But despite saying, “mais non, il fait froid!” (but it's cold!) occasionally to my exbellemère, I would keep my mouth shut, as they all seemed pretty convinced about the excellence of their days.
It still irked me though. How could the French find so many days “beautiful?” A day needs to be pretty remarkable for it to get that accolade from me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up in Southern California where the weather is some of the best out there, but I seemed to need more from a beautiful day than the French.
I need sunshine and blue skies (although a cloud or two might be acceptable as long as they are the pretty fluffy white kind), a light breeze (but not windy), and a good temperature (hot but not too hot). I want that day to inspire me.
The beach in my hometown. How I miss beautiful, beach-worthy days.
The French seemed to find really ordinary days beautiful.
Then, after three years of hearing this expression, I finally got it. I’d been looking at it all wrong.
One shouldn't translate “il fait beau” into “it’s a beautiful day,” but instead into “the sun is out today.”
It’s as simple as that. To the French, the sun being out is equivalent to beauty. I think this has to do with the fact that the French use the word beautiful 3600 times more often than Americans do.
For a day to be beautiful it doesn’t need to be exceptional; it just needs some sunshine. The word doesn’t carry the same weight.
Once I accepted this fact, my conversations about the weather weren’t secretly putting me on edge.
Now when someone tells me “il fait beau,” I agree. Why yes, the sun is shinning today!
I no longer secretly resent the French for being able to find so many days beautiful. And after having lived in the northern gray climates for three years, I'm starting to understand why the French are so eager to applaud the sun.