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French summer essential vocabulary + Reading test

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Summer or l'été in French language is one the favorite seasons of French people. It's the ideal time to forget about work, to travel, go on vacation, go to the beach or sea and enjoy holidays with family.

These recent years, summer has been impacted by the the COVID -19 pandemic situation, but there are still ways to enjoy your vacations.

Today we will see some keywords and expressions about summer (l'été) such as clothing names and activities you can do during summer and verbs to use in French.

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How to talk about summer in french and impress everyone

Essential Words for talking about summer (l'été)

Let's start with the must-know French word: l'été which means summer. The word été can also be used in compound tenses like passé composé, as the past participle of the verb être (to be). So, do not make the confusion!

For example :

  • L'été dernier, je suis allée au Canada. => Last summer, I went to Canada.

  • Hier, j'ai été malade .=> yesterday I have been sick.

When talking about summer, we think automatically of the words sun, beach and months like June, July, August. Here is how the essential words related to l'été are called in French.

  • le Soleil : sun

  • la chaleur : heat

  • la canicule : heat wave

  • la plage : the beach

  • la Mer : the sea

  • la Montagne : the mountain

  • les vacances d'été : summer holidays

  • juin : June

  • juillet : July

  • août : August

You will certainly need to know these verbs to be able to make a small talk about vacations and holidays.

  • Voyager : to travel

  • Partir en vacances : to go on vacation

  • Aller quelque part: to go somewhere

  • Visiter : to visit (talking about visiting places)

  • Nager : to swim

  • Se baigner : to swim

  • prendre son congé annuel : to take one's annual leave

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12 Favorite Summer activities in French

In general to talk about activities that we do, we use the essential French verb faire. During vacations, people's favorite activities can be :

  • faire du surf or surfer : to surf

  • faire de la plongée : to dive

  • faire de la natation : to swim

  • faire de la randonnée : to hike

  • faire du ski nautique : water skiing

  • aller dans les montagnes : to go in the mountains

  • aller à la plage : to go to the beach

  • la pêche : fishing (do not mix it up with the peach (fruit) which is written exactly the same way)

  • faire un pique-nique : to picnic

  • faire un barbecue : to have a barbeque

  • bronzer : to tan

  • se bronzer : to sunbathe

How to name Summer outfits in French?

Lady wearing French summer outfits

During summer, it's the time to take out from your closets the light and easy-to-where clothes and accessories like your short, tank top, hat, sunglasses.

Let's see how to call these summer essentials in French, the most common words and phrases.

  • un short : a short

  • un débardeur : a tank top

  • une robe : a dress

  • une jupette : a mini skirt

  • des tongs : flip flops

  • des Sandales : sandales

  • un sac en bandoulière : sling bag

  • une casquette : a cap

  • un chapeau : a hat

  • des lunettes de soleil : sun glasses

  • un maillot de bain : a swim suit

  • une serviette de plage : a beach towel

Linen (le Lin) and cotton ( le coton) are the fashion trend of summer season. Among the indispensables pour l'été, you will also need for sure your crème solaire (sunscreen) to avoid having des coups de Soleil (sun burns).

Practise your French summer vocabulary

Through the text below, you will discover examples of sentences and phrases about l'été. You will also be able to practice your understanding of the vocabulary related to summer holidays.

So, read it and answer the comprehension questions with true (vrai) or false (faux).


"J'adore les vacances d'été car c'est enfin le moment de passer du temps avec ma famille.

En général, nous allons au sud de la France. Nous allons tous ensemble à la plage. J'aime me baigner dans la mer; alors je prends toujours avec moi, ma crème solaire, mes lunettes de soleil et mon maillot de bain.

Ma sœur préfère ramasser des coquillages et construire des châteaux de sable. Quant à mon frère , il aime aller dans les montagnes pour faire des randonnées. Alors, pour satisfaire tout le monde, on passe quelques jours en bord de mer, et le reste du temps nous allons dans les montagnes. Cela nous occupe beaucoup et on ne s'ennuie pas du tout!

Cette année, nous sommes en confinement et je doute qu'on puisse partir en vacances d'ici l'été."

How did it go? How much did you get out of 8? I hope you enjoyed this lesson and the reading test. and if that's the case, don't forget to comment and give us a shout-out by sharing this with your friends. Thank you for your support!


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