A lot of folks tell me they are afraid to visit France because they don't speak French. I agree that it is very nice to speak French, but most Americans don't have a foreign language option in school and if they do, it is Spanish. That shouldn't keep you from visiting France.
Most younger French people speak at least a little English and many speak it fluently. The French love to help people so if you are struggling with the language, they will help you. If they don't speak your language, they will find someone who does.
It helps if you start the exchange with, "Parlez vous anglais?" (Do you speak English?) This gives them a chance to mentally switch to English and you'll both be fine. English is a second language in many French schools. However, near borders, that changes. In Alsace near the German border, the second language is German and English would be a third language. In the Catalan regions of France near Spain, Spanish is the second language. In southeast France, Italian would be the second language taught in schools. Many will speak some English but it's difficult for them so be patient and willing to try your questions in several different ways.
We've learned a lot of French over the years but we've discovered when we start with "bonjour" that we are nearly always answered in English. Try to learn hello, good-bye, please and thank you if you don't learn anything else and you will be fine, especially in the cities.
Here's a good on-line translator if you want to experiment. Reverso Translator Online
You can also often highlight text, right click on top of it and scroll down to "Translate with . . . . " and get a pretty good idea of what you are trying to read.
When you write to Tourist Offices in France for information, feel free to write in English and you will probably be answered in English. I try to write in both English and French hoping they will understand one of them and nearly always get my answer in English
Don't avoid France because you can't speak French. It's lovely if you can, but it is simply not necessary. The French are very helpful and will do whatever they can to assist you.
On Aug 28, 1944, the city of Nice was liberated from German occupation by the Allied Army to put the end of WWII in this area. A commemoration ceremony is held every year by the Monument to the Fallen in Quai Rauba Capeu. It's a special occasion for collectors to ride valuable military vehicles of the period, including heavy tanks, into an organized parade. Original uniforms, civilian clothing of the 40s, plenty of flags and the low passages of a P-51 Mustang aircraft over the beach are worth to be seen.
2013 Video 1
2013 Video 2
2012 France3 TV
The story of the most famous bicycle race n the world and a national past time enjoy by members of my family here that goes out to meet the tour. I have been with four rendevous so would to encourage all to see along the beautiful roads of France. This is the story:
Around two thousand people swirled around the Inn Au Reveil Matin (the alarm clock) on July 1, 1903, at the 15:16 pm at Montgeron, 20 km from Paris. Sixty cyclists would start a tour by bicycle throughout entire France: 19 days to traverse the hexagon on the French map, in six stages, 2,428 km by unpaved roads, with machines around the twenty kilos of weight (more tools and food-filled bags), with a single fixed-gear, without possibility of change of bike, or receiving mechanical assistance or refreshment in career. The current Paris-Dakar Riete.Little more than one century ago, the French count Mede de Sivrac had invented in 1790 celerifero, with wheels of wood, without pedals. And was only fourteen years since it will host the first road test that record: London-Brighton, 96 km. won English Charlie Spencer, who completed the course in just over six hours, to 15 km/h.As always: the English invented the sport and the French make it reach all over the world. The first big race, of course, was held in France, in 1890: Paris-Brest-Paris, 1,620 miles nonstop. 575 Cyclists came out, reached four. Charles Terrot, Victor, took 71 hours.
Then they'll come, among others, the Bordeaux (1891) and Paris-Roubaix (1896), races organized Pierre Griffard, director of Le Velo (bike), magazine specialising in cycling, with pages in green, which already published 80,000 copies at that time.
Their advertising rates seemed an abuse to Gustave-Adolphe Clément, bicycle manufacturer, who persuaded the brothers Edouard and André Michelin to co-sponsor another magazine: L'Auto-Vélo, with yellow pages. They hired as administrator Victor Goddet (father of Jacques Goddet, then director of the Tour) and as director of the publication to Henri Desgrange, exciclista, journalist and director of the Parc des Princes velodrome.Griffard won the lawsuit and the new magazine had to remove from its headwaters the word veil, to stay only in l'Auto (in 1946 would become L'Equipe). It was a setback for the new publication that needed a bombshell to survive.On November 20, 1902, at coffee Zimmer (then Restaurant Madrid and now T.G.I. Friday's), in the Montmartre Boulevard in Paris, Henri Desgrange met a young 23-year-old journalist, Geo Léfevre, which you had hinted at the possibility of doing a cycling race around France. Lefevre has in his memoirs that his idea seemed to him senseless when Desgrange asked him if had been the economic cost, huge distances, control of runners, the refreshment at finish line.
