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The French phrase "Il n'y a pas le feu au lac" revealed

Get ready to find out everything you want to know about the funny French expression "Il n'y a pas le feu au lac". To be clear, this includes a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. Not to mention the cool informations we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!

French to English translation

  • Translation : There is no hurry

  • Literal meaning : There is no fire on the lake

  • Register : Informal - Funny

How to pronounce it?



  • IPA : / il nj‿ a pa lə fø o lak /

aesthetic french quote pas le feu au lac

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What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:


In the middle of the 20th century, French people started to use this expression to express "There is no hurry /emergency". Because if there is no fire, there is no reason to panic.

How to use it

Instead of saying the basic: "Ça ne presse pas"  (There is no hurry) you can use this expression to make it funnier.

It also good to know that in everyday French, we almost always end up saying "Ya pas l'feu" which is shorter and more informal.

Fun fact

The mention of "on the lake" is a way of making fun of the slowness of the Swiss, supposedly unable to hurry even in an emergency, according to the cliché. And the lake refers to the "Lac Léman" (Lake Geneva), the symbol of Switzerland.

And because it's impossible to have a fire on a lake, it makes it even more ironic...

Synonyms / Related

↓ Example in a story with English translation ↓

Finally, let's see an example in a parallel story with slow audio.

Soirée cinéma

Movie night

Un jour, Philippe et Emily ont décidé d'aller au cinéma.
One day Philippe and Emily decided to go to the movie theater.
Philippe était prêt, mais Emily était encore occupée à s'habiller et à se maquiller.
Philippe was ready, but Emily was still busy dressing and doing her makeup.
EmilyChéri ? Est-ce qu'on va être à l'heure pour le film ?
Darling? Are we going to be on time for the movie?
il n'y a pas le feuLiterally: There's no fire
au lac, prends ton temps. Tu seras bientôt prête ?
Yes, there is no hurry, take your time. Will you be ready soon?
EmilyD'accord. Oui, je serai prête dans trente minutes.
Okay. Yes, I'll be ready in thirty minutes.


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