Hello.

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

For last year's words belong to last year's language,
And next year's words await another voice.
TS Eliot
Learn English in January

France

mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
As most of you know, I live in France. France is number one country in the world for tourism (as much due to its location I believe), but it is famous for many things: its cuisine, the Eiffel Tower, its cheeses and wines, the Alps and skiing... the list is endless.

They are also quite infamous for being bad at speaking English, though this is slowly changing.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20191105/why-the-french-are-getting-a-bit-better-at-speaking-english?fbclid=IwAR0XPC-xj06UPzqXqf0THAkRv44Ro4OZ5WWMiF3wK65eeUykKmM1rI2UVHY

Of course the history of France and Britain is closely entwined and I don't think the English have ever forgiven William the Conqueror for invading in 1066.



For me though, French cuisine must count as one of the very best (along with Italian and a few others....) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_cuisine

Have you ever tried any French dishes? What are your favourites? I have too many but a local dish I particularly like is the Salade Nicoise.





Tagged:
«13

Comments

  • VokVok Posts: 2,306 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I've tried snails, foie gras and frog legs in France for the first time in my life. I have to say it was the only time I ate any of these. Frog's legs taste like chicken, though. Also, I've tried onion soup and left the restaurant on empty stomach. I remember it being quite pricey. Only home made red wine saved the day and made up for the small portion of the soup.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    Did France really invade? Can we really associate the Duke of Normandy's expedition with France? Moreover, his claim to the English throne was probably legitimate, though I don't know for sure. Anyway, an outcome of this is that HRM Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is also Duke of Normandy (and not Duchess).
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    When I was watching "The treaty of Westphalia" video on Youtube (a part from the "Complete and Utter History of Everything") I noticed that the French ambassador by Hugh Laurie was wearing a tricolour baige what was an anachronism, since the French revolution was still to happen in more than two hundred years. He should have been wearing three fleur-de-lys of the monarchial France instead. But would the British public have understood it?
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    My daughter once considered ordering a bouillabaisse being in Marseille. But that restaurant had attached an 50ish euro price tag to it, which didn't seem reasonable enough for her.
    As for me, I was in Paris in 2004 what was actually my first holiday abroad and the prices were high enough for a cultural shock (such as a 3.5 euro Coke can) so I chose to not try the local restaurants.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    What do you mean by 'local restaurants' @Practical_Severard. I tend to distinguish between local restaurants being more for locals, therefore usually quite reasonable in price, and tourist or fine dining places that will be more expensive. I would consider a price tag of 50 euro for a bouillabaise a bit on the expensive side, but I guess it would depend what it came with.

    Paris is expensive wherever you go. But again it depends where you order you glass of Coke. Even here in Nice it can vary from that sort of price to half this, if you're in a more local place.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    mheredge said:

    What do you mean by 'local restaurants' @Practical_Severard.

    Well, I meant the parisian ones in the area we lived (near Opéra Bastille) and where we tended to be walking.
    mheredge said:


    Paris is expensive wherever you go. But again it depends where you order you glass of Coke. Even here in Nice it can vary from that sort of price to half this, if you're in a more local place.

    It was a vending machine in the hotel. The hotel itself was cheap enough (100 eur for a three persons room per night) but they've renovated it since that time.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    Ah @Practical_Severard this explains why. It's a central and quite expensive area. I remember being put in a hotel around here by my employer and was very glad indeed that I wasn't paying.

    France isn't cheap, and thought the UK used to be more expensive, I guess they are roughly the same now with the fall in the pound against the euro. Italy is quite a bit cheaper. As soon as you get away from Paris (and Nice) however, prices are a lot cheaper here.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    The French have a distinct culture and can sometimes find foreigners quite confusing. This article seems a very accurate commentary on some of the most obvious things.

    http://paris.expatriatesmagazine.com/7-things-about-foreigners-that-confuse-the-french/?fbclid=IwAR3PFmPC6dYw6dcr-HDdk5_l_Flq8hKpzNGEJR3dM624oO2hzQTn0wiXZbA

  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    mheredge said:

    The French have a distinct culture and can sometimes find foreigners quite confusing. This article seems a very accurate commentary on some of the most obvious things.

    http://paris.expatriatesmagazine.com/7-things-about-foreigners-that-confuse-the-french/?fbclid=IwAR3PFmPC6dYw6dcr-HDdk5_l_Flq8hKpzNGEJR3dM624oO2hzQTn0wiXZbA

    I was told that the French sacred lunchtime was observed even during riots. The police and protesters are having their packed food and wine. No stones being hurled, no cars being set ablaze, no baton strikes and the water cannons are idling. Still they do resume after they've done with their food.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    A bit like the First World War ceasefire on Christmas Day @Practical_Severard. Meal time in France is sacred.

