally “it does hot,” when translated)
    • il fait très froid (it is very cold)
    • il fait frais (it is fresh)
    • Il fait humide (the weather is humid)
    • il fait beau (the weather is good, literally “it makes beautiful,” when translated)
    • il fait moche (the weather is ugly)

Now, these two can be heard depending on the region, generation, and education of the speaker:

    • il fait du vent (it is windy)
    • il fait (du) soleil (it is sunny)

I would personally use il y a instead. Let’s check it out now.

  • il y a ___ is used for basic weather states, when il fait doesn’t do the job.
    • il y a du brouillard (there is fog)
    • il y a du vent (there is wind)
    • il y a du soleil (there is sun)
  • il___ [verb] is followed by a verb and used mostly when the sky is pouring something on you.
    • il pleut (it is raining)
    • il neige (it is snowing)
    • il grêle (it is hailing)
  • c’est ___ [adj] is followed by adjectives to describe the weather in French when talking about basic weather states.
    • c’est pluvieux (it is rainy)
    • c’est nuageux (it is cloudy)
    • c’est orageux (it is stormy)

2- Weather Pocket Dictionary:

Now that you have the four basic sentences, all you need is a bit of vocabulary before you can take over Évelyne Dhéliat as the French’s favorite weatherman!

Le soleil
“The sun”
Il y a eu du soleil toute la journée !
“It was sunny all day long!”
La pluie
“The rain”
Il pleut toujours beaucoup en mai.
“It is always very rainy in May.”
Les nuages
“The clouds”
Il y a des nuages depuis ce matin, il va pleuvoir.
“There have been clouds since the morning; it is going to rain.”
La neige
“The snow”
J’espère qu’il y a assez de neige pour skier.
“I hope there is enough snow to ski.”
Le brouillard
“The fog”
Le brouillard se lève souvent dans la matinée.
“The fog often lifts during the morning.”
La grêle
“The hail”
Une averse de grêle peut causer de sérieux dégâts.
“A hailstorm can cause serious damage.”
Le verglas
“The black ice”
Le verglas est une couche de glace qui se forme sur les routes.
“Black ice is a coating of ice that appears on a road surface.”
Le vent
“The wind”
L’avion ne pourra pas décoller avec un vent pareil.
“The plane won’t be able to take off with such a wind.”
L’orage
La tempête
“The storm”
Ca va être un orage fantastique !
“It’s gonna be a terrific storm!”
La foudre
“The thunder”
“The lightning”
Il y a plus de chance d’être frappé par la foudre.
“Got a better chance of being struck by lightning.”

Person Walking with an Umbrella in the Rain

Il pleut à verse ! (“It’s pouring!”)

3- Be Weatherproof!

I usually don’t use an umbrella. I find them bulky, easy to break, and they make a mess in your bag if you didn’t dry them properly.

Why am I talking about this? Because when talking about adverse weather in French, you can’t skip out on humanity’s reactions to it. We’ll now have a look at all of mankind’s amazing inventions to void nature’s attempts at making us wet, cold, and miserable.

Un parapluie
“An umbrella”
N’oublie pas ton parapluie !
“Don’t forget your umbrella!”
Un manteau
“A coat”
J’ai un gros manteau pour l’hiver.
“I have a big coat for the winter.”
Un imperméable
Un imper [Familiar]
“A raincoat”
Sans mon imper, je serais déjà trempé.
“Without my raincoat, I would be soaked already.”
Un K-Way
“A windcoat”
(Like Kleenex® or Caddie®, K-Way® is a brand used a noun)
J’ai toujours un K-Way dans mon sac, au cas où.
“I always have a windcoat in my bag, just in case.”
Des gants
“Gloves”
Je ne peux pas utiliser mon téléphone avec mes gants.
“I can’t use my phone with my gloves.”
Une écharpe
“A scarf”
Mets ton écharpe ou tu vas t’enrhumer.
“Put your scarf on or you’ll catch a cold.”
Un bonnet
“A winter hat”
Mon bonnet est humide à cause de la neige.
“My hat is wet because of the snow.”
Des lunettes de soleil
“Sunglasses”
S’il fait beau, je porterai mes lunettes de soleil !
“If the weather is nice, I will wear my sunglasses!”
    → Don’t let the cold bite you! Bundle up in your coat, scarf, and boots and learn all these words with our free vocabulary list on Winter Clothes.

A Lot of Winter Clothes

Les vêtements d’hiver (“Winter clothes”)

2. What is Your Favorite Season?

There was a not-so-distant time when I would answer “spring.” Nowadays, I would say “season 3” for Game of Thrones and “season 4” for The Wire. What about you?

If you’re still in touch with Mother Nature, though, let’s talk about the passing of seasons and weather in French as you can witness it from your window, not your TV screen.

1- France has Four Distinct Seasons

Thanks to its temperate climate, France features a whole set of seasons with well-defined weather as well as the visual enjoyment you can expect from them.

However, global warming is changing this rapidly, and the once clear demarcation of our seasons has been blurring considerably in recent years. It also brought extreme weather in French areas, including heat waves and deadly flooding, the kind of which we’d never seen before.

Here’s how seasons usually look in France, so you can easily hold a discussion about seasons and weather in French:

  • Le printemps (Spring)

    Spring

    Spring is the saison de l’amour (season of love) in France, when nature wakes up from its winter sleep. As for spring weather in French regions, trees are getting their green back, flowers are blooming, and forests are filled with the voices of thousands of birds. It’s also fairly wet and rainy—there is a price to pay for all of these vibrant colors!

  • L’été (Summer)

    The rain quiets down, temperatures rise to around 30°C (86°F), and girls dress shorter. Coasts can be especially welcoming, with warm yet not hot temperatures and infrequent rains. Beware of canicules (heatwaves) where temperatures can rise to a whopping 43°C (109.4°F) which is 2018’s highest peak.

    With the lovely French weather in summer, wildlife thrives in our numerous national parks and reserves, and hikers can easily meet all kinds of chamois, deer, beavers, and countless species of birds.

  • L’automne (Fall)
    Autumn

    The trees are turning yellow and red, leaves are falling, and the French return from their summer vacations. This is also the main wine season, with les vendanges (the grape harvest) taking place in September, and some delicious vintage coming in the following month. Rainfalls are back with a vengeance, especially in the north.

  • L’hiver (Winter)

    Northerly winds bring cold weather from the Manche (English Channel) to the Méditerranée (Mediterranean Sea), but the country remains remarkably popular among tourists.

    French winter can be especially welcoming in Paris, with clear days and blue skies, while the temperature rarely drops below zero. In the mountains, it can be much harsher with chilly winds and abundant snowfall.

A Clock with the Four Seasons on the Face

Les quatre saisons (“The four seasons”)

2- Talking About the Seasons

Here are the most important words and expressions to talk about the seasons, as well as examples to illustrate how to use each one in association with our pocket weather dictionary!

