Get prepared to learn all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic idiom “Il n’y a pas le feu au lac”.
To be clear, this includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. And that’s not all, we also sprinkled useful things like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!
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.
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.
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…