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French Greetings The Right and Wrong Way to Greet Someone in French

How to Greet Someone in France | 15 French Phrases to Know

French Greetings The Right and Wrong Way to Greet Someone in French

How much do you know about French greetings and salutations? Learn the do’s, don’ts, and phrases to know in this post by French tutor Jinky B...

 

Traveling to a foreign country can be quite exciting. For French learners, maybe you have your eye on Paris, Versailles, or Nice.

This is your opportunity to explore the culture and really use all the French that you’ve been learning and practicing!

But all the preparation may come to a startling halt if you’re not sure how to approach or greet someone in France. Here are a few tips to make the interaction less daunting and to make a great first impression.

French Greetings – The Do’s and Don’ts

The etiquette on greeting people in France depends on a few factors. While it’s expected and considered polite to greet everyone, whether it’s your colleague or a shopkeeper in the magasin (store), the way you greet each person depends on your relationship with them and the social setting.

  • Les bises (the kisses) are a typical greeting when meeting friends in France.

Depending on the region of France, la bise can include one, two, or even three little kisses on the cheek. If in doubt, let the other person initiate and move to one side of your face or the other. The kisses generally begin on the right side of the face.

  • A handshake is a greeting that is reserved for business or formal settings.

When entering a meeting for work, it’s normal for colleagues to offer a firm handshake. It’s also common for men to greet with a handshake rather than with une bise.

  • A hug, contrary to American greetings, is reserved for close family members or significant others only.

A hug is seen as an invasion of privacy to the French and can make someone feel awkward or uncomfortable.

French Phrases to Know – Greetings & Salutations

As with proper French greeting etiquette, the correct “hello” depends on your relationship with the other person and the social context.

1. Bonjour – Good morning & hello

Use bonjour to say “good morning” or “hello” to someone for the first time seeing them in a day. If you encounter the same person again later in the day, it’s appropriate to use a less formal hello.

2. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you.

In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you are “delighted” to meet someone after they introduce themselves.

3. Bonsoir – Good evening & hello

This greeting is used in similar situations as bonjour, but reserved for the evening.

4. Salut – Hi

Considered to be a more casual greeting, using salut is appropriate when you see someone again later in the day.

5. Coucou – Hey

Close friends use this greeting often. You can skip the formal bonjour and use this, or even ciao, when seeing these close comrades.

6. Ça fait longtemps, dis donc! – Long time, no see!

An ideal greeting between good friends, young French people tend to use this phrase when meeting up.

7. Âllo – Hello

This greeting is used exclusively for conversations on the telephone.

8. Ça va? – How are you?

A very simple way to ask someone how they are doing is to say Ça va? It’s a condensed version of the question Comment ça va? (How are you doing?). Either is correct and can be used in formal or more casual settings.

9. Tu vas bien? – How are you doing?

Literally translated to “are you doing well,” this is a polite way to ask someone how they are when you’re expecting a positive reply.

10. Quoi de neuf? – What’s up?

This is very casual, so I recommend using with close friends.

11. Au revoir! – Goodbye!

Rather formal, this is a safe way to say goodbye, no matter the social setting.

12. Salut! – Bye!

This is more casual than au revoir, but is very appropriate when leaving someone.

13. Ciao! – See ya!

This is Italian in origin, but is popular among the younger French population.

14. À plus! – Later!

This is an easy way to indicate you’ll see someone later, but at an unspecific time.

15. À demain! – See you tomorrow!

The demain can be replaced with any day of the week if you know that you will see the other person soon.

Learn More French Phrases

Once you’ve mastered these French greetings and salutations, you can fill in the middle with great conversation! Here are some additional guides to check out:

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and has more than five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

Photo by Garry Knight

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funny french phrases

15 Funny French Phrases That’ll Make You Giggle

funny french phrases

The French language has some pretty hilarious words and phrases. In this week’s guest post, our friend Lily from French Possum lists 15 funny French phrases that natives commonly use in conversation…

The French say some of the funniest phrases without even realizing that word-for-word they don’t actually make sense.

While the French did indeed produce some of the greatest writers, natives don’t necessarily speak like the characters in novels.

If you’re traveling to France or learning French, don’t look surprised when you hear some funny French phrases.

Simply, smile and be attentive. After all,  you’ll know what to expect after reading the list of 15 funny French phrases below.

15 Funny French Phrases That’ll Make You Giggle

1. “Ah, la vache!”

Translation: Oh, my cow

Don’t panic, no cow is lost or wildly running away. The French phrase “Ah, la vache” actually expresses surprise and excitement. The best English equivalent would be “Oh my god!”

2. “Casser les oreilles”

Translation: Break your ears

What happens when your neighbors decide to have an electro party at 3 a.m. and think they should let everybody know by turning the volume up? They “break your ears,” literally…

3. “Devenir chêvre”

Translation: To become a goat

While Americans like to say “to be driven mad,” the French like to make it quite clear that anger is not their right state of mind. Rather, they use the French expression “to become a goat.” If you’re not fluent in French, trying to understand an angry French person may actually turn you into a goat as well!

