Chapter 11
Time and date

Quelle heure est-il?

"What time is it?" in French is "Quelle heure est-il?" Audio. Press to listen!. Asking for time or answering this question is easy.

Most of the time, French people use a 24-hour time format. So, 1pm is rather 13 heures (treize heures). Some examples:

  • Je vais au travail à 7 heures.Audio. Press to listen!
    Everyday, I go to my office at 7am.
  • J'ai un rendez-vous à 15 heures.Audio. Press to listen!
    I have a meeting at 3pm.

Time is written in a HHhMM format and a French day can be divided into 5 parts:

5h - 12h le matinAudio. Press to listen! or la matinée
12h - 14h le midiAudio. Press to listen!
14h - 18h l'après-midiAudio. Press to listen!
18h - 23h le soirAudio. Press to listen!
23h - 5h la nuitAudio. Press to listen!

Sometimes, French use a 12-hour time format to insist on the time.

  • Je me lève à 6 heures du matin.
    I wake-up at 6 o'clock. (IT IS EARLY)
  • Je me couche à 11 heures du soir.
    I go to bed at 11pm. (IT IS LATE)

Let's answer the basic question: "Quelle heure est-il ?"...

Time Pronounciation
8h il est huit heures Audio. Press to listen!
8h07 il est huit heures sept Audio. Press to listen!
8h15 il est huit heures quinze Audio. Press to listen!
8h30 il est huit heures trente Audio. Press to listen!
8h35 il est huit heures trente cinq Audio. Press to listen!
8h45 il est huit heures quarante cinq Audio. Press to listen!
8h54 il est huit heures cinquante quatre Audio. Press to listen!

Current time, in Paris, is : "il est "

"Il est" is impersonal. Nobody is represented by "il", just like in English when you say "it is 8 o'clock".

Chapter 11
Time and date