Les couleurs de l’automne (The Colors of Fall)

Fall is here, so let’s look at some vocabulary that will come in handy for talking about the colors of fall in French, les couleurs de l’automne (m.)

Les couleurs (f.) (colors)

One of the first things that you think about when you think of fall is probably les belles couleurs (beautiful colors) of les feuilles (f.) (leaves). At this time of year, the leaves turn rouge (red), orange (orange), or doré (gold), before they turn marron (brown) and tombent (fall) onto the ground. Here are some phrases for talking about the colors of fall in French.

  • Les feuilles changent de couleur.
    The leaves are turning color.
  • Les arbres (m.) sont magnifiques à cette saison.
    Lit. The trees are magnificent at this season.
  • Les feuilles tombent des arbres.
    The leaves are falling off the trees.
Il fait plus froid (It’s getting colder)

Apart from the colors of fall, the other thing you think about when you think of autumn is le temps (weather). Depending on where you live, fall may be frais (chilly) or pluvieux (rainy), and the skies may be gris (gray) and nuageux (cloudy). Or you may live in a place where the weather doesn’t really change much, so fall is ensoleillé (sunny) and chaud (warm), just like the rest of the year. If you do live in a place with seasons, though, here are some phrases to help you talk about the weather.

  • Le temps est pluvieux et nuageux.
    The weather is rainy and cloudy.
  • Les jours sont frais et les nuits (f.) sont froides.
    The days are chilly and the nights are cold.
  • Le vent souffle dans les arbres.
    The wind is blowing in the trees.
  • Le ciel est gris.
    The sky is gray.
Les jours raccourcissent (The days are getting shorter)

Avez-vous reculé votre montre d’une heure ?(Did to turn your watch back an hour?) The days were already getting shorter before l’heure (f.) d’été (Daylight Savings Time), but now il fait sombre (it’s getting dark) very early. Le soleil se lève (The sun rises) earlier, so you have more light in the morning, but le soleil se couche (the sun sets) in the late afternoon in a lot of places.

Les vêtements d’automne (Autumn clothes)

All of these fall changes probably mean a change in your wardrobe, too. It’s time to ranger tes vêtements d’été (m.) (put away your summer clothes) and get out your veste (f.) (jacket), pulls (m.) (sweaters), chapeau (m.) (hat), and maybe your imperméable (m.) (raincoat). And it may be time to put an extra couverture (f.) (blanket) on the bed. If you live somewhere that gets very cold in the winter, it’s probably still too early for your manteau (m.) d’hiver (winter coat), bottes (f.) (boots), écharpe (f.) (scarf), and gants (m.) (gloves), but that will be here soon enough.

If you like les soirées (f.) calmes et tranquilles (calm and quiet evenings), and maybe un bon livre/bouquin (a good book) and une tasse de thé (a cup of tea), you probably enjoy the fall. If you like les longues journées d’été (long summer days), and un temps chaud (warm weather), you might find fall déprimant (depressing) and triste (sad). But at least it means that le printemps (spring) is closer now than it was in the summer!

If you like curling up with a good poem about the colors of fall, here are two well-known (but sad) works in French language about autumn: La Chanson d’automne (the Autumn Song), a poem by French poet Paul Verlaine; and Les Feuilles mortes (the dead leaves) is a famous French song written by Jacques Prévert and composed by Joseph Kosma.

Whether you say translation j’adore l’automne, c’est ma saison préférée ! (I love fall, it’s my favorite season!) or Je n’aime pas l’automne, c’est sombre, froid et déprimant. (I don’t like fall, it’s dark, cold and depressing.), we wish you a happy and healthy season.

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