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‘Faire la pluie et le beau temps’: Our French expression of the week

As storms chase hot weather into western and southern France today, we look at an expression relating to rain and sunshine

An image of the sun shining through a rain cloud

We look at a weather-related French expression Pic: Sebastian_Photography / Shutterstock

Today (August 29), hot weather is expected to give way to storms in the west, south-west and south of France, which made us think of a similar weather-related expression. 

Read more: Hot weather and storms expected in France today

Faire la pluie et le beau temps’ (literally: to make rain and nice weather) could translate to something like ‘to be or play God’ in English, as it refers to someone or something that controls everything. 

Equivalent English expressions may therefore include ‘to call the shots’ or ‘to run the show’.

An example in French would be: ‘elle aime ce chien tellement, c’est lui qui fait la pluie et le beau temps dans cette maison’ (she loves that dog so much, it’s him who rules the roost in this house).

In French, you might also say ‘mener le jeu’ (to lead the game) or ‘faire la loi’ (to make the law).

Faire la pluie et le beau temps’ dates back to 1732, and is thought to refer to the gods of ancient mythologies, who could change the weather on a whim. 

Other French weather-related expressions include ‘parler de la pluie et du beau temps’ (to talk of rain and good weather), which translates as ‘to make small-talk’ or ‘to chit-chat’. 

There is also ‘après la pluie, le beau temps’ (after the rain comes good weather), which describes the idea that every bad situation gives way to brighter days or a hidden positive.

In English it would therefore be ‘the darkest hour is just before dawn’ or ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.

Related articles 

Tati, toutou, teuf-teuf: French and its love of doubled-up words

7 French expressions to use when it's hot weather

‘Pour des prunes’: Our French expression of the week

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