Sunday, August 31, 2008

Traditions In France - August In France

If you are traveling to France on vacation, I've been told and have read that August * is not a good month for vacation as this is when a lot of the french people take their vacations (French workers are entitled to 5 weeks of vacation each year). So if you go in August you will find many stores & shops closed. They are "En vacance" (on vah kance) -on vacation.

*août (ooot) - August (the months in french are not capitalized)

Lesson 8 - More Directions

More phrases for directions:

Où descendons-nous pour aller... (ooh day sahn dohn noo poor ahl lay) - Where do we get off to go to...
C'est loin? (say low ahn) - Is it far?
C'est près d'ici? (say preh dee see) - Is it near here?
Au coin de... (oh kwahn deh) - At the corner of...
Au bout de... (oh boo deh) - At the end of...

More numbers:

31 - trente et un (trahnt ay uhn), 32 - trente-deux (trahnt duh), 33 - trente trois (trahnt twah), 34 - trente-quatre (trahnt kah truh), 35 - trente-cinq (trahnt sank)

Lesson # 10 on Sep. 3

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Must See Film - The Triplets Of Bellville

>>The Triplets Of Belleville
Following a 1930s-style cartoon parody featuring the singing Triplettes of the title (Violette, Blanche, and Rose, whose names are loosely patterned on the colours of the French flag) in their heyday, the story focuses on Madame Souza, an elderly woman raising her orphaned grandson Champion. Seeking to pull him out of his funk, she buys the child a tricycle, and as the years pass he achieves such excellence as a cyclist that he enters the Tour De France. Unfortunately he and two other riders are kidnapped and brought to a fictional metropolis called Belleville (the inhabitants of Belleville represent caricatured 1950s-era American stereotypes, but the city itself is portrayed as a cross between Paris, Montreal and New York City) where a gangster forces them to pedal all day on a bicycle-based gambling machine located in the bowels of the Belleville French Wine Center. With the aid of the family dog Bruno, Madame Souza sets off on a paddle boat journey to the city of Belleville. There she meets the Triplettes, now aged and decrepit but still performing, and the four women set out to rescue Madame Souza's grandson.

The Triplets Of Belleville trailer

Quick Phrase Of The Day - I Am Sorry

Je suis désolé (zhuh swee day zole lay)-I am sorry

Repeat this phrase & write it down all day long, till you know it by heart

Vocabulary word of the day:

un portefeuille (uhn port foo eel) - a wallet
J'ai perdue mon portefeuille (zhay purr doo mohn port foo eel) - I have lost my wallet

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lesson # 8 - To Have & Have Not

Lesson 8 - To Have & Have Not

This lesson you will learn how to say "I Have"

J'ai (zhay) - I have
Je n'ai pas (zhuh nay pah) - I don't have

Tu as (too ah) - You have
Tu n'as pas (too nah pah) - You don't have

Il a (eel ah) - He has
Il n'a pas (eel nah pah) - He doesn't have

Elle a (ehl ah) - She has
Elle n'a pas (ehl nah pah) - She doesn't have

Nous avons (nooze ah vohn) - We have
Nous n'avons pas (noo nah vohn pah) - We don't have

Vous avez (vooze ah vay) - You have
Vous n'avez pas (voo nah vay pah) - You don't have

Ils ont (eel zohn) -They have (refers to a group of men or men & women together)
Ils n'ont pas (eel nohn pah) - They don't have

Elles ont (ehl zohn) - They have (refers to a group of women only)
Elles n'ont pas (ehl nohn pah) -They don't have

You will notice there are 2 ways of saying "You have". Tu is used when speaking to a friend, relative, or someone you are very friendly with. Vous is used when speaking to people who are strangers, shopkeepers, etc. It is the polite way to speak to most people when you are visiting France, since you do not really know them well. Remember always be polite, use S'il vous plâit (see voo play) -"please", and Merci (mehr see) - "Thank You" a lot.

