For members


French phrase of the day: C’est le bazar

This cheery expression might brighten up slightly chaotic times.

French phrase of the day: C'est le bazar
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know c’est le bazar?

Because it expands your vocab for saying that things are a mess, which – let’s face it – is a phrase you will need in France.

What does it mean?

Literally, c’est le bazar translates as ‘it’s the bazaar’, referring to those big, crowded outdoor markets that sell anything and everything, which originated in North Africa and the Middle East.

There isn’t really a bazar either when you say ‘it’s the bazar’. A bazaar is a colourful, disorderly, noisy place with lots of jumble, and the expression c’est le bazar means that something is ‘chaotic’ or ‘a mess’.

Quel bazar ! – What a mess!

You might be familiar with the (more explicit) sister expression c’est le bordel, which literally means ‘it’s the brothel’. 

There isn’t really a brothel either, though. Like bazar, brothel highlights that something is a mess, and some French people use c’est le bordel about totally mundane things such as their untidy apartment or traffic jam on the motorway.

Bazar is the more child-friendly version of bordel, and you can use it on any kind of disorderly situation. 

Use it like this

C’était déjà le bazar avant qu’il a pris le relais, mais avec lui comme boss c’est pire que jamais. – It was already a mess before he took over, but with him as the boss it’s worse than ever.

C’est le bazar sur l’autoroute ! Tout le monde rentre des vacances – It’s chaos on the motorway ! Everyone is coming back from their holidays.

C’est un vrai bazar politique cette histoire. – It’s a real political mess this thing.


C’est le bordel – it’s fucking chaos (explicit)

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: La clim’

You'll definitely want to know about this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: La clim'

Why do I need to know la clim’?

Because the lack of green spaces in cities might find you looking desperately for fresh air.

What does it mean?

La clim’, pronounced la-cleem, means air conditioning, it is a shortened version of la climatisation.

Climatisation comes from the word climatiseur, which itself comes from Klima in Greek and means the inclination of planet Earth from the equator to the poles. This inclination of the planet on its axis is responsible for the seasons and if you find yourself in a French city in August your inclination will definitely be towards climatisation.

Air-conditioning in private homes is not common France, some hotels have it but not all and in the summer months restaurants will often advertise air-con if they have it, as a way of luring in hot-and-bothered tourists.

If you find yourself desperate for cool air, head to a supermarket – almost all French supermarkets are air-conditioned in the summer. Or for a more fun option just head to the nearest city fountain or water feature and join the locals who are splashing around to cool off.

Use it like this

Il fait très chaud, avez-vous la clim’ dans votre hotel ? – It’s really hot, do you have air-con in the hotel?

Je n’aime pas mettre la clim’ en route car cela est mauvais pour la santé et l’environnement – I don’t like turning on the AC, it’s bad for my health and for the environment

Il fait froid, peut-on s’il vous plait éteindre la clim’ ? – It’s cold, could  we turn off the air-con?

La clim’ fait beaucoup de bruit, pouvons-nous la mettre en sourdine ? – This AC is really noisy, could we turn it down?


Un climatiseur – the formal name for an air-conditioner (in French the air conditioning is feminine by the air conditioner is masculine)

Un ventilateur – a ventilator

Un Brumisateur – a ‘fogger’ – these machines which pump out cool water vapour are often seen on the streets and in parks during the summer

Un Rafraichisseur d’air – an air freshener