Easter: Place of the subject in the sentence Part II

Did you know the tradition of Easter bells (cloche de Pâques) started in the 7th century in Europe?

The legend says in a few Catholic countries, particularly in France, on the evening of Holy Thursday the bells go to Rome where they are blessed by the Pope. Then on Easter morning , the bells return pealing (carillonner) to announce the joy of the Christ resurrection. In Rome, they are loaded (charger) with Easter eggs that are spread in gardens so children will look for them. On their journey, the bells are decorated with a pair of wings, ribbons, and are carried on a chariot / float.

Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century, with France and Germany taking the lead (mener) in this new artistic confectionery. We know you will be celebrating in a couple of days so before getting into the sweet atmosphere, get to know some of the ad-hoc terminology and take the opportunity to work on your French with this second part dealing with “Construction of a sentence”.

In a relative clause:

a)The subject personal pronoun is always placed before the verb

Les oeufs que les parents ont cachés. The eggs the parents hid.

Les oeufs que les enfants ont trouvés. The eggs the children found.

Les oeufs qu’ils ont décorés. The eggs they have decorated.

b)The subject noun can be placed before or after the verb; if the verb is not followed by a complement

Les oeufs que les enfants ont décorés. The eggs (that) the children decorated.

Les oeufs qu’ont décorés les enfants. The eggs (that) the children decorated.

c)The subject noun is placed before the verb if the verb is followed by a complement

Les oeufs que les enfants ont découverts dans le jardin. The eggs (that) the children have found in the garden.

Les cloches que l’on entend célèbrent pâques. The bells (that) we hear celebrate Easter.

d)The subject follows immediately the relative clause “dont”, and contrary to English, the direct object is placed after the verb

La chasse aux oeufs dont je te parle est celle du Bon Marché. The egg hunt I am talking about is the one at the Bon Marché.

Le chocolat dont je préfère le goût est le chocolat blanc. The chocolate I prefer the taste of is white chocolate.

Le lapin dont je t’ai parlé est en chocolat. The rabbit I was talking about is in chocolate.


For the interrogative form, the order of the words in the indirect speech is not the same as for the direct question.

a)The personal pronoun subject  and the subjects pronoun “ce” and “on” are always placed after the verb. There is then no inversion  et we shouldn’t confuse with the direct question

Où doit-on chercher les oeufs?

Je vous demande où l’on doit chercher les oeufs.

Est-ce du chocolat noir, blanc ou au lait?

Je vous demande si c’est du chocolat noir, blanc ou au lait.

b)The subject noun is placed before the verb if the verb has a complement

Les enfants demandent où sont cachés les oeufs.

Les enfants demandent où les oeufs sont cachés dans le jardin.

Note : Other grammar rules regarding the place of the subject noun in the indirect question will be treated another chapter.

TRADUISEZ – answer will be published next week on Facebook

1)Maybe she will find the chocolate egg first

2)”Where did you find the chocolate bunny?” asked Pierre to his sister

3)This is the chocolate that I prefer

4)These are the chocolates that I found in the garden

5)These bells celebrate easter

Click below to learn ad-hoc Easter terminology:

Vocabulary - Easter

What to do in Paris?

For several years, the town hall of Paris, a few hotels, brands, associations or national monuments organize for children egg hunts in green spaces of the capital. These events have found an audience among children and with no surprise adults. Don’t miss them and find out more about their different locations below:

Grande chasse aux œufs au Playmobil FunPark

du 26 mars 2016 au 28 mars 2016

Playmobil Funpark – 22-24 allée des Jachères – ZA La Cerisaie, Fresnes

Grande Chasse aux œufs Solidaire au pied de la Tour Eiffel

du 27 mars 2016 au 27 mars 2016

Parc du Champ-de-Mars – Quai Branly – Avenue de la Motte Picquet, Paris

Pâques, ludique et arty au Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

du 26 mars 2016 au 28 mars 2016

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte – Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy

Joyeuse Pâques à Disney Village

du 27 mars 2016 au 28 mars 2016

Disneyland Paris – Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée

Chasse aux œufs au Jardin d’acclimatation

Dimanche 27 mars de 10h à 12h puis de 14h à 16h30

Bois de Boulogne, 75116 Paris

Chasse aux œufs à l’aquarium de Paris

du 26 au 28 mars 2016 et pendant les vacances de Pâques à partir de 10h

5 Avenue Albert de Mun, 75016 Paris

Chasse aux œufs au Musée de Montmartre

dimanche 27 et lundi 28 mars 2016, à partir de 11h30

12-14 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris

A little more…

Mini Paris and its Easter Workshop

On the occasion of the Mini Clubman launch, Mini Paris got into a partnership with La Pâtisserie des Rêves to offer a chocolate workshop for children while their parents can try any model of the Mini range.





French As You Like Survival Guide to Winter

This is the part of the year where your feel worn out and your immune system (système immunitaire) is known as an “open window”. Unless you live in a bulle, you will be exposed to infections. And apart from staying inside all winter (hiver) with your head under a duvet and avoiding all possible human being, you will need to protect your health and reinforce (renforcer) your immune defences (défenses immunitaires).

  • Favoriser (favour) Vitamines D et Magnésium (vitamin and magnesium)

To protect your organisme (organism) against germs (microbes), Magnesium and Vitamin D activates both the white blood cells (globules blancs) needed for the creation of antibodies (anticorps). You’ll find vitamin D in various foods such as smoked herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies or cod liver oil. For magnesium, you can eat seafood, almonds, cashew, tofu, or dark chocolate 70% minimum. You have a good reason not to take chocolate out of your diet.

  • N’oubliez pas les Vitamines C

Vitamin C stimulates the creation of interferon (interféron), this molecule is produced by our immune system cells to destroy germs. Drink a large glass of fresh squize orange juice (jus d’orange pressé) every morning or eat clementines, lemon, blackcurrant or kiwi. We suggest you a colourful fruit salad, it is like adding a “little summer” to your day.

