FRENCH LESSONS: la fève (HAPPY EPIPHANY!)

pretavoyager-lafeveIn 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 the table instead. That’s when the magic happened. She picked my name to receive the last slice for the first cake. Even the server didn’t know who received la fève (lucky charm, that literally translates as “bean”). Then I saw something white in my slice. I was a bit disappointed at first only seeing a white ceramic square and thinking perhaps a piece of the mixer had broken. Alas, after a bit of archaeological digging, I uncovered the cute slice of galette on the other side. Not only did I get la fève, but I also became la reine (the Queen).

So then we were ready to try the second cake – a nutella/speculoos variety. As I had been the last pick for the first cake, the youngest this time figured it’d be funny to give me the first slice this time, which was quite hilarious as the server and I immediately saw a bit of blue in my slice and started cracking up. What luck! I now became the Queen for the second time over.

pretavoyager-galettedesrois
Galette des rois is something that you’ll typically find in French boulangeries in late December and early January. In France, most boulangeries – or the frozen food store Picard, who tends to have the most adorable fève dolls – include a crown with each galette. So in addition to my two new fèves, I had two new crowns as well.

You can always make your own galette des rois as well – David Lebovitz shares the recipe on his blog, and Clothilde Dusoulier has one too (and gets into more of the history). And check out these awesome fèves that Le Petit Atelier de Paris designed for Poilaîne this year. Even if I wasn’t Queen, I’d still think this holiday – an excuse to eat cake – was great.

pretavoyager-fevesProof that I am Queen! These fèves are far more exciting than finding a bean in your cake!

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

Follow me on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS & InDesign on Skillshare!

FRENCH LESSONS: Changement de saisons

pretavoyager-changementdesaisonsThe 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 the same thing, and like clockwork, late fall every year it hits me. Maybe it’s all in my head, but has anyone else had this feeling from the changement de saisons? Is it just a French thing?

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

Find me on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS & InDesign classes on Skillshare!

FRENCH LESSONS: Une Glace à l’Eau

pretavoyager-glacealeauOh 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 small alimentation générale [mini marts], or you can pick up a box at le super marché [supermarket] or Picard [the frozen food store] to share with friends (or strangers). Miam…. Mmmmmm.

p.s. Ashley told me about this popsicle place in Berlin. So jealous. Wish someone would open one in Paris!

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

Find me on Instagram + Twitter! I teach MAPS & InDesign classes on Skillshare! 

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 French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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

Speaking of wood, toucher du bois is a good phrase to know!

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

FRENCH LESSONS: Le But

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 mais, or the other “butt” (which is derrière, en français). For instance I can say, le but pour mon cours des cartes était 500 étudiants, mais j’ai 700+! (The goal was to have 500 students in my map class, but I have 700+!). It can also be used as a reference in sports. You can see my first le football experience here. Note too, that goal you see in my illustration is also referred to as le cage.

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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 an accounting class and it was so hot. I – the only person with a water bottle – almost tombé dans les pommes [fall in the apples = to faint]. While learning accounting en français is a reason to faint, really this time it was the heat. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how everyone else was wearing sweaters and not dying of heat/thirst too.

p.s. Thanks for all who have signed up for my map making class! It’s such an honor to have so many familiar faces from the web joining in the fun. YAY!

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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 stand this morning. Have you tried Vine yet? I’m listed as Anne Ditmeyer. It’s fun with sound too – captured some happy happenstance!

P.S.S. Yep, you can still sign up for my map making class!

 

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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 more of my Paris swimming pool tales click here + here! Speaking of la piscine you should also be aware of le pediluve + un bronzage cycliste.

 

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words and cultural lessons while beefing up my Illustrator skills.

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 up my Illustrator skills. Don’t miss my other animated gif French lesson here!

 

 
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