christine@sussexfrenchtutor.co.uk

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Welcome to my blog

 

Hello, my name is Christine, I am French and have been living here in England since 1986. For most of this time I have been privately tutoring French.

 

I have now decided to write a blog focusing on tips for English people travelling to France; as I have now lived both sides of the channel for so long I hope I will have some good insight for you!

 

As well as tips, we will talk about the wonderful French language and culture. Famous for Paris and our beautiful sunny south, we also have snowy mountains and wooded valleys, a country where you really can get it all. Home of delicious wine and cheese, The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame and luxury shopping – our topics are sure to be broad and fun.

 

I hope you enjoy!

 

Christine x

By Christine, Oct 5 2017 06:59PM

French is known to be the language of culture, with many technical words in all sorts of artforms being French.

This is particularly obvious in Ballet. As any young dancer knows, they don’t tell you to twirl, you are told to pirouette, you don’t bend, you plié.

The simple reason for ballet terms being French, is that though it first originating in Italy, it was truly developed in France, it actually came from courtiers entertaining themselves with a dance version of fencing. The first public ballet company was opened in 1661 and at that time moved into the public domain. This theatre company still exists with a name change, it is now the Paris Ballet Opera.

If you are interested in French but not a trained dancer you may be curious about these terms, though they sound formal and technical they are essentially basic French words.

To English ears it certainly does lend an air of formality to the dance, and Ballet to this day is still a very formal affair. So if you want to better fit in with the ballet crowd or understand this beautiful artform better, a good grasp of French will help you enormously.

Key words:

Plié (bent): bending the knee(s).

Changement (change): jumping from one position, then changing the legs and landing in that same position.

Pas de chat (cat step): jumping from one foot to the other, with both feet in the air mid jump.

Pas de ciseaux (scissor step): jumping and scissoring the legs in mid-air, and landing onto one leg.

Pirouette (pirouette): a twirl done on one leg.

Chassé (chased): A step where one foot chases the other from its original position, in a series of movements.

Développé (developed):  standing on one leg, the other is drawn up to the knee and slowly extended.

Fondu (molten): Lowering the body on the supporting leg.

By Christine, Sep 26 2017 07:31PM

We covered very well in the last series of blogs just how much France has to offer you from a cultural perspective, and why speaking French allows you to make the most of your time in France, but I now want to take a look at another angle.

Did you know that students with a good level of French are eligible for government grants and scholarships? In fact, France is one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad. Doing your higher education abroad not only gives you the amazing experience of living in another country, totally immersing yourself in the culture, but also qualifies you for many internationally recognized degrees.

There are in fact, various funding schemes as well as exchange programmes designed to help international postgraduates at French universities.

Here are a just a few of the amazing opportunities offered to international students in France:

- There are 700 scholarships available for international students wanting to study in France, these cover all levels of study. The majority of these grants come directly from the government.

- The cost of studying a Masters in France is offset by national investment, the French government actually spend around €10,000 on each higher education student per year!

- Tuition fees are capped by law, meaning there is no chance of sudden extortionate expenses.

- If you get accepted into a scholarship programme, they typically cover all tuition as well as money to live on throughout the year. This depends on the individual scholarship but usually ranges between €200 to €1,200.

If this is something that you may be interested in and you want to research any of these degrees to see if you could qualify, these are the largest programmes: Eiffel Excellence Scholarship, the Major Excellence Programme, the Erasmus Mundus Programme and the Ile-de-France Masters Scholarship.

Of course universities in France are taught in French, which is why having a good grasp of the language is a vital requirement. You can always brush up while you are there, you will certainly increase your slang and overall fluency but having the basics down cold is a necessity.

I hope some of you will consider what a wonderful experience this could be.

By Christine, Sep 22 2017 01:56AM

For me churches and cathedrals are high on my list of places to see and recommend in France for so many reasons! They are beautiful and aesthetic, they have such a rich history and they played huge roles in development and changes in our French culture.

France is a secular country meaning there is no state religion. Per surveys about 50% of the population are Catholic, 17% Muslim and other Christian religions and the final 33% do not follow any religion. The separation of Church and state happened in 1905, relatively recently, and so Catholicism has played a big part throughout French History.

You will notice beautiful churches and cathedrals wherever you go, such as the famous Notre-Dame in Paris, Chatres Cathedral, Laon Cathedral, Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, Strasbourg Cathedral and The Abbey at Mont St-Michel.

- Some beautiful churches are shown here: https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2016-03-24/the-most-beautiful-churches-in-france

- I found this beautiful driving tour of notable French cathedrals that I would love to try out, and so I thought I would share it with you: https://www.tripsavvy.com/france-best-cathedrals-tour-1517288

As well as the huge cathedrals, I love spotting little town or village churches, somehow they have a quaint, tranquil, religious feel which is sometimes lost in the tourism of big cathedrals. Rather than recommend to you any particular small churches, I think the best method of finding these is a wonder around a small village, and a surprise discovery of a hidden gem.

In the last decade or so France has embraced secularism (laïcité), and is pushing away from religion, but I know our churches and cathedrals will always stand tall. What is your favourite French cathedral or church?

Key Words:

Religion: une religion


Cathedral: une cathédrale

Church: une église

Spire: une flèche

Pew: un banc

Aisle: un rayon

By Christine, Sep 8 2017 07:14PM

France and England may only be divided by the small waters of the channel, but there are huge differences between our countries and cultures. Here we take a look at just three areas which show this divide.

Language

French – French is what is known as a Romance language, meaning it has Latin roots. It came in with the Romans, and in fact, romance means speaking in a roman way. Some Romance languages are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian, these Romance languages share a lot of common ground and knowing one will help you learn another much more rapidly.

English – English on the other hand is a west-Germanic language, with later Latin influences. It is not a Romance language and though the Latin influence lends it some similarities it is a highly different language. These variables were made all the larger through the many invasions England endured.

Keywords

word: un mot

sentence : une phrase

language: la langue

Food & Drink

French – The French have long been famous for their Haute Cuisine; particularly renowned for wine, cheese and their baked goods. Eating is not something rushed or taken at your desk. Dinner is late, always after 7 and often as late as 9 or 10. Lunch is usually a sit-down meal, lasting an hour or more. Families eat together as much as possible, with even children joining in the late dinners.

English –English food does not have such a good reputation, though recent advances have certainly begun to change this perception, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the current standards. Wine is not very British but on the other hand cider and ale have been brewed here for about two thousand years and a whole range of delicious varieties can be found.

Keywords

beer: de la bière

wine: du vin

cider: du cidre

breakfast: le petit-déjeuner

lunch: le déjeuner

dinner: le dîner

Retail

French – France like anywhere has popular shops that become chains, but it is much less common than what you see in England. In fact, everywhere you go, you are sure to be surprised with a cute boutique shop or artisanal café. Clothes shopping is generally more high-end, with fashion being a pretty important cultural element in France.

English – English town centres are full of chains, you are generally guaranteed to see a Waterstones, a Boots, a Clarks, a Costa and so on. Though of course there are independent shops and cafes out there they are not so common. Clothes shopping is more mid-level, with large chains being the common choice.

Keywords

restaurant: le restaurant

café: le café

shop: la boutique

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