  • Ajoutez les Probiotiques (add probiotics) à votre liste de course (shopping list)

70% of our immune system is in our intestin (intestine), so it ‘s important to do a course of probiotics (cure de probiotique) to strengthen your intestinal mucosa (musqueuse intestinale). Take a mixture of lactobacilli daily for 12 weeks significantly reduced the risk of catching a cold (rhume). You can find probiotics in yogurt, but also in artichoke, leeks, brewer’s yeast or wheat germ.

  • Bien se couvrir (Cover yourself up) !

It is important to warm yourself enough. Always keep your neck covered (protéger / couvrir) and try to choose thermal clothes (matières thermales). In Paris, the weather is always changing, from sun to rain and it is easy to get sick when you don’t have the right outfit.

  • Dormez et relaxez vous (Sleep and relax)

You need at least 7 à 8 heures de sommeil (7 to 8 hours sleep) per night so make sure to organise your day efficiently. You need to spend time on yourself, treat yourself with a massage or a diner between friends… You immune sytem will thank you for this, the more your mind will be clear and relaxed, the more your body will be healthy (en bonne santé).

  • Lavez-vous les mains souvent (Wash your hands often)

Virus (Viruses) can live on the surface of many objects for hours so regular hand washing is the simplest way to avoid carrying and ingesting these viruses. In case you spend more time outdoors, use antibacterial hand gel (gel antibactérien) that you can carry in your bag or slip in your pocket.

  • Astuce (trick) from a French As You like It Student

Add a few drops (gouttes) of sunflower oil (huile de tournesol) to your homemade smoothie or to a glass of water each morning. Sunflower oil contains an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals. The health benefits are various: Cardiovascular benefits, Anti-inflammatory (anti-inflammatoire), Prevent Arthritis, Prevention of Asthma and types of cancer, Lowers Cholesterol, Fight free radicals, Repairs the body, Skin and hair benefits…

Where to go arround our school?

For fruit and vegetable, you can go to many places. We can suggest you some amazing product at:

Primeur du Marais : 61 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris

Vergers Saint Paul : 97 Rue Saint-Antoine

Sea food

Le Comptoir des Mers : 1 Rue de Turenne, 75004 Paris

Fromagerie (Dairy)

Fromagerie Laurent Dubois : 97-99 Rue Saint-Antoine

Organic products – included sun flower oil

Naturalia : 59 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris

Bio C’ Bon : 103 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris

Thermal clothes

Au vieux Campeur : 48 Rue des Ecoles, 75005

Massage and Spa

Bulle de Plaisir : 66 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004

Ban Thai Spa : 12 Rue Lesdiguieres, 75004







Let us know in the comments below what are your tips to fight Winter …

A French As You Like It Valentine's tale...

Being one of the most romantic cities of the world, Paris is covered in breathless and charming places for any lovebirds (des tourtereaux). It is also the Capital where Love happens…


Friday – 6:35pm at sunset (le  coucher du soleil), after a real-life situation French lesson (Leçon de Français en extérieur) in Le Centre – Georges Pompidou, Si gently escorted his French teacher back to her bike. Both living in the same area Ile Saint Louis, they ended up walking back home together…


This was the beginning of a love story (une histoire d’amour).

Si, a British man from the Hampshire moved to Paris for Professional purposes. Like many foreigners, he was motivated to enhance his oral skills in French in order to feel more confident within his company or in his personal life (vie personnelle). He requested information from 3 language school which were offering interesting French learning program, however what he appreciate from French As You Like It was the personal approach (une approche personnelle). Agnès contacted Si by phone and she organized an appointment with him at his office the next day to talk about his different goals and expectations.

“She made a good impression” (une bonne impression) Si says. She was confident (confiante) and he was really impressed to see how determined she looked. She perfectly knew what she was talking about and we could notice she was passionate (passionnée) about her job. He then signed up for French one-on-one lessons every week at his office or out and about. It’s important to link theory to real-life situations when learning (apprendre) a new language.

Si is convinced that you always build a kind of relationship (une relation) with your private teacher. You end up by sharing (partager) some personal aspects of your life. It might look bizarre but when you cancel a lesson for instance, you want to let your teacher know about the reasons. However he admits, Agnès being a charming (charmante) and really attractive (attirante) woman. Looking always smart, she always released la “joie de vivre”. She is a woman with personality, adventurous and really genuine, the type of woman Si can’t resist.


A couple of month later, Agnès and Si walked back home and finally had their first dinner (un diner) in a Canadian pub where he treated her with the well-known Poutine: chips with cheese and gravy. Si remembers, they had two official dates (rendez-vous amoureux): one in the Hameau de la Reine, the hamlet in the middle of the parc of the Chateau of Versailles and the other one on the night of Halloween. Agnès was all dressed up and they both ended up getting some Chinese food for dinner at La Muraille du Phénix.


We wondered what was the most important thing they have learnt being together (ensemble) and we understand the diversity (diversité) and the differences of culture (la difference des cultures) had made them a powerful couple. They share permanently and they both love discovering new aspect of each other every day. It is the advantage of being a mixed couple.

We asked Si if he kept something as a Symbol (un Symbole) of their Love story and here is his answer:

At this period, Kenzo promoted its famous perfume Flower By Kenzo. As part of the promotion, they hitched (accrocher) handicraft (artisanal) poppies (coquelicot) to bicycles. Agnès found one on hers that day, came into his office with the poppy in her hand and handed it (tendre à qqun qqch) to him. He thought she was exactly like the description of the perfume: unpredictable (imprévisible), strong (forte) and beautiful (belle). The only embarrassing point was the arrival of his CEO at the same moment.

We asked Si to tell us a final word about his story with our amazing Agnès: “We’ve been together for a few years now and I think she is the best choice I have ever made, thank you for being part of my life Agnès”.

We also asked Agnès to list us places she has been with Si, she said there is so much to remember but gave us a few of them:

Where to eat?

Le Café Français

Brasserie du Printemps

Le Petit Palais

Restaurant l’Horloge

Le temps des Cerises

Where to go?

