jeudi 17 décembre 2015

Open Season (Une autre saison) - Josef Salvat lyrics

Since my previous post I've found out a bit more about Josef (yeah I know I'm a bit behind the times) and I discovered he's Australian! The fact that he's Australian and sings in French makes me like him even more.

Apart from being unbelievably talented he seems like a humble and cool guy. So I read online he said he was studying law and didn't finish his studies, and moved to London where he was discovered. He moved to France for a year when he was 15 (with his parents) and liked studying French which is why he incorporates French lyrics in some of his songs (and this move seems to have paid off as it seems (to me) to have doubled his number of fans). His French fans are crazy about him judging by his Facebook page!

Here is another song of his where he released a bilingual version.


Open Season (Une autre saison) - Josef Salvat

We used to have it all planned,
We thought we knew what it all looked like
We were looking out, on the greatest view

On a pas vu les limites
On a pas vu qu'on allait trop vite
Nous voilà devant l'inconnu
Et on file à des années lumières
De tout ce qui nous retenait hier
Seuls dans la nuit
On est seuls dans la nuit

(We haven't seen the limits
We haven't seen that we were going too fast
Here we are facing the unknown
And light years fly by
From all that we retained yesterday
Alone at night
We are alone at night)

On a jamais voulu changer de route
Tous les chemins ne nous menaient qu'à des doutes
Pas à Rome
Regarde où nous sommes

(We never wanted to change course
All the roads led us only to doubts
Not to Rome
Look where we are)

C'est une autre saison
Qu'il nous faudrait pour de bon
Pour repartir, mon amour
Le cœur moins lourd

(It's another season
that we needed for good
To leave, my love
with a lighter heart)

Just another season
Just another good reason
Change your mind and skin,

Let love take our word

Juste une autre saison
Juste une autre bonne raison
De changer d'avis et de peau, 
De laisser l'amour nous prendre au mot

(Just another season
Just another good reason
to change our minds and skin,
to let love take us to the word)

So I'll be needing you
And I know you'll be needing me too
We're in this game together
We're in this game together

And I believe in you
And I know you believe in me too,
We're in this game together
We're in this game together

Je me revois dans le rétroviseur
J'entends la voix des jours meilleurs
On a beau, faire les morts, foncer tout droit dans le décor*
On se perd on y peut rien, on le prend un peu comme ça vient*
Fallait-il qu'on s'aime, encore

(I can see myself in the rear-view mirror
I hear the voice from better days
Even if we keep doing nothing, keep going straight into the wall
we'll lose ourselves, we can't avoid it, we'll take it as it comes
Did we need to love each other, again?)

Car c'est une autre saison
Qu'il nous faudrait pour de bon
Pour repartir, mon amour
Le cœur moins lourd

(because it's another season
that we need for good
To leave, my love
with a lighter heart)

Juste une autre saison
Juste une autre bonne raison
De changer d'avis et de peau, 
De laisser l'amour nous prendre au mot

(Just another season
Just another good reason
to change our minds and skin,

to let love take us to the word)

So I'll be needing you
And I know you'll be needing me too
We're in this game together
We're in this game together

And I believe in you
And I know you believe in me too,
We're in this game together
We're in this game together

So I believe in you
So I'll be needing you
And I know you'll be needing me too
We're in this game together
We're in this game together

And I believe in you
And I know you believe in me too,
We're in this game together
We're in this game together
So I believe in you

* I asked a Frenchie to help translate these two lines for me and even he said it's difficult because of the expressions used here which have no direct translation in English. This was the best he came up with.

mardi 24 novembre 2015

Paradise - Josef Salvat

I've been hearing this song a lot on the radio.. it's quite catchy! and it's bilingual.

Paradise (Le Paradis Nous Trouvera) 
- Josef Salvat 

Retenir le temps juste une heure
Ce paradis, entre nous
Le laisser nous dessiner ailleurs
Nous hisser haut, nous deux et c'est tout
Ce paradis entre toi et moi
Comme une étoile tombée là, dans nos mains
Suivons-le maintenant jusqu'au climax
C'est à lui seul qu'on appartient
Let's stop time, just an hour
This paradise between us
Let's us draw elsewhere
We climb up, the two of us and that's all
This paradise between you and me
Like a fallen star here in our hands
Let's follow it now until the end (1)
We belong to it only

Forgetting, get's easy where the milk and honey run (2)
And the sun grow sharp above a fruit of an island sun 
So just lay back and wait for it to come
Oublier devient facile là où le lait et le miel coulent
Et le soleil grossit nettement au-dessus du fruit d'une île au soleil
Alors allonge-toi simplement et attends qu'il arrive