Une saison
“A season”
C’est ma saison préférée !
“This is my favorite season!”
Le printemps
“Spring”
La nature s’épanouit au printemps.
“Nature is blooming in spring.”
L’été
“Summer”
Une pluie d’été ne dure jamais.
“A summer rain never lasts.”
L’automne
“Fall”
L’automne est la meilleure saison pour voyager pas cher !
“Fall is the best season for cheap travels!”
L’hiver
“Winter”
L’hiver vient.
“Winter is coming.”

3. Be the Coolest and the Hottest!

Complaints

The most important things to know when talking about temperatures is that the French use the Celsius system.

If you hear your French friend talking about 30° in the summer, it means very warm weather (86°F), and not the below freezing it would be in Fahrenheit.

Also keep in mind that most French don’t know how to handle the Fahrenheit system. If you mention that in your room, the temperature can reach 86° during summer, they might get really worried about your health. (86°C is 187°F!)

Here are the most common words and structures to talk about temperatures:

Le temps
“The weather”
Il fera quel temps demain ?
“What will be the weather tomorrow?”
La température
“The temperature”
Il fait quelle température ?
“What is the temperature?”
Degré
“Degree”
Couvre-toi bien, il fait 5 degrés aujourd’hui !
“Bundle up, it is 5 degrees today!”
Geler
“To freeze”
Il a gelé cette nuit.
“It was freezing last night.”

Weather Reporter

If you ever see this kind of number in Celsius, get a fire extinguisher!

4. How to Break the Ice?

Stay frosty and chill out: it’s slang time!

If you want to sound like a native speaker, it’s good to know your slang. There’s a wide range of colorful expressions for discussing weather in French, and most of these are so popular that they don’t sound especially familiar.

Il pleut à verse.
“It is pouring rain.”
Verser actually means “to pour.”
Il pleut des cordes.
“It is pouring rain.”
Literally: “It’s raining ropes.”
Il pleut comme vache qui pisse. [Familiar]
“It’s raining cats and dogs.” (raining heavily)
Literally: “It’s raining like pissing cow.”
France, world capital of elegance.
Je suis trempé jusqu’aux os.
“I’m soaking wet.”
“I’m drenched to the bones.”
On s’est fait rincer.
“We’ve been soaked.”
“We’ve been rinsed.”
Il y a de l’orage dans l’air.
“There is a storm brewing.” (a storm is coming)
“There is a storm in the air.”
Il y a un vent à décorner les boeufs.
“It’s blowing a gale.” (there is a strong wind)
“There is a wind that could de-horn the oxen.”
Je me gèle les miches. [Familiar]
“I’m freezing my butt off.”
Equally popular is the short version: Je me les gèle. (I’m freezing it.)
Il fait un froid de canard.
“It’s brass monkey weather.” (it’s really cold)
Literally “a duck’s cold,” this hunting expression refers to how ducks are easy prey when their pond is frozen. How sad…
ça caille or ça pèle
“It clots” or “It peels”
When it’s so cold that your blood is clotting and your skin is peeling.
Je crève de chaud. [Familiar]
“I’m burning up.” (I’m really hot)
“I’m dying from the heat.”
C’est une l’étuve, ici.
“It’s hot as an oven in here.”
Une étuve is not exactly an oven. The word is used mostly in cuisine or medicine to describe a heating appliance.
    → From freezing to melting, learn more ways to describe the weather in French using additional weather words and expressions with our free vocabulary list on the Top 15 Weather Conditions.

5. Is it True that the French Dislike Small Talk?

No. Next question, please! Well, seriously, I’ve read this question several times and it’s time to address it. Do we love small talk? Is it our favorite pastime? Certainly not. But do we hate it? Usually not.

Small talk is perfectly fine with strangers or vague acquaintances you don’t have much in common with that you can talk about. It could be a neighbor you meet once in a while on the staircase and whose name you don’t know, your hairdresser, or the old tenant of the bakery next door.

Why “old tenant?” Because there is also a generational component. Older generations tend to be more welcoming to small talk than younger folks who may find it fake or shallow.

We call it parler de la pluie et du beau temps (to talk about the rain and good weather), and people who are afraid of an awkward silence use it to fill in the blanks. But many French were taught to stay quiet when they don’t have anything interesting to say, and talking for the sake of it doesn’t come as naturally as it does in more effusive cultures.

It’s not snobbism or elitism that sometimes makes us frown upon small talk; it’s a belief that it doesn’t take a college degree to talk about meaningful experiences, the political situation, good food, exciting movies, or really anything worth sharing. And life is just too short to talk too much about the weather.

Now, does it mean that you should stay away from any meteorological comment? Absolutely not! I’m just highlighting a difference in cultural backgrounds, but asking or commenting on the weather with your French friends, coworkers, or everyday encounters is perfectly fine, as long as you don’t make it your only topic!

Hurricane

This is not whipped cream, it’s a hurricane.

6. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned a lot about how to talk about the weather, from useful keywords to common sentences and slang. Did we forget any important expression you’d like to know about?

Do you feel ready to engage in a conversation about the weather in French and pose as an expert meteorologist, using everything you’ve learned today?

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your French grammar and learn new words. Our vocabulary lists are also a great way to revise the words and learn their pronunciation, to help you speak like a native in no time.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice talking about weather conditions in French with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you improve your speaking skills.

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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Dimanche de Rameaux: Celebrating Palm Sunday in France

Celebrating Palm Sunday in France

Dimanche de Rameaux, or Palm Sunday in France, is a major Christian holiday with many fascinating traditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the story behind Palm Sunday, France’s most common celebrations, and some useful vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Palm Sunday?

On Palm Sunday, exactly one week before Easter (Pâques), Christians celebrate Jesus’ entrée, or “entrance,” into Jerusalem. According to the Bible, people welcomed his arrival by throwing palm branches on the ground he traveled, hence this holiday’s name. Palm Sunday is also the first day of Semaine Sainte, or “Holy Week.”

In France, Palm Sunday is a day strongly associated with plants and other springtime elements, as is true in some other cultures as well. We’ll go more into this later.

2. When is Palm Sunday in France?

A Calendar

The date of Palm Sunday varies each year, along with the dates of Lent and Easter. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2020: April 5
  • 2021: March 28
  • 2022: April 10
  • 2023: April 2
  • 2024: March 24
  • 2025: April 13
  • 2026: March 29
  • 2027: March 21
  • 2028: April 9
  • 2029: March 25

3. Palm Sunday Traditions in France

A Man Carrying a Small Bible

Many French Palm Sunday traditions take place throughout the country, and they vary slightly based on region. For example, there are actually two different names for Palm Sunday. In northern France, it’s called Dimanche de Rameaux (“Sunday of Branches”); in southern France, it’s Dimanche de Palmes (“Sunday of Palms”). This is because the climate and weather of northern France are better suited for the growth of box-trees, while southern France has a climate more suited for palms. Some places in France also use olive branches.

On Palm Sunday, French believers go to the church to have their box-tree or palm branches blessed. They then take these branches home to decorate the front door, because some believe this grants God’s protection for the coming year. Some people also use these blessed branches as decorations for loved ones’ graves.

Another common Palm Sunday tradition is the Mass procession. This is when believers gather at one church to have the branches blessed and then proceed together toward a second church (or, if necessary, any other location deemed proper by the church).