    I was bemused by a French friend insisting that for today's sketching around the old town in Nice, an event I have organised, that I needed to find a restaurant to suggest we meet at for lunch. I'm more used to people doing their own thing and maybe bringing a sandwich or going off for a quick bite somewhere.

    I did my homework and found the place she recommended and will call them to reserve a table later when I can confirm numbers. Since predictably the weather forecast has changed (no rain after all), there might be a big turn out.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    Shorts (a translated post by a Russian blogger @Vok, do you think this is true?)

    I’m often asked the question if one can wear shorts in France and what Frenchmen would think about it. Especially in this summer which was outstandingly hot. I always answer the same: “you surely can!” But then I need to get into details because it’s not quite a simple issue. France is a free country and you can wear shorts anytime and everywhere excluding, maybe, expensive restaurants maintaining a dress code, and religious institutions which don’t exactly want to see bare legs in their premises.

    Now, if you worn shorts would you be classy? Would you mix into the crowd? Wouldn’t Parisians avoid you? Wouldn’t pickpockets take you for their rightful prey? It might be.

    The reality isn’t so black and white as some people prefer to see it. What you’re wearing isn’t so much of an issue in Paris, it’s rather how you’re wearing it and, in many cases, who is wearing. When my fabulously stylish friends (be them men or women) are wearing shorts they look fantastic. But some people will never look well-dressed no matter what they are wearing. When Dad is wearing shorts, he looks like a tourist and Frenchmen read it at once.

    It’s not just the shorts, it’s you.

    The truth is that no matter what Dad is wearing everyone sees that he’s a tourist. It’s not just about your shorts; it’s about the whole of your appearance, including your weight, height, hair colour, the things you have on, the way in which you keep yourself, the language you speak, all of them betray you as a tourist. Even if you’re sure that you’ve successfully disguised yourself for a local, most Parisians wouldn’t need more than a single concentrated glance to unmask you as a tourist.

    “Is being dressed badly instead of trying to mix with the locals really a shame?”

    Where you should avoid shorts

    If you’re dining in a fine place, you always want to be dressed well, observing, at least, the everyday style (no shorts, T-shirts or worn clothes). If you’re invited to a Parisian’s house or to an event elsewhere your outfit should fit the occasion. If you don’t want to embarrass yourself or your host and don’t know what to have on, you better ask. If you go shopping to expensive shops, then your attire should be reasonably expensive too, better still if of the same brand, with the place where you’re going. Otherwise you risk being ignored there. So if you’re going to shop for Gucci, be wearing something (maybe shorts) from Gucci. On the other hand, if you’re going for a Parisian night club, don’t wear shorts or you won’t pass the face control.

    When you can wear what you want

    If you’re not a fashion role model, there are some occasions when you can still wear shorts. If you are a tourist (museums, monuments, walking trips, gift shopping) , you eat in ordinary cafeterias and pubs (especially during lunchtime) and you speak only with the tourist industry people, then wear anything you’re comfortable in, including shorts.

    Locals avoid tourist spots. They assume that everyone there is badly dressed, so another tourist in shorts won’t make anyone upset. In short, they don’t like that society theoretically, but in practice they don’t give a damn (and remember, they can always see who you are).

    When nobody cares

    When the temperature in Paris rises above 30 degrees, everyone gets too hot to pay attention who is wearing what. It rarely happens, but still possible. And this case is probably the single chance that you get into society in shorts. Well, probably the global warming will bring us more years like this one, so shorts will have their chances to become comme il faut.
  • VokVok Posts: 2,306 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I don't know @Practical_Severard . It's too much attention to shorts. I think if you're out and about wearing a pair of shorts there's no big deal about it. Just avoid maybe muslim quaters (which is hardly possible in France) but I'm not sure again. If you're going to visit some places or events just check beforehand whether it would be appropriate to show up in shorts.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    I think @Practical_Severard has hit the nail on the head @Vok. He certainly seems to understand the French take on attire. But maybe this is where French culture meets Russian culture?

