French phrase of the day: Giboulées de mars

French phrase of the day: Giboulées de mars
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This French expression explains why the weather has been acting so shifty lately.

Why do I need to know giboulées de mars?

Because it’s timely.

What does it mean?

You know those brief rain bursts that often come totally unexpectedly, sometimes accompanied by hail and strong wind? In French, they are called giboulées.

It’s not the same as an averse, which is the French term for ‘downpour’ of rain or snow. 

Une giboulée is a particular meteorological phenomenon that mostly occurs in spring, often March, which is why they are called giboulées de mars. 

It manifests itself through sudden and rather unpleasant weather changes, sometimes even making it snow mid spring, before going back to sunny weather.

The phenomenon is far from France-specific, and in English they are sometimes referred to as ‘April showers’.

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Use it like this

Ramène quand même ton parapluie. On ne sait jamais avec les giboulées de mars. – Bring your umbrella just in case. You never know with these March showers.

Les giboulées de mars sont de retour.. je n’aime vraiment pas ce temps instable.The March showers are back .. I really don’t like this unreliable weather.

C’est dingue ce temps ! Tu as vu comment il grêle ? / Oui, c’est tout à fait normal, ça s’appelle les giboulées de mars. – This weather is crazy! Have you seen the hail? / Yes, it’s quite normal, it’s called the March showers.

Member comments

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  1. Strictly speaking une averse is a shower, a downpour is une pluie torrentielle or un déluge

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