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French expression of the day: Nuit blanche

Whether you're planning a night on the tiles or want to complain about being tired, this will come in handy.

French expression of the day: Nuit blanche

Why do I need to know nuit blanche?

If you're in Paris you will see this a lot this weekend, but the phrase also has a more timeless and general meaning that makes it worth knowing.

What does it mean?

Its literal translation is 'white night' but when its used in French it means a sleepless night. It can be used in a positive sense if you're staying up until the dawn and going to an all-night event or in a negative sense if you want to have a moan about not getting a wink of sleep the night before.

The reason why it will seem familiar to those in Paris is that the city hosts an annual Nuit Banche in which the museums and art galleries stay open all night and there's a programme of all-night events. This year it is on Saturday, October 5th – if you're in Paris you can find out more about it here.


But the phrase itself can be used all year round if you've had a night that hasn't involved much shut-eye.

Après une nuit blanche avec le bébé, il il était en retard au travail ce matin – After a sleepless night with the baby, he was late for work this morning.

Il a enduré de nombreuses réunions tortueuses et qui ont fait une nuit blanche à Luxembourg pour tenter d'arriver à un résultat – They went through numerous torturous meetings and lost a night's sleep in Luxembourg trying to get this result.
Il y a une grande variété de musique réservée pour la nuit blanche – There's a great variety of music booked for the all-nighter.
For more French words and expressions, head to our French word of the Day section.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

The long-range forecast suggests that this will be a handy phrase this summer.

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

Why do I need to know ça tape?

Because you might want a way to describe the feeling of walking down a long boulevard with no shade in sight…or a techno concert.

What does it mean?

Ça tape usually pronounced sah tap – literally translates to ‘it taps’ or ‘it hits.’ The verb being used is taper, which means to hit or slap, and colloquially can be used to seek monetary support from someone. It is also the verb for ‘to type.’ But when spoken, this phrase does not involve violence, financial assistance, or note-taking.

Ça tape is a way to say ‘it’s scorching’ and complain about the hot weather or the search for shade. If someone uses it under a hot sun, and they say “ça tape”  or “ça tape fort” they’re referring to the particularly violent, piercing heat.

It can also be used to say something is intense, particularly in relation to music. It bears a similar colloquial meaning to the English informal phrase “it hits” or “it’s banging.” For example, you might be at a loud concert listening to a particularly passionate DJ – this might be a good scenario to employ ‘ça tape.’

The first meaning, which refers to the heat, is more commonly used across generations, whereas the second might be heard more from a younger audience. 

 Use it like this

Dès que je suis sortie de l’appartement et que je suis entrée dans la rue, j’ai dit “Ça tape !” car le soleil était si fort.– As soon as I stepped out of the apartment and into the street, I said to myself “it’s blazing!” because the sun was so strong.

Ce festival est incroyable, tout le monde est dans le même esprit. Ouh t’entends cette basse ? Ça tape !  – This festival is amazing, everyone is really in the same mood. Do you hear that bass? It’s banging.