4. “Arrête ton char!”

Translation: Stop your chariot

Initially, you might think that this French expression is used when trying to get someone to slow down. In actuality, however, this funny French phrase actually means to stop bluffing!

 

5. “Se prendre/prendre un râteau”

Translation: Gives you the rake

This is what happens when a man arrives late to dinner with his lovely date: she leaves the place with a note saying “adieu” (yes, French women are famous for their temper). If a French person “gives you the rake,” it means he or she refuses to go out with you.

6. “Faire l’andouille”

Translation: To make the sausage

This is the French we are talking about, so of course somewhere in this article there had to be a reference to traditional French food. What does “Faire l’andouille” actually mean? Simply to do something ridiculous!

7.  “Chercher la petite bête”

Translation: Look for the little beast

When the French feel that someone is looking really hard for a reason to complain about something, they say someone is “looking for the little beast.” The best English equivalent would be “splitting hairs.”

8. “Être sur son 31” 

Translation: Be on their 31

On big occasions, the French will “Être sur son 31,” meaning that they’ll be putting on beautiful and elegant clothes. If you watch the Cannes Festival Red Carpet events, for instance, this is typically what “to be on your 31” entails.

9. “Tomber dans les pommes” 

Translation: Fall in apples

When the French faint, they don’t fall on a bed of roses perfumed with Chanel N°5, but in… apples! To “fall in the apples” means to lose consciousness.

10.“Il y a quelque chose qui cloche”

Translation: There is something ringing

Imagine D’Artagnan sensing that “there is something wrong.” He would say, “Il y a quelque chose qui cloche” or “there is something ringing.” He would then say to his friends: “Un pour tous, tous pour un!” (All for one, one for all!)

11. “Faire un froid de canard”

Translation: Does a cold of duck

When it gets very cold, the French pretend they’re chasing ducks to keep warm. Okay, I admit, that’s not true at all…but you’ll definitely hear the French say the weather “faire un froid de canard,” meaning “is extremely cold.”

12. “Avoir un chat dans la gorge”

Translation: To have a cat in the throat

Having some trouble speaking? While the English say “to have a frog in one’s throat,” the French prefer to say they “have a cat in the throat.”

13. “En avoir ras le bol”

Translation: To have a bowl full of it

If you “En avoir ras le bol,” it means that you’re “sick of it” and well, the bowl is full and your anger may overflow.

14. “Donner un coup de main”

Translation: To give a knock of hand

If a French person asks you to “donner un coup de main,” don’t punch him or her please. They are actually asking you to “give a helping hand.” So, smile and say “oui, avec plaisir” (yes, with pleasure).

15. “Être au taquet”

Translation: To be at a piece of wood

The word “taquet” is used to refer to a piece of wood put between a door and a wall to block it. This funny French saying means to work hard with the expectation that something good will happen. The best English equivalent would be “to give your best.”

Your Turn!

Try using these funny French phrases in conversation. The more you practice using them, the more natural they will start to become.

Do you know any funny French phrases? Share with us in the comment section below.

Photo by Amber Litzinger

Guest Post Author: Lily
Lily is the creator of French Possum, a blog and YouTube channel that’s dedicated to promoting the French culture and language to people around the world. Learn more about Lily and French Possum here. 

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french club

20 Fun Activities and Games for French Club

french club

Are you a teacher or student involved in your school’s French club? As you know, finding fun activities and games centered on learning French can be difficult.

That’s why we’ve rounded up 20 fun French club ideas to help inspire you. These games and activities will introduce members to both French language and culture.

Note: These ideas and activities can be applied to any language club, such as Spanish, Italian, or German. 

20 French Club Activities and Ideas

1. Make a French Music Playlist

Using Spotify or Pandora, create your very own French club playlist. Have each student add 2-3 of their favorite French songs to the list. Listening to French music will familiarize students with both French culture and language.

2. Put on a French Bake Sale

Set up a bake sale during a school event in which students make and sell traditional French desserts, such as crème brûlée, soufflé au chocolat, and crêpe suzette. The proceeds will go toward funding other French club activities.

3. Host a French Movie Night

Check when your local theater is playing a French movie and attend as a group. If there aren’t any French movies on the schedule, look some up on Netflix. Check out this post for some age-appropriate French movie ideas: 12 Classic French Movies (and Movie Series) All Students Need to See

4. Visit a French Museum

Check your local museum’s schedule to see when it is featuring a French-inspired exhibition and attend as a group. The admission for students is typically discounted or free.

5. Set Up a Scavenger Hunt

Set up a fun scavenger hunt around the school or town. At each destination, students will have to read a clue (in French) to move onto the next destination. At the end, reward your students with a yummy treat.

6. French Arts and Crafts

Have students make French-themed arts and crafts to give to their loved ones around the holidays. For example, they can make Paris-themed wrapping paper or ornaments.

7. Start a French Book Club

At the start of every month, choose a French book that students will read and discuss. The book doesn’t necessarily have to be written in French. For example, you can choose a book that’s about French culture or history.