Le paradis nous trouvera toujours où nous sommes
Sur ma langue, un goût d'Eden
Et nos baisers nous redonnent le goût
Je veux boire ta peau diluvienne
Quand je tombe, devant toi à genoux
Paradise will always find where we are
On my tongue, a taste of Eden
And our kisses give us taste back
I want to drink your torrential skin

When I fall in front of you, on my knees

Forgetting, get's easy where the milk and honey run
And the sun grow sharp above a fruit of an island sun 
So just lay back and wait for it to come
Oublier devient facile là où le lait et le miel coulent
Et le soleil grossit nettement au-dessus du fruit d'une île au soleil
Alors allonge-toi simplement et attends qu'il arrive

Le paradis nous trouvera toujours où nous sommes
Tous les goûts sont dans la nature
Je connais même tous ses fruits défendus
Mais je les laisse pour que l'instant dure
Parce que rien ne vaut
Parce que rien ne vaut ce...
Paradis... Paradis
Paradise will always find where we are
All tastes are in nature
I even know all forbidden fruits
But I leave them for the moment to last
Because nothing is better than
Because nothing is better than ...

Paradise ... Paradise

Forgetting, get's easy where the milk and honey run
And the sun grow sharp above a fruit of an island sun 
So just lay back and wait for it to come
Oublier devient facile là où le lait et le miel coulent
Et le soleil grossit nettement au-dessus du fruit d'une île au soleil
Alors allonge-toi simplement et attends qu'il arrive

Le paradis nous trouvera toujours où nous sommes
Le paradis nous trouvera
Le paradis nous trouvera toujours où nous sommes
Paradise will always find where we are
Paradise will find us
Paradise will always find where we are

(1) Climax: it means the culmination of a story, when the dramatic tension is at its peak, usually at the end of all the adventures and before the ending.
(2) Milk and Honey is a term that refers to the abundance in Israel ("a land flowing with milk and honey").

(1) Climax : ça désigne le point culminant d'un récit, le moment où la tension dramatique est à son comble, généralement à la fin des péripéties et avant le dénouement.
(2) Milk and Honey (Lait et miel) est une expression qui fait référence à l'abondance de la terre d'Israël ("un pays où coulent le lait et le miel").

Advice for how to move to France (as a non-EU)

This article is written by an American but the info applies also to Australians, Canadians, etc...

It's the kind of article I could probably write myself but since she's already done a good job... and there is a ton of info on this page. Here is the link I stumbled upon:

So you want to live in France?

Thanks Lisa!!

lundi 2 novembre 2015

12 Reasons why you do NOT want to study in France

Sorry for my disappearing act but I've had a busy few months.. mostly because my school is killing me... here's a summary of why:

12 Reasons why you do NOT want to study in France (especially if you are older than 28 years old)

Please note that this list is especially relevant if you are over 28 years old and are a foreigner studying in France.

In the Anglo-world, studying after the age of 28 years, and doing a Masters after the age of 30 is nothing unusual but in France it seems to be. French people study continuously from kindergarden through primary school through to collège and lycée and then BTS, université (fac) or a grand école. So most people would never study after the age of 28.

So if you - as a foreign student - decide to study in France at the ripe old age of 30 something you will be faced with the following issues :

  1. You do not get student health cover under sécurity sociale (or sécu for short).
  2. You do not get any travel discounts (at least, this is the case for Lyon, it may be different in other cities).
  3. You do not get museum, tourist attraction, gym membership, swimming pool, library membership or any other sort of discounts. But depending on who serves you, often these places do not check your age though ;)
  4. The fact that you are older and have more work experience means nothing. You will NOT get paid more if you do an internship (stage) (so basically you only have disadvantages because of you 'old' age and no advantages whatsoever). I refuse to do one as I do not want to work for 2-3 euros per hour.
  5. If you live in a city other than Paris and are not doing an exchange/Erasmus program, and are not in a huge university, expect NO support at all, no empathy or anything from staff and teachers that you are dealing with a foreign language and culture.
  6. Expect 12 hour days or 40+ hour weeks, and then you have assignments, homework and exams study on top of that (in other words you will have no time to even eat or sleep and will be brain dead tired).
  7. Expect to do nearly all your work in groups. I'm sick of this ****ing group work!
  8. Expect to get treated like you are in kindergarten.
  9. Expect disorganisation hell like being told you have an exam the next day only the night before or teachers cancelling at the last minute.
  10. Expect to be given important information from the school and certain teachers via Facebook. As well as that you have to check your school email address and the school internet and your personal email. If you want course notes you have to check multiple places as well and half the teachers will forget to send stuff to you.
  11. Expect teachers to not reply to your emails or questions.
  12. You will have a hell of a time trying to find an apartment without a French guarantor (garant) who earns 4x your monthly rent. That is, a French person living and working in France who would be willing to pay your rent in case you default on payments.

