Monthly Archives: August 2013

Great Cheap Wine

One of the great things about France is the fantastic cheap wine you can get. These 3 bottles cost lest than 5 Euros ALL TOGETHER. Each bottle is less than 2 euros, and they are nice drops.GreatCheapWineParisFrance

The Galerie Colbert

GalerieColbertParisFrance is a covered passage built by J. Billaud in 1826 to compete with a similar ‘Galerie’ nearby, the Galerie Vivienne. It was described at its opening as “the most beautiful covered arcade of the time”. However it never reached its rival’s success and was about to be demolished until it was listed as a historical monument in 1974. It was restored in the 1980s and is now a shopping arcade full of architectural wonders and chic boutiques.

Learning French

CoolArcadesLyonFranceFirstly as we grow up we construct phonetic and grammatical filters and auto correctors. These get in the way, and the older we get the harder it is. French is a very vowel based sounding language. It does not have the clear consonant endings that English has. The French pronounce the whole word except often the end. The English skip over the middle – just say er – and pronounce the end. The English pronounce strongly or softly, while the French pronounce in the middle of the mouth – towards the back – it’s a more moderate and nasal sound.

A lot of the French vowel sounds do not have direct English equivalents but they do have similar English equivalents. oi – wa. au – o. oui – we , u – oo. j is soft. g can be hard or soft. th is pronounced with the t & the h separately , the h is often silent. In England there is a town called Witham pronounced wit ham – this is more the French pronunciation.

Plurality is indicated by the prefixing word – preposition – le \ la (the) becomes les (lay) , de (of , from) becomes des (day) (of plural , some). Plural nouns end in s or x but the s or x are not pronounced. If x is in a word – eg Bruxelles – it’s pronounced as a s.

Consonants preceding vowels may be transferred to the vowel – c’est un – becomes – c’es tun in sound , if the un wasn’t there it would be just c’e in sound. ~tion is pronounced ~seeon.

Instead of ‘it is’ the French usually say ‘this is’ – c’est. are and have become interchanged – eg. in English – ‘what age are you ?’ – in French ‘I have 51 years’ – J’ai 51 ans.

Volleyball2HoteldeVilleParisFranceThe French language can often be formal – please is s’il vous plait – if it pleases you. They also often use contractions both on the English and on the French – ‘I am an engineer’ becomes ‘I am engineer’ – Je suis ingenieur , toute de suite becomes toute suite. They can also say things that sound odd to the English ear – ‘merci a vous’ – ‘thanks to you’ instead of thank you. Often the basic noun verb noun sentence is said noun noun verb – ‘I send you’ becomes ‘I you send’ – ‘Je vous envoie’. The French do not have a word for ‘do’ , they use the word for ‘make’ – ‘faire’ – and they don’t use it as a question indicator. A question is stated Australian style but without the do. They also don’t have a word for ‘will’ in the sense of ‘I will send you to Paris’ they say ‘Je vais vous envoyer à Paris’ – literally – ‘I go you sending to Paris’.

Past is the word ‘have’ – ‘J’ai…’. Where the French end the word in ‘~ment’ there is almost always an English equivalent word ending in ‘~ly’ with almost always the same meaning. Where the English end a word in ‘~ing’ the French just use the verb base – er or re ending – ie. the ‘to ~verb’. Possessives are said using the word ‘de’ – ‘boy’s dog’ is ‘dog of boy’ – ‘chien de garcon’. Adjectives often follow the nouns – ‘blue car’ is ‘car blue’ – ‘voiture bleue’. The French often use ‘on’ – one – instead of ‘nous’ – we.

Now , learning French. I suggest 3 hours basic French course per week over at least 3 weeks. Then just use it when you are in Paris – eg. in restaurants , buying tickets etc. – just pleasantries – la politesse. Be warned Paris has a strong tourist sector that is not the best place to learn and practice French. It’s like any such tourist sector – a lot of non French working in it , along the central drag there is a quite a bit of bad service and a fair bit of bad food etc.. IE. you have to know where to go to find the good food and good service – getting off the beaten track is , as always , the good way to go.

Fontaine Bartholdi & Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon Fountain

BartholdiFountainLyonFranceIn the heart of Lyon, in the Place des Terreaux, is this majestic fountain called Fontaine Bartholdi. On 20 April 1857, the Bordeaux city council decided to hold a competition to create a fountain for Place Quinconces. Frédéric Bartholdi, then aged 23, won the contest, however, the city hall of Bordeaux decided not to carry out his project because it would cost too much money. It was finally built in 1888, and sold to Lyon, and eventually put at the Place des Terreaux and is still there.

MuseedeBeauxArtsLyonFranceThe fountain depicts France as a female seated on a chariot controlling the four great rivers of France, represented by wildly rearing and plunging horses, highly individualized but symmetrically arranged, with bridles and reins of water weeds. Opposite this stands the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, a fantastic looking building. And inside this building is one of the saddest looking fountains you will find in France. And every day, when the doors to the Museum open, this poor fountain faces one of the greatest.SadFountainLyonFrance

Saint-Séverin Church, Latin Quarter, Paris

SaintSeverinChurchParisSaint-Séverin is a magnificent church, located on the lively tourist street Rue Saint-Séverin. It is one of the oldest churches that remains standing on the Left Bank, and it continues in use as a place of worship.

It is built in flamboyant gothic style mostly between the 13th and 15th century. Covered by Gothic arches, and what looks like a small courtyard is in fact a former mass grave,Saint-SéverinCourtyardParis where only wealthy Parisians were buried in tombs. What’s more, in 1474 the first surgical operation was carried out here on a prisoner suffering from kidney stones. The operation was a success and the prisoner’s death sentence avoided!

The church’s external features include some fine gargoyles and flying buttresses. Its bells include the oldest one remaining in Paris, cast in 1412; their ringing is recalled in a well known poem in praise of Paris by Alan Seeger.