More Numbers to learn:

26 - vingt-six (vahn seece), 27 - vingt-sept (vahn set), 28 - vingt-huit (vahn wheat), 29 - vingt-neuf (vahn nuhf), 30 - trente (trahnt)

Since I put in a lot of things in this posting the next actual lesson will be on Aug. 31
Practice this lesson for the next few days to get comfortable with it. I will still post little phrases each day till then.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome To All The Newcomers

Bonjour tout le monde (bohn zhur too leh mohnd). Hello everyone

Thanks for the nice responses to my site. For all you newcomers, the reason for this blog is this:
1. For me to keep at studying my French.
2. For you to learn with me at a relaxed & non structured pace. (No grades or report cards :)
3. I will not teach unnecessary phrases or words that you will probably never use if you visit France (such as drain-pipe, soil, grasshopper, oboe, etc). We will only concentrate on words & phrases that we would need if we go on a vacation to France.

I will not dwell on grammer, or thousands of verbs and every possible past present and future combinations that they teach in the books. My purpose is to learn needed words and phrases so we will not stumble around Paris trying to find someone who speaks English. We not be fluent in french through this site, but we will be able to somewhat communicate to people when we get there. Where I work we have thousands of tourists visiting our store, and they do not speak perfect English, but I can tell what they are trying to communicate to me. That is what I want to be able to do if and when I ever go to France.

As I am a beginner also, Any comments, or suggestions, or corrections will be greatly appreciated.

So in the meantime, everyone have fun with this blog, practice the phrases in your head all day long, & enjoy. -Roy

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Am Hungry, Thirsty

J'ai faim (zhay fahn*) - I am hungry

J'ai soif (zhay swahf) - I am thirsty

*The "n" sound at the end of the word is cut off very abruptly, almost not hearing it at all)

Repeat these phrases all day long, till you know them by heart.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quick Phrase of the Day - You Are Very Kind

Vous êtes très gentil (vooze eht tray zhan tee) - You are very kind

Repeat this phrase all day long till you know it by heart

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lesson 7 - Ordering Breakfast

Lesson 7 - Ordering Breakfast

Je voudrais des oeufs sur le plat (zhuh voo dray days oof sir leh plah) -I would like some fried eggs
Je voudrais des oeufs au bacon (zhuh voo dray days oof oh bay cohn) - I would like some bacon & eggs
Je voudrais des crêpes avec des sirop d'érable (zhuh voo dray day krehp ah vehk day seer rahp day rah bluh) - I would like some pancakes with maple syrup
Je voudrais des céréales (zhuh voo dray day say ray ahl) - I would like some cereal
Je voudrais de jus d'orange (zhuh voo dray deh zhooce door rahnzh) - I would like some orange juice
Je voudrais une tasse de café (zhuh voo dray oon tahce deh kah fay) - I would like a cup of coffee
Je voudrais une tartine grillée (zhuh voo dray oon tar teen gree yay) - I would like a piece of toast

Remember to be polite & use the phrase S'il vous plâit (seel voo play) -please, often.
More numbers:

21- vingt et un (vahn tay uhn), 22- vingt deux (vahn doo), 23- vingt trois (vahn twah), 24- vingt quatre (vahn kah truh), 25- vingt cinq (vahn sank)

Lesson 8 on Aug. 25

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

French Music - Yann Tiersen

Guillaume Yann Tiersen (born 23 June 1970) is a French musician and composer known internationally for composing the score to the Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie Amélie. His music is recognized by its use of a large variety of instruments in relatively minimalist compositions, often with a touch of either European classical music or french folk music, using primarily the piano, accordion or violin together with instruments like the melodica, xylophone, toy piano, ondes martenot, harpsichord and typewriter. He has been compared to musicians Chopin, Erik Satie, Phillip Glass and Michael Nyman.

Yann Tiersen playing "Sur Le Fil"

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Quick Phrase Of The Day - Directions

If someone is giving you directions they may say:

tourner à gauche (tour nay ah gohsh) - turn left

tourner à droite (tour nay a dwaht) - turn right

aller tout droit (ahl lay too dwah) - go straight

Repeat these phrases all day long, till you know them by heart.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Film Title In French - Indiana Jones

Title of article from the French newspaper "La Monde"

"Indiana Jones Et Le Royaume Du Crâne De Cristal" : vingt ans après, le retour d'Indiana Jones

(Indiana Jones ay luh roy yahm doo krahn duh kree stahl : vant ahn ah pray, luh reh tour deh Indiana Jones)

Translation : Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull : 20 years later, the return of Indiana Jones

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Lesson 6 Who What Where Why When & How

Lesson 6 Who What Where Why When & How

Qui (kee) - who
Quoi (kwah) - what?
(ooh) - where
Pourquoi (poor kwah) - why
Quand (kahn) - when
Comment (kaw mahn) - How

More numbers: seize (sehz) -16, dix-sept (deeze set) -17, dix-huit (deeze wheat)-18, dix-neuf (deexe nuhf) -19, vingt (van) -20

Lesson 7 will be on Aug. 22

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Am Looking For...