4. Ash Wednesday

Each year, the branches that people took home on Palm Sunday are brought back to the church on Ash Wednesday the following year. There, the branches are burned, and the ashes are used to make a cross on the foreheads of believers. This is thought to give them God’s blessing.

5. Essential Palm Sunday Vocabulary

A Photo of Jerusalem

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Palm Sunday!

  • Dimanche — “Sunday”
  • Calendrier — “Calendar”
  • Pâques — “Easter”
  • Précéder — “Precede”
  • Entrée — “Entrance”
  • Semaine sainte — “Holy Week”
  • Chrétien — “Christian”
  • Jésus — “Jesus”
  • Jérusalem — “Jerusalem”
  • Mort — “Death”
  • Croix — “Cross”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our French Palm Sunday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Palm Sunday in France with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you celebrate Palm Sunday in your country? If so, do traditions vary from those in France or are they pretty much the same? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with French culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on FrenchPod101.com:

That should be enough to satisfy your thirst for French cultural knowledge for a little while, but for even more learning resources, create your free lifetime account today. With FrenchPod101.com, you can learn all about French culture and the language, and have fun along the way.

Happy learning!

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100 Must-Know French Adjectives

Thumbnail

Can you imagine how boring life would be without adjectives? You could never describe what you like or what you want, and giving an opinion on anything would be as bland and binary as clicking a “Like” button.

You probably already know several French adjectives and are aware of their importance. French adjective placement isn’t obvious, but it’s not rocket science either. As soon as you get familiar with the irregular adjectives list and how to handle their feminine and plural forms, they’ll unveil their secrets to you.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about how to use and adapt adjectives to your needs. Then, I’ll give you the ultimate list of the 100 most common and useful French adjectives. Not only will they allow you to describe things, people, and situations more accurately, but they will also give more color and texture to your speech.

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Use Adjectives in French
  2. French Adjectives to Know for Evaluating
  3. French Adjectives of Size and Shape
  4. Key French Adjectives to Describe Physical Qualities
  5. Adjectives in French for Ordering
  6. French Adjectives for Comparing Things
  7. French Adjectives to Describe Condition
  8. French Adjectives to Describe People
  9. French Adjectives to Describe Situations
  10. Describing the Colors in French
  11. Describing Food in French
  12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. How to Use Adjectives in French

Adjectives

1- Before or After: Where do French Adjectives Go?

How do French adjectives work? Where do they go?

The majority of French adjectives need to be placed AFTER the noun they describe.

For example:

  • Un truc bizarre
    “A weird thing”
  • Une science exacte
    “An exact science”
  • Une table ronde
    “A round table”
  • Un ciel bleu
    “A blue sky”

However, some of the most common French adjectives come BEFORE the noun.

  • Une jolie fille
    “A pretty girl”
  • Une belle journée
    “A beautiful day”
  • Un grand voyage
    “A long travel”
  • Un nouveau monde
    “A new world”

In our French adjectives list, these will be marked in purple.

A small number of adjectives have a different meaning depending on whether they’re placed before or after.

  • Un ancien hôpital
    “A former hospital”
  • Un hôpital ancien
    “An ancient hospital”

Finally, some marginal adjectives must be placed before or after the noun depending on the noun itself.

  • Des cheveux courts
    “Short hair”
  • Une courte pause
    “A short break”
  • L’année prochaine
    “Next year”
  • La prochaine fois
    “Next time”

2- Masculine or Feminine

Most French adjectives have different feminine and masculine forms.

Both will be written in the list, as follows: Masculine – Feminine

  • Petit – Petite
    “Small”
  • Fin – Fine
    “Thin”

When the masculine and feminine forms are identical, only one form will be shown.

  • Bizarre
    “Strange”
  • Facile
    “Easy”

3- Plural or Invariable

Most of the essential French adjectives have a different spelling in plural form. They simply take a final -s.

  • Petits – Petites
    Des petites maisons
    (Small houses)
  • Bizarres
    Des animaux bizarres.
    (Strange animals)

When a singular adjective ends with a -s or an -x, it doesn’t change in plural form:

  • Un animal heureux (A happy animal)
    • Des animaux heureux (Happy animals)
  • Un mur épais (A thick wall)
    • Des murs épais (Thick walls)

Two Mice on Cheese

Deux souris heureuses (“Two happy mice” )

2. French Adjectives to Know for Evaluating

Improve Pronunciation

Masculine – Feminine

Bon – Bonne

1. “Good”

2. “Right,” “Correct”

1. J’ai un bon niveau.
“I have a good level.”

2. J’attends le bon moment.
“I’m waiting for the right moment.”

Mauvais – Mauvaise

1. “Bad”

2. “Wrong,” “Incorrect”

1. C’est un très mauvais film.
“This is a very bad movie.”

2. Tu as pris le mauvais tournant.
“You have taken a wrong turn.”

Génial – Géniale
“Awesome”
C’est génial de te rencontrer !
“It’s awesome to meet you!”
Horrible
“Horrible”
Vous devez brûler cette horrible chose.
“You have to burn this horrible thing.”
Bizarre
“Weird,” “Strange”
L’ornithorynque est un animal très bizarre.
“The platypus is a really weird animal.”

The word “bizarre” is also present in the English language with a similar meaning, but it wasn’t imported from French. Was it originally Basque, Spanish, or Portuguese? Its bizarre etymology is still debated and mysterious.

Facile
“Easy”
Plus facile à dire qu’à faire.
“Easier said than done.”

Here is another way to use facile in a familiar context:

Il doit peser facile 200 kg !
“He’s got to be 200 kilos, easy!”

Difficile
“Difficult,” “Hard”
C’est une situation difficile.
“It is a difficult situation.”
Possible
“Possible”
Avec elle, tout est possible.
“With her, anything is possible.”
Impossible
“Impossible”
Il est impossible de survivre à une telle chute.
“It’s impossible to survive such a fall.”

Impossible n’est pas Français
“There is nothing impossible for the French,” or literally “Impossible is not French.”

This is a famous quote attributed to Napoléon. It can be used as a mantra when we have to do something so difficult it borders on impossible.

Simple
“Simple”
Une histoire simple mais émouvante.
“A simple yet moving story.”
Compliqué – Compliquée
“Complicated”
On est pas vraiment ensemble…c’est compliqué.
“We’re not really together…it’s complicated.”
Cher – Chère
“Expensive”
C’est beaucoup trop cher pour ce que c’est !
“This is way too expensive for what it’s worth!”

This word has nothing to do with American singer and Goddess of Pop, Cher.

Woman Looking Out At A Coastal City

Il fait beau ! (“The weather is good!” )

    → To practice with adjectives about the weather, make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Weather Conditions. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101.

3. French Adjectives of Size and Shape

Grand – Grande

1. “Large,” “Big”

2. “Tall”

3. “Great,” “Major”

1. Elle a un grand jardin.
“She has a big garden.”

2. J’ai l’air plus grande avec mes talons.
“I look taller with my heels.”

3. Blade Runner est un grand film de science-fiction.
Blade Runner is a major science-fiction movie.”

Do not confuse Grand with its English homonym “Grand.”