Centre Georges Pompidou

Cimetière Père Lachaise

Les Berges – Quai de la Seine

L’Ile Saint Louis

Le Marais

Partitive article and Adverbs of quantity

Tu m’as fait beaucoup de peine


De L’* => is use in front of noun with a vowel or silent “h” => de l’herbe but du houx

How to express the notion of undetermined quantity?

The indefinite quantity can be indicated by the quantity of adverbial adverbs or phrases followed by the preposition “de”. In this case we use the preposition “de” free of article.

Ex: J’ai beaucoup de peine. Tu as bu trop de café. Il a assez d’argent. Il a peu de chance. Il a un peu de monnaie. Ils ont un tas de soucis.

Below a few exceptions

Following the adverb of quantity “bien”, we use the partitive article singular or plural.

Ex : Tu as bien de la chance. Elle a bien des soucis.

Following « la plupart », the noun is preceded by the definite article plural contracted “des”.

Ex: La plupart des élèves sont déjà en vacances.

« La plupart » is followed by a plural noun except for the expression “La plupart du temps”.


Now, practice!


Translate these sentences:

  1. How do you take your coffee? – Lots of hot milk, very little sugar, please.
  2. I had a little soup at noon. It contained lots of cream
  3. There was so much of work to do!
  4. Most of the shells we find are broken
  5. You will need a lot of courage.
  6. I need some flour to make this cake.
  7. Most people drink wine.
  8. His letter was full of mistakes
  9. She doesn’t have any imagination
  10. This is not whisky, it’s tea

Complete by a partitive article or by the preposition “de” according to the situation:

  1. Faut-il encore aller chercher………………………………pain?
  2. Tu lui as fait……………………………………………..peine.
  3. Je ne veux pas………………………………………….ennuis.
  4. Elle est arrivée avec beaucoup…………………..…bagages.
  5. Je voudrais un kilo………………………………..…..cerises.
  6. La plupart……………………………………………….passagers ont eu le mal de mer.
  7. Buvez-vous………………….thé ou…………………café ?
  8. Ils n’ont plus……………………………………………travail.
  9. Avez-vous……………………………………………….cigarettes.
  10. Ils n’ont pas acheté assez…………………………….lait.

Corrected version

Translate these sentences:

How do you take your coffee? – Lots of hot milk, very little sugar, please.

Comment prenez-vous votre café? – Beaucoup de lait chaud, peu de sucre, s’il vous plait.

I had a little soup at noon. It contained lots of cream

J’ai pris une petite soupe à midi. Elle contenait beaucoup de crème.

There was so much of work to do!

Il y avait tellement de travail à faire!

Most of the shells we find are broken.

La plupart des coquillages que nous avions trouvés étaient brisés.

You will need a lot of courage.

Tu auras besoin de beaucoup de courage.

I need some flour to make this cake.

J’ai besoin de farine pour préparer ce gâteau.

Most people drink wine.

La plupart des gens boivent du vin.

His letter was full of mistakes.

Sa lettre était pleine d’erreurs. 

She doesn’t have any imagination.

Elle n’a pas d’imagination.

This is not whisky, it’s tea

Ceci n’est pas du whisky, c’est du thé.

Complete by a partitive article or by the preposition “de” according to the situation:

  1. Faut-il encore aller chercher…………du…….pain?
  2. Tu lui as fait……………………………de la………..peine.
  3. Je ne veux pas………………………………d’………….ennuis.
  4. Elle est arrivée avec beaucoup…………de………bagages.
  5. Je voudrais un kilo………………………de…………..cerises.
  6. La plupart………………………………des………….passagers ont eu le mal de mer.
  7. Buvez-vous……du……….thé ou………du………café ?
  8. Ils n’ont plus…………………………de……………travail.
  9. Avez-vous…………………des……………………….cigarettes.
  10. Ils n’ont pas acheté assez……………de………….lait.

Christmas in Paris

The spectacular Christmas illuminations in Paris are an eagerly-awaited event for all Parisians and tourists. Luminous arches, multi-coloured bulbs, incandescent flames and sparkling projections of light deck out the avenues of the French capital in festive splendour. More than ever, Paris lives up to its name ‘City of Light’!

Historical department stores rival with creativity to set up unforgettable displays. Doing some lèche-vitrine (literally ‘window licking’) with the kids on Sundays is a joy for the family!

If you haven’t seen or been in this City of Lights, grab yourself a cosy velvet blanket, a smoky latte and sit in the most comfy sofa you found.

The most amazing journey of your life is ready to begin:

Where to unpack your bags?

A lot of Parisian hotels will be playing the winter wonderland game. Imagine, huge and fresh decorated Christmas tree in the hall way, fairy lights and tinsel everywhere, Christmas menu with roast, supreme de foie gras and our famous Yule log for dessert. And can we forget the one and only father Christmas?! (Shangri-La, Plaza Athénée, Péninsula, Hôtel Belle Juliette…).


Where to go?

Once you have sort your room and got your warm coat on, it’s time for you to see the Christmas illuminations on the the well-known avenue Champs Elysées.  We would advise you to start from Métro Charles de Gaules Etoile and walk all the way down to the Christmas market. You will be bewitched by the magic and the beauty of this place. Don’t forget to take photos to immortalize this moment. And remember:  “Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven’t done”.


By the way, once you have arrived to the Christmas market, treat yourself with these incredible giant marshmallows or these hazelnut spread churros. For the wine lovers, you will have the opportunity to have some French mulled-wine and for the cheesy ones, you can’t leave this place without trying our tartiflette? It’s delicious!


You might have stuffed your face a little too much but this is absolutely fine with this fresh season. If you still have some time (or just leave it for tomorrow) get into the metro in direction of Gallerie Lafayette. The Christmas windows displays are breathtaking. I would recommend you to go in the evening, or Sunday morning, I found it a little too crowded at day time and you won’t see how spectacular the lights are. If you are thinking I am the kind of person to stay half an hour in front of one single window, I plead guilty!


