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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 LESSON: Beaujolais Nouveau

HAPPY BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU! It’s the “Hallmark holiday” of France, where the young wine known as beaujolais nouveau is celebrated. Many of my French friends scoff at the “holiday,” much preferring more mature wines, but I think it’s the perfect excuse to have a glass with friends. Today’s French lesson was meant to be a pairing of le vin [wine] and le vent [wind, which we’ve had far too much of lately] – two words I struggle with defining their pronunciation – but alas, it turns out that wind is quite... Read The Rest →

Je m’en fous: French Customer Service

A couple months ago my friend Yann-yves O’Hayon-Crosby had shared a tale of French customer service on Facebook that made me chuckle. I said to myself, this needs to be a post. Besides being a talented filmmaker/photographer/videographer Yann-yves also happens to be Franco-American, so it only seemed appropriate that he could provide a more balanced and insider perspective on the topic. Special thanks too to Ana Clara Soares for the accompanying graphic – a “bonus” French lesson! Je m’en fous = I don’t care! But without further ado, French customer... 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: 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 LESSON: Un Ange Qui Passe

There’s a wonderful French saying for the moment when a conversation naturally halts. Christmas / Chanukah / Thanksgiving / Birthday / dinner (or anytime) there is great festivity, and then you take a pause and realize there is no one talking. Someone points out, “C’est un ange qui passe” and everyone agrees, as they smile at the idea of an angel (un ange) passing above. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and festive holiday season! French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: Toucher du bois

Toucher du bois as the French say translates to “touch wood” or in U.S. English “knock on wood.” (Le bois = wood). With the roller coaster of finding an apartment in Paris (thank you for all your amazing comments and sympathy!) I definitely need a little luck on my side. But thanks to yesterday’s post I received my best apartment lead yet. But before I jinx it, je touche du bois! P.S. Did you see last week’s animated gif lesson? One of my favorites! French Lessons is an ongoing series... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: le bronzage cycliste

Down in Nice, where there was actually sun (le soleil) and not enough sunscreen (la crème solaire), I learned an important term for summer: le bronzage cycliste. Given the Tour de France is on now, there is something charming that the French have dubbed these unfortunate tan lines after cyclists, rather than the English equivalent of a “farmer’s tan.” I’m surprised I don’t see more bronzage cycliste (as in Il a le bronzage cycliste) at the Paris swimming pools – where speedos are required for men – but then again,... Read The Rest →

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