In English, “grand” means “impressive,” “important,” or “large in degree.”
For example: “A grand opening,” “The Grand Canyon,” or “This palace is very grand.”

Gros – Grosse

1. “Big”

2. “Fat”

1. J’aime les grosses voitures.
“I love big cars.”

2. Il est tellement gros qu’il ne voit plus ses pieds.
“He’s so fat he can’t see his feet anymore.”

Petit – Petite

1. “Small,” “Little”

2. “Little,” “A kid”

1. Ma copine aime les petits chats.
“My girlfriend loves small cats.”

2. Quand j’étais petit, j’allais pêcher avec mon père.
“When I was little, I went fishing with my dad.”

Epais – Epaisse
“Thick”
Une épaisse nappe de brume.
“A thick cloud of mist.”
Fin – Fine
“Thin”
Une fine couche de givre.
“A thin layer of frost.”

You should not confuse French homonyms fin (“thin” ) and la fin (“the end” ).

Proche
“Near”
La fin est proche !
“The end is near!”
Loin
“Far”
J’habite loin du centre-ville.
“I live far from the city center.”
Long – Longue
“Long”
Ca va être une longue journée.
“It’s going to be a long day.”
Court – Courte
“Short”
Il a les cheveux courts.
“He has short hair.”
Etroit – Etroite
“Narrow,” “Tight”
Le sentier est de plus en plus étroit.
“The trail is getting narrower and narrower.”
Large

1. “Wide,” “Broad”

2. “Extensive,” “Large”

1. Cette route n’est pas assez large pour deux voitures.
“This road is not wide enough for two cars.”

2. Ce parc offre un large choix d’activités.
“This park features an extensive selection of activities.”

As tricky as it may sound, the primary meaning of large is not “large,” but “wide.”
However, in some specific cases, it can also be used for “large.”

Adult and Baby Rhinoceros

Grand et petit (“Big and small” )

4. Key French Adjectives to Describe Physical Qualities

Doux – Douce
“Soft,” “Smooth,” “Gentle”
Elle a la peau très douce.
“She has very soft skin.”
Dur – Dure

1. “Solid,” “Hard”

2. “Difficult,” “Tough”

1. Demain, le béton aura séché et sera dur.
“Tomorrow, the concrete will be dry and hard.”

2. C’est tellement dur de se lever le matin.
“It is so hard to wake up in the morning.”

Plein – Pleine
“Full”
Est-ce que le verre est à moitié plein ?
“Is the glass half-full?”
Vide
“Empty”
Non, le verre est à moitié vide.
“No, the glass is half-empty.”
Léger – Légère

1. “Light”

2. “Minor,” “Mild,” “Slight”

1. Une robe légère et confortable.
“A light and comfortable dress.”

2. Nous avons juste un léger problème.
“We just have a slight problem.”

Lourd – Lourde

1. “Heavy”

2. “Annoying” [Familiar]

1. C’est un instrument très lourd.
“It is a heavy instrument.”

2. T’es lourd, avec tes blagues débiles.
“You’re annoying, with your stupid jokes.”

Rapide
“Fast,” “Quick”
Rapide comme l’éclair !
“Fast as lightning!”
Lent – Lente
“Slow,” “Sluggish”
Elle est lente mais minutieuse.
“She’s slow but thorough.”
Chaud – Chaude
“Hot,” “Warm”
Je préfère me doucher à l’eau chaude.
“I prefer to shower with warm water.”

Wait, how can chaud mean both “hot” and “warm?”

In English, “hot” often has a connotation of “too hot.”

Chaud doesn’t have this connotation. It can be used for “warm”:
Ce manteau me garde bien au chaud. (“This coat keeps me nice and warm.” )

And for “hot”:
Il fait tellement chaud ici, je suis en sueur. (“It’s so hot here, I’m sweating.” )

Then, we have another word for when it gets cooler: Tiède (“lukewarm,” “tepid” ):
Je lave mon linge à l’eau tiède. (“I wash my clothes with lukewarm water.” )

Froid – Froide
“Cold”
Gardons la tête froide.
“Let’s keep our heads cool.”
Sec – Sèche
“Dry”
L’apéro idéal ? Saucisse sèche et rosé.
“The perfect apéritif? Dry sausage and rosé wine.”
Humide
“Wet,” “Moist,” “Humid”
L’herbe est encore un peu humide.
“The grass is still a bit wet.”
Fragile
“Fragile,” “Delicate”
Attention, ce vase est très fragile.
“Be careful, this vase is very fragile.”

Attention : Fragile (“Warning: Fragile” )

5. Adjectives in French for Ordering

Premier – Première
“First”
C’est ma première fois.
“It’s my first time.”
Dernier – Dernière

1. “Last,” “Final”

2. “Latest”

1. Il est le dernier de son espèce.
“He’s the last of his kind.”

2. Voici les dernières nouvelles.
“Here is the latest news.”

Second – Seconde
“Second”
La seconde guerre mondiale.
“The Second World War.”
Deuxième
“Second”
Le deuxième tireur se tenait juste ici.
“The second shooter was standing right here.”

Should you use Second or Deuxième?

There used to be some vague traditional reasons to use one over the other, but even the “Académie Française” (the official patron for the French language) stated that there’s no difference anymore.

All you need to know is that second sounds slightly more sophisticated than deuxième.

Prochain – Prochaine
“Next”
A quelle heure est le prochain train ?
“At what time is the next train?”
Précédent – Précédente
“Previous”
La solution précédente était bien meilleure.
“The previous solution was much better.”
Avant-dernier – Avant-dernière
“Penultimate,” “Second to last”
L’avant-dernier niveau est le plus difficile.
“The second to last level is the most difficult.”

Calendar with January 1st Highlighted

Le premier janvier (“January the first” )

6. French Adjectives for Comparing Things

Même
“Same”
C’est toujours la même histoire.
“It’s always the same story.”
Autre
“Other”
Une autre victime a été découverte.
“Another victim has been found.”
Différent – Différente
“Different”
Nous vivons une époque différente.
“We’re living in different times.”
Seul – Seule

1. “Only”

2. “Alone,” “Lonely”

1. C’est la seule solution.
“This is the only solution.”

2. Tu ne te sens jamais seul avec un chat.
“You never feel lonely with a cat.”

Meilleur – Meilleure

1. “Best”

2. “Better”

1. C’est le meilleur jeu de 2019.
“This is the best game of 2019.”

2. Il est meilleur que le précédent épisode.
“It is better than the last episode.”

Should you use Meilleur or Mieux when both mean “Better?”

In most cases, you can use meilleur when comparing nouns, and mieux when modifying verbs:

Je chante mieux que toi.
“I sing better than you.”
Je suis un meilleur chanteur.
“I’m a better singer.”

Pire
“Worst”
C’est le pire jour de ma vie.
“This is the worst day of my life.”
Unique
“Unique,” “Only,” “Single”
Il est fils unique.
“He’s an only child.”
Spécial – Spéciale
“Special”
Voici l’agent spécial Fox Mulder.
“Here is special agent Fox Mulder.”
Particulier – Particulière

1. “Specific,” “Particular”

2. “Private,” “Special”

1. Roger a un sens de l’humour assez particulier.
“Roger has a rather particular sense of humor.”

2. Il est l’assistant particulier de la présidente.
“He’s a special assistant for the president.”

Red Star On Top of Many White Stars

Tu es unique (“You are unique” )

7. French Adjectives to Describe Condition

Nouveau / Nouvel – Nouvelle
“New”
J’adore ta nouvelle robe !
“I love your new dress!”