8. Celebrate French Holidays

Celebrate French holidays, such as Bastille Day and Easter, throughout the year. Celebrate by making fun crafts or taking part in holiday traditions.

9. Invite a Guest Speaker

Invite a guest speaker to chat with the group about French culture, travel, or language. For example, invite a French translator, author, or artist to talk to the group about what’s it’s like to be in their profession.

10. Create a Monthly Newsletter

Write up a monthly newsletter to be included in your school’s newspaper. In the newsletter, you can include updates on events you’re hosting, a “French Word of the Month,” or a series of inspirational French quotes.

11. Teach Others French

Volunteer at your local elderly home or elementary school. Encourage students to read to others in French or put on a fun French skit. Students will be practicing their French while giving back to the community.

12. Host a Taste of France Dinner

As a group, research traditional French recipes and create an authentic dinner menu. Every student is responsible for cooking a different part of the meal and presenting it (in French) to the group.

13. Monthly Presentations

Every month, choose a student who will give a presentation on a region or city in France that he or she would like to someday visit. The presentation will include cultural and historical facts about the region.

14. Participate in National French Week

Organized by the American Association of Teachers of French, National French Week celebrates all things French. Check out the American Association of Teachers of French website for some ways you can celebrate.

15. Attend a French Play

Check your local playhouse to see if there’s a French play on the schedule. Les Misérables, for example, is a great historical French play students will love.

16. French Game Night

Throw a French game night where you play traditional French games, such as Belote and Jeu de Tarot. You can also play games like bingo and scrabble. Just make sure that you’re using French words and numbers.

17. French Karaoke

Have some fun and sing along to your favorite French songs. Not only will you have a blast, but you’ll also be learning new French vocabulary words and phrases.

18. Subscribe to French Magazine or Newspaper

As a group, choose a few online French magazines or newspaper to subscribe to. Once a month over lunch, the group can discuss a few things they found interesting.

19. French Cooking Lesson

Check if your local French restaurant offers cooking lessons or demonstrations on how certain dishes are prepared. This is a great opportunity for students to dive into the French culinary world.

20. Meet Up with Other Groups

Are there other language clubs at your school? Get together once in awhile to swap ideas for activities that you can do together.

French club is a great way for students to meet new people and practice their French language skills. Spice up your meetings with some of these fun and educational French activities.

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[Infographic] American vs. French Culture: 8 Things Every Traveler Should Know

ON POINT

Are you planning a trip to the U.S. or France? Though only a plane ride away, these countries are extremely different. From dining to fashion to going to the bathroom, it’s important that you learn the cultural differences before you go abroad.

After all, you don’t want to offend anyone on your trip by making a silly mistake, such as not greeting someone properly or forgetting your manners.

Check out the infographic below highlighting the difference between French culture and American culture.

American culture vs. French Culture

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American Culture vs. French Culture: Things You Need to Know

1. Driving

America: The majority of Americans travel by automobile, even in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In fact, three out of four Americans drive to work, while a mere 5.2 percent take mass transit.

France: You won’t see roads full of SUVs in France, as the country is known for having an excellent public transportation system. Most people use the underground subway systems and tramways to get around.

2. Dining

France: In France, there’s no such thing as a meal on-the-go.  Rather, people take their time eating and typically don’t eat dinner until around 8 p.m.

America: It’s not surprising to see someone eating a slice of pizza while rushing to get to their next destination. Typically, Americans eat much earlier and faster than the French.

3. Fashion

France: The French wouldn’t be caught dead wearing sweatpants and sandals in public. People take pride in their appearance and dress more moderately compared to Americans.

America: While every city has its style—for example, New York is more high-fashion, while California is laid back–Americans are all about comfort and being casual. Swim trunks and a t-shirt on a hot day are A-OK in their book.

4. Drinking

America: Americans are more apt to reach for a refreshingly cold beer. Over the past years, however, wine has become increasingly more popular. While not celebrated, public intoxication isn’t rare.

France: The French have a reputation for drinking in moderation and their drink of choice is typically wine. After all, you can find a wine bar at just about every corner. In French culture, public intoxication is heavily frowned upon.

5. Dating

America: Americans are all about playing the field. It’s not uncommon for a stranger to ask someone out on a date—which typically includes some sort of meal or outing—if he or she is interested.

France: The French don’t date. In fact, there is no real word for “date” or “dating” in the French language. People get to know each other through social circles—and exclusivity is always implied.

6. Communication

America: Americans are super friendly and outgoing. They are likely to greet friends and acquaintances with a big hug. You could say that communication is very informal, whereas the French are more formal.

France: Hugging is sometimes considered more intimate than kissing in France. The French don’t use the first name of a person unless they are invited to do so. What’s more, speaking too loud is considered a sign of anger and impoliteness.

7. Body language

France: When it comes to body language, the French are quite reserved. Placing your hands in your pockets or slouching are big no-nos.   

America: Oddly enough,  both American and French culture are very similar in this category. Americans value their personal space and don’t respond well to unnecessary fidgeting.  