Next stop: Hôtel de Ville. What’s more Christmassy than doing figure-8s under the stars? You still haven’t guess? Well you will have the chance to strap on a pair of ice skates and turn yourself into a disco ball. This huge open-air ice skating rink in front of the city hall has become a symbol of Christmas in Paris. It’s especially grand after sundown, when the handsome 19th-century building is lit up against the chilly sky. New to the ice? Fear not: the 1,365-square-metre rink includes a smaller area for children and beginners…

How can we talk about Christmas without referring to Disneyland? The whole place is bedecked with trees and lights and baubles and presents. All the ingredients are there to spend a memorable Christmas. Any child-free adults out there should definitely give it a go for the rides, the food, the shopping and the atmosphere. You’re never too old to get a kick out of Disney. Christmas at Disneyland Paris wouldn’t be the same without its traditional parade. It’s the perfect opportunity to see Father Christmas, Mickey, Minnie and friends to celebrate the magic of Christmas together in the Disneyland Park.


If you need to do some last minute Christmas shopping, in addition to our big numbers of Christmas markets, you can also go to Beaugrenelle shopping centre or les 4 Temps shopping centre at La Défense. You will reach another Christmas dimension and you are bound to find the perfect gift for your loved ones. If you still haven’t picked something to wear the 24th, you need to rush! Again if you have some time left, take a ride to Marne La Vallée Village, you might find THE outfit for a pittance.

Where is Santa?

At BERCY VILLAGE: December 19th and 20th, Father Christmas will come directly from Lapland to slip into Bercy village chimneys! Do not miss the opportunity to share a moment with him and give him your letters.

The Paris AQUARIUM: It is not a joke, the Paris Aquarium welcomes Father Christmas this year. No traditional sleigh ride but a leap into a deep pool of 600,000 litters of water. You will all get carried away by the magic of Christmas and by our bubble Santa! Meeting Santa Claus diver: an exceptional animation!

At PRINTEMPS HAUSSMANN: Let’s keep it traditional this time with Santa and his camera man the Elf. Meet the white bearded old man at La Grande Récré for your Christmas photo.


Where to eat?

If you haven’t booked your Christmas dinner yet, here’s something extravagant and unusual to surprise your family. If I say, the captain cast off and the magic of the illuminations is discovered through the canopy of the boat… This is absolutely possible! The panoramic boat entirely glass, offers a breathtaking view of the most beautiful monuments of Paris. You won’t regret this exceptional dinner cruise on the Seine with the Bateaux Parisiens.If you are not into boats, be tempted by a Christmas Eve at Le Moulin Rouge, the home of Parisian Music Hall. La Goulue, or Mistinguett Line Renaud trod this mythic place. Enchantment is the watchword at Le Moulin Rouge. During your dinner, 80 artists will offer you the best Parisian show following of 15min breathtaking French Cancan.Of course if you wish something more traditional, many hotels and  a few restaurants propose homemade meals that feature seasonal treats like Champagne, sea scallops, roasted birds, truffles, foie gras, and the traditional bûche de Noël.


Winter also rhymes with gastronomy: sugar-coated chestnut, turkey and log (Buche de noel). The bûche de Noel is a symbol for us. And every year it’s the same thing, our French famous Chefs  kill the task to provide the best log, the most original , and the most tasty one. Christophe Michalak, La Maison Angelina and La Maison du Chocolat will surprise you this year…


After Christmas?

You don’t want to put an end to this magical bubble.

Le Festival du Merveilleux is where you should go. Starting on Dec 26th, discover this land of wonder and imagination and be surprised by all the shows and live performances planned to make your day magical. This is a unique opportunity to wander through this hidden former wine warehouses especially decorated and lit for the occasion. This year, to celebrate the museum 20th birthday in Bercy, visitors turning 20 on the day they come to the festival will get a free entry.


Hansel and Gretel at the Opera theatre this year: The famous Brothers Grimm tale will be  invited this winter on the magnificent stage of the Palais Garnier . An opera by Richard Strauss once ruled and decorations designed by Julia Hansen will surely climb your blood sugar . It does not matter, it is your one and only opportunity to enter t he unique Gingerbread house…

lava’s Snowshow: Scenography and clowns are definitely worth a visit. On stage, soap bubbles, huge spider, creatures with green ear hats laugh despite the snowstorms. It floats in the air, amid the white confetti, a poem from another era. We play, we laugh, we are impressed. And that’s wonderful


Cinnamon: Cannelle / Toffee: Caramel / Syrup: Sirop / Chimney: Cheminée / Mountain: Montagne / Hot chocolate: Chocolat chaud / Winter wonderland: Paysage hivernal féérique / Christmas tree: Sapin de Noel / Roast: Rôti / Duck liver: Foie gras / Snail: Escargot / Yule Log: Bûche de Noel / Father Christmas: Père Noel / Christmas illuminations: Illuminations de Noel / Christmas market: Marché de Noel / Mulled-wine: Vin chaud / Chrismas windows displays: Vitrines de Noel / Ice-skates: Patin à glace / Baubles: Boules de Noel / Tinsels: Guirlandes / Magic of Christmas : La magie de Noel / Gift : Cadeau / To wrap a present : Emballer un cadeau / Sleigh : Traineau / Christmas Eve : Réveillon / Sea scallops: Coquille Saint-Jacques / Roasted birds: Rôti de volaille / Truffles: Truffes / Sugar-coated chestnut: Marron glacé / Candy canne: Canne à sucre / Eggnog: Lait de poule / Sleigh bells: Grelot / Stocking: Chaussettes de Noel / Holly: Houx / Gui: Mistletoe / To kiss under the mistletoe: S’embrasser sous la branche de gui / Reindeer: Rennes /  Elves: Elfes

Joyeux Noël !!!

7 Polite French Phrases to Learn before Visiting Paris


The French – Parisians, in particular – have a reputation for being rude. But the behavior that foreigners perceive as rudeness is often the result of a cultural misunderstanding. France has its own standards of politeness and these may differ from those of your home country. In fact, when a Parisian seems rude, he or she might actually be reacting to a perceived rudeness on your part, even though in your eyes you’ve acted perfectly normally.

