How to Say the Weather is Cold in French: A Comprehensive Guide

In French, knowing how to express the weather is an essential skill for effective communication. Whether you’re traveling to a French-speaking region or simply want to expand your language skills, being able to convey that the weather is cold is important. In this guide, we will explore various ways to express this in formal and informal contexts, as well as providing some tips, examples, and regional variations. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say the Weather is Cold

When speaking formally or in professional settings, it’s important to use polite language. Here are some formal ways to express that the weather is cold in French:

  1. Il fait froid. This is a simple and common expression to convey that it is cold. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, and is suitable for most situations.
  2. La température est basse. This phrase directly translates to “The temperature is low.” It is useful when discussing specific temperature ranges or when emphasizing the numerical value of the coldness.
  3. Le froid est intense. If the cold weather is particularly severe, you can use this expression to convey the intensity of the cold.

Informal Ways to Say the Weather is Cold

When speaking with friends, family, or in casual settings, you can use more colloquial language to express that it is cold:

  1. Il caille. This informal expression is widely used among friends and younger people. It conveys a sense of informal intimacy, indicating that it is very cold.
  2. Il fait un froid de canard. This expression literally translates to “It’s a cold fit for a duck” and is used to convey extremely cold weather in a light-hearted manner.
  3. Il fait frisquet. If you want to convey mild coldness in a playful way, this expression is perfect. It is often used to describe slightly chilly weather.

Tips for Expressing Cold Weather in French

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when discussing the cold weather in French:

  • Vary your vocabulary: Instead of always using the same expressions, try to mix it up with different phrases. This will make your French conversation more interesting and engaging.
  • Pay attention to your tone: Remember to adjust your tone based on the context and the people you’re speaking with. Using the correct tone will help you effectively convey your message.
  • Use gestures and body language: To further emphasize the coldness, you can use accompanying gestures like hugging yourself, rubbing your hands together, or shivering slightly. This can enhance the meaning of your words.
  • Learn region-specific vocabulary: While French is widely spoken, there might be regional variations in vocabulary for describing cold weather. If you are familiar with the specific region you are in or the people you are speaking with, it can be helpful to learn and use local expressions.


Let’s take a look at some examples to see how these phrases can be used:


Person A: Comment est le temps aujourd’hui ? (How is the weather today?)

Person B: Il fait froid. (It is cold.)


Person A: Quel temps il fait dehors ? (What’s the weather like outside?)

Person B: Il caille ! (It’s freezing!)


If you’re in Quebec, you might come across some unique regional variations. For example, you could say “Frette” instead of “Froid” to describe the cold weather. Embracing these regional nuances can help you connect with locals and show your cultural knowledge.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use these phrases in real-life conversations, the more natural they will become.

With the knowledge gained from this guide, you are well-equipped to express that the weather is cold in French. Whether you’re engaging in formal or informal conversations, understanding these phrases will enable you to confidently communicate your thoughts about the cold weather. Enjoy mastering the French language and embrace the beauty of expressing yourself in different contexts!

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