French Time Activities, Lessons

French Time Activities

Tick, tock!  It’s time to teach your students about French time.  This post is chock full of great ideas for French time activities, lesson plans, and resources so that your students will master telling time, pronouncing time correctly, and spelling French time expressions.  Be sure to grab your free French time worksheets, too!

French Time: Hours

Quelle heure est-il? – What time is it?

1:00 – Il est une heure.

  • Use une not un because it’s referring to hour (heure) which is feminine. Heure is used without an s because 1 hour is singular. All the other hours use heures with an s.

    2:00 – Il est deux heures.
    3:00 – Il est trois heures.
    4:00 – Il est quatre heures.
    5:00 – Il est cinq heures.
    6:00 – Il est six heures.
    7:00 – Il est sept heures.
    8:00 – Il est huit heures.
    9:00 – Il est neuf heures.
    10:00 – Il est dix heures.
    11:00 – Il est onze heures.
    12:00 – Il est douze heures.

Il est midi.  It’s noon.
Il est minuit. It’s midnight.

du matin – in the morning
de l’après-midi – in the afternoon (until 6PM)
du soir – in the evening, nighttime (after 6PM)

French Time: Quarter Hours

et quart – 15                                        3:15  Il est trois heures et quart.              11:15  Il est onze heures et quart.

et demie – 30                                       1:30  Il est une heure et demie.                7:30  Il est sept heures et demie.

(next hour) + moins le quart – 45

    8:45 – Il est neuf heures moins le quart.

    2:45  Il est trois heures moins le quart.

French Time: Minutes 1-29

First, let’s review numbers 1-29.

French Numbers 1-30
French Numbers 1-30

To form time with minutes 1-29, add the number after the hour.

1:05 – Il est une heure cinq.
4:17 – Il est quatre heures dix-sept.
12:29 – Il est douze heures vingt-neuf.

French Time: Minutes 31-59

Let’s review numbers 31-59.

To form time with minutes 31-59, use the next hour and moins + the number. Moins means minus.

2:55 – Il est trois heures moins cinq.
6:47 – Il est sept heures moins treize.
10:36 – Il est onze heures moins vingt-quatre.

2 Ways to Tell Time in French

Did you know that there are actually 2 ways to tell time in French for minutes 31-59?

  1.  + the number.
    3:34 – Il est trois heures trente-quatre.
  2.  The next hour + moins + the number.
    3:34 – Il est quatre heures moins vingt-six.

Useful Expressions for French Time


1.  time (talking about time as a theme)
          Nous allons étudier l’heure dans la classe de français.
          We are going to study time in French class.
2.  the hour
         Quelle heure est-il?
          What time is it?  (Literally – what hour is it?)
le temps– time (in general as a concept)
         Est-ce que tu passes beaucoup de temps avec tes amis?
         Do you spend a lot of time with your friends?
mon temps libre – my free time
         J’aime faire du ski pendant mon temps libre.
         In my free time, I like to ski.
pile – on the dot, exactly at that time, right at
         La classe commence à dix heures pile. 
         The class starts right at ten o’clock.
en retard – late

         Marc arrive toujours en retard.
         Marc always arrives late.
tôt – early
         Sophie se lève très tôt chaque matin.
         Sophie gets up early every morning.
Quand commence . . . ? – When does ________ start?
         Quand commence la classe d’anglais?
          When does your piano lesson start?
à quelle heure finit . . .? – At what time does ________ end?
        À quelle heure finit le match de football?
         When does the soccer game end?

French Time Resources

  1.  Grab your paper or digital free French time worksheets in the Free Resource Library!  Did you know that there are 25 more free resources also waiting for you there?

2.  Have you tried French Boom Cards yet?  They’re AMAZING!  Quick grammar explanations and native speaker sound files combined with colorful images on self-correcting flashcards.  Just send the link and your job is done!  I mean, seriously, does it get any easier? Check out French Time Boom Cards.

3.  Large Time Flashcards or Interactive Notebook Time Flashcards.  Perfect for class games and writing practice!

French Time Flashcards
French Time Interactive Notebook Flashcards
French Time Interactive Notebook Flashcards

French Time Activities

 1. Post clock photos around the room.  Students walk around and write the time in French.

2.  Talk about time in different parts of the world.

Ex. Quelle heure est-il à Paris? Quelle heure est-il à Ottowa?

3. Ask students what time they wake up, get up, and go to bed.

Teach a few simple reflexive verbs as vocabulary (trust me – your students can handle it and you’ll be happy you did it later on when you teach reflexive verbs and they already know how to use some).   Have them create a mini google presentation with photos and sentences.

Quand est-ce que tu te réveilles? Je me réveille à sept heures.
À quelle heure est-ce que tu te lèves? Je me lève à sept heures et quart.
Quand est-ce que tu te brosses les dents? Je me brosse les dents après le petit déjeuner.
Quand est-ce que tu te couches? Je me couche à dix heures.

Assign each student a poll question and have them collect data and make a graph to talk about in class.  Use any of the questions above.

4.  Ask students when they have certain classes or activities.

Quand commence la classe d’anglais? Quand est-ce que tu vas au football?

Hope these French time activities spice up teaching time to your students.  What other ways do you teach time in class?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Happy Teaching!

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