L’automne en France – French Vocabulary for Fall

French Vocabulary for Fall

Are you surrounded by dead leaves and pumpkin spice lattes yet? If so, that means it’s fall! Here, French teacher Mikayla S. is ready to spice up your fall with some wonderful French vocabulary…

The End of Summer

La rentrée (the start of the school year, which takes place September 1st each year) in France is a big deal. It signifies the end of summer and the return to work and school.

The French are very lucky in that they usually have five weeks of paid vacation. Most French take the entire month of August off for what is called les grandes vacances (the big vacation).

If you ever find yourself traveling to France during this period, it might seem like the country is empty and shut down. That’s because this month is used to travel far away, or even just a few hundred kilometers to the south of France, where one can relax and unwind from the stress of work, school, and everyday life.

One of the benefits of learning French is to be able to move to France and experience this for yourself!

A Bountiful Harvest

The end of summer and the beginning of fall in France also brings about a very beautiful and bountiful time. Between the end of August and the end of September, vineyards all over the country are loaded with grapes ripe for the picking.

During this time, you can see tractors and trucks rolling through the small villages of the beautiful French countryside. They’re full of freshly-picked grapes which are then carted off to be fermented and turned into wine.

This period of time is called les vendanges (the grape harvest) and it can be a very stressful time for winemakers as they try their best to pick grapes at their peak (thus, resulting in great wines).

The Beginning of Fall

But like all good things, les grandes vacances have to end. September 1st has come and gone and everyone is back to school or work; the daily grind.

Les fermiers (farmers) go back to their fields for harvest, les travailleurs (workers) go back to work, and les enseignants et les écoliers (teachers and students) go back to school.

Est-ce que vous avez le cafard (are you feeling down – literally translated as, “Do you have the cockroach?”) because it’s the end of summer? If so, here’s some fun fall vocabulary to get you through la rentrée. Don’t worry about mastering pronunciation yet – just try them out!

French Vocabulary for Fall


French Vocab for Fall list

1) La rentrée
The start of the school year.

2) Un pull
That comfy, cozy thing you wrap yourself up in during fall – a sweater!

3) L’automne
Whether you call it autumn or call it fall, it’s the season after summer (l’été).

4) Une feuille
A leaf.

5) Changement de couleur des feuilles
The changing colors of leaves from vertes (green) to rouges (red), marrons (brown), oranges (orange), et jaunes (yellow).

6) Les feuilles sèches/ les feuilles mortes
After the leaves turn colors and fall off the tree they become dead leaves (which are always fun to crunch).

7) La récolte, la moisson
These are the harvests of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

8) Un ratêau
A rake for all those falling leaves. The verb, “to rake,” is ratisser.

9) Le potiron, la citrouille
Used in pies, Jack-o-Lanterns, and Cinderella’s carriage – this would be a pumpkin!

10) L’épouvantail
This is a scarecrow – for scaring crows, of course!

There you have it – lots of French vocab to practice and master! Having a conversation in French and throwing in these words is another great way to practice.

If you struggle with the pronunciation or general understanding of the language, I recommend taking lessons with an excellent French teacher. Having private instruction is the quickest way you can improve your French skills. Be sure to try some of these words out this fall!

Post Author: Mikayla S.
Mikayla teaches many subjects, inlcuding French, European History, and World History. She has been speaking French for over a decade and recently earned her bachelors degree of French and Francophone Studies at San Diego State University.  Learn more about Mikayla here!

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