Le Dernier Mot: The Sky is Falling!

Yesterday I darted back and forth like a chicken beneath a falling sky. A violent wind caused my hair to fly up, twirling around me as I retrieved scattered laundry near the base of my clothesline. I snatched...
The River Nive weaves its way through Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in Pays Basque

Great Travel Destinations: French Basque Country

Europe’s best surfing, the chic coastal town of Biarritz, the proud Basque culture and language, the rolling foothills of the Pyrenees, even a ski resort… the French Pays Basque is one of France’s most varied and distinct...

Le Dernier Mot: Shopping Delights in La Motte

"I think the translation is ‘hardware store’,” I say to my dad as we enter our town’s old quincaillerie. Ducking beneath the rainbow of market baskets which hang over the entrance, my belle-mère is giddy: “I used to...
Space Invader at Rue du Temple in Paris

Read the Signs: Rue du Temple in Paris

It is one of the oldest streets in Paris, running 1,335 metres and linking Rue de Rivoli and Place de la République. Rue du Temple is named after the Knights Templar, who set up their headquarters in Paris in 1140, building a...
"The Bonjour Effect"

Book Reviews: The Bonjour Effect

This fascinating and well-researched book offers an invaluable insight into the rules, codes, eccentricities and etiquette of French conversation. All of the traditional guidelines that we adhere to in normal English exchanges simply don’t apply when conversing in French, and where the most...

Le Français: The Common Language in the New World

Nearly a century before the Pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 to Plymouth, now Cape Cod, the French ran a thriving fur trading business from eastern Canada and southward into what became the...
sheep

Le Dernier Mot: Between You, Me and the Gatepost

The day I stopped believing I was a bad student, I could finally start to relax and absorb the lessons floating all around me. Idioms were a new and delightful discovery; expressions such as revenons à nos moutons (‘let’s...
Avenue de Champagne

Read the Signs: Avenue de Champagne

One of the most famous streets in France, the Avenue de Champagne is located in Épernay, in the Grand Est region of France. The name originates from the many renowned champagne houses alongside, with names such as Moët Chandon, Mercier, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouët...
a vintage postcard from the Paris Puces

My Life in Paris: Lost in Translation

It was summertime and the learning was easy in the tiny classroom in the village-like Paris neighbourhood of Butte-aux-Cailles. Everything felt possible – not only conversing with my grouchy neighbourhood fromager, but also winning him over with some fluent...
A French pharmacy

Le Dernier Mot: Complimenting a Frenchwoman

Mom and I are in the village pharmacy, having made a beeline here from the doctor’s office. We’re in luck when one of the three counter stations instantly opens. We step up to the comptoir, where I hand...