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French Expression of the Day: Du mat’

The French love to use the 24 hour clock, but this phrase can be used for emphasis nonetheless.

French expression of the day: Du mat'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know du mat’? 

Because time is a construct of human perception. 

What does it mean? 

Du mat’, pronounced do-matte, means in the morning. 

It is a shortened way of saying du matin

Matin itself comes from the Latin word, matutinum (morning). 

Typically, French people are accustomed to describing the time according to a 24-hour clock.

9am would be neuf heures, while 9pm would be vingt-et-un heures

But if you want to emphasise the fact that something takes place in the morning, you can say neuf heures du mat’

Il conduisait avec 2 grammes d’alcool dans le sang à 9 heures du mat’ – He drove with 2g of alcohol in his blood at 9 o’clock in the morning. 

Le changement d’heure d’été a toujours lieu le dernier week-end de mars, à 2 heures du mat’ – The changing of the clocks in the summer has always taken place during the last weekend of March at 2am.

Des transporteurs routiers ont commencé à bloquer l’accès à l’A1 vers 4h du mat’ – The hauliers began to block access to the A1 motorway at 4am. 

Other matin expressions 

Au petit matin – At dawn 

De bon matin – Early in the morning

La fraîcheur du matin – The start of the morning

Une matinale – A breakfast news show 

Une matinée – A cultural performance, like a concert or a play, that takes place in the morning or afternoon

Être du matin – To be a morning person 

Un de ces quatre matins – One of these days

L’étoile du matin – the morning star, an alternative name for the planet Venus 

Faire la grasse matinée – To have a lie in 

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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