‘Un temps de Toussaint’: Our French expression of the week

We look at a phrase relating to today’s All Saints’ Day public holiday in France

An image of raindrops trickling down a window looking out on autumn leaves
We look at a Toussaint-related expression to mark All Saints’ Day in France
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Today (November 1) is Toussaint (All Saints’ Day), which is a public holiday in France and Monaco. This is also a week in which October’s warm temperatures have dipped slightly, with rain and winds drawing in across the country.

This made us think of an expression which is used to describe cold and gloomy November weather: ‘un temps de Toussaint’ (a Toussaint weather).

The expression relates both to the arrival of winter – as Toussaint follows the weekend on which the clocks are turned back – and to the spirit of sombre remembrance and reflection that surrounds All Saints’ Day, and then All Souls’ Day, in France.

Although it refers to typically autumnal weather, the expression ‘faire un temps de Toussaint’ can be used throughout the year.

For example, you might say: ‘Il fait un temps de Toussaint ici cette semaine, malgré le fait qu’on est en juillet !’ (It’s really autumnal today, even though it is July!).

November 1 does not always bring with it a ‘temps de Toussaint’, especially as climate change begins to affect weather patterns.

In 1984, 2014 and 2015, November 1 came with spring-like temperatures of up to 20C in Paris.

This year, temperatures remain in the high teens in the northern half of France and up to 22C in the south. Although it is expected to get colder later this week, the weekend is set to bring higher temperatures again.

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