August 27, 2021

As French Lessons bids readers au revoir from its 2021 edition, we review Lolo’s choice to immerse herself in real French life over the summer. Certainly our teen found the option more palatable than the alternative, an online French class, but with what results?

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Chez Mirazur: French Gastronomie with a teen

August 13, 2020

Once we’d confirmed our flight to the Côte d’Azur this strange summer, our next call was to Mirazur.  Miraculously – at least by last season’s standards – the world’s #1 restaurant had space.  Two adults, and a teenager, pull up chairs at a celebrated table.

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Côte d’Azur Heartbreak: Ode to the Fig

August 1, 2019

. . . or shall we call this post “Fugue to the Figue”?  When we planted Bellevue’s figuier 13 years ago, we’d unwittingly reconnected our home with its past.  This year’s stupendous crop of figs yields its traditional, French delights – and new heartbreak.

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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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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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Bellevue: A Tale of Two 10-Year Olds

August 21, 2015

When my daughter Lolo tags along on a visit to elderly friends, we compare the lives of two 10-year-old girls living within the walls of our home, Bellevue – stories that are separated by a full 75 years. An iPad and a runaway apple remind us of today’s prosperity.

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French Collège: Increasing the Fun Factor

July 29, 2015

France’s education ministry is brewing up plans to reform its collèges, or middle schools, in order to make them more equitable – and with luck, a bit more fun. From dry teaching to unforgiving grading systems and unsavoury attitudes, French Lessons learns the inside scoop from those invested most.

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Côte d’Azur Homecoming: Let Summer Begin!

June 23, 2015

Hop aboard your favourite Uber vehicle and travel with us as we launch French Lessons 2015. A couple young visitors play “spot the difference” between our Canadian hometown and Antibes, our summer home, while a local friend declares, “Ça y est les vacances!” Let summer begin!

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France’s Remaining Optimist: Sailing in Antibes

August 28, 2013

French Lessons offers a round up of this summer’s blog posts – from taxes, history and comic strips, to wine, fashion and celebrity – while sharing one final, forward-looking story.  Antibes’ picturesque bay provides an ideal setting for Lolo’s first sailing class – even if her abounding optimism is hardly what distinguishes her among her peers.

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The Côte d’Azur: The World’s New Silk Road

July 26, 2013

An impromptu wine-tasting, a celebrity invitation and an esteemed golf tournament – all transpiring in a single, long breath of time – blend the foods and talk, traditions and table manners of France, India, Austria, Germany, Russia, China, the United States, Slovakia, Russia, Canada, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia in the Côte d’Azur, a modern-day melting pot.

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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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