top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

‘Un soleil de plomb’: Our French expression of the week

As France’s third heatwave of the year gets underway, we look at a phrase used to describe the hot weather

We look at a French expression used to describe a very hot day Pic: Paul Orr / Shutterstock

The southern half of France is set to experience its third heatwave of the year this week, after a first in June and a second in July. 

Temperatures are expected to sit around 35-38C in the southeastern areas of the country, with some places seeing highs of 39-40C. 

The northern half of the country will experience 30C heat, with only Brittany and the area around the Channel seeing temperatures below this threshold. 

Read more: Five French departments on heatwave alert as high temperatures return

If the sun’s heat grows to feel oppressive during the day, it could be described as a ‘soleil de plomb’ (literally: a lead sun). 

This phrase is used to describe a heat which is so intense it seems to weigh down on you and make you feel tired. 

It is as if there is a lead weight in the air. 

This expression has been used since 1835 with reference to the sun, and since 1842 with reference to the heat. 

Related articles 

Avoir eu chaud and more French phrases with the word ‘hot’

7 French expressions to use when the weather is bad

7 French expressions to use when it's hot weather

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
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now