8. Small Talk

America: People in the U.S. are very open and polite. It’s not uncommon for someone to ask his or her mailman or pharmacist how his or her family is doing or what his or her plans are for the weekend.

France: Stick with small talk. It’s okay, for example, to talk about the weather, but anything beyond that isn’t normal in the French culture.

Happy Travels!

Now that you’re up to speed on the French culture, you’re ready for your trip. Don’t shy away from meeting locals, as immersing yourself in the French culture will ensure that you make the most of your trip!

Do you live in France? If so, share your advice for traveling in the comment section below.

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Moving to France: Honest Advice From Expats Living in France

 

Moving to France- Real Advice From Expats Living in France (1)

Congratulations, you’ve finally made the decision to move to France. Now comes the hard part, getting you and your stuff there.

If you thought making the decision the leave your friends and family was hard, you’ve got another thing coming. Moving to France—or any foreign country for that matter—isn’t easy.

After all, you’re moving to a country where you don’t speak the language and you’re mostly unfamiliar with the customs and culture.

Lucky for you, we’ve interviewed several expats who’ve made the big move and asked them what they wish someone would have told them before moving to France.

Let’s take a look at what these experienced expats had to say about moving to France.

1. Find Temporary Housing

“One of my pieces of advice to people is about finding housing. Searching for housing from afar is not easy and can often be wrought with pitfalls,” says Melissa Ladd, creator of Prête-Moi Paris.

“Paris is a difficult place to find an apartment to rent or buy, because prices are very high and it is a rather small city so there is less space for everyone, thus less available housing. I suggest getting a temporary rental for a month or few when you first arrive, to give you the time you need to find something long term or permanent.”

2. Do Your Homework

“Before moving to France (or any other country) do your homework so you will know what you’re getting into. Also realize France will be quite different from where you’re coming from. There will be adjustment and a learning curve. Contact your nearest French consulate to find out what’s needed for your move,” says Jeff Steiner, creator of Americans in France.

“I often see people asking online what paperwork they need to move to France. Well the only place you’ll get an answer is at the consulate. If the consulate is unhelpful or doesn’t answer your question the way you’d like, then maybe France isn’t for you. If you can’t take the paperwork demanded to move to France you’re not going to like the paperwork needed to live here on a daily bases. That said it can be a great place to live.”

3. Learn the Language

It can be extremely difficult–not to mention frustrating–trying to navigate an unfamiliar city without knowing how to speak the language. Before moving to France, you might want to consider learning some French.

While being fluent in French is ideal, it’s not always possible. We suggest learning basic phrases that will help you hold a conversation with a native. Check out these 25 conversational French phrases to get you started.

4. Read Reviews en Français

“So you just moved here and you want to go to a bar. Or a restaurant. Or even find some decent chocolate to bring to a dinner party. I suggest reading reviews, but not in English. Visit the French version of sites like Timeout, TripAdvisor, and even Yelp. If your French is good enough, you can get the gist of what the review says. If it’s not so good, use Google Translate,” suggests Whitney Donaldson, creator of Whitney in Paris.

“Reading in French will steer you away from reviews left by those who are only in town for a few days a.k.a Anglophones who don’t live in France. There is nothing wrong with that but if you want a feel for the local flavor right off the bat, do a little searching en Français.”

5. Don’t Lose Your Cool

“Be patient and remain calm at all times. There are many great aspects about living in France, but many that make me want to pull my hair out. I used to get upset every time something took longer than I thought it should or if something didn’t go exactly as planned,” says Audrey Hickey, author of Audrey Meets World.

“Take it from me, this is a sure way to exhaust yourself very quickly. Know your rights, know the rules, and keep every single piece of paperwork; you never know.”

6. Greet People Properly

“Kiss don’t hug – on the whole, the French are not huggers and will be horrified if you throw your arms around them and pull them close against you – kissing them on the face four times is fine though,” says Janine Marsh, editor of The Good Life France.

“The French can be quite formal at times so don’t expect to be on first name times for a while. When you’re introduced it will often be as Monsieur or Madame this or that and you’re expected to call them as such until they invite you to call them by their first name. It’s not that they’re aloof, it’s just a way of life in France.”

7. Mind Your Ps and Qs

“Never forget to say ‘bonjour’ upon entering an establishment, and ‘merci, au revoir’ upon leaving. This is an essential part of French culture and to not do so is considered incredibly impolite,” says Edna, creator of Expat Edna.

“Even if I enter a shop and accidentally blurt out my order, I’ll stop, backtrack, say ‘Bonjour’ and start over to show that I respect them.”

Good Luck!

Moving to France can be scary, even for the most seasoned travelers. Make the transition easier by taking advice from the experts above.

Have you recently moved to France? We want to hear from you! Share some of your expert advice in the comment section below.

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French love quotes

10 French Love Quotes to Impress Your Crush

The French language is known for being romantic. So rather than getting your significant other a box of chocolates or flowers, you can impress them even more by learning some of these French love quotes.

Learning French love quotes is sure to sweep your date off his or her feet. Just make sure that you practice the right pronunciation to avoid an embarrassing mishap!

