The Perfect Picnic Starts at L'Epicerie du Bon Marché

picnicSummertime is a beautiful time of the year for a picnic in Paris. Whether it is a romantic dinner along the Seine or a family lunch on the Champ de Mars, picnicking in Paris is an easy and relaxing way to enjoy the city. For the picnic food, check out L’Epicerie du Bon Marché. It is directly across the street from Le Bon Marché, where we had our last lesson.

Location: 38 rue de Sèvres, 75007
Transportation:  metros lines 10 and 12 at Sèvres-Babylone
Hours: Open 8:30am to 9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday
Website: www.lagrandeepicerie.com

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From prepared gourmet sandwiches to rainbow-colored piles of macaroons, L’Epicerie du Bon Marché is a super market like no other. Here’s the place to come to organize a sophisticated and chic meal or for ex-pats missing home, it is the place to find popular foods from all over the world that are impossible to find everywhere else in Paris. (Pop-tarts anyone?) Be prepared to lose yourself for hour gazing at all the spices, fresh vegetables, honeys, cheeses, fish, chocolates, jams…

It is a great place for a French lesson too since all these items come in different flavors and colors and have different ways of being prepared. To get you started here is a short text in French:EBM5

 Voyagez ! L’Epicerie du Bon Marché propose plus de 30,000 produits différents, sélectionnés aux quatre coins du monde.

Une bouteille introuvable d’eau minérale du pays de Galles, les confitures d’un artisan français, l’exquise sauce tomate d’un petit fabricant napolitain ! Près de 2000 flacons, un choix inégalé de Bordeaux et une ouverture sur les vins du monde.

 Au cœur du magasin se trouve un véritable marché de produits frais. Il est alimenté quotidiennement avec les meilleurs fruits et légumes. On y trouve plus de 200 fromages en provenance de France et de l’étranger.

 (un fournisseur : supplier; un libre accès : unrestricted access ; rivaliser : to compete; se démocratiser : to become more accessible;introuvable : unobtainable; un produit frais : dairy product ; en provenance de : coming from )

 Ready to start improving your French by learning all the flavors of those macaroons or the names of each of the fish? Contact is now and we’d be happy to get started!

Photos from Caroline Plyler and L’Epicerie du Bon Marché.


Buying Furniture in French at Le Bon Marché

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In our ongoing quest to make your dream Parisian apartment come true (or just have fun imagining it), let’s spend some time talking about how you would furnish your pied-à-terre. There are a million different sorts of furniture stores in Paris from small antique shops to the many IKEAs just outside the city.  To familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and make sure you know the names of the things you are looking for, we suggest a private French lesson at the grande magasin Le Bon Marché (as in “the good market”, or “the good deal” in French) where we can see everything in one place.

Location: 22 rue de Sèvres, 75007
Transportation:  metros lines 10 and 12 at Sèvres-Babylone
Hours: Open 9:30am to 7pm Monday through Friday and until 8pm on Saturdays
Website: www.lebonmarche.com

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The oldest department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché opened in 1838. It is located on the Left Bank. The current building was designed by Gustav Eiffel and opened in 1852. Émile Zola’s eleventh novel, Au Bonheur des Dames, takes place in a fictionalized version of this store. To this day the store is still renown for luxury men, women, and children fashions and upscale furniture and housewares.

Here’s a short history of the department stores in French to help you prepare for your lesson:

Les Grands Magasins, une nouvelle conception du commerce : Créés dans les années 1850, les grands magasins sont des centres d’innovations perpétuelles. A l’époque, ils modifient  les relations entre les clients et les fournisseurs : prix fixes, libre accès, échange de marchandise, animations (soldes, promotions, expositions, concours…)

Avec le  large choix d’articles proposés par ces magasins, les femmes ont la possibilité de rivaliser à moindre prix avec les bourgeoisesparisiennes.

Les grands magasins s’adressent aux classes moyennes : grâce à eux, la consommation se démocratise.

(un fournisseur : supplier; un libre accès : unrestricted access ; rivaliser : to compete; se démocratiser : to become more accessible)

You’ll need the basics when shopping for furniture in French (table: une table, chair: une chaise, lamp: une lampe…), but you will probably quickly find that these words aren’t enough. Here’s a list of more specific words that will help:

A sofa (un canapé) can be:  un canapé droit fixe: classic sofa; un canapé droit convertible: a sofa bed or sleeper; un canapé d’angle: a sectional sofa; un canapé modulable: modular sofas.