However, Desgrange decided to go ahead. He consulted with Victor Goddet and 16 February announcing career in l'Auto: "the Tour de France. The largest sports event". It was played from May 31 to July 5. But within a week of the close of registration have had only targeted fifteen cyclists. Desgrange lowered the fee of twenty to ten francs, created a diet of five francs per day for the first 50 who finished the test, increased the awards up to a total of 20,000 francs, reduced the distance and duration of three to four weeks, and postponed the beginning July 1, to finish 19th of the same month. Desgrange was raised that if fifty cyclists are not enlisting test would be suspended.Finally signed up 78 cyclists, which would start from 60 to 2,428 km in six stages, with home in Paris and goals in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and final at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Sixties would become 21 to the final goal. The best was Maurice Garin, born in Aviers (Italy), but nationalized French. He completed the journey in 94 hours, 33 minutes and 14 seconds, with an average of 26,450 km/h, and excelled to the runner-up, René Pottier, in almost three hours (2 h 59:21).GEO Léfevre was the only journalist to career. He was going to exit, took the train to get off halfway through stage one of the controls, assisted by collaborators of L'Auto, in which cyclists pounced to take the only pencil, sign before everyone else and restart the March, and had to be at the finish line, it was also the timekeeper. And then sent his Chronicles, in which described the plight of cyclists by dusty roads, night and day, thousand incidents that were submitted. It had only two employees, one that came out the day before to set controls and another that is responsible for giving the green light output and in goal.
The race was a success from the start. In all cities, crowds thronged to see the arrival of cyclists. L'Auto went from selling 20,000 copies, to 65,000 and over the years was increasing its circulation to the 850,000 in 1933. Magazine thumped her veil and neither they endured competition sports publications that came out after (L' élan and Le Sport). L'Equipe remains the only sports daily of France, the largest circulation, including general information.The Tour reaches this year its Edition number one hundred (was suspended ten years because of the two world wars). Today, more than five thousand people make up the caravan of the race, including organization, equipments, journalists and advertising Caravan. More than seven million congregate in the ditches along the Tour and countless which sit before the TV for more than two hundred countries that is retransmitted.
The spectacular nature of the race, has become of one of the greatest sports phenomena around the world.
a phenomenon that started with the Breton Breizh Cola a huge success, giving a good run for the money on Coca/Pepsi in my area now is spreading all over France.
The Alsaciens continue with Elsass Cola,http://www.sourcesdesoultzmatt.fr/proj1/elsass-cola/
and the Normans with Meuh Cola,http://www.la-meuh.fr/
and again the Corsicans with Corsica Cola…http://www.brasseriepietra.com/fr/sodas/corsica-cola/
Now its Paris time to come up with one. Two companies are just started commercial use of them 100% Parisien.
They will be available in the next week in several counters of small grocery stores in the region. And hoping for the supermarkets early in summer 2013. the names Paris Cola and ParisgoCola.
Paris Cola is for the high end and chic with a nice logo with the backdrop of the Tour Eiffel, the bottle is plastic, and the taste different ,done with beet sugar from the dept of the Essonne dept 91 according to the founder Yves Guilloux
The other is ParisgoCola, the more people price wise. The commercial are gear to the suburbs with fancy street wise slogans such as the Parigot is not undrinkable,and the Parigot have derrieres. The creator is Bruno Vaussenat with a cola with less sugar, and a taste of cherry.
The test will be on the Parisiens with the help of the bastion of visitors if they like it. Yves Guilloux is sure with its bottle of Paris Cola 1,5 liters sold for 1,38 € (suggested price) cheaper than the original Coca-Cola .
Bruno Vaussenat, has still not decided on the price for his ParisgoCola.