    I'm not sure you will find anyone wearing shorts in Paris right now as the weather is too cold. However down here I see them all the time, and not just tourists. Usually it's the older French guys and certainly not the chic. And of course your tourists who feel that they must, given that sunshine regardless of the chill in the air demands it.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    mheredge said:

    I think @Practical_Severard has hit the nail on the head @Vok. He certainly seems to understand the French take on attire. But maybe this is where French culture meets Russian culture?

    I can't accept the credit, @mheredge, all I've done is the translation. Russian culture though, has indeed borrowed much from the French one, but we don't pay as much effort on attire, though I think, more than English speaking people, many of whom seem to not give a damn at all. At least the working class.

  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    The first half of the XIX century Russian aristocracy spoke French better than Russian. Denis Davydov, a Russian cavalry officer during the Napoleon’s Russian campaign, wrote:
    “We had to approach every village and explain the peasants that we were the Russian army and had come to help them and the Orthodox Church… We often received a gunshot or an axe strike as an answer. They took us for the enemy because of a poor Russian pronunciation”.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    Is French still popular in Russia @Practical_Severard? I suppose for quite a long time it was a second language taught in many countries. And as I understand, although English is widely spoken in the EU parliament, French is still considered quite important. I am not convinced that the departure of the UK will make too much difference to this however. English is easier to learn plus much more of an international language than perhaps the French would like to believe.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    I remember a talk show
    mheredge said:

    Is French still popular in Russia @Practical_Severard?

    Much less than English, @mheredge. Probably one of seven students learn a language other than English at school and the second place is shared by German and French. For the past thirty years, though, some schools offer a second foreign language, and some middle class parents arrange second language lessons for their children.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    I think it is quite unusual for British kids to take seriously learning a second language, let alone a third one unless they are intent on studying languages at university @Practical_Severard. Brits tend to have the attitude that they don't need to bother learning another language as English is such an important language spoken all over the world (the Americans tend to share this hypothesis). I think that they miss out on a lot.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    mheredge said:

    I think it is quite unusual for British kids to take seriously learning a second language, let alone a third one unless they are intent on studying languages at university @Practical_Severard. Brits tend to have the attitude that they don't need to bother learning another language as English is such an important language spoken all over the world (the Americans tend to share this hypothesis). I think that they miss out on a lot.

    Brits and Americans have a point. Learning a foreign language is a substantial long-term effort and few people would remain firm long enough in it until they have a career or material reason to be fluent in a foreign language. Though, I must admit, learning a second language improves the very way in which a person is thinking, because it much (though not fully) depends on their mother tongue. But the people who would pursue this tend to become university professors.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    I have a French friend who doesn't seem too bothered at not being able to speak any English (I think she can understand a little, when it is spoken slowly) @Practical_Severard She is a keen sketcher who has just moved to Nice from Paris. She's exploring Nice with her sketchbook to draw the different areas in the city. Today we went down to the port and both sketched the same scene, but with very different styles. She's an art teacher and very experienced. I'm just a beginner, so I'm very happy to learn from her.
    It is so interesting how I have found the Italian sketchers who I very much like to hang out with, just across the border, seem much more willing to try out their English, however basic it it. I think they are not so completely paranoid about their accent like French people appear to be. Or is this just the Ligurians @filauzio?

  • HermineHermine Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭
    And not to forget the woderfull gardens in Marseille, it is a masterpiece. Lots of gardeners and landlords have copied it. The gardens are accurate arranged.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    mheredge said:

    I have a French friend who doesn't seem too bothered at not being able to speak any English (I think she can understand a little, when it is spoken slowly) @Practical_Severard She is a keen sketcher who has just moved to Nice from Paris. She's exploring Nice with her sketchbook to draw the different areas in the city. Today we went down to the port and both sketched the same scene, but with very different styles. She's an art teacher and very experienced. I'm just a beginner, so I'm very happy to learn from her.

    The right one looks like by the more experienced artist, nevermind it's unfinished. It's unfinishness demonstrates the right approach of taking down more general parts and detailising them later. The one-point perspective is better too, and the colours are more correct. Do the people use palettes to mix the colours?
    Though the both skethes look too bright for me.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • HermineHermine Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭
    What a wonderful scenery. It looks so summerly. I can't say which one is better succeeded, but you can easily regocnise an affinity.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    Which gardens are you referring to in Marseille? I am not sure where you are referring to @Hermine. I will have to look out for them when I am next there.