To avoid any such misunderstandings – and experience the best side of Parisians – learn the following 7 French phrases before visiting Paris. These phrases will show that you’re polite, respectful and have some understanding of French culture. In return, we think you’ll come to see that Parisians are much more friendly than they’re reputed to be!

  1. Bonjour – Good morning/hello

       Pronunciation: Bohn-joohr

Seems obvious, right? But many people don’t realize that “bonjour” is probably the most important phrase in the French language. In France, you should say bonjour to whenever you enter a store, restaurant, elevator, or bus (to the driver; whenever you start a conversation with a stranger (i.e., asking for direction, asking for help at a store), or when you encounter a neighbor or hotel staff. For extra points, you can say: Bonjour Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle.


  1. Excusez-moi de vous déranger = Excuse me for bothering you…

         Pronunciation: Ex-kue-zay / mwa /duh /voo /dey-rahn-zhay

If you’re asking a question or making a request of a stranger, preface your request with this phrase. Use especially if the person is engaged in another activity at the time of your request, such as talking to someone, reading, etc. You would not use this phrase with waitstaff or a salesperson at a store. In those cases you would simply say: “Excusez-moi…”


  1. C’est très gentil, merci = That’s very nice (of you), thank you.

Pronunciation: Say /trehay / zhawn-tee / mare-si

Use this phrase when someone does something especially nice for you. This may include giving you directions on the street, helping you (or offering to help) in some way, or giving you a compliment.


  1. Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?

       Pronunciation: Pahr-lay /voo / anhn-glay?

Want to get on a Parisian’s bad side? Start yammering away in English before asking whether or not he or she speaks the language. You’re in France. The national language is French. It’s what’s taught in schools. It’s what spoken at home. Many Parisians do speak English, but not everyone does. And of those that do speak English, not everyone speaks it very well. So, even if you feel in your bones that the person speaks English, just be polite and ask first. If you show this courtesy, you’re likely to get a warmer, more thoughtful response to your query.


  1. Desolé(e), je ne parle pas français (très bien) = I’m sorry, I don’t speak French (very well).

  Pronunciation: Deh-zo-ley / zhe /nuh /pahrl /pa/ frahn-say /(treh bee-ahn).

Another way of getting into a Parisian’s good graces is by apologizing for not being able to speak French very well. The French do not expect the entire world to speak the language. Still, it’s nice to hear someone making the effort to speak it and apologizing for not being able to do more.


  1. Excusez-moi, pouvez-vous me dire où est… ? = Excuse me, can you tell me where ______ is?

    Pronunciation: Poo-vey /voo /muh /dear /oo /ay…

If you need help in a store or on the street, this phrase will certainly come in handy. Of course, you’ll need to fill in the blank with the name of the place or street you’re looking for. And it’s almost always a good idea to preface the phrase with “Excusez-moi…”.


  1. C’était très bon = It was really good.

      Pronunciation: Say /et-tay /treh /bohn.

Get that Parisian waiter to smile by complimenting the fine meal you’ve had (if it’s deserving, of course!). Often after you’ve eaten, your server might say: “Ça a été?” meaning “How was it?” If you liked it, deliver your compliments in French and with a smile. Remember that “bon” is always used for food, never “bien”.

Is there a French phrase you’d like to use during your trip to France, but don’t know how to express it? Ask us in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!




It's La Chandeleur: Serve up the crêpes!

Crêpe-lovers rejoice! Today is La Chandeleur (Candlemas), which means crêpes!  Many French families will have a massive crêpe-making session tonight, school cafeterias will serve these thin pancakes to children, and while strolling through the market, you may suddenly find a warm, freshly-made crêpe thrust into your hand – for free!

Keep reading to find out more about this delicious French tradition!

History of La Chandeleur

La Chandeleur (Candlemas) is a muddle of pagan and Christian traditions that have existed since ancient times. In ancient Rome, it was a celebration to honor Pan, god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, where they would march in the streets, waving lit torches. In the early Middle Ages, the Roman festival was Christianized to celebrate Jesus’s presentation to the temple and the Virgin Mary’s purification. To this day, many Catholic churches celebrate La Chandeleur with candlelight processions.

In medieval Anglo-Saxon culture, February 2nd also marked the traditional celebration of the coming of Spring. February 2 falls smack in the middle of the winter solstice and the spring equinox, signaling the return of sunlight and spring’s beginning. People would thus make offerings to the grain goddess on this date – hoping for a short winter – and engage in ritualistic “spring cleaning” of their homes. Weather superstitions were formed around the date, hence the fun rhyming Chandeleur proverb:

  Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver par derrière, Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte.

 (When Candlemas is clear, no more winter to fear; if Candlemas is overcast, 40 days of winter to last.)

Americans are bound to recognize shades of Groundhog Day here!

The Crêpe Connection: Traditions and Superstitions

So, how did La Chandeleur come to be synonymous with eating crêpes? It’s said that the round golden pancakes bear a resemblance to the sun, reminding the people of the forthcoming warmth and fertility of spring. The tradition may also be rooted farming superstition that if you didn’t eat pancakes on February 2nd, the wheat crops would be decayed for the year.

While multiple traditions and superstitions surrounded the eating of crêpes in medieval times, only a few of these persist in France today. A favorite French tradition is that you must hold a gold coin in your writing hand, while flipping a crêpe into the air with the other. If you manage to catch the crêpe in your crêpe pan, your family will become rich that year.

Some families throw the first crêpe at an armoire (wardrobe) to see if it sticks. If it does, you should leave it there for a year! Other families are said to throw the first crêpe over the wardrobe.

Types of Crêpes

Most Anglo-Saxons know crêpes as a sweet dessert made from white flour. But in addition to these the French love savory crêpes made from buckwheat flour, called galettes de sarrasin or galettes de blé noir; or wheat flour, crêpes de froment. The most popular version is called la complète: it’s composed of ham, emmental cheese and an egg.

