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Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

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Five Minute French: French Phrases to use in May

It’s that time of the month again, where we get stuck into some popular French phrases to use in May.

I’ve been making great strides with my French recently as I’ve signed up for Duolingo. I love being reminded daily to learn some French, plus the gamification has me hooked. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition.

And the best bit is my neighbour Stefan, has noticed a marked difference in my French, so it’s working.

I’ve also found that engrossing myself in French culture has helped too. So understanding the importance of the word ‘Bonjour’, knowing how to order coffee, when and how to tip, and even trying out French recipes, such as Tarte Tatin, all help with learning French.

May is the month of public holidays in France

Well, I love May as it feels like those long summer night’s aren’t too far away. But don’t be fooled into thinking the cold has completely left us. In France, the 11th, 12th and 13th of May are known as ‘Saints de Glace’, which dates back to the Middle Ages.

During these three days it’s possible for the freezing temperatures to come back ruining the crops. Gardeners, farmers and vignerons alike all wait with baited breath waiting for this time to pass.

The other thing to remember about May in France is it’s full of public holidays. In fact, May 1st celebrates two holidays on the same day.

There is Labour Day (La Fête du travail), where people demonstrate in the streets to defend their rights at work. But there is also Lilly of the Valley Day, La Fête du Muguet, where people give these flowers to people they love. You only have to walk on the street to find unlicensed street sellers selling tiny bunches everywhere.

We then have Victory in Europe Day, or Day of Armistice, marking the end of the Second World War on May 8th, Fête du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45.

Next is Ascension Day, Jour de l’Ascension, which is always 40 days after Easter, and in 2023 on May 26th. As France is a largely Catholic country you’ll find many families go to church to celebrate Jesus ascending to heaven after the crucifixion and resurrection.

Finally, we have Whit Monday or Pentecost Day, Lundi de Pentecôte. It’s always on a Monday 50 Days after Easter so changes each year. In 2023, it will be celebrated on May 29th.

For a full list of French public holidays click here >>>

“Le temps est vite réchauffé par les doux rayons du soleil de mai”

The weather is quickly warmed by the gentle rays of the May sun

So what are the common French phrases to use in May?

Offrons un brin de muguet aux gens qu’on aime le 1er mai pour leur porter chance. (Let’s offer a bit of lily of the Valley to people we love the 1st of May to bring them luck.)

Célébrons et défendons nos droits du travail ! (Spécialité française !) (Let’s celebrate and defend our rights at work. (French specialty !))

Souvenons-nous de l’Histoire de notre pays et soyons reconnaissants. (Let’s remember the history of our country and let’s be grateful.)

Croisons les doigts qu’il ne gèle pas aux Saints de Glace. (Finger crossed it does not freeze at the « Saints de Glace ».)

Partons en week-end prolongé pour recharger nos batteries. (Let’s go on long weekend to recharge our batteries.)


offrir =  to give somebody something

porter chance = to bring luck

célébrer = to celebrate

défendre = to defend

se souvenir = to remember

croiser les doigts = to crosss your fingers

geler= be freezing

partir= to go

recharger nos batteries= to recharge your batteries


Un brin de muguet =a bit of Lily of the Valley

les droits = the rights

l’Histoire= History

reconnaissant= grateful

un week-end prolongé= a long weekend


Mother’s Day in France is also in May and is always the last Sunday, Fête des Mères.

“Je ne regrette rien dans ma vie, à l’exception de ce que je n’ai pas fait.”

Coco Chanel

I Regret Nothing in Life but the Things I Have Not Done.

À bientôt et merci beaucoup!

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About Me

I’m Kylie….

And I live in the beautiful Charente region of France having made the move back in 2016, and I’ve never looked back.

Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about living in rural France. From visiting wineries & chateaux to negotiating French admin and learning the language.


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