Would it be the beginning of a Parisien success or a bomb? You can play into it:cheers
Check for Public Holidays during the period of your visit to France. Service can be curtailed during public holidays. Some tourist sites may be closed. I always highlite "Mondays" on my holiday planner for the same reason. It pays to check ahead for opening hours before wasting time.
example of my single A4 page planner.
Each year the French observe eleven main holidays:
1 January New Year's Day (Jour de l'an) ; 1 May Labor Day (Fête du premier mai) ;
8 May WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai) ; 14 July Bastille Day (Fête nationale) ; 15 August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption) ; 1 November All Saints Day (La Toussaint) ; 11 November Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice) ; 25 December Christmas Day (Noël) plus Feast Days
You should also be aware of the unofficial holidays which the French take if a holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday. The Monday or Friday may well be "bridged" up to "le weekend" ie. four day break. "Faire le pont". Make the bridge. I have been criticized for mentioning this in vt Forum postings- "There is no such term in the French Language," I've been told. As someone who has suffered delays to the start of my vacation because of French workers not being aware of this advice, I can assure you no matter what the practice is called "the extra- looong weekend" is not uncommon.
You should also be aware of some of the French Traditions associated with holidays especially if you are staying with French families.
Taking chrysanthemums to someone's house could cause embarrassment.
Note also the 5 weeks annual leave enjoyed by the French. During the traditional holiday month of August, a large percentage of French people are on vacation staying in their country houses. Some services may be unavailable; restaurants closed and traffic via roads and rail will be higher especially at & around the larger cities at start/end of vacation.
May I be so bold as to add this tip to the 250 similar ones under "Local Customs" in an effort to correct the inadequacies of 247 of them.
Make the effort to learn some French if you are not au fait with the basics.
If you make the effort to speak just a little French, you will be rewarded with a better interaction with the locals.
Be aware that the French are ritualistically polite so if you are too lazy to learn much French, at least know the common greetings and thank yous.
Typically, one greets the shopkeeper with "Bonjour Madam" or some such and then the other customers as well eg "Bonjour Mesdames &/or Messieurs". If you are staying in one place for a while, shopping every day at the same place or greeting your hotel staff, you will be setting up a harmonious relationship by doing so. Your efforts will be appreciated. Most important : SMILE!
What is the common talking point around the world to open a conversation?? The weather of course. So learn a few phrases on the weather. "Ou est le soleil?" Where is the sun?
Better still. have a few phrases for complimenting the good weather, the fine food, the beautiful countryside. Everyone loves to hear good things spoken about their nation!
To assist the learning process, find someone living near you with whom you can practice your French. "Think" in French as you drive to work. Use some French in context as you do things "arrete ici" , "stop here" at the lights. turn left go ahead etc etc etc
Purchase & Play the French language CD in the car on your shopping expedition.
Check out your local Adult Education resources ....schools &/or church groups often have French for beginners.
Now to correct the stated inadequacies. Link(s) to Free French Lessons:
For free lessons - Try the BBC Language site
This site has a 12 weeks basic course among other interactive lessons ( Cool French, for example)...........................& no charge to use (gratuitement)
Also Pour Vous Paris for more than just some language tips
Rocket French have a pay-to-use French Course
France is once told it is difficult to govern when you have 465 different cheeses , this was said by Gen Charles de Gaulle. Now it seems they have multiply and it could reach close to a thousands
Here we have cheese always with the meal. They are taken after the main plate, and before the dessert, usually serve with four or five kinds at a time but could be just one if within close family.
you have the soft in style
Delice de Bourgogne
the semi soft
Tomme de Savoie
and the blues
Bleu de Gex
then you have those by flavor
such as the mild
Delice de Bourgogne
the medium mild
then here are the strong
Tomme de Savoie
and of course the Bold
Bleu de Gex
The we really go down by animal and we say those that comes from the COW
Bleu de Gex
Delice de Bourgogne
Tomme de Savoie
we do those by goat milk
Chabichou du Poitou
Chabichou du Poitou (aged)
and those that comes from sheep's milk
and we have those that identify a region like Munster in Alsace. Auvergne with blue d'auvergne and cantal, Fourme d'Ambert ,and Saint Augur.
