For members


French Expression of the Day: Tube de Noël

This is a useful expression to describe the iconic tunes you hear over and over again at this time of year.

French Expression of the Day: Tube de Noël
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know tube de Noël?

Because like it or loathe it, there is no way you are going to get through the Christmas season without hearing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You at least 10,000 times. That song spreads over the airwaves faster than Omicron. 

What does it mean?

A tube de Noël, pronounced “toob duh no-elle”, is the French word for a Christmas hit. 

It is used to describe a song which is exceptionally popular over the festive season. 

You can also say tube d’été to describe a hit song that becomes very popular over the summer. 

According to Le Parisien, tube replaced saucisson as a way to convey the sense that a song is a hit in the 1950s. 

If you want to get a sense of some classic tubes de Noël listened to in France, you can listen to a 24 hour radio station dedicated to this kind of music HERE

Use it like this

Mariah Carey bat un nouveau record avec son tube de noël – Mariah Carey breaks another record with her Christmas hit

La diva de la pop est pour la troisième fois consécutive en top des charts avec son tube intemporel – The pop diva is at the top of the charts for the third consecutive time with her timeless hit 

Tu n’as jamais entendu ce tube de Noël? – Have you never heard this Christmas classic? 


Chanson de Noël/Chant de Noël – Christmas song

Titre de Noël – Christmas title (this can be a song, film, piece of art)

Titre phare – Hit song

Chanson populaire – A classic/folk song 

Chanson à succès – A hit song 

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Un de ces quatres

The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.

French Expression of the Day:  Un de ces quatres

Why do I need to know un de ces quatres?

Because you will probably hear this phrase while trying to make plans with someone in French

What does it mean?

Un de ces quatres – usually pronounced uhn duh say cat-truhs – translates exactly to “one of these fours.” If taken literally the phrase really does not make any sense in French or English. But in actuality, it means “one of these days,” “at some point,” or just “soon.”

This expression is a shortening of “one of these four mornings to come,” which was first used in the second half of the 19th century. It designates a time that is sometime in the near future, but still rather indeterminate.

In French, the number ‘four’ is often used in expressions to refer to imprecise, or small, quantities. Some people say this is because four is the number for the seasons and cardinal points (North, South, East, West), so saying ‘one of these four’ shows a level of ambiguity. But unfortunately we don’t really know exactly how (or why) this phrase arose.

If you want another way of saying this, you can always stick with the regular “un de ces jours” (one of these days).

Use it like this

J’ai été tellement occupée ces derniers temps mais nous devrons prendre un verre un de ces quatres. – I’ve been so busy lately, but we have to grab a drink one of these days.

Il m’a dit qu’il nettoierait la salle de bain un de ces quatres, donc je suppose que ça n’a pas encore été fait. – He told me he would clean the bathroom one of these days, so I guess it hasn’t been done yet.