I'm currently working on a short story set in NYC, about a young twenty-something man who looks back on his relationship with a French girl over the course of a summer. The title and story itself plays around with the concept of the word été, which means both "summer" and "was." What I need help with most is how one would the phrase "The Summer That Was" be put in French?
According to Google, the French language has two tenses for describing things in the past: imparfait, which is used to describe something that lasts a while; and the passé composé, which describes something that was brief and now over. For the verb to be, the imparfait would be était; the passé composé would be a été.
The first thing I did, using my very elementary French skills, was try out my own literal translation of "The Summer That Was": L'été que a été, which Google said correct, but also gave me L'été qui a été. After a couple of tries, it also gave me L'été qui était, and L'été c'était... I was also somehow -- don't quite remember how I got to it -- led to L'été que avait été, which translates to "The Summer that Had Been," but which loses the poetry I feel "The Summer That Was" has.
So, my problem is: which is the more grammatically-, or even colloquially-, correct to say in French? If any French speakers out there can help, I'd really appreciate it!
Thanks in advance...