Je cherche... (zhuh shehrsh) - I am looking for...
Repeat this phrase all day long till you know it by heart.
Practice with these words:
un téléphone (ohn tay lay fone) - a telephone
une carte de la ville (oon kahrt deh lah vee) - a map of the city
une toilette (oon twah let) - a restroom
une station d'essence (oon stah see yohn deh sahnce) - a gas station

Sunday, August 17, 2008

French Novel One Must Read- Les Misérables

Les Misérables (translated variously from French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims) (1862) is a novel by French author Victor Hugo, and among the best-known novels of the 19th century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a twenty year period in the early 19th century that includes the Napoleonic wars and subsequent decades. Principally focusing on the struggles of the protagonist, ex-convict Jean Valjean, who seeks to redeem himself.It examines the nature of good, evil, and the law, in a sweeping story that expounds upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, law, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Hugo claimed to have been inspired by the real-life criminal/policeman François Eugène Vidocq, and split his personalities into the two main characters in his novel (Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert). Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, of which the most famous is the stage musical of the same name, sometimes abbreviated "Les Miz"

"One Day More" -Les Miz

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Must See French Film - La Femme Nikita

A slick, psycho-romantic thriller. Nikita (Anne Parillaudis) is young and pretty, but has already gone to the bad. During a hold up of a pharmacy (drug store) with her drug-crazed criminal gang, she deliberately kills a policemen, coldly shooting him in the face at point blank range . She is condemned to prison for life, but the French secret services, looking for cold blooded killers, have identified the potential in her. They offer her an alternative future. If she proves herself, she could become a secret agent herself. She accepts and starts a hard apprenticeship. Her death is faked. She finds herself part of a secret government program that takes no-hopers like her, and turns them into professional assassins. She learns not only to kill - not so difficult for her - but also to think and behave like a lady. Trained by Bob, she becomes a different person. After three years, she is ready to leave the training facility and live an apparently ordinary life until the government needs her. By the time her first real test arrives, we are pretty much on her side, as she is now leading a normal life and has fallen in love with a gentle humorous man.
This is one of the best transformation movies ever - the ultimate in character development. Anne Parillaudis brilliantly portrays feral hostility in the early scenes, and her transformation into a new person is entirely credible. It is a joy watching an immoral street wretch gradually awaken to become an attractive accomplished woman. It is also a surprisingly touching movie - one of the best of Besson's films. It is finely paced and beautifully shot, with some of the best acting and writing of the genre. The script too is exellent.

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Lesson # 5 Simple Responses

Lesson # 5 Simple Responses

Oui (wee) - yes
Non (nohn) No Note (even though the pronunciation shows “nohn” when you say it you are saying the last “n” very breifly. You are cutting the sound of it very short, almost not saying it at all)
S’il vous plaît (seal voo play) - please
Merci (mare see) - Thank You
De rien (dehr ree yen) - You’re welcome (literally means “it’s nothing”)
D’accord (dah core) - O.K., Agreed

more numbers: onze (ownz) -11, douze (dooz) -12, treize (trehz) -13, quatorze (kahtorz) -14, quinze (kanz) -15

Lesson # 6 will be posted on 8/19

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine, housed in the former railway station, the Gare d'Orsay. It holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography, and is probably best known for its extensive collection of impressionist masterpieces by popular painters such as Monet and Renoir.


9:30am to 6 pm

9:30am to 9:45pm on Thursdays

Closed on Mondays

Admission is 8 Euros normally. For everyone after 4:15 pm is 5.50 Euros (except on Thursdays after 6 PM is 5.50 Euros), Under 18 year old Free Admission, and the 1st Sunday of every month is Free Admission for all.

Keep your ticket!
In the week following the date on your Musée d'Orsay entrance ticket you can take advantage of reduced rates:
to buy a ticket for the Gustave Moreau National Museum
to visit the Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera) unguided
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Quick Phrase Of The Day - How Much Is It?

One phrase you will use a lot in French shops:

Combien coûte? (kawm bee yehn koot) - How much is it?