Burgundy comes in with delice de Bourgogne;and Époisses
Champagne is not left behind with Chaource, and Langres
Corsica comes with Brocciu
Franche-Comté comes with Bleu de Gex , Comté, Mont d'Or , and Morbier
Ile de France has the king of cheeses or the cheese of kings, the Brie, but also Coulommiers,and Brillat-Savarin
The Loire Valley is a wonderful place for cheeses too, staring with Port Salut,and all the goat cheeses
Midi Pyrénees, has the Bethmale ,Laguiole;and the mythical Roquefort
Normandy has the wonderful Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel, and Pont l'Evêque
the north on Pas de Calais, we have the Mimolette
The Pays Basque has some of my favorites Ossau-Iraty
Rhone Alpes, Savoie, has where we go skiing at Abondance,Beaufort, Emmental,Fromager d'Affinois ,Raclette, and Reblochon
Well France has many languages too, its just not officially recognise.
The official language is French, as per the Constitution ARt 2. But even this has many regional variations. The government does it sbest to keep thru organisations like the Francophonie org, at webpage
A report has been done in 1999 recognising 75 language in all French territories, 24 of which comes from France itself. There is even more people speaking Spanish (485k) here officially than where I live now Breton (280k).
Some of these languages are
Bourguignon-Morvandiau , Champenois or Campanois, Franc-Comtois, French, Gallo, Lorrain, Norman, Picard; Poitevin ,Saintongeais, Walloon, Angevin; Manceau; Mayennais; Romande;Vivaroalpenc, Auvergnat, Gascon, Béarnese (Béarnais), Landese (Landais), Languedocien, Limousin, Nissart (Niçois or Niçart); Provençal; Arpitan; Bressan; Dauphinois; Forèzien, Jurassien; Lyonnais; Savoyard; Corsican (Corsu); Catalan, Alsatian (Elsässerdeutsch), West Flemish dialect of Dutch, Lorraine Franconian aka Lothringen; Breton or Brezhoneg, and Basque aka Euskara.
a bit of more history from Wikipedia
The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts of 1539 made French the administrative language of the kingdom of France for legal documents and laws. Previously, official documents were written in medieval Latin, which was the language used by the Roman Catholic Church.After 1918, the use of German in Alsace-Lorraine was outlawed. In 1925, Anatole de Monzie, Minister of public education, stated that "for the linguistic unity of France, the Breton language must disappear." As a result, the speakers of minority languages began to be shamed when using their own language – especially in the educational system – and over time, many families stopped teaching their language to their children and tried to speak only French with them.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, at this gathering, the French signed it but later retracted as it conflicted with the constitution. This was about 1992, and the charter contains 98 articles of which signatories must adopt a minimum of 35 (France signed 39).
Many schools have sprung starting to teach these languages ,and I can say in Brittany there are about 700k students taking Breton. Some of these school movements are Diwan in Brittany, Ikastola in the Basque country, Calandreta in Occitania, Bressola in Northern Catalonia.
The launching of the Breton TV Breizh in 2000 was intended to offer wider coverage of Breton. However, Breton-language programme schedules gradually decreased in favour of French-language broadcasting, until in 2010 they totally disappeared.
Here here the French languages on audio video
and an European site on European languages with country representation
So no matter the law and the pressure, many regional languages does live on, and we can distinguish them in talking especially in the market days in any town in France.
The French government designates Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. There are strict criteria for the choices and you really can't go wrong searching them out. There are 156 villages on the list (out of about 32,000 French villages) and they must apply and meet the following standards:
(1) Have a maximum population of 2,000 inhabitants
(2) have at least 2 protected sites or monuments.
(3) The decision must be voted by the city council (community support)
This means you will see a lovely small town, at least two things of touristic interest and you will deal with a friendly community. There is usually parking in or very near the village and these are small villages so it's easy to walk everyplace. You'll find people happy to discuss their village with you and there will be charming restaurants and shops and lots of flowers in season.
Check the web site for the area you are planning to visit. There are Plus Beaux Villages in all parts of France although the more scenic parts have more pretty villages. We always devote at least a day to visiting the PBVs and have returned to several many times.
go to the best after been to many over the years in Europe, Strasbourg, France
hpe it helps,and need to book fast, by now most will be booked, it is very popular.
A French invention which I have never seen out side of France but no doubt performances are held where ever there is a suitable building.
