Confusing weather for plants

<Photo of spring strawberries in August in France'>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?

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “Confusing weather for plants
  1. Sabine says:

    By the way, why are English people sayin “it’s raining cats and dogs?” (Il pleut des chats et des chiens). Each time I hear this sentence, I can imagine and visualize cats and dogs litteraly falling from the sky. But I never found out if they fall on their feet 🙂

  2. Lesley says:

    Cats always fall on their feet! I had thought that it was the sound of all those paws and claws that was the ‘cats & dogs rain’.
    Our Magnolia bush is flowering for a second time this year..

  3. Sally Allen says:

    Oh yes, we in the UK still talk about the weather all the time.

    I have delighted in telling Tom how H O T it has been this summer!

    But, it’s now gone back to normal in UK & I am wearing a jumper & feeling affronted!!

  4. Wendy says:

    The strawberries are still ripening every day here, and now the sun is showing up a bit more regularly but it’s still not summer. Lesley, I’d never thought of that reasoning for ‘raining cats and dogs’ – thanks!

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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