Nouveau or Nouvel?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use nouvel.
For example: Le nouvel an. (“New year.” )

Otherwise, you should use Nouveau.

Neuf – Neuve
“Brand-new”
Cette robe est neuve.
“This dress is brand-new.”
Pauvre
“Poor”
Il est si pauvre qu’il vit dans la rue.
“He’s so poor he’s living in the street.”
Riche

1. “Wealthy”

2. “Diverse,” “Abundant”

1. Le Koweït est un pays riche.
“Kuwait is a wealthy country.”

2. Les Galapagos ont une faune incroyablement riche.
“The Galapagos have an incredibly diverse fauna.”

Propre

1. “Clean”

2. “Own,” “Personal”

1. Des vêtements propres.
“Clean clothes.”

2. Mes propres vêtements.
“My own clothes.”

Sale
“Dirty”
Je ne veux pas d’argent sale.
“I don’t want dirty money.”
Dégueulasse [Familiar]
“Disgusting,” “Nasty”
Ce fromage est vraiment dégueulasse.
“This cheese is really disgusting.”
Cassé – Cassée
“Broken”
J’ai une jambe cassée.
“I have a broken leg.”

Greasy Mechanic's Hand Holding a Tool

J’ai les mains sales. (“I have dirty hands.” )

8. French Adjectives to Describe People

1- Describing Physical Traits

Jeune
“Young”
C’est un jeune artiste prometteur.
“He’s a young promising artist.”
Vieux / Vieil – Vieille
“Old”
Un vieux guitariste.
“An old guitar player.”

Vieux or Vieil?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use vieil.
For example: Un vieil accordéoniste. (“An old accordionist.” )

Otherwise, you should use vieux.

Beau / Bel – Belle
“Handsome” – “Beautiful”
Elle a de belles mains.
“She has beautiful hands.”

Beau or Bel?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use bel.
For example: Un bel homme. (“A handsome man.” )

Otherwise, you should use beau.

Moche
“Ugly”
Il est pas si moche que ça.
“He’s not that ugly.”
Fort – Forte

1. “Strong”

2. “High,” “Important”

1. C’est pratique d’avoir un homme fort à la maison.
“It’s handy to have a strong man at home.”

2. Une forte augmentation
“An important increase”

Faible

1. “Weak”

2. “Low,” “Small”

1. Ils sont faibles et pitoyables.
“They are weak and pitiful.”

2. Un faible pourcentage
“A small percentage”

Mince
“Slim,” “Thin”
Elle est grande et mince.
“She’s tall and slim.”
Mignon – Mignonne
“Cute,” “Sweet”
Tu as vu le serveur ? Il est mignon.
“Did you see the waiter? He’s cute.”

An Elderly Man Holding a Cane

Un vieil homme (“An old man” )

2- French Adjectives About Personality & Attitude

Gentil – Gentille
“Nice,” “Kind”
Elle a rencontré un gentil garçon.
“She met a nice guy.”
Méchant – Méchante
“Mean,” “Wicked”
A la fin, il combat le méchant sorcier.
“At the end, he’s fighting the evil sorcerer.”
Con – Conne [Familiar]

1. “Dumb”

2. “Jerk”

1. J’ai l’air con avec cette chemise ?
“Do I look dumb with this shirt?”

2. Oublie-le, c’est un sale con.
“Forget about him, he’s a nasty jerk.”

Drôle (de)

1. “Fun,” “Funny”

2. “Strange”

1. Elle est drôle et insouciante.
“She’s funny and carefree.”

2. Tu fais une drôle de tête. Ca va ?
“You have a strange look on your face. Are you okay?”

Why is it drôle de tête?

This irregular structure is specific to the second meaning of drôle. It takes an additional de between the adjective and the noun.

  • Un drôle de type (“A strange dude” )
  • Une drôle d’histoire (“A strange story” )
Fou – Folle
“Crazy,” “Mad”
Un savant fou
“A mad scientist”
Sympa
“Nice”
Il est super sympa !
“He’s super nice!”

Sympa is short for sympathique.

This slightly more casual version has become much more common than the original word.

    → You’ll find many more words to describe your friends’ personalities in our free vocabulary list on Personality Traits, with examples and audio recordings.

3- French Adjectives of Emotion & Mood

Heureux – Heureuse
“Happy”
Un imbécile heureux
“A happy idiot”
Triste
“Sad”
Un clown triste
“A sad clown”
Calme
“Calm”
Restez calme et tout ira bien.
“Stay calm and everything is gonna be alright.”
Excité – Excitée
“Excited”
Je suis tellement excité de les rencontrer !
“I’m so excited to meet them!”
Content – Contente
“Glad”
Je suis contente de te voir.
“I’m glad to see you.”
Malade
“Sick,” “Ill”
Sa fille est très malade.
“His daughter is very ill.”
Mort – Morte
“Dead”
Il est mort par strangulation.
“He was strangled to death.”

Woman Meditating

Restez calme, restez zen (“Stay calm, stay zen” )

9. French Adjectives to Describe Situations

Public – Publique
“Public”
Une affaire de santé publique
“A matter of public health”
Privé – Privée
“Private”
Un club privé
“A private club”
Important – Importante
“Important”
Une affaire très importante
“A very important matter”
Dangereux – Dangereuse
“Dangerous”
Tu joues un jeu dangereux.
“You’re playing a dangerous game.”
Ennuyeux – Ennuyeuse

1. “Boring”

2. “Inconvenient,” “Annoying”

1. Je vous épargne les détails ennuyeux.
“I’ll spare you the boring details.”

2. Ca devient ennuyeux, ces pannes de courant.
“These blackouts are getting annoying.”

10. Describing the Colors in French

Reading

Noir – Noire
“Black”
Le cygne noir
“The black swan”
Blanc – Blanche
“White”
Un drapeau blanc
“A white flag”
Bleu – Bleue
“Blue”
Un ciel bleu
“A blue sky”
Rouge
“Red”
La sorcière rouge
“The red witch”
Vert – Verte
“Green”
Le frelon vert
“The green hornet”
Jaune
“Yellow”
La fièvre jaune
“The yellow fever”

Three Different Glasses of Red And White Wine

Le vin rouge et le vin blanc (“Red wine and white wine” )

11. Describing Food in French

Sucré – Sucrée
“Sweet,” “Sweetened”
Je préfère un petit déjeuner sucré.
“I prefer a sweet breakfast.”
Salé – Salée
“Salty,” “Salted”
Un demi-litre d’eau salée
“Half a liter of salted water”
Epicé – Epicée
“Spicy,” “Spiced”
La cuisine Indienne est très épicée.
“Indian cuisine is very spicy.”
Fade
“Bland,” “Tasteless”
C’est un peu fade sans la cannelle.
“It’s a bit bland without the canella.”
Gras – Grasse
“Fat”
C’est trop gras pour mon régime.
“This is too fat for my diet.”
Délicieux – Délicieuse
“Delicious”
Merci pour ce délicieux repas !
“Thank you for this delicious meal!”
Ecoeurant
“Sickening”
Il y a tellement de sucre que c’est un peu écoeurant.
“There is so much sugar that it’s a bit sickening.”

