Dans le vent: a French expression you may hear today

Normandy seaside resort Fécamp has been described as ‘dans le vent’, having been selected as a stopover for a prestigious sailing race. What does the expression mean?

31 August 2021
By Ellie Fullalove

The literal translation of dans le vent is in the wind, but what does this have to do with a fishing port about to welcome thousands of spectators to watch one of the world’s toughest sailing competitions, the Solitaire du Figaro?

This year will not be the first time that Fécamp has attracted attention. Surrounded by the tallest cliffs in Normandy on the Alabaster Coast, it was also chosen as the site of a grand castle for the Dukes of Normandy and an impressive Benedictine abbey.

You can still visit the ruins of the Palais Ducal, as well as the Palais Bénédictine and the distillery producing Bénédictine herbal liqueur, made using a secret recipe developed by monks and containing 27 herbs and spices.

The French ‘Town of Art and History’ also has a rich fishing heritage and its landmark fishing museum housed in an old cod-drying factory offers panoramic views from the roof. Herrings used to be big business here too and you can still stock up on smoked fish locally.

These are just some of the major attractions that sailing fans can explore when they arrive in Fécamp for the 52nd Solitaire du Figaro, a solo multi-stage sailing race that takes around a month to complete. 

The race village opening on Wednesday morning is expected to bring fans to the area in droves and therefore has fantastic potential to boost the local economy, ensuring the town is very much dans le vent – or trendy.

4 Garçons dans le Vent was also the French name given to The Beatles’ 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night.

The wind has given rise to many popular expressions in French, inspired by its speed, strength and symbolism. It is often used to describe something enjoying success on account of the helping hand the wind gave to sailors at sea.

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