And, of course, sweet crêpes are also popular here for dessert or a snack. They’re often served simply with butter and sugar, slathered in Nutella, or wrapped around such delicious fillings as salted butter and caramel. If you’ve got a real sweet tooth, you can also add slices of bananas and fresh whipped cream.

Where to Find Great Crêpes in Paris

Crêperies and crêpe stands abound in Paris, but certain areas are more well-known for these pancakes than others. The rue du Montparnasse, near the Gare Montparnasse rail station, is especially famous for its tasty crêpe restaurants. This area gained its reputation for great crêpes because the trains departing and arriving from that station go to Bretagne, an area in northwestern France where crêpes are a particular specialty. Bretons moving to Paris settled in the area around the Gare Montparnasse area and brought their crêpe recipes with them.

The most famous restaurant on rue Montparnasse is Crêperie Josselin, which often has lines of customers waiting to get in. You’ll also enjoy La Creperie Plougastel, a popular Breton crêperie a little farther down the street, or Ty Breiz, which is just a few blocks from the Gare. Not far away is also 142 Crêperie Contemporaine, which brings chic and modernity to the crêpe scene.

Outside of the Montparnasse area, the most well-known crêperie is probably the trendy Breizh Café in the Marais, famous for their delectable buckwheat galettes. And if you happen to be over in the Latin Quarter, check out Crêperie de Cluny. You can also eat marvelous crêpe in Montmartre. After climbing 300 steps to the top, you will enjoy this street full of crêperies just next to the famous Basilic Sacré Coeur.

Simple Crêpe Recipe by FAYLI

Why not celebrate La Chandeleur by making your own crêpes at home? Try this easy crêpe recipe… and learn some French while you’re at it!

Ingredients (for approx. 15 crêpes)

  • 300 g (1-1/3 cups) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 liter (3 cups) of low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of rum or vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt


1. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.

Battre les œufs dans un bol à part.

2. In a second bowl, combine flour with salt and sugar, making a well in the center.

Dans un autre récipient, mélanger la farine avec le sel et sucre, faire un puit au centre.

3. Pour the beaten eggs into the center of the flour well, then mix with a whisk.

Verser les œufs battus dans le centre du puit de farine, puis mélanger avec un fouet

4. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Once milk is fully added, whip vigorously until fully combined.

Ajouter progressivement le lait en mélangeant continuellement pour éviter la formation de grumeaux. Une fois le lait ajouté, battre vigoureusement jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit homogène

5. Mix in the rum or vanilla extract thoroughly, then let the mixture rest for at least 30 minutes.

Bien mélanger avec le rhum ou l’extrait de vanille, puis laisser reposer au moins 30 minutes

6. Heat a large, shallow non-stick pan with a small piece of butter.

Faire chauffer une poêle non adhésive avec un petit morceau de beurre

7. Ladle about a half-cup of the batter into the hot pan and cook the crêpe on each side for about 30 -60 seconds.

Verser une demi-louche de pâte dans la poêle chaude et faire cuire la crêpe de chaque côté environ 30-60 secondes

8, Remove from pan and add your favorite topping: granulated sugar, melted butter, Nutella, sliced bananas or strawberries, or honey.

Retirer de la poêle et ajouter votre garniture préférée: sucre en poudre, beurre fondu, Nutella, bananes en rondelles, fraises ou miel



If you’re interested in making a buckwheat crêpe (galette), try David Lebowitz’s wonderful recipe here.

What’s your favorite kind of crêpe? Share with us below!

7 Cozy Spots in Paris to Escape the Winter Cold


In these frigid January days, those of us in Paris are scurrying from place to place under slate-grey skies, scowling as the freezing air seems to slice through every layer of our clothes. On days like these, nothing is more tempting than finding a nice quiet spot to hunker down with a good book and a warming drink.

To get you thinking warm thoughts, here are our top 7 picks of cozy places in Paris to curl up with your French workbooks (okay – any book) and get away from it all for awhile.


The moment you enter Caféoteque, you’re struck by two things: the rich all- encompassing scent of roasting coffee beans and the palpable chalereux (warmth) of the place, which seems to take you by the hand and draw you inside. For coffee lovers, Caféoteque is the ideal place to hide out from the cold.

Founded in 2005 by Gloria Montenegro, a Guatemalan native, Caféotechque single-handedly changed the coffee scene in Paris from notoriously bad to a glorious specialty fit for a gourmand. The café features more than 20 different coffee beans, each from a different country, with descriptive profiles accompanying each variety. And the baristas know what to do with these beans, too: each has been carefully-trained in the art of roasting beans and preparing the perfect cup of coffee. The shop even offers an intense 50-hour course to coffee professionals.



















Even if you don’t know an espresso from a ristretto, the café is still a wonderful place to have a time-out. For a Parisian space, it’s surprisingly generous with three sitting rooms filled with a variety of chairs, pillow-strewn benches and battered café tables. The walls are adorned with central American artwork, and the back room (which includes a bar and piano) has one wall entirely devoted to their stock of unroasted coffee beans.

Caféoteque’s only downside is that is doesn’t have Wifi.  On second thought, that’s not really a downside…it makes it the perfect place to escape from the constant buzz of world for awhile. The only buzz you get here is from the coffee.

Caféoteque: 52 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004



Just as Caféotechque is a haven for coffee lovers, Le Valentin is a tea-lover’s dream. This little salon de thé is tucked away in the beautiful 19th-century Passage Jouffroy, just a few doors down from the Musée Grevin, Paris’s wax museum. Here, you’ll find more than 35 different types of teas, from green to white to Rooibos, served in beautiful cast iron teapots.
















As appealing as the tea are the array of patisseries offered, which range from basic croissants and pain au chocolat to more decadent offerings, such as moelleux aux myrtilles, a kind hazelnut-blueberry cake and baba rhum, a rum-soaked cake topped with whipped cream.