10 French Love Quotes

1. “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

French love quotes

English translation: “Love does not consist in looking at each other, but rather in, together, looking in the same direction.”

2.  “C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.”  – Albert Camus

French love quotes

English translation: “That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.”

3. “En sa beauté gît ma mort et ma vie.” – Maurice Scève

French love quotes

English translation: “In her beauty resides my death and my life.”

4. “Une femme est plus belle que le monde où je vis, et je ferme les yeux.” – Paul Éluard

French love quotes

English translation: “A woman is more beautiful than the world in which I live, and so I close my eyes.”

5. “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.” -Rosemonde Gérard

French love quotes

English translation: “For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.”

SEE ALSO: Romantic Spots in Paris

6. “Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.” – George SandFrench love quotes

English translation: “There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.”

7. “Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.” – Anna de Noailles

French love quotes

English translation: “Nothing is real but dreams and love.”

8. “Amour veut tout sans nombre, amour n’a point de loi.” – Pierre de Ronsard

French love quotes

English translation: “Love wants everything without condition, love has no law.”

9. “La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel.” – Victor Hugo

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”

10. “La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve.” – Alfred de Musset

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a long sleep and love is its dream.”

While your crush or significant other might not understand what these French love quotes mean, he or she will surely be impressed. Interested in learning more about French romance? Check out Flirting in French: 25 Head-turning Phrases You Need to Know.
To work on your French conversational skills even more, join one of the live group classes online at TakeLessons Live. Classes are free for a month and a great way to improve your French accent.

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8 Places to Visit in France Outside Paris

Are you planning a vacation to France? French teacher, Carol Beth L. shares eight wonderful places to visit in France outside of Paris…

Chances are the “City of Light” is one of the top places to visit on your travel itinerary. Visiting Paris, however, doesn’t mean you’ve seen all that France has to offer by a long shot. There are many other wonderful places to visit in France.

Lucky for you, Europe has a relatively good rail system, which means you can visit places in France with ease and comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, below are eight beautiful places to visit in France.

In addition to speaking French with locals, be sure to take in all of the French culture and delicious French foods. After all, each region has it’s own unique specialties.

Are you an avid skier or snowboarder? The French Alps border France to the east, right along Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

The mountain range is known for its height and beauty, and makes for an excellent ski or hiking location.

This southern French castle has an interesting story. According to legend, a peasant girl saved the inhabitants from siege when she suggested they catapult a pig fattened with their last grain.

The castle itself is beautiful and worth the trip. It is relatively close to the city of Toulouse, which is home to several cathedrals and museums, including the Pont Neuf, la Cite de l’Espace, and more.

If you like architecture then you’ll love Loire Valley. Loire Valley is home to several astonishing castles.

The best part is you can see several different castles in a short period of time, as they are located in close proximity to one another.

Located on the eastern coast of France, this beautiful castle is connected to shore by a thin strip of beach during low tide. During high tide, it becomes an island.

Book the castle hotel (in advance) and stay the night. You’ll get to eat on castle grounds, and march all the way up to the church at the very top of the castle.

Located in the province of Dordogne, these caves boast some of Western Europe’s best and most extensive examples of prehistoric cave paintings.

If you’re a history, anthropology, or art buff, this might be a good place for you to start your journey.

This capital city of the eastern province of Alsace lies right along France’s eastern border with Germany.

The German influence is still evident, especially in the food and the street signs, which are in French, German, and English.

Try some sausages or other local dishes before you leave. Some notable city sites include the Musee d’Alsace, the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, the European Parliament, and the Musee du Chocolat.

Aix-en-Provence is located in the south of France, close to Marseilles. You’ll have the taste of the sun, seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables typically associated with southern France.

A few well-known locations include the Cours Mirabeau, the Aux Cathedral, and the Museum of Natural History.

If you’re there in the month of July, keep your eyes peeled for events related to the Aix-en-Provence Festival, an annual music festival.

Located in the north of France, Rouen contains a number of old churches worth visiting, including a local cathedral later painted by Monet and a church named after Saint Joan of Arc.

Also of interest are Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, Jardin des Plantes, Natural History Museum, and Maritime Museum.

These places to visit in France offer both beauty and history. Check with the local office of tourism and with your hotel, as they may offer expert guided tours.

And of course, learn some French. Even if you aren’t perfect, locals will surely appreciate your efforts!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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French Holidays: Celebrating La Fête des Rois

french holidays la fete des rois

Learning about and celebrating French holidays is a wonderful way to understand more about French culture as you study this beautiful language. French tutor Carol Beth L. shares the basics you need to know about La Fête des Rois…

French Holidays: La Fête des Rois

french holiday fete des rois

For many people in the United States, Christmas ends at midnight on the evening of December 25th.

In France, more people probably still remember that according to the Christian calendar, the Christmas season doesn’t officially end until after Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Kings (La Fête des Rois), on January 6th.

Why? Well, because many French still celebrate it in one way or another.

