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Ça crame: French phrases to describe when the weather is too hot

Discover different ways to describe the heat in French

There are many ways to say that you are feeling too hot in French Pic: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

With France experiencing a heatwave this week, we look at some words and expressions in French to express feeling hot and feeling sweaty. 

Read more: How hot will France’s heatwave be and how long will it last?

Read more: South-west France sizzles: 23 departments on ‘orange’ heatwave alert

It’s hot - il fait chaud

To start with the basics, most people will know that in French you cannot say “it is hot” to describe the temperature, but have to use the verb “faire” (to do or to make), as in, “il fait chaud”. 

You can also say “il fait beau” if you want to say that the weather is great. 

But there are many other words you can use to diversify your language or to add extra emphasis to the fact that it is not just hot, but boiling. 

For example, you can say ça crame or ça brûle, both of which mean it is burning, or burning hot. 

If you are in a room that is particularly hot and stuffy or even outside when it is very humid, you could say ‘c’est étouffant’. 

There are also two very informal ways to describe when the sun is beating down, ça cogne and ça tape. Both these verbs mean ‘to hit’, with the ‘ça’ (it) referring to the sun. It is like the saying ‘the sun is hitting me’. 

If you want to be a bit more metaphorical then you can say il bouillonne dehors, meaning that it is boiling outside. 

Or you can say, ce temps est chaud comme l'enfer or c’est chaud comme un four, meaning it is as hot as hell or it is as hot as an oven. 

Sweating carrots

High temperatures unfortunately means a lot of sweating. There are many descriptive ways to say this in French and many of the expressions are linked to cooking. 

For example, you can use the expression ‘cuire dans son jus’, meaning to cook in one’s juices. This expression can also be used if you have a fever. 

Just like in English, you can also sweat like a pig in French, on sue comme un porc. A little less orthodox is the expression ‘transpirer des carottes’ (to sweat carrots), although not everyone in France has heard this so you may get an odd look. 

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