The salon’s elegant downstairs is certainly pleasing but the lamp-lit upstairs room is where you should head for extra charm and quiet. Featuring an assortment of canapés (sofas), tapestries, padded benches and long wooden tables, you can easily pass an hour or two in comfortable solitude. Warning: the Wifi is free but wonky.

Le Valentin: 30-32 Passage Jouffroy 75009 Paris


That’s right – why not find some peace and warmth at an old-fashioned public library? Although this particular library might prove a little distracting: with its the phalanx of marble busts lining the halls, and ornate golden chandeliers illuminating the reading room tables, it’s easily one of the most dazzling libraries in Paris.

Created in the 17th-century based on the private collection of Cardinal Mazarine, the bibliothéque is housed in the left wing of the prestigious Institut de France – that rather intimidating-looking gold-domed building on the Seine’s Left Bank just opposite the Pont des Arts. It’s home to approximately 500,000 printed works, including a Gutenberg bible and some 2,000 incunabula (books and pamphlets printed with the earliest typography).

Prestige and grandeur notwithstanding, don’t be afraid of going inside: the library is open to the public. To sit in its reading room for a spell, you’ll just need some identification and a reading room card, which is available from the on-duty librarian. A non-renewable five-day pass is available for free; an annual pass is available for €15.

Bibliothéque Marzarine: 23 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris


Shakespeare & Company may not be from the 17th century, but it’s a legend in Paris nonetheless. For those unfamiliar with this landmark, Shakespeare & Co. is an (mainly) English-language bookstore in the 5th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Originally opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, the bookstore was a famous hotspot for renown expatriate writers, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. The shop closed during World War II but was resurrected in 1964 by George Whitman at its current location.

While the crammed bookstore itself is worth a visit, if you’re looking for a cozy spot to huddle up with your French notes for awhile, the upstairs reading room is just wonderful. Lined with books (not for sale) from floor to ceiling, the room offers comfy cracked leather armchairs, a slightly lumpy pillow-lined bench and assorted wooden chairs to while an afternoon away.

Shakespeare & Co: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris


It’s a myth that everyone in Paris has the time to go wandering dreamily around the city or sit aimlessly in cafés. If you need to get some serious work done and need a non-distracting but congenial environment to do it in, pop into Café Craft.

Half-café, half co-sharing workspace, this modern minimalistic place is tucked away in hipster heaven near the Canal St. Martin. The front part of the café offers a space for people to chat or read the international press over cakes, cookies, quiche and truly excellent coffee (Craft proudly uses a Marzocco, the “Rolls Royce” of coffee machines, and the baristas are carefully trained to make a good cup).












The back part of the café provides a long table for co-working (with an electrical outlet for each seat!) and there’s a sectioned-off part suitable for group meetings. The Wifi is fast and reliable; the baristas friendly. It’s a great place to work when your tiny Parisian apartment becomes too confining…. or if you just happen to be in the neighborhood!

Café Craft: 24, rue des Vinaigriers, 75010


6.  Hotel St. James Albany

If you want to step out of the cold and into warm comfort and splendor, head to the Hotel St. James Albany. This luxurious hotel is located in the 1st arrondissement, just steps away from the Jardin de Tuilieries and glitzy shopping street, rue Saint-Honoré. Here, you find a wonderful lounge– plush and cozy – where you can order a variety of drinks and snacks, from a coffee to a club sandwich to a bubbling coupe de champagne.  Exclusive though it is, the waitstaff is attentive but discreet and will never rush you out.  We often hold private French lessons here – and during the summer months, in their stunning interior courtyard.

Hotel St. James Albany:  202 rue Rivoli 75001 Paris

7.  Bonpoint Concept Store

Now, this place is one of the best-kept secrets in Paris.  Bon Point is an luxury children’s clothing boutique with beautiful, expensive offerings (a simple pair of baby socks cost about €15; sweaters run upward of €150). But never mind that – tucked away in the cellar of their sprawling concept store in the exclusive 6th arrondissement is a charming little restaurant/café that offers total tranquility.  Few people know it’s there and no signs outside advertising it.  You just have to know where to go.   Enter the store, give a nice ‘bonjour‘ to the friendly vendeuse (sales ladies), and head down one flight of stairs to the restaurant.  It’s an especially great place to go if you have a small child – it’s one of the few restaurants in Paris that has high-chairs.   (And if you’re interested in children’s baby clothes, check out the store itself: the elaborate décor will blow your mind!)

Bonpoint Concept Store: 6, rue Tournon 75006 Paris

FRENCH LANGUAGE TIP:  If you chose to escape to a café, here are some French phrases that might be handy:

• Bonjour, je voudrais un café noisette s’il vous plait  (Hello, I’d like an espresso with cream, please.)

 • Pourrais-je avoir du sucre ? (May I have some sugar?)

• Est-il possible de se connecter en Wifi? Quel est le nom du réseau et le code d’accès ?  (Is it possible to connect to Wifi?  What is the the name of the network and the access code?)

• Je vous remercie ! (Thank you!)

Where is your favorite quiet spot in Paris? Share with us below!

When Parisians Won't Speak French to You - How to Handle It

Don’t speak in English to me, Jean-Luc.

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when this happens?

Scenario #1: You’ve just settled in at a table in a cozy Parisian bistro. In your very best French, you say to a waiter: “Puis-je avoir la carte, s’il vous plaît?*

He nods and immediately hands you an English menu.

Scenario #2: You’re at the fromagerie**, preparing to order a lovely slab of peppercorn brie. You say: “Je voudrais le brie de Valbrie. Une belle tranche s’il vous plait.”***

And the fromager***responds: “Of course! Is this piece the right size? A little smaller, maybe?”


When your best efforts at speaking French seem to result rejection, it can feel like a slap in the face. You may feel embarrassed, annoyed, doubtful of your abilities, and end up swearing that you’ll never utter another word in French again.

But don’t let situations like this stop you from speaking French!

Most of the time, Parisians who respond in English to your French don’t mean to appear rude – often they’re genuinely trying to be helpful. Some simply enjoy speaking English and think that you’d prefer it. Some want to prove to their colleagues and bosses that they can communicate in English to customers. And some are grabbing an opportunity to practice their own foreign language skills.