For those who are practicing Catholics, church may still be an important part of the Epiphany celebration. It recognizes the day when the baby Jesus was visited by wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, becoming some of the first to anticipate the influence the then newborn would later have.

Though Biblical accounts don’t give an exact number and describe them as magi (as opposed to kings), these wise men have traditionally been represented as a royal threesome by the names of Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar or Casper.

Galette des Rois

french holidays galettes

The most notable French tradition to spread beyond religious or practicing Christians is the galette des rois, a flaky cake with sweet almond or fruit-based filling.

A fève, usually a small plastic trinket or a bean, is hidden inside the cake, which is often sold with a crown. The cake is divided by the number of guests, plus sometimes one extra “poor man’s part” for the first person to arrive at the door. The one who finds the fève is crowned king or queen for a day.

Those living in France can find a galette des rois at any typical French boulangerie during this season.

If you are living in the US and want to experience this tradition for yourself, it is more difficult but not impossible to find une galette. Especially in larger cities, there is often a bakery that has discovered and decided to capitalize on the local population of French-speakers and Francophiles.

If you cannot find one locally, consider ordering online. Cuis’in for example, delivers galettes seasonally anywhere in the US and Canada.

Galette des Rois Recipe

french holidays galette des rois

If you like cooking French food, why not try your hand at preparing your own kings cake or galette des rois? We like this recipe from French Today:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 dried bean (lima or kidney beans work well)
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Buttered large baking sheet (not dark metal).

1. In a food processor, purée the almond paste, sugar, butter and pinch of salt until smooth.

2. Add 1 egg, vanilla and almond extracts and purée until incorporated.

3. Add the flour and pulse to mix it in.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11-1/2 inch square.

5. Invert an 11-inch pie plate onto the square and cut out a round shape by tracing the outline of the pie plate with the tip of a paring knife.

6. Brush the flour from both sides of the round and place it on the buttered baking sheet. Put in the refrigerator to chill.

7. Repeat the procedure with the second square of puff pastry, but leave it on the floured work surface.

8. Beat the remaining egg and brush some of it on top of the second round. Score decoratively all over the top using the tip of a paring knife and make several small slits all the way through the pastry to create steam vents.

9. Remove the first sheet from the refrigerator and brush some of the egg in a 1-inch border around the edge. Mound the almond cream in the center, spreading slightly.

10. Bury the bean in the almond cream. Place the scored round on top and press the edges together.

11. Bake the galette in the lower third of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

12. Place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and return galette to cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the edge is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Serving Instructions:

Serve the galette warm. Make sure everybody knows about the bean so no one breaks a tooth!

Are there any special French holidays that you celebrate? Share them with us in the comments below!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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9 Cooking Blogs To Follow For Amazing French Recipes

French recipes

One of the best things about learning to speak French is the opportunity to enjoy amazing French food!

Even if you don’t have plans to travel to France anytime soon, you can still take a culinary journey in your own kitchen. These nine French cooking blogs are absolute must-follows for foodie francophiles!

Check out classic French recipes, contemporary takes on traditional flavors, and soak up a bit of French culture.

Everyday French Chef

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Think you don’t have time to prepare authentic French recipes?

Think again! The Everyday French Chef can teach you how to make delicious French food without spending all day slaving in the kitchen.  Written with normal working people in mind, this fabulous blog simplifies the art of cooking fine French cuisine.

We recommend: Sole Meunière

Thanks to The Everyday French Chef, you can make this classic French dish in just minutes. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two.

French Girl Cuisine

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The author of French Girl Cuisine is Natacha Gajdoczki, a French girl living and cooking in Switzerland.

Her recipes range from quick and simple for beginning chefs to more challenging dishes for kitchen wizards. She also occasionally mixes in flavors from other neighboring European countries. One thing that all her recipes have in common is how delicious they look!

We recommend: Blueberry Tart

Cook up this fresh and beautiful dessert to impress dinner guests, or keep it for yourself.

French Revolution Food

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The author of French Revolution is a native New Yorker who takes inspiration from her French mother’s cooking as well as American cuisine.

Describing her recipes as “French-American Fusion”, she shares recipes that are simple and flavorful, and always come with a fun story to set the scene.

We recommend: Summertime French Country Deviled Eggs

Chocolate and Zucchini

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Looking for fresh, modern, and seasonal French recipes?

Written from her Parisian kitchen, Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog Chocolate and Zucchini is precisely what you’ve been searching for. This modern French cooking blog highlights recipes that are both simple and delicious, as well as being great for cooks at all levels.

We recommend: Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Who doesn’t love a little sweet treat? Roll up these little truffles by hand to impress your friends or a special someone.

My French Kitchen

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My French Kitchen is a beautiful, artistically done French cooking blog that encourages creativity and experimentation in the kitchen.

Based in Touraine, this blog explores traditional French flavors and is sure to inspire you to be freer and more imaginative in your cooking. Along with the beautiful food photography, My French Kitchen also often features lovely watercolor illustrations and photographs of French life.

We recommend: Carrot and Poppyseed Cupcakes

These cupcakes are fresh and sweet, and extra moist because they’re made with yogurt.

