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French lessons: une palme

Just because you’ve been living somewhere for nearly 10 years doesn’t mean you still don’t make mistakes with language. Last weekend I went to an “aqua palmes” class at the gym. I was really excited to work my arms. But then I got there and I was like, ohhh, une palme = fin/flipper. Ha! I did get a great leg workout at least, and impressed the rest of the class with my American-style swimming skills (ahem, speed 😉). I was freshly back from Florida where I was surrounded by palm trees.... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: la Chandeleur

Looking for an excuse to eat crêpes this weekend? You’re in luck, it’s la Chandeleur! Long before the trends of National Donut Day or Nutella Day, Chandeleur is a holiday that falls on February 2nd where people eat the thin French pancakes known as crêpes. The holiday with religious roots is also known as Candlemas and falls on the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season, and is the last feast of the Christmas cycle. The tradition was kicked off by a pope The big, round golden pancakes are said resemble the... Read The Rest →

French Lessons: Voting in France

Becoming French has its perks. The biggest perk is never having to renew my carte de séjour ever again, but being able to vote in French elections is high up there too. It’s one thing to follow another system online, but it’s another living and learning to have to navigate a new system. I have to say while we often take what we grow up with as the “right” way to do something. Learning how another country works is fascinating and really we all have a lot we can learn... Read The Rest →


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 →

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