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In case you missed the decree, not once, but twice yesterday I was declared Queen for the year during our annual galette des rois (king’s cake) celebration for Epiphanie (Epiphany). Eating one cake is never enough, as it’s always more fun to taste test. Once you have your cake, traditionally, the youngest person has to go under the table and point to shoes to decide who each slice will go to. As our youngest last night was a new arrival from the U.S. we had her turn her back to... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: Changement de saisons

The changing of seasons (changement de saisons) is something that exists in many places of the world, but in France it means more than just the changing of leaves and weather; it can also can represent a mental space. A few years ago I went to la pharmacie (the pharmacy) because I was feeling unusually exhausted and felt like I may need some vitamins. The pharmacist was not surprised at all by my fatigue, quickly explaining it as “C’est le changement de saisons.” I’ve had other friends experience and hear... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: Une Glace à l’Eau

Oh là là! Il fait CHAUD à Paris! Wowza, has it been HOT in Paris (especially after our very chilly June)! Thankfully I finally purchased un ventilateur [fan] for the first time in four years. It’s pretty clear that Europe isn’t really designed for la chaleur [heat] or la canicule [heatwave]. It doesn’t help there’s not much la climatisation [air conditioning] in this city either. So hands down my favorite way to beat the heat is with une glace à l’eau [popsicle]. The best place to find them are at... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: Poisson d’Avril

Today’s French Lesson is technically a day late, as yesterday was officially le poisson d’avril [the fish of April], or April Fool’s Day. According to this article, the holiday of pranks may have even started in France. I saw some really clever internet jokes yesterday, but I have to say that commenters were a bit of the party-pooper variety. It’s far more fun falling for it, even if it’s short lived. Stay tuned tomorrow – I’ll share my favorite April Fish! French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: gueule de bois

One of my favorite French past times is the way they translate titles of American movies into “French.” For instance, The Hangover (U.S. version) came to France and was given the translation of Very Bad Trip. Yes, they translated the title into another English title. Not that every movie title needs a direct translation, but I thought “hangover” or [avoir la] gueule du bois would make a fun French Lesson. Literally mouth of wood, gueule is slang for “face” or the mouth of an animal, while bois translates to wood... Read The Rest →


Every week on the way to my French accounting classes I pass a home goods store called “But City” [see photo below] and I chuckle each time I pass it (same is true for the café called Le But). Now this is just me being an immature American, but when naming any business in this global world you need to consider translations. It’s just unfortunate that le but in French (you don’t pronounce the “t”), translates to “goal,” something positive and a bit more serious than “but” which translates to... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: tomber dans les pommes

For a long time I’ve questioned how the French survive without drinking much water. It still remains a mystery to me, and part of me thinks it must be genetic. I’m just a naturally thirsty American, and staying hydrated is how I beat fatigue (and jetlag). At the pool I’m almost always the only one with a water bottle, and if I know I’m going to a brunch at French friend’s place I always pre-hydrate because water is just not part of the culture. The other day I was in... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: Quand les Poules Auront des Dents

It’s not everyday I get the chance to draw a chicken with teeth. Then again, living in France is not your typical everyday experience. There are many days when I feel like I have seen chickens [les poules] with teeth [les dents] after I’ve finally completed a bureaucratic challenge. Miracles do happen. In English we either say “when hell freezes over” or “when pigs fly.” Still, there is a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to chickens, non? P.S. Speaking of chickens, I bought eggs at this market... Read The Rest →

FRENCH LESSONS: une planche

There are not many words in any language that can apply to the swimming pool + food at the same time, but in French, anything is possible! The day that I discovered that a kickboard and a meat/cheese plate served on a board both go by une planche, I had to smile. I suppose it’s one of those cases where the two wouldn’t get confused too easily. I just know I for one would be highly amused to see some saucisson [sausage] + fromage [cheese] served on a kickboard! For... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: Des Baguettes

Much like un éclair, I love the double meaning of the word baguette. Not only is it the thin, long loaf of bread beloved in France, but it also is the word used for chopsticks. So next time you’re in an Asian restaurant in Paris you can ask, “Avez-vous des baguettes?”, but you’ll likely be full on rice rather than bread after the meal. French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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