I feel that the hardest part of learning a new language is learning its idiomatic expressions. They can change from region to region, family to family, and they can also be different from one generation to another. But once we learn them, aren’t idioms the most fun thing to express whatever we are feeling?

Today I’ll talk about a few of them that I like and I think it can translate to what I relate to in summer time.

Faire la grasse matinée


I love to “faire la grasse matinée” on weekends, when I have more free time and I can just slow down from the hectic rhythm of the week. And I think we should all be allowed to do the same all summer long. Imagine being able to sleep in every day in July and August? Yes, “faire la grasse matinée” means sleeping in.

Se dorer la pilule


Imagine “que tu as fait la grasse matinée” and now you want to enjoy the sun. You put on your “maillot de bain”, head to the closest beach or pool and just lie down there, sunbathing. In French, if you are going to get a tan you can say you will “se dorer la pilule”. Interestingly, this same idiom can also mean “to get lazy” or even “to sugarcoat something”. The literal translation would be something like “to golden the pill”.

Comme un poisson dans l'eau


If it’s hot outside and I can “me dorer la pilule” I feel “comme un poisson dans l’eau”. Coming from a city where temperatures never drop below 50°F, I feel like the summer season in New England is the kind of weather I’ve been used to my whole life. The idiom means being comfortable in a situation, something you’re used to. The literal translation would be “like a fish in water”.

I find this one interesting because in English we have the idiom “like a fish out of water” for the opposite feeling using the same word as reference.

Il fait un temps de chien


Well, unfortunately, summer in New England is not only about sunny and beautiful weather. Sometimes, “il fait un temps de chien” and what we have instead are cloudy, rainy, gray days. It means terrible weather, and could literally be translated as “a dog’s weather”.

Après la pluie, le beau temps


But, as we all know, “après la pluie, le beau temps” or “after the rain comes the good weather” in a literal translation. Even though it refers to the weather, we don’t use it in that context. It is used to express hopefulness; it reminds us that after something bad happens, something good will come out of it. Just like the idiom every cloud has a silver lining is used in English.

Did you already know some of these French idioms? Which one do you find the most interesting? If you have any favorite idioms, tell us in the comments. We would love to know 😉

Bruna Franco

Marketing & Membership Manager

Bruna first joined the Center as a member, looking for an opportunity to practice French and to be around French culture. She is now thrilled to be the Membership Manager and to provide members with the amazing experience she was previously able to enjoy herself. She is a native Portuguese speaker who, by the age of eight, knew she wanted to be multilingual someday. Working at the French Library now seems like a dream come true.

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