Seriously, even if it  sometimes doesn’t appear this way, most French people do want to speak their native language with you and are happy to do so.  

So, with this in mind, here are four tips to get French people to speak French with you:

  1. Just Keep Going.

When someone responds to your French in English, just pleasantly continue your end of the conversation in French. More often than not, the person will eventually understand that you prefer to converse in French and will willingly do so.

  1. Express Your Preference for French.

You can also politely tell the speaker that you’d rather speak in French. Try to master any of the following phrases to make your point:

    • J’aimerais parler en français, s’il vous plait. Je ne peux pas m’améliorer si je ne le parle pas!

      (I’d like to speak in French, please. I can’t improve if I don’t speak it!)

   • Peut-on parler en français s’il vous plaît? J’aimerais améliorer mon français. Merci!  

      (Can we please speak in French? I’d like to improve my French. Thanks!)

     • Je ne parle pas très bien, mais je préfère parler en français. Je dois l’apprendre

      (I don’t speak very well but I prefer to speak in French. I must learn it! )

    1. Be Flexible.

 Sometimes it may not be a good idea to persist in speaking French at a particular moment. Say you’re trying to explain something above your ability level to friends or colleagues. Even though you may want to battle your way through, your listeners may switch to English – both to make things easier for you and improve their understanding.

Roll with it…there’s no shame in reverting to English when you’re struggling or your listeners aren’t comprehending. Once you’re on more stable linguistic grounds, switch back to French. Then your listeners will understand that you’re committed to speaking French, even if you still have work to do.

  1. The “Excuse me?” Trick.

Alas, on rare occasions you may come across someone who really does mean to snub you by speaking English in response to your French. Here, feel free to feign incomprehension with a polite but puzzled “Pardon?”

After all, if someone is daring to denigrate your efforts to speak their language, their English had better be flawless…. And since it’s perfectly natural to have an accent or make mistakes when you’re speaking a foreign language, it probably won’t be.  Chances are, they’ll get the point and start speaking French again pretty sharpish.

How do you handle it when a French speaker responds in English to your French? Please share below!


*   May I have the menu, please?

** Cheese shop.

*** I would like the Brie from Valbrie, a good sized-slice please.


Top tips to learn French at markets in Paris

Paris is a haven for bon vivants. Although there are numerous supermarkets, chain shops and fast food restaurants, markets in Paris are still very much alive, kicking and full of fresh fruit & veg.


While in Paris, whether on holiday or staying for longer, we suggest making like the locals and heading over to your local market – you’ll be able to learn French in Paris whilst stocking up on delicious fresh and seasonal products!

However, before setting off, here are a couple of things about markets in Paris to bear in mind:

1.) Timing

Different markets are held on different days of the week – so check first rather than assuming they will be held on a Sunday. They usually kick off early, around 7am, and finish by 2pm. For excellent value, hit the stalls near closing time when sellers are keen to offload their wares.

What time does the market open/close? Le marché commence/termine à quelle heure?

2.) Prices

Prices are usually fixed, but if you’re friendly there’s no harm in trying a bit of bartering – as a minimum you’ll get a few extra strawberries or slightly rosier apples. It’s a great chance to practise and learn French. Simply smile and go for it – the effort is always appreciated.

Excuse me (get attention): Excusez-moi madame/monsieur
I’d like to buy a melon: Je voudrais un melon
How much does it cost? Combien ça coûte?
Thank you and see you soon: Merci madame/monsieur, à très bientôt

3.) Behaviour

Markets in Paris can be busy and bustling, so be prepared for a little shoving and expect your toes to be crushed by passing shopping caddies. However, do be patient and wait your turn – it’s a great opportunity to exchange a little small talk with the customers standing next to you and learn French vocabulary into the bargain!

It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Il fait une journée magnifique, non?
Do you know where I can buy…? Savez-vous où on peut acheter

You’re now ready to practise your French at your local market. If you fancy venturing a little further afield, here are some of our favourite markets in Paris where you can hone your skills and learn French:

Marché des Enfants Rouges

This is the oldest remaining market in Paris and dates back to 1615. It’s now a trendy place to grab a bite to eat with an eclectic choice of food stands and restaurants.

I’d like to eat in: J’aimerais manger sur place
To take away: à emporter
Do you serve ….? Servez-vous…?

39 rue de Bretagne, 75003
Tue-Thu 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-7.30pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-8pm; Sun 8.30am-2pm
Métro: Filles du Calvaire or Saint-Sébastien Froissart

Marché de Belleville

Expect to see a whole new side to Paris! Belleville, famous as a Paris Chinatown, has an excellent value markets along its main boulevard. You’ll see strange vegetables alongside more traditional wares. Be prepared for lots of shouting in lots of different languages.

What is it? Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Which country does it come from? XXX vient de quel pays?
Do you sell… ? Est-ce que vous vendez… ?
A kilogram: un kilo
Two hundred grams of cheese: deux cents grammes de fromage
A dozen: une douzaine
Roughly/ approximately: environ, à peu près
I’d like a half a kilo of apples, please: Je voudrais un demi-kilo de pommes, s’il vous plaît

Boulevard de Belleville, 75011
Tuesday and Friday 7am – 2.30pm
Metro: Belleville

Marché Raspail

Although there aren’t yet many organic markets in Paris (things are slowly changing with more and more organic shops popping up), this market is rather enticing. There more than 50 stalls to meander that sell everything from soaps to wine with a fruit and vegetable focus.

Organic: biologique (bio)
Fresh: frais (m), fraiche (f)
Seasonal: de la saison
Where was it made? D’où vient….?

Boulevard Raspail, 75006
Metro : Notre Dame des Champs

Sun 9am-2pm Bio produce
Mon-Fri 7am-2.30pm general produce

Have fun practising your French at your local Paris market! Why not get some expert guidance private French lessons adapted to your level?

Happy shopping and here are some more ideas for markets in Paris.