So what are the advantages? 

  1. The course fees for a Master are significantly more affordable than in Anglo countries.
  2. Even though you don't get any discounts, the public transport is really good getting you from home to school quickly and easily.
  3. If you are in a university you probably have a cafeteria with cheap and decent food. I'm not in one but we have so many restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets nearby so it's easy to find something inexpensive and quick for lunch.
  4. You'll meet a variety of different people (although in my case I never got to meet any other foreigners).
  5. The quality of teaching is actually quite high. I'm learning a lot and my French has probably improved 10 fold by spending up to 12 hours a day listening to teachers speaking at high level French! I've also learnt a ton of specific and technical vocabulary.
  6. You'll improve your French for sure (see point #5).

vendredi 17 juillet 2015

One of the most annoying thing about Europeans

and yes, I have to say Europeans because it's not just the French.

Coming from an Anglo country where, generally speaking, our culture is open and friendly... I HATE the fact that Europeans are so closed. They are a bit better in the southern countries but still... everyone seems so cold and unfriendly.

Strangers just don't speak to each other. That's the unspoken rule. And it's ok if they are from that country but if you are a foreigner AND a stranger (ie me) and attempt to speak to a local person (for no particular reason ie you are not asking for directions or the time or something) they look at you as if you are a freak. This has happened to me over and over again.

Or... I just make conversation to be friendly and after about 2 back-and-forths, it's over. It's ridiculous. Whereas with a stranger who is an Anglo we could talk for ages and ages. I just don't get it and it's frustrating as hell!

I went to networking events I went to a big TedX event and nobody spoke to me! OK maybe 1 or 2 and they were always American! And if I dared try to talk to someone they would ignore me or talk to me for 2 minutes before leaving. Also, most of these networking events are so male-orientated that if a girl talks to man I think he thinks I'm trying to chat him up or something and he feels weird about it.


This is one thing I will never get no matter how long I live here and I hate hate hate it!!

Art of the bise (French cheek kiss)

To bise or not to bise? That is the question. 

I just made that up hahaha. Like my silly sense of humour?

Just in the last day someone told me about this video - The art of the bise (unfortunately it's in French which doesn't help foreigners by hey, you could improve your French at the same time! ;) ) It talks about when, with whom, how many and all the subtle little nuances... Personally, if I've never met the person before I give them a handshake. Often, they will be the one to initiate a bise but I never offer first.

 On that note, I also usually wait to see if the other person will tutoie me first. Sometimes I suggest it, particularly if they are around the same age or younger than me and most are happy to tutoie each other.


and also yesterday I came across this link with a map of France and how many they do in each region. If you've been following my blog I spent many years out of France but we did 3 and now in Lyon they do 2. When I first arrived and started doing 3 people would look at me awkwardly or even laugh before they realised what was happening (without me having to tell them why). A bit embarrassing but it makes for a funny conversation afterwards though! :D

vendredi 15 mai 2015

Getting the French student visa and OFII récépissé

So... I'm back in France again,  this time on a student visa.

Part I

I was lucky because I was already in Europe so it didn't take long at all. I could have the 'interview' almost as soon as I wanted, and then it only took 5 days after this to get the actual visa.

If I had been in Australia the process would have taken much much longer (I booked an appointment online just in case I needed it and the earliest appointment was almost 2 months away!) and they also require more documents.

Before I got the visa appointment though, I had to make sure I actually got into the school I was applying for so I made the appointment for about 10 days later, thinking and hoping that that would give me enough time.

I had my interview with the school (an école supérieure) via Skype which was a really nerve wracking process. I was sweating like crazy and the woman was kinda scary and asked some rather person questions (I've since learned that this is a French thing as everyone seems to have no qualms asking you personal questions such as your age, marital status, who you live with etc).

After the interview I was sure I didn't pass but luckily I did...

Most countries have to go through campusfrance to get their visa but none of the countries I'm associated with do so it was a lot quicker and easier.

Not really knowing what to expect though, I watched this series of helpful videos just in case.

I expected the visa people to be rather scary (as they seemed to be during our correspondence by email) but it wasn't too bad. The lady was really nice and helpful and seemed like she really wanted me to get it!

