January 29, 2024

Baby It’s Cold Outside

What is the most common subject discussed in a small talk situation? La météo, bien sûr!

Whether you are attending a networking event, a soirée with new friends or a business lunch with French speaking colleagues, commenting on the weather is always a useful ice-breaker.

Here are 5 Great Tips to Talk About The Weather in French!

1. La Bise

As some of you already know, I am from Quebec, Canada, where the summers are (too) short, but very beautiful, and the winters are long and really cold!

I used to laugh when people complained about the unbearably cold weather of Geneva as I thought they didn’t know what cold really meant! That was until I experienced a truly violent, interminable episode of la bise (A northern wind, cold and generally dry.)

  • La bise souffle fort aujourd’hui. (La bise is strong today.)
  • J’ai mal à la tête. C’est probablement à cause de la bise! (I have a headache. It’s probably because of la bise.)


Faire la bise: Give two, three, or four kisses on the cheeks to greet your close friends and family members. (We are three-kisses-givers in my French/Belgian/Canadian family!)

  • Vous faites la bise dans votre famille? Oui, bien sûr! (Do you greet your family with kisses on the cheeks? Yes, of course!)

La bise de Genève certainly isn’t a gentle kiss!

2. Il fait + adjectif

A simple formula to express your thoughts on the weather. Easy-peasy!

  • Il fait beau/bon aujourd’hui! (The weather is nice today!)
  • Il ne fait pas beau en ce moment. (The weather isn’t nice at the moment.)
  • Il fait (si) mauvais! (The weather is (so) bad!)
  • Il fait (trop) chaud! (It is (too) hot!)

3. C’est + adjectif

Add a weather-related adjective to the verb to be and Bob’s your uncle!

  • C’est vraiment venteux aujourd’hui! (It’s really windy today!)
  • C’était ensoleillé hier. (It was sunny yesterday.)
  • C’est légèrement nuageux ce matin. (It’s slightly cloudy this morning.)
  • C’est brumeux autour du lac. (It is foggy around the lake.)

4. Il + verbe / Il y a + nom

Asking about the weather in one’s home country is always a good way to show your interest and to learn something different about your colleagues, friends or new aquaintances.

  • Quel temps fait-il dans votre pays? (What’s the weather like in your country?)
  • En été, il vente un peu et il y a du soleil. (In the summer, the wind blows a bit and it’s sunny.)
  • En automne, il pleut souvent et il y a du brouillard. (In the fall, it often rains and it’s foggy.)
  • En hiver, il gèle et il neige. (In the winter, it freezes and it snows.)
  • Au printemps, il y a beaucoup de belles fleurs. (In the spring, there are lots of beautiful flowers.)

5. Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver!

Gilles Vigneault composed this beautiful song to describe the never-ending winters in Quebec. It is also appropriate for Switzerland, considering the very cold days we’ve had in Geneva, thanks to the frozen kiss of la bise!

  • Il fait vraiment / très froid. (It’s really / very cold!)
  • Couvre-toi sinon tu vas attrapper froid! (Cover up or you will catch a cold!)
  • Ça caille! (It’s freezing!)

Colloquial expression you’re likely to hear on a bitterly cold winter day. The verb cailler means to curdle, like curdled milk. The idea is that it’s so cold you can’t move!

Il fait un froid de canard! : Here’s another weather expression which mentions a duck to indicate how cold it is. Why is this animal associated with the cold? One possible explanation is that duck hunting season is in winter.

Il fait un temps de chien! : Common colloquial expression that literally means that the weather has gone to the dogs. It’s used to describe a day when it’s pouring rain or miserably cold.


As a native Québécoise, born to a Franco-Belgian family, now living in Nyon with her two children, Isabelle is no stranger to the expat reality! Trained as a professional opera singer, her passion for arts and languages led her to become an ambassador of the French language & francophone culture, i.e. a French Teacher!

She founded Prêt à Parler in January 2015. Since then she's been hard at work helping native and non-native English-speaking expats make French part of their everyday life! Prêt à Parler's mission is based on what Isabelle does best: helping busy professionals and parents improve their French language skills by providing a high quality, eco-friendly, fun, no-nonsense approach to learning French online!

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