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French Expression of the Day: En temps voulu

French President Emmanuel Macron uses this expression all the time and you can too if you want to develop a slightly mysterious, teasing air . . .

French Expression of the Day: En temps voulu
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know en temps voulu?

Because this phrase doesn’t translate literally, but is very versatile and can be used to buy yourself some time if necessary. 

What does it mean? 

En temps voulu, pronounced “on tom vol-oo”, literally translates as “in wanted time”. 

But its real meanings are more along the lines of “in due course”, “when necessary” or “at the right moment”. 

You could use it like this:

Elle répondra en temps voulu – She will reply when necessary

Ces graines germeront en temps voulu – These grains will germinate at the right moment

The expression has also been used extensively by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has yet to officially announce his bid for reelection. 

When asked by a student whether he would compete in the electoral race, Macron replied, enigmatically: J‘annoncerai ma décision en temps voulu – I will announce my decision in due course


There are a couple of phrases that are similar to en temps voulu

En temps utile – at the appropriate/correct time 

Au moment opportun – at the opportune moment

En temps et lieu – in due course 

We have also put together a useful guide to other time-related expressions in French

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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