After more than a month of rainy weather here in the French Alps, we’re having a second spring! The sun has timidly arrived, and the plants are confused.
Pictured are some strawberries in my strawberry patch. The plants normally flower in May and October only. It’s now August and I’m picking strawberries every day. My bulbs for tulips and daffodils are resprouting and the geraniums on my balcony are almost dead from being drenched day and night.
My garden isn’t alone. People are already out collecting mushrooms two months earlier than usual. This is the oddest summer ever.
Although I normally try to talk about the quirky side of French culture, this crazy weather has shown me that one aspect of the French culture is far more similar to the English culture than I ever imagined.
Handy weather phrases in French
One of the only good things about having so much rain is learning some of the more interesting weather-related phrases in French. Here are some of my favourites:
FR: Il pleut comme vache qui pisse.
EN: It’s raining like a cow weeing.
FR: Il pleut des cordes.
EN: It’s raining ropes.
FR: Il fait un temps de chien/cochon.
EN: It’s dogs’ weather/It’s pigs’ weather).
FR: Il pleut il mouille c’est la fête à la grenouille
EN: It rains, it’s wet: it’s party time for frogs
(That last one is from a children’s song, but adults quote it sometimes)
The French are talking about the weather. When I greet a colleague, the weather seems to crop up in our initial small talk every time. People on the street gruffly sigh and shake their heads at each other in mutual sadness about more rain hitting their umbrellas. The weather is even making headlines, with tourism down all over France. Basically, this feels like England. Nobody can get past the weather!
While England has been basking in sunny, warm summer days, I wonder if English people are still talking about the weather. Perhaps they’re talking instead about all the fun things they’re doing in the sun. Perhaps that’s the key: if you can’t do anything because of bad weather, you may as well talk about the weather, right? If nothing else, I’ve learnt some fantastic weather-related phrases in French. Party time for frogs, anyone?