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...
Rue des Mauvais Garçons

Read the Signs: Rue des Mauvais Garçons in Paris

At the heart of the Marais district in old Paris, many of the old medieval streets have retained their names. The origins of one such lane can be traced at least back to the 12th century. Much of the street...
Immersion France, the app

Editor’s App Choice: Immersion France

Language learning in France is big news (it’s the second most widely learned language in the world), bringing in thousand of visitors to the country. Estimates show that more than 130,000 students and foreigners arrive each year in...
a scene in the south of France

Le Dernier Mot: An Internet Pause in Provence

Now is a time to sit and listen. I try to ignore the temptation to go upstairs and work on the computer. Email can wait. So can senseless surfing. This is where I need to be: facing my belle-mère,...
A street sign on the rue du Chat-qui-Pêche

Read the Signs: Rue du Chat qui Pêche in Paris

The Rue du Chat qui Pêche, literally the street of the fishing cat, is not only notable for being the narrowest in Paris but also for an eerie ghost story. The street, perpendicular to Rue de la Huchette, gives on...
2CV

Le Dernier Mot: Fuzzy Dice at the French Auto Parts Store

There I am, wandering aimlessly through an auto-parts store, killing time. I have come here to pick up a repaired pneu, but the man behind the counter has told me it’s not ready yet and has asked me...