At night, special lighting is used to highlight features of a grand building , Cathedral of Reims, for example. Recorded sound is played in-sync with the changing light show. Sound could be music and commentary or quotations from literature or history etc.
We have enjoyed the shows that we have seen so far. Features of the buildings which we had not even noticed during daylight visits were shown and explained.
During your trip research, check with tourist bureau sites on the net re Son et Lumiere shows in the town you are planning to visit.
Be prepared to stay up late during mid summer as the sun doesn't set until quite late.
The birth of Normandy began in the year 795AD. Viking fleets were in the English channel, driven
by famine and cold weather, when they happened up on the tiver Siene. The Vikings carried up the Siene until they reached Paris, smashing and pillaging everything on their way.
France at the time ,was made up from many feudal landowners, because of this, the Vikings were able to carry on their destruction and devastation as there was no kind of army to fight back and stop them. This all carried on for over a century and the local people started calling the Vikings, 'Le Normans,' because obviously they were from the North. No one seemed to be able to protect the people from all of the death and destruction, but in the end the pillaging and looting faded down net to nothing because there was actually nothing left to pillage! But at least the population was able to get back to some sense of normality. The people were now able to resist somewhat when the attacks happened now, but they still couldn't push the Vikings back permanently, it was stalemate.
At the end of his tether, King Charles III, 'The simple," decided to negotiate wth the viking leader, Rollo. Rollo was offered the city and the surrounding lands from for protection from future invasions. The treaty for this was signed at St-Clair-sur-Epte in the year of 911.
So this is how the Duchy of Normandy came in to being and Rouen being made as it's capital city.
Translation will follow soon...
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"A digital iron? It's like an iron, but digital... ;-)"
The modernisation of French society as seen by the jaundiced eye of Voutch, drawing taken from his album: Le grand tourbillon de la vie (pub. le Cherche midi éditeur, Paris, 1998.)
This open cupboard with netting (to keep the flies out) is a common object in French kitchens.
Cheese is kept in here in perfect condition, especially if you keep it in a cool larder or cellar. My friends gave me one as a present. I also saw them in all shapes and sizes at town markets.
BTW: can anyone tell me what the French word is for this object?
The relevant law is Loi Godard of 19 July 1933. It does not fix the % but imposes 3 principles:
-sums collected must go 100% to all front line employee (i.e. who have contacts with clients - this is generally also extended to kitchen staff but this is not a legal obligation;
-the manager must prove that he is indeed collecting & how much was collected;
-the manager must be able to show how the sums were distributed among elligible employees.
The rate itself is at the discretion of each business but generally between 12% and 15%
An executive order (décret) dated 27 March 1987 states that in establishments that are imposing a service charge (and therefore use it to pay its staff), then the price displayed must be inclusive of VAT and service and menus and all other documents displayed for clients must state 'service compris' or 'prix nets' as well as the applied percentage. There is a fine for non-compliance. Note; there is a slight technicality b/w 'compris' and 'nets' but I'm not going into it.
If the staff does not get any % but only a fixed salary, then this notice is not compulsory.
It is also possible to leave the service charge 'to the discretion of the client' but then such a notice must be displayed instead. I have never seen this anywhere in France in 42 years but it is an option.
Now, do you have to pay the service charge? Yes!
In France, there are two different concepts and therefore two different words:
"service" this part of the price displayed & part of the price you must pay: think of it as being an integral part of the price but you are informed of how much of what you pay will go direct to the staff. It is not optional.
"pourboire" (meaning roughly: "to buy yourself a drink") this is entirely optional and no-one can ask you to pay this. If you decide, it will be on top of the displayed prices & generally a very small sum - you've already paid a service charge, remember?
That is why it is not possible to withheld the service charge, it is not divisible from the price, by ordering, you have agreed to pay the price as displayed (with the service charge included in that displayed price), but nothing forces you to add the discretionnary 'pourboire' if you think you got exceptional service.
The Four Seasons George V is truly one of the world's great hotels. I really, really love to stay...more
In the center of Nice. Short walk to the port, old nice and the beach. Fantastic view of the...more
1190ff per room per night. Superb location, excellent standard of decoration and lovely public...more
More Regions in France