Girl Eating Peas

C’est délicieux à en pleurer ! (“It’s so delicious I would cry!” )

    → Everything you need from the kitchen is in our vocabulary list for Utensils and Tableware, with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation!

12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide to French adjectives, you’ve learned everything there is to know on the topic including French adjectives position and agreement. You’ve also reviewed an extensive list of the most common and useful ones.

Did we forget any important French adjectives? Do you feel ready to describe everything around you and talk about what you like and want, using what you’ve learned today?

A good way to practice with adjectives is to start with the basics and slowly add more complexity to your sentences:

  • Une voiture rouge. (“A red car” )
  • Une voiture rouge et sale. (“A red and dirty car” )
  • Une voiture rouge et blanche, très belle mais un peu sale. (“A red and white car, very beautiful but a bit dirty” )

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. The vocabulary lists are also a great way to revise the words and learn their pronunciation.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice using adjectives in French with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with the pronunciation.

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

Celebrating International Women’s Day in France

Celebrating International Women’s Day in France

International Women’s Day (sometimes referred to as International Working Women’s Day) is an important holiday in France and around the world. It’s a holiday dedicated to promoting women’s rights, fighting for gender equality, and celebrating the achievements of women.

In this article, you’ll learn about the history of International Women’s Day, France’s unique celebrations for it, and more fun facts. Let’s get started!

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1. What is International Women’s Day?

The main focus of International Women’s Day varies from country to country, but there are usually three common threads:

  • Women’s right to vote (droit de vote)
  • Women’s right to work (droit de travail)
  • The promotion of equality (égalité) between genders

It’s also a day to celebrate and honor the many achievements of women over the years!

History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day started in 1909, when the Socialist Party of America put together the first observance in New York City. The idea soon spread to Europe—and eventually, to many other countries around the world—through Luise Zietz, Clara Zetkin, and Käte Duncker. In 1911, Europe had its very first International Women’s Day events and celebrations.

For the first few years that International Women’s Day was observed, it largely held onto its socialist roots. Women often marched and demonstrated to promote “feminism” (féminisme) and “women’s rights” (droits des femmes), and the holiday quickly caught on in more socialist or communist countries like China.

2. When is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is on March 8

Each year, International Women’s Day is on March 8.

3. How to Celebrate International Women’s Day in France

A Crowd of Women Cheering

Celebrations and events for International Women’s Day vary, with some countries preferring to keep the theme of women’s rights and feminism, and others giving it a more commercialized spin.

International Women’s Day in France is a major celebration, and people throughout the country observe this holiday. Currently, one of the biggest issues being demonstrated against in France is the wage gap that women experience in the workplace.

In addition to demonstrations, women often receive gifts or special deals for International Women’s Day. These include things like bouquets of flowers, chocolate, and beauty-related products.

4. The Tour de France

A notable demonstration of women’s fight for equality in France is the Tour de France. In particular, there’s a group of women who have been riding the entire Tour de France by the name Donnons des Elles au Vélo Jour -1, which means “Let the girls ride the day before.”

You can read more about this on The Telegraph.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for International Women’s Day

50/50 Sign on Blackboard Symbolizing Gender Equality

Ready to review some of the French vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the essential words and phrases for International Women’s Day!

  • Manifestation — “Demonstration”
  • Travail — “Work”
  • Planète — “Planet”
  • Victoire — “Victory”
  • Pays — “Country”
  • Continent — “Continent”
  • Fin — “End”
  • Féminisme — “Feminism”
  • Lutte — “Fight”
  • Américain — “American”
  • Européen — “European”
  • Droit de vote — “Right to vote”
  • Droit de travail — “Right to work”
  • Discrimination — “Discrimination”
  • Droits des femmes — “Women’s rights”
  • International — “International”
  • Revendiquer — “Claim”
  • Égalité — “Equality”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our French International Women’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about International Women’s Day in France with us! Do you celebrate this holiday in your country? If so, how?

If you’re interested in learning more about France’s unique culture and holidays, check out the following pages on FrenchPod101.com:

Whatever your reasons for developing an interest in French culture or the language, know that FrenchPod101.com is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone!

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning with us.

Happy International Women’s Day from the FrenchPod101 family!

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Binge-learn French: French Shows & French Movies on Netflix

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When you think about language-learning, what are the first apps that come to mind? I bet Netflix is not among them, but think about it for a moment. What if you could improve your French from the comfort of your couch, without any schedule-crushing commitment?

Netflix France features many French movies and French TV shows, but you can also find many of them while in your country. They’re not necessarily easy to filter, and sorting by audio will give you many dubbed American movies, but this is a good place to start if you want to get the list of all French movies on Netflix and all French TV shows on Netflix.

Now that this unstoppable Behemoth of streaming is taking television by storm, it’s only fair we talk about how you can combine work with pleasure and boost your French like you’ve never dared to dream of.

Wondering what to watch on French Netflix, or what French language Netflix shows are worth your time?

In this article, we’ll first see how watching French TV shows on Netflix can boost your French. But first, I’ll give you a list of the ten great French series on Netflix right now! These French Netflix must-watch shows are just what you need to make French fun again.

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Table of Contents

  1. The Frozen Dead
  2. Transfers
  3. The Break
  4. The Hook Up Plan
  5. No Second Chance
  6. November 13: Attacks on Paris
  7. Cannabis
  8. The Long Long Holiday
  9. Witnesses
  10. Osmosis
  11. Can I Really Boost My French Watching Series?
  12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. The Frozen Dead

Original French title: Glacé
Genre: Thriller

In the Pyrénées mountains, a duo of police captains is called to investigate the corpse of a decapitated horse that was found 2000 meters high, on the top of a cable car. As more mysterious deaths start piling up, they appear to be connected to a notorious serial killer, incarcerated years before.

Based on a book by Bernard Minier, Glacé is the kind of grim and disturbing crime drama the French are especially fond of. Come for the gruesome murders, stay for the depressing yet gorgeous scenery. But the real highlight here is the ubiquitous French actor Charles Berling facing a Hannibal Lecter-esque serial killer, making for a tense face-to-face.

Here are a few words to help you make it through this gritty French Netflix thriller:

Une victime
“A victim”
C’est la seconde victime en moins de 24 heures.
“It is the second victim in less than 24 hours.”
Un meurtre
“A murder”
Je vous arrête pour le meurtre de John Smith.
“You are under arrest for the murder of John Smith.”
Un tueur en série
“A serial killer”
Le tueur en série n’a jamais été appréhendé.
“The serial killer was never caught.”
Le téléphérique
“The cable car”
Le corps a été trouvé au sommet du téléphérique.
“The body was found on the top of the cable car.”
    → Make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Snowy Weather, with audio recordings, to practice your pronunciation. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101.

