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Faire le pont

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: Faire le pont

Pronunciation: [fehr leu po(n)]

Meaning: To make a long weekend

Literal translation: To make the bridge

Register: Normal

Notes: The French expression faire le pont refers to a long (four-day) weekend. In the United States, a long weekend normally refers to the three days off from work and school that occur when a holiday falls on Monday or Friday. The only real exception is Thanksgiving, which is always on Thursday, so schools and many businesses take Friday off too, to make a four-day weekend.

In France, however, any time a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the French font le pont, making a bridge with the Monday or Friday between the holiday and the weekend, so that they get a nice, long, four-day break from work or school several times a year.

Faire le pont in gymnastics, wrestling, or yoga refers to arching one's body, with the stomach in the air and hands and feet on the ground (doing the "crab" or "bridge" in yoga).

There's also an old expression, faire le pont à quelqu'un, which means to help someone get over/past a difficulty, and another expression, faire un pont d'or à quelqu'un, which means to offer someone a fortune to take a job.

   Cette année, Noël est mardi, donc on va faire le pont.
   This year, Christmas is on a Tuesday, so we're going to have a long weekend.

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