Humour Me

HOW TO SURVIVE THE FRENCH CAR POUND

August 20, 2017

A dinner party at Bellevue ends badly for one guest when she discovers her car had been towed. French Lessons welcomes our friend Rachael as this summer’s guest contributor with her wrenching-but-hilarious tale about retrieving her car from Antibes’ miserable pound.

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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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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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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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Côte d’Azur Homecoming for a Poodle

July 1, 2016

As French Lessons returns for another summer season, it welcomes a new member to its family: Yoko. Bringing a puppy across borders isn’t for the faint of heart – but it does bring fresh insight to the quintessentially French approach to the art of bureaucracy.

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Photo Essay: Côte d’Azur Life Before the Throngs

July 4, 2014

As the Côte d’Azur prepares for an imminent invasion of the juilletistes (folks who take their holidays during the month of July), French Lessons hightails it out of the country for a few days. But we hardly leave our readers in a lurch! Enjoy a look around our backyard before the follies begin.

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Astérix for Foreigners

July 12, 2013

The popular French cartoon character Astérix invades our household as Philippe introduces Lolo to a childhood favourite.  Like language, we learn that comic strips are best introduced at a young age.  As father and daughter howl over this classic series steeped in double-entendre and edgy cultural stereotyping, I realize the butt of the jokes is often my very (non-French) roots.

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Brittany vs French Riviera: Which is the Real France?

June 15, 2013

Before returning to France’s extreme southeast for the summer, Philippe, Lolo and I stop to visit France’s extreme northwest.  Geography, weather and architecture aside, the country’s regional differences narrow as we encounter a series of typically French displays – namely, strikes.  We extend our northerly stay.  When, finally, will we reach the “real” France?

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Antibes’ École Française de Voile: Come Sail Away

July 15, 2010

Judy and I enroll in a full-on French sailing class through Antibes’ École Française de Voile.  The course unwittingly becomes a swear-fest as we maneuver around Abramovich’s latest megayacht floating serenely in the bay.  We finally learn to tack and jibe (à la française) while marveling at the calming influence of a Frenchman’s love affair with cheese.

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