French Expression of the Day: Année bissextile

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French Expression of the Day: Année bissextile
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you hear people talking about this, it's time to go searching for a special newspaper.


Why do I need to know année bissextile?

Well to be honest you probably won't be using this too often - only every four years in fact.

What does it mean?

Année bissextile - roughly pronounced ah-nay be-sex-teel - means leap year, a year that contains 366 days instead of the usual 365 days.

It's a phrase you might be hearing over the next few days as 2024 is a leap year - Thursday marks the rare day of February 29th.

Unlike in the UK and Ireland, where it is traditional for women to propose to men on February 29th, there are no romantic traditions associated with the date in France. (Although if you're a woman who wants to propose we say go for it - it's 2024 not 1924!)

There is, however, a special newspaper on sale.

La Bougie du sapeur is a satirical newspaper that is only published on February 29th. 


The French newspaper that only appears once every four years

Use it like this

Quelle est la date du jeudi? C'est le 1er mars? Non, le 29 février, cette année est une année bissextile - What is the date on Thursday, is it the first of March? No, the 29th of February, this year is a leap year.


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Sally 2024/02/27 10:03
It is also Jerusha in the United States that women asked mom to marry them on leap year

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