More useful words for living room furniture include, un pouf: ottoman or pouf; une méridienne: chaise longue or daybed; un fauteuil: arm chair; une table console: hallway table or console table; une table basse: coffee table; un bout de canapé: end table

Then there are all the different words for colors (kaki verses taupe) and fabrics (flanelle or coton), lamps and light fixtures (un abat-jour: lamp shade), and curtains (une embrasse de rideaux: curtain tie back).  There are so many fun words you can learn around furniture.

Why not combine your private French lesson at Le Bon Marché with lessons on buying appliances at Darty, houseplants at the Marché aux Fleurs, and DYI materials at the BHV? It is a unique and interesting way to discover Paris and the French language. Contact us to get started!

Photos from Le Bon Marché.


French As you Like It Spotlighted on Paris Perfect

Rodin-Museum-Rose-Garden-ParisMarguerite Monnier, the founder of French As You Like It, recently wrote a second guest post for Paris Perfect. She shared another of her favorite places to give a French lesson, Jardin du Musée Rodin in Paris.

If you are visiting Paris and looking for ideas of fun things to do, why not practice your French while visiting some cultural locations? It doesn’t take much to acquire some basic knowledge and it’s a great way to interact with French people as there’s nothing Parisians like more than to help “correct” visitors’ French. Why not try asking someone casually what time is it? Quelle heure est-il? Or even on a more practical level, is this seat available? Est-ce que ce siege est libre? How much does it cost? Combien ça coute? You’ll know you’re getting somewhere when you’re able yourself to give directions – go straight and turn left: allez tout droit et tournez à gauche.

I have given hundreds of French lessons at cultural sites both on and off the traditional tourist path. And when the sun is shining one of the nicest locations to practice French is the Musée du Rodin. While I find the whole exhibition captivating, when you don’t have much time or prefer to be outside on a beautiful day, I recommend skipping line and buying a ticket for just the garden from the machine inside the entrance. Slide past the line of fidgeting tourists and for only €1 you have all day access to the beautiful garden and many of Rodin’s sculptures.

French-Lessons-Paris-Rodin-Museum-The-ThinkerThe gardens were overrun and wild when Rodin rented a portion of the hotel as an atelier in 1908. Today, covering more than 7 acres, the garden is divided into a rose garden in the north, a large ornamental garden in the south, the rocky “Garden of Orpheus” in the east and the “Garden of Springs” with a reflecting pool in the west.

Rodin started putting his work and sculptures from his personal collection in the garden in 1908. Greek and Roman copies of male and female torsos are intermixed with Rodin’s The Thinker and The Burghers of Calais. In 1995, the museum created the marble gallery to preserve the marble sculptures that were being damaged by moss and the weather. Through wide glass windows, you can see these sculptures with your garden admission.

To practice your French, here is a short text about the museum and some vocabulary in French:

Les jardins du musée Rodin

C’est le secrétaire du sculpteur, le poète Rainer Marie Rilke qui a découvert le lieu en 1908 : « Vous devriez, cher grand ami, voir ce beau bâtiment… Ses trois baies vitrées donnent sur un jardin abandonne. » Rodin aime ce désordre végétal, il s’y installe le 15 octobre de la même année.

En 1993, l’architecte paysagiste Jacques Sgard va respecter l’aspect classique du jardin (tapis vert, bassin, alignement de tilleuls) et redessiner les deux grands parterres comme des parcours thématiques. L’équilibre est trouve, esthétique et poétique.

Des bronzes de Rodin jalonnent la promenade dans le parc : la monumentale Porte de l’Enfer accueille le visiteur des l’entrée ; le Penseur, figure symbole de l’artiste, domine la roseraie ; les Bourgeois de Calais jalonnent le sous-bois, au centre du bassin ; Ugolin dévore ses enfant ; Orphee enfoui dans la verdure se découvre au détour d’un bosquet.

Musée Rodin Vocabulary 

jardins – garden

le lieu – rental

baies vitrées – bay windows

tilleuls – lime trees

jalonnent – to mark

dévore – devour

un bosquet – a small grove

Are you interested in a personalized French lesson on a specific topic or at a site “off the beaten path” in Paris? Contact us at info@frenchasyoulikeit.com.

Image credits: The Thinker by billandkent and Roses at Rodin Museum by Todd Martin