    I know that the Palace of Versailles has beautiful gardens. An artist friend here was quizzing me about gardens in Britain too, and I suggested she research Capability Brown to see where his gardens are. He is remembered as "the last of the great English 18th-century artists to be accorded his due" and "England's greatest gardener". He designed over 170 parks, many of which are still to be seen at places like Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, Harewood House, and even traces at Kew Gardens.

    The scene was much brighter than the photo suggests @Practical_Severard. I always find this a problem when taking a photo of the scene. It nearly always looks much darker than the eye sees and almost never shows the colours as seen at the time. I think Nathalie lost patience with all the windows, or maybe my need to get back in time to meet my electrician was why she didn't finish the building on the far right side. (We probably spent about an hour and a half sketching).

    Maybe this photo shows the buildings looked brighter. And yes, the more amateurish picture is mine. Somehow I wasn't able to capture the shades of reds and yellows as well as I wanted. I still have a long way to go mixing colours.


  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    mheredge said:


    The scene was much brighter than the photo suggests @Practical_Severard. I always find this a problem when taking a photo of the scene. It nearly always looks much darker than the eye sees and almost never shows the colours as seen at the time. I think Nathalie lost patience with all the windows, or maybe my need to get back in time to meet my electrician was why she didn't finish the building on the far right side. (We probably spent about an hour and a half sketching).
    Maybe this photo shows the buildings looked brighter. And yes, the more amateurish picture is mine. Somehow I wasn't able to capture the shades of reds and yellows as well as I wanted. I still have a long way to go mixing colours.

    Sure, cameras (and monitors, computers too) usually need much adjusting to produce an accurate representation. The second picture of your sketch looks much nicer.
    You might consider taking up some drawing exercises (with a pencil or something), starting from drawing a carton, a stool, a vase trying to reproduce the correct shape of an object. This is actually what professional artists need to exercise every day to keep the skill.
    Do you have a portable artist's box? It can make sketching very convinient while it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    I have a good teacher (Nathalie who drew the scene with the boat). We sketched in the same spot today, but it was cold and grey, so we concentrated on drawing a couple of little boats that were up on the slipway. Nathalie sketches every day and advises anyone interested in sketching to do the same. I have another sketch pad where I draw odds and ends. I took looks of photos of the faces at a photography exhibition I went to today with the aim to practice drawing faces @Practical_Severard.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    Having a teacher is the key.
    mheredge said:

    I took looks of photos of the faces at a photography exhibition I went to today with the aim to practice drawing faces @Practical_Severard.

    Art students are usually given easier tasks for a start, while the human face is considered the top difficult job. A plaster cube, a stool with right lighting are best to start with the basics of taking down a shape in perspective. A ball, a vase are the next step. In art schools students draw a skull before they proceed to doing plaster casts of a human head. Then they do live models. At this stage many of them appear in museums to draw from sculptures. (Drawing from a photo or a painting isn't a good idea)

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm always trying to run before I can walk @Practical_Severard. My only efforts so far haven't a total disaster but I need more practice. It's a very good exercise in light and shade.



    France is renown for strikes and yesterday there was a big one affecting not only transport workers, but teachers and many others in a protest over the government's proposals to change the pensions.

    Unfortunately the strikes are continuing today so I just have to hope and pray the air traffic controllers at Nice airport don't belong to a union that is on strike today. I am supposed to flying to Sri Lanka this afternoon.

  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,986 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I'm always trying to run before I can walk @Practical_Severard. My only efforts so far haven't a total disaster but I need more practice. It's a very good exercise in light and shade.

    Unfortunately the strikes are continuing today so I just have to hope and pray the air traffic controllers at Nice airport don't belong to a union that is on strike today. I am supposed to flying to Sri Lanka this afternoon.

    You can get nice light-shade combinations with an adjustble lamp on a stand in your room. This would be live unlike any photo. The scene will change whenever you change your position, that's why this way is educative and right. You can also use lightbulbs of different colour shades.

    I watched about the French pension strikes on TV. That looked serious.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 46,490 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes they look like they will continue through December and at least into next week, bringing the country to a standstill. I was very fortunate in Nice that on Friday trams were running to get me to the airport and the air traffic controllers weren't striking either @Practical_Severard.
Sign In or Register to comment.