French Cooking for Dummies

warm goat cheese salad

Who are you calling “dummy”?!?

Actually, appreciating the fantastic ease and simplicity of these French recipes doesn’t make you a dummy at all! Based in Paris, the author of French Cooking for Dummies aims to uncomplicate classic French cooking. With her help, anyone who wishes to try their hand at French cuisine is sure to succeed.

We recommend: Warm Goat Cheese Salad

This classic French bistro salad makes a delicious lunch, taking advantage of the amazing natural flavors of goat cheese and arugula.

On Rue Tatin

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Although she is based in France, the author of On Rue Tatin has a worldwide appreciation for both where food comes from and how it is prepared.

If you’re looking for French recipes that are more than just food, this is the blog for you. Explore customs and learn about the meaning of these delicious dishes.

We recommend: Strawberry Shortcake à la Française

In spring when strawberries are fresh, this classic dessert is exceptionally delicious!

The Flo Show

chocolate mousse

Looking for a globetrotting French chef?

Look no further than The Flo Show! This French native shares her internationally-inspired dishes alongside traditional French favorites. For a French spin on world cuisine, this blog simply can’t be beat.

We recommend: 2-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

How can something this delicious and fancy have only two ingredients? You won’t believe how simple and delightful this recipe is.

The Vegan Version

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In traditional French cooking, vegans have very few options among the meats, cheeses, and cream sauces that make up many French dishes.

Seeking to correct this disparity, the author of The Vegan Version is working her way through Julia Childs’ classic recipes and veganizing them.  If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just adventurous in the kitchen, you’re sure to find intriguing new takes on old French recipes.

We recommend: Bouillabaise

A vegan version of this traditional fish soup is actually possible, and not that complicated to make. You’ll be amazed by the authentic flavor!

 

What are some of your favorite French recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

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50 Fun French Games That Will Help You Master the Language

50 Fun French Games

Whatever your level, you can improve your language skills while having fun by playing French games. In this list, you will find French learning games to master every type of skill while playing alone, with a partner, or in a group.

French Card Games

Card games

1. Piquet

A trick-taking game played by two people, Piquet dates back to at least 1535. If you enjoy card games, purchasing a Piquet deck is a good move, as the cards are needed for many other French games.

2. Bezique

A derivative of Piquet, Bezique requires two decks and offers additional scoring opportunities.

3. Belote

One of the most popular French games, Belote requires two, three, or four players, depending on the variation. Rules vary around the world, but you should try the French version for an authentic experience.

4. French Tarot

After Belote, the most popular card game in France is Tarot, also called Jeu de Tarot. It typically requires four players, but three or five can play when you use a variation.

5. Bouillotte

This quick game only takes five minutes to complete. Once again, it uses a Piquet deck but with just 20 or 24 cards, depending on the number of players. Bouillotte involves betting, calling, raising, and dropping out, much like poker.

6. Lanterloo

Also called Loo, Lanterloo is a trick-taking game originating from the 17th century. Today, there are many variations, all of which are quite like the English game All Fours — and Lanterloo even uses the same 52-card deck. You can play with 3 to 8 players but it is best with 5 to 7.

7. Rams

Rams is similar to Lanterloo, except you can play with up to nine people. In the U.S., a version of Rams is often played as Rounce with a 52-card deck, but the traditional French game calls for Piquet cards.

8. Polignac

Polignac also goes by the names of Jeux des Valets and Four Jacks. Although it is related to Hearts and Black Lady, it uses a Piquet deck. Games usually require three to six players, but it is possible to play with more by using a 52-card deck.

9. Commerce

For a larger group, Commerce is ideal, as you can play with up to 10 people using either 52, 40, or 32 cards. Much like Thirty-One, the aim is to finish a round with the best three-card hand.

10. Mille Bornes

Meaning “thousand milestones,” Mille Bornes is an easy game to play in French, as you only need to learn a few words and know the numbers.

11. Manille

Yet another option for the Piquet deck, you can play Manille with just two people, but it is best to have four players competing in pairs.

French Learning Games for Kids

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12. KidSpeak

KidSpeak is a package of interactive computer games that introduces children to the French language, covering a variety of topics across three levels of difficulty.

13. Puzzles

Crosswords, word searches, and other puzzles are ideal for teaching kids French words and simple sentences. You can find plenty online or in puzzle books.

14. Tongue Twisters

There are a huge number of tongue twisters in French. Use them to learn new vocabulary and push your kids’ pronunciation to the limit.

15. Hangman

Think of a French word and ask your child to determine what it is by playing hangman. This is an ideal opportunity to practice the alphabet and some basic vocabulary.

16. Escargot

Meaning “snail,” escargot is a game like hopscotch featuring 15 to 20 numbered squares in a spiral formation.

Kids play in a group, each taking a turn to hop on one foot to the center of the spiral and back without stepping on any lines. Kids who succeed write their initial in one square.

Subsequent players must not land in marked squares, making it increasingly difficult to reach the middle as more squares have initials.

