The Beautiful Language

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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French: One Language Divided by Two Lingos

July 14, 2015

When our favourite taxi driver arrives at Bellevue dressed in a canary yellow dress and rhinestone high-heels – all dressed up to the nines – she unwittingly launches a debate over les deux françaises.   Who knew that French French and Quebecois French could be so different for little apparent reason?

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French Language: Form Over Substance

July 4, 2013

Mastering the French language is fairly impossible if you begin as an adult, but local endorsements of your competence en français can bring a certain self-satisfaction – until, of course, you’re put in your place.  Thanks to manicures and blue cheese, we learn it’s more than a wide vocabulary and decent grammatical sense that holds the key to success.

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Rentrée: Re-Entry After a Côte d’Azur Summer

August 29, 2012

Before returning to Canada, we review the summer’s blog posts and consider how over the years we North Americans have become part of the heady mosaic of summertime Antibes.  But as our family contemplates leaving, it takes an outside voice to remind us how well-adapted we’ve become to the Côte d’Azur’s famous high-season antics.

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Fast Food – à la Côte d’Azur

August 9, 2012

The glitz and glam of the Côte d’Azur even seeps into its pizzas and burgers.  Where else do you find lobster, foie gras and truffles as must-have ingredients than in this world of fast food haute couture?  Still, there’s one food we North Americans bring to the French table – even if locals put their own, tidy spin on it.

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To Tutoyer or Not To Tutoyer

June 22, 2011

How can the tiny word “tu” cause so many problems for foreigners in France?  I’m suddenly invited into this special world where some locals prefer I call them “you” in the familiar sense.  But their encouragement is fraught with pitfalls – social, grammatical and otherwise.  I’ve been warned:  Once you start using “tu”, you can never go back.

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A Smartphone in France: Bon Courage

June 12, 2011

My first task in this summer’s return to the Côte d’Azur is to purchase a local carte SIM for my new iPhone 4.  A trip to any phone company, of course, hardly comes without heart-pumping anxiety – and that’s especially true when you’re an American woman discussing brand spanking new cellular technology with a Frenchman.  In a foreign language.

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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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How Ice Cream (Oddly Enough) Made Antibes Home

July 1, 2010

Returning to Antibes is nothing short of a homecoming.  Nearly a year has passed since our family lived here in the Côte d’Azur, but we immediately re-find our roots through a “scary boy” from school, an invitation to a so-called apéritif dinatoire, the return of “our” topless sunbather and – importantly – a heartwarming association with the gelato.

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