2. Transfers

Original French title: Transferts
Genre: Sci-Fi

In the near future, science allows doctors to transfer a spirit from one body to another. Once allowed only for therapeutic purposes, it’s now illegal and the BATI brigade has been created to hunt down the transférés (transferred): people who’ve been through an illicit transfer.

With its convincing cast, a carefully detailed universe, and an interesting plot that addresses the social issues and philosophical implications of technology, Transfers sheds a frightening light on many issues of our modern societies. Take, for example, the merchandisation of the human body or the abuse of surveillance and police authority.

French science-fiction is a very rare thing, especially done right, but it succeeds here thanks to a minimalism that makes it a more grounded and believable version of its American counterpart, the action-packed Altered Carbon. If you’re going to watch French Netflix, this is a good one indeed.

Un corps
“A body”
Il est dans un nouveau corps.
“He’s in a new body.”
Un esprit
“A mind”
Son esprit a été transféré.
“His mind has been transferred.”
La mémoire
“The memory”
Il a perdu la mémoire.
“He has lost his memory.”
Une greffe
“A transplant”
Ton esprit a été greffé dans un nouveau corps.
“Your mind has been transplanted into a new body.”

3. The Break

Original French title: La trêve
Genre: Crime Drama

In the village of Heiderfeld, the body of a young football player of African origins is found in the la Semois (The Semois River). Local authorities believe it’s a suicide and close the case after a superficial investigation. However, Yoann Peeters, a dark-tempered detective with questionable methods, has another theory and will uncover the villagers’ filthy secrets.

The Break is said to be the Belgian version of True Detective and met unexpected international success, making it one of the most popular French Netflix shows. To be fair, French Netflix crime series are far from the greatness of HBO’s masterpieces, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat with its many secrets—and always uncomfortable, thanks to its thick and heavy atmosphere.

Despite being from Belgium, the main characters don’t have heavy accents and it’s fairly easy to follow once you get the investigation vocabulary.

Un suicide
“A suicide”
Il s’est suicidé en sautant du pont.
“He committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.”
Un interrogatoire
“An interrogation”
Il a confessé pendant l’interrogatoire.
“He confessed during the interrogation.”
La scène du crime
“The crime scene”
La scène du crime a été maquillée.
“The murder scene was staged.”
Une enquête criminelle
“A criminal investigation”
Bouclez le périmètre, c’est une enquête criminelle.
“Seal off the perimeter, this is a criminal investigation.”
Un légiste
“A forensic”
Appelez le labo et faites venir les légistes.
“Call the lab and get forensics.”

4. The Hook Up Plan

Original French title: Plan Coeur
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Elsa can’t get over her ex-boyfriend, Maxime, and is crawling from one drunk party to the next hangover. Her best friend secretly hires a professional male escort to help her move on, but things get a lot more complicated.

Don’t mind if I keep up my trend of “The French version of …” because this the French Netflix Hookup Plan is a French Sex and the City. This cute yet utterly classic romcom is a feel-good guilty pleasure, packed with dirty jokes and witty authentic dialogue that will make you realize just how much of a gold-mine French can be when it comes to sex slang.

Even though this French Netflix comedy relies on the old tropes of the genre, it still manages to feel fresh thanks to a cast of so-very-French characters, a genuinely accurate depiction of the daily struggles of the 30-year-olds, and always lots of heart.

Une rupture
“A breakup”
Elle ne s’est pas remise de sa rupture.
“She didn’t get over her breakup.”
Picoler [Familiar]
“To drink heavily”
Arrête de picoler comme ça !
“Stop getting drunk like that!”
Un gigolo
“A male prostitute”
J’ai embauché un gigolo pour mon amie.
“I have hired a male escort from my friend.”
Un portable
“A cell phone”
J’ai perdu mon portable hier soir.
“I lost my cell phone last night.”

5. No Second Chance

Original French title: Une Chance de Trop
Genre: Thriller

Alice Lambert has seen better days. After being shot in the back, she’s getting out of an eight-day coma to find that her husband was assassinated and her six-year-old daughter kidnapped. Running through a web of lies and manipulation as she’s tracking down the elusive kidnappers, Alice can’t trust anyone. But she knows her daughter is still alive, waiting for her.

Based on a thriller by best-selling writer Harlan Coben, the French Netflix thriller series No Second Chance stars Alexandra Lamy (who you know very well, if you’ve been practicing your French on the short series Un Gars, Une Fille). Behind the overly convoluted twists and suspenseful turns, the real question is: How far would you go to save your child?

Un enlèvement
“A kidnapping”
Ma fille a été enlevée.
“My daughter has been kidnapped.”
Un assassinat
“An assassination”
Votre mari a été assassiné.
“Your husband has been killed.”
Une rançon
“A ransom”
Nous demandons une rançon de 100000 euros.
“We ask for a 100,000-euro ransom.”
Le chantage
“The blackmail”
Je ne vais pas céder à votre chantage.
“I will not submit to your blackmail.”

6. November 13: Attacks on Paris

Genre: Documentary

On the 13th of November, 2015, a series of coordinated attacks struck the French Capital and its suburbs, leaving 130 dead, more than 400 injured, and a whole nation in shock. These were the deadliest attacks on French soil since the Second World War, with heavily armed gunmen and suicide bombers roaming the streets of the City of Lights.

This three-part French history documentary Netflix has is based on forty testimonies gathered from survivors and rescuers who lived through this fateful night. It’s not trying to explain what happened, answer the “why,” or comment on the political aftermath. Instead, it focuses on the human aspect of the tragedy, through the individual stories of its interviewees. It’s shown with a lot of restraint, without cheesy dramatic music, and it’s difficult not to be moved by these haunting tales of bravery, despair, and compassion.

As a learning exercise, you’ll never find something as authentic as a real interview. Having forty of them gathered in one place is a great way to put your French to the test.

Un attentat
“A terrorist attack”
Il y a eu un attentat à Paris.
“There was a terrorist attack in Paris.”
Un otage
“A hostage”
Les terroristes ont pris des otages.
“Terrorists have taken hostages.”
Une fusillade
“A shooting”
Une fusillade a éclaté en plein centre ville.
“A shooting started right in the city center.”
Un témoignage
“A testimony”
Nous écoutons les témoignages des survivants.
“We are listening to the survivors’ testimonies.”

Improve Pronunciation

7. Cannabis

Original French title: Cannabis
Genre: Drug Drama

The French Netflix crime drama Cannabis is a deep dive into the drug trafficking business spreading from the Morrocan Rif to the Spanish city of Marbella and the French city of Roseraie en Villiers. The focus moves from drug lords to small-time dealers, corrupt cops and crooked politics, as well as the common people getting caught in their web.

This French-Spanish Narcos in Morocco isn’t for everyone. With disturbing violence and brutal executions, you’d better be prepared for the ride. Also keep in mind that with its various locations, the series features a wide set of accents that can make it challenging to follow, and a great exercise for advanced learners.

