7 French expressions to use when the weather is bad

Storms have hit many parts of France in recent days. Here are some French idioms for describing the wet and windy weather 

15 September 2021

The department of Gard is still under an orange storm alert after heavy rain and hail caused severe flooding yesterday (September 14). Gard joins Hérault, Ardèche and Drôme on this alert level, which asks people to “be very vigilant". 

Météo France has attributed the recent storms to climate change. 

“When the climate is artificially heated by man, there is a higher concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere, and the heavy rains associated with this kind of meteorological episode become more and more common, sometimes with catastrophic consequences,” stated the weather service in the wake of recent flooding. 

In light of this gloomy prediction, we've compiled a list of French expressions to help you describe the bad weather below. 

1. Trempé comme une soupe 

This phrase translates to being 'soaked like a soup'. It means to be very wet after being caught in the rain.

2. Trempé jusqu’aux os 

To be really soaked – literally, to the bone. Note that in English, you do not get so wet and are only soaked to the skin.

3. Il pleut comme vache qui pisse 

Used for when it is absolutely tipping it down – as powerful a torrent as when a cow is having a wee. 

4. Il pleut des cordes 

The French equivalent of 'it's raining cats and dogs' where instead of animals falling from the sky, it's ropes. You can also say ‘il tombe des cordes’

5. Il pleut à seaux 

A way of saying it's bucketing it down. Used for heavy rain and when in politer company than number 3 would allow.

6. Un temps de chien 

This is an expression to describe very bad weather. When it's horribly wet and cold, the French say it's 'dog weather'. 

7. Ça pète 

You can use this when speaking about a big storm with thunder and lightning. If a storm is coming, you might also hear ‘ça va péter’, meaning it's about to burst.

More French weather-related expressions to try 

7 French expressions to use when it's hot weather

12 fruity French expressions to try

8 French food idioms for when things are going wrong

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Income Tax in France 2021 (for 2020 income)*
Featured Help Guide
Order your Income Tax in France guide now for immediate digital access
Get news, views and information from France