How to Talk About Seasons in French: The Complete Guide
What are the ingredients for a good base in French proficiency?
Start with some high-quality online French lessons and then mix in some grammar fundamentals.
But what about adding some real seasoning to your French proficiency?
What I’m trying to say is: I’m going to teach you how to name and describe the seasons in French.
A season in French is translated as une saison , and there are four distinct seasons in France: spring, summer, autumn (or fall) and winter.
Keep reading to find out how to talk about seasons in French!
- The Basics: How to Say the Seasons in French
- Vocabulary for L’hiver (Winter)
- Vocabulary for Le Printemps (Spring)
- Vocabulary for L’été (Summer)
- Vocabulary for L’automne (Fall)
- How to Practice Seasons in French
- And one more thing...
The Basics: How to Say the Seasons in French
Below is a look at the names of the seasons in French:
l’hiver (m.) — the winter
le printemps (m.) — the spring
l’été (m.) — the summer
l’automne (m.) — the autumn (also: fall)
To talk about the seasons themselves, use a direct article. For example:
L’hiver est froid.
Winter is cold.
Ma saison préférée est l’automne.
My favorite season is autumn.
On the other hand, using these seasons with the prepositions en or au gives them the meaning of “in the” or “during the.” These prepositions are useful if you want to talk about things that happen during a certain season:
au printemps — in the spring
en hiver — in the winter
en été — in the summer
en automne — in the autumn (in the fall)
Note that printemps is the only season to take au (literally translated as “to the”). The other three seasons all take en (in):
Les canards retournent au printemps.
The ducks return in the spring.
J’irai en Europe en été.
I will go to Europe in the summer.
Vocabulary for L’hiver (Winter)
L’hiver in France typically consists of the months of janvier , février and mars (January, February and March). This time of year is characterized by cooler weather and even snow in the northern or mountainous regions of the country.
Let’s check out some common vocabulary associated with l’hiver.
la neige — snow
le bonhomme de neige — snowman
la boule de neige — snowball
la glace — ice
le froid — the cold
Il fait froid. — It is cold.
Keep in mind that French uses the verb faire (to do) to describe the temperature.
J’ai froid. — I am cold.
French also uses the verb avoir (to have) to describe the temperature that one is feeling.
le patin à glace — ice skating
le ski — skiing
faire du ski — to ski
la planche à neige — snowboarding
le glaçon — icicle
les gants — gloves
le bonnet — hat
le manteau — coat
les bottes — boots
To see these words in action, let’s use a couple of them in a few example sentences:
En hiver, je porte mes gants, mon chapeau et mon manteau. Il fait froid et il y a beaucoup de neige. Je fais du ski et de la planche à neige.
During the winter, I wear my gloves, my hat and my coat. It is cold, and there is a lot of snow. I ski and snowboard.
Vocabulary for Le Printemps (Spring)
Le printemps typically consists of the months of avril , mai and juin (April, May and June). This is the time of year when the weather starts to warm up and plants begin to grow again, filling the landscape with green trees and beautiful flowers.
Here’s some common vocabulary associated with le printemps:
la fleur — flower
le tulipe — tulip
le papillon — butterfly
la pluie — rain
la parapluie — umbrella
l’arc-en-ciel — rainbow
un oiseau — bird
une abeille — bee
le nuage — cloud
Il fait frais. — It is cool.
un imperméable — a raincoat
Now let’s use a couple of these words in a sample paragraph:
Au printemps, les oiseaux retournent du sud. Il fait frais et il y a beaucoup de pluie. Je porte un imperméable et j’adore toutes les fleurs.
During the spring, the birds return from the south. It is cool, and there is a lot of rain. I wear a raincoat, and I love all the flowers.
Vocabulary for L’été (Summer)
L’été typically consists of the months of juillet , août and septembre (July, August and September). Like in North America, l’été is the hottest time of the year. As such, students are often on summer holidays, and people are social with lots of outdoor activities and parties.
Let’s look at some common vocabulary to celebrate l’été:
le soleil — sun
la chaleur — heat
Il fait chaud. — It is hot.
J’ai chaud. — I am hot.
la canicule — heatwave
la tempête — storm
la plage — beach
la crème solaire — sunscreen
la piscine — pool
nager — to swim
les lunettes de soleil — sunglasses
le maillot de bain — swimsuit
la pastèque — watermelon
le short — shorts
les sandales — sandals
les tongs — flip-flops
le parasol — beach umbrella
les vacances — vacation
Note that this is always plural when talking about taking time off work or school for a vacation.
Now, let’s set the scene for a hot and relaxing summer day:
En été, je vais souvent à la plage. Je porte mon maillot de bain, mes tongs et mes lunettes de soleil. J’aime nager et manger de la pastèque.
During the summer, I often go to the beach. I wear my swimsuit, my flip-flops and my sunglasses. I like to swim and eat watermelon.
Vocabulary for L’automne (Fall)
L’automne typically consists of the months of octobre , novembre and décembre (October, November and December). During this time of year, the leaves on the trees begin to change colors and fall, and the weather becomes cool again.
Some common vocabulary associated with l’automne is:
un arbre — tree
la feuille — leaf
un tas de feuilles — a pile of leaves
le changement de couleur des feuilles — the changing color of the leaves
la citrouille — pumpkin
tailler une citrouille — to carve a pumpkin
le vent — wind
la rentrée — return to school
un pull — sweater
la récolte — harvest
un râteau — rake
un coupe-vent — a windbreaker
la tarte aux pommes — apple pie
le maïs — corn
During the autumn, you might say the following:
En automne, on voit le changement de couleur des feuilles. Je mange la tarte aux pommes et du maïs. Je porte un coupe-vent et je taille une citrouille.
During the autumn, we see the changing of the leaves. I eat an apple pie and some corn. I wear a windbreaker, and I carve a pumpkin.
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How to Practice Seasons in French
Here are some of the best practice resources available around the web:
- To practice the months of the year in French, check out this interactive quiz from Digital Dialects.
- Take this test with French Circles to practice seasons in French and their corresponding weather words. French Circles also offers a reading and video related to the seasons in French, plus digital flashcards for extra practice.
- Sporcle offers a straightforward quiz that tests you on weather conditions and seasons in French. Simply translate the English word or expression into French before the timer runs out.
A good base of French vocabulary is always in season. Now go forth and use your newly-acquired vocabulary to talk about any season in French!
And one more thing...
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