Stylo: Is Handwriting still necessary? French cover letters & How he stole my heart
Fourmillement: Restless Legs Syndrome in French

Hay fever in French: rhume des foins

Is it a cold or maybe hay fever? With so much blossoming going on, and le printemps around the corner, it is probably le rhume des foins causing this sneezing and stuffy nose and not simply le rhume.

TODAY'S WORD: le rhume des foins

        : hay fever, rhinitis

3-minute video : there is no Y sound in the French word for "pure." Watch the demonstration.


Démangeaisons du nez, éternuements, écoulement nasal clair, sensation de nez bouché en sont les principales caractéristiques [du rhume des foins]. La rhinite allergique s'accompagne le plus souvent de démangeaisons du palais, des conduits auditifs et des yeux.  La fatigue, les maux de tête, un écoulement dans l'arrière gorge, les difficultés à se concentrer et à s'endormir ainsi que la perte d'odorat sont des signes caractéristiques de la rhinite. (Le Journal des Femmes; Rhinite Allergique)

Itching of the nose, sneezing, runny nose, stuffed nose are the principal characteristics [of hay fever]. Allergic rhinitis most often accompanies a itchy palate, itchy ear canals and eyes. Fatigue, headache, post-nasal drip, difficulty concentrating and falling asleep as well as loss of taste are characteristic signs of hay fever.  

LISTEN to Jean-Marc read today's example sentence: Download Rhume-des-foins

Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


    by Kristi Espinasse

Every year I am duped, completely duped, by a little yellow ball of fluff. Le pollen!

This year was no different. I thought I'd caught a cold and so began acting like a cold victim (or maybe even a flu victim!). I tucked myself into bed. Took a Dolipran for my aching body, and cancelled my Thursday night meetup, not wanting to share microbes, as the French say.

Friday, when we went looking at houses, I bundled up with a thick scarf around my neck. I apologized to each realtor and homeowner who reached for my hand to shake it: Désolée, je suis enrhumée....

But as we drove along country roads flanked with blossoming almond trees--mimosa dotting the hillsides, Jean-Marc had an intuition: "Peut-être c'est tes allergies...."

Sneezing 5 times in succession convinced me. "Et oui! Ce n'est pas le rhume -- c'est le rhume des foins!"

At the pharmacy I asked the man behind the counter if many people have come in complaining about hay fever. "Non," he said. "But they'll soon be pouring in. C'est la saison." Indeed it is--it's allergy season!

Share any tips for hay fever relief in the comments at the end of this post. Thanks.
Be prepared for hay fever season: a selection of products, here.



Stories you may have missed...
RECIPE FOR MINT & GOAT CHEESE QUICHE + Le Badinage - a story about bantering, repartee & discover the EMLA patch, used here in France: it prevents any pain from shots! It is for kids and squeamish adults.


le Doliprane = medication containing paracetamol
le microbe = germ
désole(e) = sorry
je suis enrhumé = I have a cold
peut-être c'est les allergies = maybe it's allergies
la rhûme = cold (sickness)
la rhûme des foins = hay fever
c'est la saison = it's the season

larkspur flowers purple stone hut cabanon
Blossoming larkspur (I think...) near Orange, France.

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.


La vie rustique by Georganne Brennan
Georgeanne Brennan's latest book is available for pre-order. With lovely recipes and tips to sustainable life, La Vie Rustic allows you to live the French lifestyle in your home. Order here.

PROVENCE TABLECLOTH and linens for the house



forsythia blossoms
Forsythia blossoms in Cameret-sur-Argens

BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 18-26 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.

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