How Food Spices Up la Langue Française

July 17, 2017

A trip to the shoe store tells me – to put it the French way – that my daughter soon will eat soup off my head. It’s a startling idea, even without the soup. A velvety potage is one of many ways that French food spices up its mother tongue.

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Ten Ways You Know You’re in the South of France

July 5, 2017

Flourishing figs and the radio’s startling stories. Our pooch’s newly elevated lifestyle, and the famous French bise. They’re all simple, run-of-the-mill pieces of a Côte d’Azur day. . . and yet. We’re summertime regulars, and these ten quirks still catch me out.

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The Côte d’Azur: Our Ritual Return

June 27, 2017

You’d think that by now, after nearly 12 years owning the same home in the South of France, we’d have our annual summer return down pat. Bellevue’s air-conditioner would blow steadily. The WIFI would stand at the ready, and the rosé would sit on ice. How silly we are.

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Grab Bag: Bizarre Summer in the Côte d’Azur

September 3, 2016

Security angst and the burkini make the Côte d’Azur’s Summer of 2016 go down in the record books as being truly bizarre. Of course there were bright spots, too: C’est la France! Enjoy our end-of-season grab bag to close out French Lessons’ tenth season running.

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Doctors’ Corner: A Pain in the Shoulder

August 27, 2016

Debilitating shoulder pain has brought us into conversation with the area’s – and the world’s – survivors, experts and sympathizers. From magnets to gels, exercises to injections, and a machine called nothing less than LIFE itself, we catalogue – French Lessons-style – an amusing (if painful) series of summer advice.

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Photo Essay: Life Aboard a Megayacht

August 19, 2016

What’s the most dazzling thing about the Côte d’Azur? It must be the ultra-swish megayachts anchoring in its sun-drenched, Mediterranean bays. French Lessons invites you onboard one of these floating palaces to holiday with us – or at least to glimpse the bits we can share.

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Working for French Unemployment Benefits

August 12, 2016

In the recent theatre of French labour protests, the world watched the country’s unemployment woes unfurl into the streets – but what about the unemployed themselves? In typical French Lessons fashion, Jo shares with us – up close and personal – how tough it can be to draw the benefits.

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Style: Yoko Heads to a French Groomer

August 5, 2016

Securing a rendez-vous with a dog groomer in the Côte d’Azur summertime is harder than it ought to be. But French Lessons eventually uncovers an available spot at a local salon de toilettage – and a delightful woman who gives Yoko her first haircut à la française.

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July 29, 2016

As French Lessons treads into the middle of the Côte d’Azur’s acclaimed summer season, we pause, catch our breath, and revel in a jumble of what makes the French Riviera so dazzling, so bewitching. But spoken or not this summer, one topic seems to cut through all the fun.

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Unexpected Email: Bellevue’s Earliest Residents

July 22, 2016

French Lessons receives an unexpected gift: an out-of-the-blue email that introduces us to the earliest residents of our seaside home, Bellevue. After years of research and forged connections, often from unlikely places, we introduce readers to the family who may have been Bellevue’s first occupants.

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Nice: Paradise Lost

July 15, 2016

French Lessons pares down its pen this week in recognition of our neighbour, Nice – and in tribute of the French spirit to Restez Calme et Tenez Bon. Keep Calm and Carry On.

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The European Union Laid Bare by a Spare Part

July 8, 2016

Bellevue’s air-conditioning is again on the fritz, but this time the repairman doesn’t fire us. Instead, along with an ingenious and swifter-than-merited resolution, he offers French Lessons an unconventional glimpse into the inner workings of the European Union.

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