The Weather Has Taken Off Its Coat

Early Spring in Paris. Photo by Julie70 via Flickr.

Here’s a recipe for a beautiful Spring day….get to know a classic French poem about spring.

It happens every spring. On the very first day that I head outside wearing a jacket–and find that I didn’t need the jacket at all–I am immediately taken to a poem that I once had to memorize in my high-school French class.

It’s called, “The Weather Has Taken Off Its Coat,” and it’s by Charles d’Orléans. I love that this poem, written in the 15th century, will speak to humans as long as we still thrill to those first days of spring. Here it is, in French, and further below in translation.

Tulips at Versailles. Photo by Maria Mpunkt via Flickr.

Le Temps a Laissé Son Manteau

Le temps a laissé son manteau.
De vent, de froidure et de pluie,
Et s’est vêtu de broderie,
De soleil luisant, clair et beau.

Il n’y a bête, ni oiseau
Qu’en son jargon ne chante ou crie :
Le temps a laissé son manteau.
De vent, de froidure, et de pluie

Rivière, fontaine et ruisseau
Portent en livrée jolie,
Gouttes d’argent d’orfèvrerie,
Chacun s’habille de nouveau :
Le temps a laissé son manteau.

Spring has returned to Paris. By "In Praise of Sardines," via Flickr.

The Weather Has Taken Off Its Coat

The weather has taken off its coat
Of wind, cold and rain,
And dressed itself in finery
In bright sunshine, clear and fair.

There’s no beast nor bird that–
In his own jargon does not exclaim
“The weather has taken off its coat
Of  wintery wind, cold, and rain.”

The river, spring and stream
All wear their pretty finery–
Dripping silver drops of jewelry,
Each is getting dressed anew
For the weather has taken off its coat.

In high school, our teacher told us that school-children, up to a certain point in time, had to memorize this poem. So he made us memorize it, too, and I still know it by heart. If you want to hear a French woman recite it, go here.  You only need to have about 1 to 2 years of high school French to understand it.

Two of my favorite things: Spring and wine. In the Bordeaux countryside. Taken by moi, spring 1997.

Spring is back in Paris by rsepulveda via Flickr

I would love to post your favorite photo of Spring in France, and I’d be happy to link it back to your blog. Just send it to me at MERCI!


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