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Vive le printemps !

Now that les beaux jours arrivent (the nice days are coming), how about celebrating le printemps (spring) with a lesson on this time of growth and renewal for humans and nature alike? So, let’s look out for signs of spring in the natural and the human world and explore some spring-related vocabulary.


People like to celebrate spring in different ways. For some, it’s a great opportunity to refresh a winter wardrobe with something fleuri (flowery) and printanier (springlike). In this video, a boutique offers sustainable fashion, like this ethical robe fleurie (floral/flowery dress):


Hein, c'est joli? -C'est très fleuri. -C'est printanier. -Ouais.

It's pretty, don't you think? -It's very flowery. -It's springlike. -Yeah.

Caption 28, Alsace 20 La chronique Mode de Caroline: mode éthique

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For the practically minded, le printemps is an excellent time to start un nettoyage de printemps (spring cleaning):


Les gens courageux et motivés font un nettoyage de printemps tous les ans.

Motivated and hard-working people do a spring cleaning every year.


In any case, most of us like to fêter le printemps (celebrate spring) and the arrival of nice weather by venturing outdoors. Sophie and Edmée even enjoy seeing others profiter du beau temps (enjoy the nice weather):


On vient de fêter le printemps le vingt-et-un. Du coup, c'est assez logique qu'il fasse beau... et c'est génial de voir des gens en terrasse prendre des cafés, profiter du beau temps.

We just celebrated spring on the twenty-first. So it's quite logical that the weather is nice... and it's great to see people on the terraces having coffee, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Captions 30-31, 39-40  Sophie et Edmée Le beau temps

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As for Marie and Sandra, they too are excited to see that le soleil est sorti (the sun is out). 


Oui, oui, oui, ben là le soleil est sorti

Yes, yes, yes, well now the sun is out

Caption 6, Marie et Sandra Atelier d'art - Part 4

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Which reminds Sandra that Marie, her art student, wanted to dessiner des feuilles et des fleurs (draw leaves and flowers):


Et je me souviens que tu m'avais dit que tu voulais dessiner des feuilles et des fleurs.

And I remember that you had told me that you wanted to draw leaves and flowers.

Captions 8-9, Marie et Sandra Atelier d'art - Part 4

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Marie decides to draw some flowers that she picked (cueillies) on her way to class, among them a dandelion (un pissenlit):


Donc en venant ici, j'en ai cueillies... Ben, ce que j'ai trouvé dans la rue en fait, un pissenlit...

So coming here, I picked some... Well, what I found in the street in fact, a dandelion...

Captions 10, 13, Marie et Sandra Atelier d'art - Part 4

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She might have picked some primevères (primroses) or jonquilles (daffodils) had they been available: 


Elle n’a pas trouvé de primevères ou de jonquilles.

She didn’t find any primroses or daffodils.


Sometimes people simply dream of beautiful jardins (gardens) with fragrant pivoines (peonies) and roses, like the lucky lady in this video:


J'étais dans un jardin avec des odeurs formidables. Avec des fleurs, des pivoines, des roses...

I was in a garden with wonderful smells. With flowers, peonies, roses...

Captions 19-20, Micro-Trottoirs Rêves et cauchemars

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While some dream of spring gardens, others might compose a poem with a spring theme. In her beautiful words, poet and novelist Suzy Le Blanc depicts love as an ephemeral rose qui est éclose (that opens up) in spring and qui se fane (that withers) in winter:


L'Amour est comme une fleur. Il est comme la Rose

Qui au matin est éclose et nous éblouit. Mais quand viennent l'hiver et la nuit

Elle se fane et on l'oublie.

Love is like a flower. It is like the Rose

Which in the morning opens up and dazzles us. But when the winter and the night come

It withers and we forget it.

