For members


French Expression of the Day: Avoir la bougeotte

For some of you this expression perhaps captures the reason you came to France in the first place.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir la bougeotte
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know avoir la bougeotte?

Because most people get this feeling at some point in their lives. 

What does it mean? 

Avoir la bougeotte, pronounced av-war lah booj-ott, is an expression that conveys a feeling of being restless, wanting to shake things up or having itchy feet. It can also be used to describe someone who is on the move, fidgety, hyperactive or has difficulty staying in one place (either physically or mentally) for an extended period of time. 

A French headline in 2016 read Avoir la bougeotte est bon pour la santé – the subsequent article cited a scientific study that found that fidgeting and jiggling around at the workplace or on planes was good for circulation. 

The expression comes from the verbe bouger (to move).

Use it like this

Ils ont la bougeotte – They have itchy feet

Alors que faire à 73 ans quand on a toujours la bougeotte? – What can you do when you are 73 and want to move on? 

Cinq ans plus tard, il a de nouveau la bougeotte – Five years later, he has itchy feet again

Elle commençait à avoir la bougeotte – She started having itchy feet


There are a range of words that can convey a similar meaning:

Gigoter – to wiggle/finish

Remuer – to shake-up 

Agité – agitated 

Tourmenté – tormented 

Bouger sans arrêt – to move without stopping

Member comments

  1. When I got the email announcing this word today, there wasn’t enough time to read it. A little while later the boss of the kitchen shop arrived to take measurements for the granite worktops. We said positive things about the salesman who had helped us with designing our new kitchen. Then the kitchen shop boss said that young man had left his business, and used the word bougeotte. We didn’t know what it meant so I looked it up in the Local this evening, and understood what it meant in that context. Thanks Local, for teaching us contemporary words 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