French expression of the day: Faire le pont

French expression of the day: Faire le pont
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
With France currently enjoying an extended public holiday, it's perfect timing do do this phrase.

Why do I need to know faire le pont?

Because extra-long weekends are the best.

What does it mean?

Faire le pont literally means ‘to do the bridge’ but it actually refers to taking a day off between a bank holiday and the weekend to enjoy an extra long break.

The expression appeared during the French Second Empire (1852 -1870) and had the same meaning at the time.

It comes from the French word pont (bridge) to symbolise linking two days off. In the same way as you cross from one river bank to the other on a bridge, you cross from a Thursday to a Saturday or from a Sunday to a Tuesday.

If you’re planning on doing le pont this Monday on the occasion of the national July 14th holiday, you may want to watch out for traffic jams on certain days.

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See also on The Local:

Use it like this

Tu fais le pont ce week-end ? – Are you taking a long-weekend this weekend?

Personne n’a pu faire le pont cette année en France à cause du coronavirus, et c’est bien dommage. –  Nobody was able to go away on a long weekend this year in France because of coronavirus, and that’s too bad.


Chômer – to stop working because of a national bank holiday (can also mean to be unemployed, however être au chômage is more commonly used)

If you’re feeling extra crazy and want to take not one but TWO days off, you are not doing le pont but le viaduc. Faire le viaduc (do the viaduct) means taking two days off (either the Monday and the Tuesday or the Thursday and Friday).

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