Le trafic de drogue
“The drug trafficking”
Il a été arrêté pour trafic de drogue.
“He was arrested for drug trafficking.”
Un baron de la drogue
“A drug lord”
Ce baron de la drogue a des connexions avec la France.
“This drug lord has business ties with France.”
Une mère de famille
“A housewife”
Cette mère de famille est désespérée.
“This housewife is desperate.”
Blanchir de l’argent
“To launder money”
Elle blanchit l’argent de la drogue.
“She is laundering drug money.”

8. The Long Long Holiday

Original French title: Les Grandes Grandes Vacances
Genre: Animated Series
Age: 10+

Summer 1939: Ernest, eleven years old, and Colette, six, are leaving Paris to visit their grandparents’ farm in the countryside. But when war breaks out, their parents decide to keep them away from the capital and their weekend will become a long, long five-years-long holiday. In a world gone mad, they’ll have to face the German occupation, migration waves, requisitions, food rationing, and the rounding up of Jews.

If it wasn’t clear from the pitch, The Long Long Holiday is not a childish animated series and is meant for parents and kids alike. Behind its innocent look, it’s a harsh tale of war with a historically accurate WWII background and beautiful hand-drawn visuals (but it never gets explicitly violent or graphic).

As it is a cartoon, you can expect it to be satisfyingly articulated, and the cultural immersion in this troubled era makes it even more enjoyable.

La guerre
“The war”
La guerre a éclaté en 1939.
“War broke out in 1939.”
L’occupation
“The occupation”
J’ai grandi pendant l’occupation Allemande en France.
“I grew up during the German occupation in France.”
La campagne
“The countryside”
Ils ont une maison de campagne.
“They have a country house.”
Un bombardement
“A bombing”
Les bombardements ont commencé cette nuit.
“The bombing started last night.”

9. Witnesses

Original French title: Les Témoins
Genre: Crime

In the small coastal town of Le Tréport, in northern France, two police detectives start investigating desecrated tombs after several bodies of murder victims were exhumed and left on display. They eventually team up with former chief-of-police Paul Maisonneuve on the hunt for a serial killer.

Following the steps and style of the recent wave of dark Scandinavian dramas, The Witnesses is a gritty crime thriller set in some of the most underused regions of France. With legendary French actor Thierry Lhermitte backed with a solid supporting cast, a high production value, and an atmospheric score, it’s full of twists and turns and won’t let you breathe until the end. However, you really don’t want to stick around for the terrible season two.

Une tombe
“A grave”
Il se recueille sur cette tombe.
“He’s collecting on this grave.”
Profaner
“To desecrate”
Plusieurs tombes ont été profanées.
“Several graves have been desecrated.”
Un préfet de police
“A chief-of-police”
Je vais prévenir le préfet de police.
“I will inform the chief-of-police.”

10. Osmosis

Original French title: Osmosis
Genre: Anticipation

In a near future, science has cracked the code for true love. By analyzing the emotions of its users through the nano-machines implanted in their brains, the new OSMOSIS app is guaranteed to find you the ideal partner and make your dream of a soulmate come true. But what are the consequences when you let an algorithm pry into your most intimate thoughts?

Without nano-machines in your brain, it’s hard for me to tell you for sure whether Osmosis will become your perfect Netflix-binging soulmate. With many flaws to balance its merits, the series has been very polarizing, but if you’re into the genre and seduced by its very unusual setting, it’s only fair to give it a try.

I’m not a big fan of French acting, in general, and the French Netflix Osmosis is no exception. The upside is that the unpassionate cast is quite easy to follow.

Une âme-soeur
“A soulmate”
Tout le monde a une âme-soeur.
“Everybody has a soulmate.”
L’intelligence artificielle
“The artificial intelligence”
L’intelligence artificielle fait des progrès de jour en jour.
“Artificial intelligence is improving every day.”
Une étude
“A study”
J’ai fait une étude approfondie de ton profil.
“I’ve done a comprehensive study of your profile.”
Des données
“Data”
Nous recueillons les données de nos utilisateurs.
“We’re gathering data from our users.”

11. Can I Really Boost My French Watching Series?

Best Ways

From my personal experience, being a native French speaker, I’ve learned most of my English playing video games or obsessively watching everything HBO. Television has the power to expand your vocabulary and teach you literally tons of idioms and slang while pushing your conversation skills through the roof!

Could you learn this any other way? Sure, if you spend several years of your life in French-speaking countries, hanging out with locals, but is there any way you could learn it the academic way? Let’s say it’s very unlikely.
This isn’t to say you should drop everything right now, uninstall your flashcard apps, burn your grammar books, and unsubscribe from FrenchPod101! But as a complement to a traditional language-learning course, watching series in your target language is a great way to immerse yourself and absorb as much as you can.

Here are some of the benefits of watching some of the French programs Netflix has (or any French series for that matter).

1- You Can Adjust the Experience to Your Level

  • If you’re a beginner, you can start watching in French with English subtitles. You’ll get familiar with the sounds of the language, start to recognize some words, and practice your listening skills.
  • If you’re an intermediate learner, you can watch it in French with French subtitles. Depending on your level, you’ll either read the text and create mental associations with the audio, or focus on audio and use the text as a backup when you don’t understand something.
  • When you’re advanced enough, you can watch with audio in French, without subtitles. But it requires a high level of fluency, the kind of which is usually achieved after several years of intense practice.

2- You Can Watch Whatever You Want

No need to follow a course or a pre-recorded learning path. You can just choose the series that appeal to you the most and get on with it! It will keep you much more engaged and motivated than many academic studies, for sure.

3- You’ll Learn Real-life French

I’m not blaming traditional textbooks for not teaching slang, but there are many overused French idioms that are usually nowhere to be found in grammar or vocabulary manuals. And what about these juicy swearing words even your touch keyboard is keeping from you! Many series aren’t so prudish and will open to you a whole new world of casual and natural conversations.

4- French Will Be Part of Your Life

Nothing can replace the real immersion of experiencing French-speaking countries, and when it comes to learning about French culture, Netflix can only go so far. But if you want to progress faster, you’ll need to find some hacks to make it part of your daily life. It will help you get to the point where you begin thinking in French and forming sentences without mentally translating. It will also make you familiar with words (visually and orally), as well as expressions that you’ll keep hearing over and over.

Movie Genres

12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned about ten great French series on Netflix, from gritty crime dramas to science-fiction and thrillers. Did I forget any amazing French series on this French Netflix list that you’ve started watching? Do you feel ready to set your audio to French and jump right in?

Although this article is centered on Netflix, don’t forget that there are countless amazing series that are not—and might never be—featured on that platform, starting with anything produced by rival companies such as HBO or the upcoming Disney+.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Netflix catalog is not centralized and depends on your country. If you can’t find some of the series listed in this article, it could simply mean that it’s not available in your region at the moment.

One more thing to consider is that the list of movies and series is changing every month. For instance, I badly wanted to include Braquo, one of my personal favorites (at least for one season, before it suddenly became ridiculous), but it was removed from Netflix in 2018 and might never come back. Other French classics such as Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau) have been rumored to arrive on Netflix for a long time, but don’t hold your breath.

FrenchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and free resources to boost your studies and keep your French learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher to practice with, using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples for you. Your teacher can also review yours to help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.