17. Role Play

Practice the vocabulary that your child recently learned by creating a situation and role playing in French.

Video Games in French

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18. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

You can switch the language of Wind Waker to French to practice your reading. With ample text, you are sure to encounter new vocabulary in this game.

19. Indigo Prophecy

Available with full audio and subtitles in French, this game has an extensive script and dialogue.

20. Heavy Rain

Another story-heavy game, Heavy Rain will push your French skills to the limit as you work hard to make fast decisions.

21. Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls is another game from Quantic Dream, the French developer. Many gamers agree that the voice acting is actually of better quality in French than in English.

22. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Although all the Assassin’s Creed games are available with French audio, Unity is a top choice purely because it is set in Paris at the time of the French Revolution.

23. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

If you have difficulty understanding French audio alone, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great choice, as you can set the audio to one language and subtitles to another.

24. Minecraft

Minecraft is an ideal way to learn vocabulary you may otherwise not pick up. Play online in French servers to practice your conversations skills with French natives.

25. Mario Party

If you grew up playing Super Mario Bros., you’ll love the challenge of turning one of your favorites into French. Mario Party and some others are available as French games.

26. World of Warcraft

To interact with French speakers, you will need to purchase the French version of World of Warcraft. However, it is certainly worthwhile, as the large amount of communication needed provides you with an excellent opportunity to practice.

French Board Games

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27. Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk

This complex game involves passing through dungeons to defeat the sorcerer Zangdar and recover the last of Gladeufeurha’s statuettes. To win timed battles and skill checks, you will need to push your French skills to the max.

28. Scrabble

Use a regular Scrabble board and create only French words or purchase a French Scrabble set for a better mix of letters.

29. Race to Paris

Race to Paris is designed to help players learn French. You will need to build sentences to earn points — the longer the sentence, the more points you receive.

30. French Bingo

Work on your speaking skills as well as recognition of words by playing French bingo. You can purchase a game or make your own by printing out cards.

31. Fief

Fief is a strategic game set in the Middle Ages. It is best to play with at least four people to form alliances and see a greater number of wins each round.

32. Spot It!

For beginners looking for simple French games, you can’t go wrong with Spot It! Match cards while learning basic French vocabulary with up to eight players.

33. Djam

Djam is slightly more challenging than some of the other board games, as it requires a greater knowledge of vocabulary to create words beginning with a certain letter on different themes.

34. Mundus Novus

Set in 16th century Spain, Mundus Novus is available entirely in French. The game involves accumulating enough doubloons and resources to beat your opponents.

35. Jarjais

Play during the French Revolution, collecting clues to gather details about the lost treasure and free Queen Marie-Antoinette.

36. Monopoly

Monopoly comes in a huge number of editions, including Paris-Saint Germain. The board and all the cards are in French, allowing you to practice your comprehension skills.

37. Off the Dead: Chapitre 1 – Morts à Venice Beach

The first chapter of the board game Off the Dead is available in French. Use your language skills to kill zombies while avoiding the loss of human lives.

38. Jeu du Nain Jaune

One of the classic French games, Jeu du Nain Jaune combines skill and luck. Rack your memory to create sequences in your favor and win rounds. This game is simple enough for kids but involves enough skill that it is fun for adults, too.

French Games Online

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39. Spelling Game

Identify the correct spelling of words and phrases, using a picture for help. In this Spelling Game, you can choose from numerous topics to practice different aspects of French.

40. Languages Online

The French section of Languages Online features 35 topics to learn, accompanied by several interactive tasks to practice each.

41. Lingo Hut

Featuring 109 lessons in French, each category has fun activities and French games to learn vocabulary.

42. Whack-a-Word

In Whack-a-Word, you must act fact choose right English translation of words in French.

43. Memorama

This memory game will help you learn vocabulary for increasingly difficult topics.

French Party Games

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44. Karaoke

All you need to add karaoke to your party are French songs with lyrics and microphone. You can easily find karaoke versions on songs on YouTube.

45. Scattergories

Compile a list of categories and pick a letter at random. Participants need to think of as many words as possible beginning with that letter for each category. Award bonus points to those who come up with words no one else does.

46. Trivia

Make up your own questions or find some online. Play in teams to help each other out with understanding questions and figuring out answers.

47. Qui Suis Je?

You can easily turn the classic Who Am I? into French. Everyone receives a card with the name of a famous person (it’s even better if you use French celebrities). Stick the cards to your foreheads and ask questions in French to figure out who you are.

48. Maman, veux-tu?

Mother, May I? is a great game to enjoy practicing French in a group. Add complex commands that will be difficult to understand to make it a challenge for players to reach the finish line.

49. Sabine a dit

Sabine a dit is Simon Says in French. Start easy, gradually increasing the difficulty until only one player is left standing.

50. Pétanque

Take your daytime party outdoors to play pétanque. Keep score by calling out numbers in French.

Playing French games will only get you so far. If you want to master the language, avoid mistakes, and learn proper pronunciation, you need to learn with a private tutor. Search for a qualified teacher in your area to gain more from playing French games.

 

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