Captions 1-3, Suzy Le Blanc Romancière, poète

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In any case, it’s best to enjoy spring while it lasts. Parisians do just that. They fully appreciate their local garden avec ses arbres tout en fleurs (with its trees in full bloom):


Au beau milieu des tours du treizième arrondissement, faites une petite halte repos au Jardin Baudricourt avec sa jolie fontaine et aussi ses arbres tout en fleurs.

Right in the middle of the towers of the thirteenth arrondissement, make a small rest stop at the Baudricourt Garden, with its beautiful fountain and also its trees in full bloom.

Captions 22-24, Voyage dans Paris Le Quartier Asiatique

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Spring is also a time when fruit trees like cerisiers (cherry trees), abricotiers (apricot trees), and pêchers (peach trees) are in bloom. To learn about other types of trees in French, check out this lesson


Les arbres fruitiers comme les cerisiers, les abricotiers et les pêchers sont en fleurs en mars, avril, mai.

Fruit trees such as cherry trees, apricot trees, and peach trees are in bloom in March, April, and May.


As for vines, la floraison (flowering) comes later in June in France:


Vers le... début juin, mi-juin, ça dépend des années, on a la floraison qui va se faire.

Toward the... beginning of June, mid-June, it depends on the year, we'll have the flowering that will occur.

Captions 32-33, Provence Domaine Rouge-Bleu - Part 2

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People are also on the lookout for the first bourgeons (buds) of the season. In his song "Bienvenue chez moi" (Welcome to My Home), Stromae makes a passing reference to spring to describe his home, a dichotomy of good and bad, à moitié bourgeons (half budding):


À moitié bourgeons, à moitié fortes

Half budding, half going strong

Caption 10, Stromae Bienvenue chez moi

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To wrap up this fragrant lesson, below is a list of the spring-related words and expressions we covered:


le printemps: spring/springtime

fêter le printemps: to celebrate spring

profiter du beau temps: to enjoy the nice weather

éclore: to open up, bloom

faner: to wither

un bourgeon: a bud

la floraison: the flowering

fleurir: to flower, to blossom

fleuri, fleurie: flowery/floral 

une fleur: a flower

printanier, printanière: springlike

(tout) en fleurs: in (full) bloom

cueillir des fleurs: to pick some flowers 

une pivoine, une rose, un pissenlit, une jonquille, une primevère: a peony, a rose, a dandelion, a daffodil, a primrose

un cerisier, un abricotier, un pêcher: a cherry tree, an apricot tree, a peach tree

un jardin: a garden

le nettoyage de printemps: spring cleaning


Wishing everyone un printemps ensoleillé (a sunny spring)! Thank you for reading.


Assister: To Witness and Assist

In one of our newest videos, an interviewer asks people on the street to talk about their most beautiful dreams and most terrifying nightmares. One woman describes a particularly unsettling nightmare: 



J'assiste à des accidents où y a des gens qui sont très blessés...

I witness accidents where there are people who are badly injured...

Captions 83-84, Micro-Trottoirs - Rêves et cauchemars

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She's not saying that she assists with these accidents (which would be even more unsettling!), but that she witnesses themThe phrase assister à doesn't mean "to assist," but rather "to witness" or "to attend":


Puisqu'un public assiste à une assemblée générale et à une réunion...

Because a crowd attends a general assembly and a meeting...

Caption 8, Lionel L - Nuit Debout - Journée internationale

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"To attend" looks a lot like the French verb attendre, but like "to assist" and assister à, these two words are faux amis (false friends)—attendre means "to wait," not "to attend." 


But once you take away the àassister has the same meaning as its English cognate:  


Le sous-chef assiste le chef dans la cuisine. 
The sous-chef assists the chef in the kitchen. 


There are a number of other French verbs meaning "to assist," like aider (to help) and accompagner (to accompany):


J'ai aidé ma grand-mère à nettoyer la maison. 
helped my grandmother clean her house. 


Qui connaissent les parents

Who know the parents

et accompagnent les enfants les plus en retard.

and assist the students who are the most behind.

Caption 29, Grand Corps Malade - Education nationale

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Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write to us at or tweet us @yabla.