Repeat this phrase all day long, till you know it by heart.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prototypes - "Je Ne Te Connais Pas"

The Prototypes are a very popular french rock group. You may have heard this song in a BMW ad on TV.

Prototypes - "Je Ne Te Connais Pas"

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Quick Phrase Of The Day -Do You Have A Reservation?

A question you might hear in a restaurant:

Vous avez une réservation? (vooz ah vay oon reh zer vay shee yohn) - Do you have a reservation?

Your response would be either:

J'ai une réservation (zhay oon reh zer vay shee yohn) - I have a reservation
Je n'ai pas une réservation (zhuh nay pah oon reh zer vay shee yohn) - I don't have a reservation

Repeat these phrases all day today, till you know them by heart.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greeting Etiquette

Meeting Etiquette

The handshake is a common form of greeting.

Friends may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks, once on the left cheek and once on the right cheek.

First names are reserved for family and close friends. Wait until invited before using someone's first name.

You are expected to say 'bonjour' or 'bonsoir' (good morning and good evening) with the honorific title Monsieur or Madame when entering a shop and 'au revoir' (good-bye) when leaving.

If you live in an apartment building, it is polite to greet your neighbours with the same appellation.

Bonjour (bohn zhure) - Good Morning, Good Day
Bonsoir (bohn swah) - Good Evening
Monsieur (meh sure) - Mister
Madame (mah dahm) - Madam

Lesson # 4 Days of the Week

Lesson # 4 Days of the Week

lundi (luhn dee) - Monday
mardi (mare dee) - Tuesday
mercredi (mare kreh dee) - Wednesday
jeudi (zhuh dee) - Thursday
vendredi (vahn dreh dee) - Friday
samedi (sam dee) - Saturday
dimanche (dee mahnsh) - Sunday

Note- The days of the week are not capitalized in French

Lesson #5 will be on 8/16

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Numbers 1 to 10 Review

Let's review the numbers 1 to 10 which we learned in Lessons #1 & #2

1 - une (oon) 2 - deux (doo) 3 - trois (twah) 4 - quatre (kat ruh) 5 - cinq (sank)

6 - six (seece) 7 - sept (set) 8 - huit (wheat) 9 - neuf (nuff) 10 - dix (deece)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick Phrase Of The Day - Here Is My Passport

Voici mon passeport (vwah see mohn pahce pore) - Here is my passport

Repeat this phrase all day till you know it by heart.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quick Phrase Of The Day - My Name Is...

Je m'appelle.... (zhuh mah pell) - my name is

(literally translates to- "I call myself")

Repeat this phrase all day till you know it by heart.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Words To Use For Lesson 2

In Lesson 2 we learned how to say "Je voudrais...?" (I would like...)

Here are more things you will want to use with that question with:

un croissant (uhn kwa sahnt) - a croissant
une tranche de gâteau (oon trawnsh deh gah tow) - a slice of cake
une carte de Paris (oon kart deh pah ree) - a map of Paris
une tasse de thé (oon tahce deh tay) - a cup of tea
un verre de jus d'orange (ohn vehr deh zhooce door ansh) - a glass of Orange juice

practice those words with the phrase "Je voudrais..." from Lesson 2


Paris-Story is a show and exhibition which brings back to life the history of Paris and its monuments. It is an audiovisual stroll through the centuries to rediscover Paris in an entertaining and easy way.

This is the perfect way to learn about the cultural heritage of Paris and plan your activities while visiting the city. Interactive features include a panoramic film exploring the history of the city in English, and a 3-D miniature model of the city that will help you learn the lay of the land.

Paris at your fingertips!
Have fun finding where you are in Paris with the first interactive model of the city (3D and in colour!) Just as if you were flying over Paris, you’ll be able to locate all the important monuments, perspectives, gardens, major sites, and the sequence of city walls. Touch-screens provide access to photographs and a description of the 156 most important sites in Paris, including the ones featured in the Da Vinci Code!


Paris-Story11 Bis Rue Sribe,


PARISUnderground: OpéraTel. : +33 1 42 66 62 06Fax : +33 1 42 66 62 16

Length of visit: show: 45mins. Recommended age group: all

Parking: Around the Opera

More Words To Use With Lesson 1

In Lesson 1 we learned how to say "Où est...?" (where is).

