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Grab Bag: Summer 2018’s Agenda de Ministre

August 31, 2018

The end of the Côte d’Azur’s scorching canicule marks the close of French Lesson’s 2018 season.  We look back over the summer months and a fast-paced, so-called agenda de ministre, to highlight some of the season’s fun, intriguing, and jaw-dropping stories that didn’t yet make these pages.

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Tough Love: Home Upkeep in the Côte d’Azur

August 23, 2018

What’s a season of French Lessons without a look behind the scenes at home maintenance?  But far from being a tired subject, Bellevue and all her woes bring out the best stories – even if we always seem to find ourselves at the butt-end of the joke.

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French Roads: Putting on the Brakes?

August 8, 2018

Patient drivers and dribbling vehicle speeds are hardly hallmarks of the French Riviera’s autoroutes, but the local government does invite some offenders to courses that try to rehabilitate their skills.  French Lessons welcomes back our speed demon friend Rachael – and her quick wit.

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IT’S STILL NOT EASY: TEEN SWIMSUIT SHOPPING, DEUX

July 26, 2018

One swimsuit isn’t enough for a teenaged girl in the Côte d’Azur.  Following a heroic soul-destroying outing in Antibes to buy Lolo a bikini, my daughter still needs a suit that is a bit, well, bigger for camp in Ontario’s woodlands.  French Lessons continues its search in laid-back Juan-les-Pins.

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DOING BATTLE IN THE LANGUAGE OF MOLIÈRE

July 16, 2018

Jemma, the author of French Lessons, thinks she’s pas mal – not bad – at speaking the French language. But whether from the good locals of her hometown in the Côte d’Azur, or from Philippe (her French-Canadian husband) or Lolo (her fluent teen), she never seems to get much encouragement.

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It’s Not Easy: Teen Swimsuit Shopping in Antibes

June 29, 2018

Lolo and I embark on a trip into our Côte d’Azur town to find a couple swimsuits.  It will be a carefree – even a joyful – mother-daughter excursion as we shop for my willowy 13-year old.  All goes well, until my easygoing teen shuts herself into the change cabin.

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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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