French phrase of the day: Année bissextile

French phrase 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?

It means leap year, a year that contains 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. And it's a phrase you might be hearing over the next few days as 2020 is a leap year – Saturday marks the rare day of February 29th.


Quelle est la date du samedi? C'est le 1er mars? Non, le 29 février, cette année est une année bissextile.

What is the date on Saturday, is it the first of March? No, the 29th of February, this year is a leap year.

Unlike in the UK, where it is traditional for women to propose to men, 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 2020 not 1920!)

There is, however, a special newspaper on sale.

La Bougie du sapeur is a satirical newspaper that only publishes on February 29th. Founded in 1980, this Saturday will mark its 10th edition.


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