Here are more places you will want to be able to ask that question with:

la piscine (lah pee seen) - the swimming pool
un magasin pour bicyclettes (luh mah gah zahn pour bee see kleht) - a bicycle shop
la gare (lah gehr) - the train station
un station service (uhn stah see yone sir veece) - a gas station
l'ascenseur (lah sahn sure) - the elevator

Now practice those words with the phrase "Où est..." from Lesson 1

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Organized in a renovated section of the city's vast network of subterranean tunnels and caverns towards the end of the 18th century, it became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century and was open to the public on a regular basis from 1867. The actual name for the catacombs are l'Ossuaire Municipal.

This cemetery covers a portion of Paris's former mines near the Left Bank's Place Denfert-Rochereau, in a location that was just outside the city gates before Paris expanded in 1860. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels officially called "les carrières de Paris" ("the quarries of Paris"), Parisians today popularly refer to the entire network as "the catacombs".

Lesson 2 - "I Would Like..."

When you go to places you will want to be able to tell someone "I would like...."

"Je Voudrais" - I would like...

(zuh voo dray)

Vocabulary words to use with this phrase:

un journal (ohn zoor nahl) - a newspaper "Je voudrais un journal"
un timbre (uhn tim bruh) - a stamp "Je voudrais un timbre"
un café (uhn kah fay) - a coffee "Je voudrais un café"
une chambre (oon shahm bruh) - a room "Je voudrais une chambre"
un menu (uhn men you) - a menu "je voudrais un menu"

Of course another phrase you would use after these sentences would be:
"S'il vous plaît" - Please
(see voo play)

Lesson 3 will be on Aug. 10

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Louvre

The Louvre is one of the biggest & most visited museums in the world. It holds more than 35,000 pieces of art. As an artist myself, this is one of the places I would love to see when I get to visit Paris. Growing up in NY, I always visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also one of the hugest museums in the world, so I dream of the day I can visit this one. Of course, I will have to see the Mona Lisa, possibly my favorite piece of artwork. If you have been to the Louvre, please tell us all some of the other interesting things to to see in this museum.

More Words To Use With Lesson 1

In Lesson 1 we learned how to say "Où est...?" (where is).

Here are more places you will want to be able to ask that question with:

un téléphone (uhn tay lay fohn) - a telephone
les toilettes (lay twah let) - the restrooms*
l'arrêt de bus (lah reht deh booce) - the bus stop
l'hôtel (low tell) - the hotel
le stade (leh stahd) - the stadium

Now practice those words with the phrase "Où est..." from Lesson 1

*with this word you would say "Où sont les toilettes? (ooh sahn lay twah let) - Where are the restrooms?

Now practice those words with the phrase "Où est..." from Lesson 1

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Words To Use With Lesson 1

In Lesson 1 we learned how to say "Où est...?" (where is). Here are more places you will want to be able to ask that question with.

une librairie (oon lee brair ree) - a bookstore
un restaurant (uhn rest tor rahnt) - a restaurant
un pharmacie (uhn farm a see) - a drugstore
une boucherie (oon boo shehr ree) - a butcher shop
une pâtisserie (oon pah tee sir ree) - a pastry shop
une boulangerie (oon boo lahn zure ree) - a bakery

Now practice those words with the phrase "Où est..." from Lesson 1

Must See French Film - Amelie

"Amelie" A beautiful and romantic film from imaginative director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Amelie played bashfully & impish-like by Audrey Tautou, is a waitress who involves herself into helping others in theirs lives without them knowing it. However when it comes to her romantic dreams, she can not help herself. One of the most charming films you will ever see.
Ohter films you should rent by Jeunet:
A Very Long Engagement

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lesson 1 - "Where is..."

Obviously one of the things we need to know if we go to France is how to say "Where is?"

"Où est..." Where is?
(ooh ay)

Vocabulary words to use with this phrase:

le musée (leh mew zay) - the museum "Où est le musée?
le supermarché (leh sooper mar shay) - the supermarket "Où est le supermarché?"
la banque (lah bahnk) - the bank "Où est la banque?"
le bureau de poste (leh byur oh deh pohst) - the post office "Où est le bureau de poste?"

Numbers to learn for this week:
1 - une (oon) 2 - deux (doo) 3 - trois (twah) 4 - quatre (kat ruh) 5 - cinq (sank)

Next lesson will be on Friday Aug. 8