She basically just made sure I had all my papers (I was up all night printing stuff and making sure I had everything they required in triplicate). For some things they required 2 copies and for some they required 3 (and every embassy/consulate is different so double check the list for your city's French embassy/consulate!) so I just gave them 3 of everything.  For the 'attestation de domicile' (I was staying with a friend) and the letter (see below) they wanted the original but for the rest they accepted photocopies or print outs.

It doesn't seem like a lot of work but trust me it was. I'm sure anyone who's been through the same situation will agree and I got a sense of déjà vu when I was doing the same thing more than 5 years ago when I came to France the first time... getting all the paperwork, seeing various people to get things signed, printing off bank statements, blah blah blah...

and on top of that... wait for it! They wanted a 'lettre de motivation' about why I wanted to study in France and it had to be manuscrite ie handwritten. I typed it up first in Word and then copied it... I have read many books about graphology though hahaha.. not sure if that helped. In any case I just tried to keep it neat and uniform.

It took me forever to write the uni application letter because I had to ask French friends to correct my French and then send back my corrections and go back and forth... and if this person wasn't available I'd ask another friend, etc...

but for the visa I couldn't be bothered and didn't have enough time so I just summarised and rehashed my letter for the school! It was only 1 page printed out but 3 pages handwritten!

So in the end everything was fine and I got my shiny visa sticker in my passport!

Part II

But it wasn't over yet! After arriving in France you have to do the second part and I did this the other day.

As soon as you arrive you're supposed to send them the documents they require, then they'll get back to you with an appointment date and time. Luckily I was free then. Mine was at 13:30 and I'd kind of already forgotten that most offices are closed at lunch time here.

I'd heard nightmarish stories from other people, and reading bloggers' stories but they were mostly all in Paris and I live in Lyon. However, I also heard a nightmarish story from a friend in Lyon so I got there about 20 mins early.

There were already some people waiting there, most of them with Middle Eastern or North African appearance ... and they didn't understand what a queue was. Especially the old ones. Here I (and all the young people) was diligently queuing up but nooooo since these people didn't respect the queue I was like stuff it.

As soon as the staff opened the doors everyone just rushed in. It was like sales time or something. I had seen on the door that my section for the health exam was on the first floor so I immediately went to the first floor and was about the 4th person to be served. Not bad.

It was absolutely nothing like the organised system and much larger office/building/rooms of the immigration department in Geneva that I was used to! so I started feeling kinda of anxious wondering how many hours I'd be there for...

I looked at the posters on the wall. One was for translation services and another was for free vaccinations. I took a photo of both of them because I thought it might be handy to have the info.

I eavesdropped on a conversation between an American student and a South American? student who were speaking to each other in French. Oh, something I noticed is that the assumed everyone young spoke French but for all the old people they asked if they could speak French.

But amazingly I was served in just a few short minutes and everything ran like clockwork. All in all I was there for a total of 30 minutes. Pretty pleased with that!

1. I was called into a small office by the first doctor. She didn't ask much. Just if I was pregnant or if there was any possibility I could be. Definitely not. She also handed me a little piece of paper with phone numbers for if I wanted to do an HIV test. It's not compulsory and it can be anonymous. OK... thanks, I took the paper but I don't think I need it.

Then she asked if I wear glasses or contacts (no) gave me a quick eye test. It was so easy I told her I could almost read the code number of the eyechart (in tiny tiny font about half the size of the top line, the smallest font) on the top corners of the chart.

Then she took me into another room and asked me my height and took my weight, and calculated my BMI.

Then she brought me into a changing cubicle with 2 doors. I was asked to take off my necklace and watch, and clothes off the top half. I didn't exactly like it but rules are rules.

2. Then a (female) radiographer on the other side opened the door and asked me to tie my hair up in a high bun. She asked me again if I was pregnant and I said no.

Then I was asked to stand and press my chest and elbows against a large, cold, hard metal plate. She tied on a protective lead apron thingy from my waist down to protect my organs.

She took an x-ray of my lungs and then asked me to get changed.

3. Then I went to see yet another doctor (male), a GP I guess. He asked me about my family medical history and especially if any of my parents have diabetes (no). I said I have allergies (esp. right now) and he asked if I had anything serious and I said no.

He did the usual check-up things, listened to my chest (front and back), pushed into my stomach (what are they looking for when they do that??), pushed on the lymph nodes on my throat, took my blood pressure (100/50). He also looked at my BMI and my lung x-ray. I saw a little white spot on the x-ray and asked him what it was. I'm not quite sure I understood what he said but it was completely normal. I said is it normal that the x-ray is not symmetrical and he said that most people are not entirely symmetrical. He seemed a bit annoyed I was asking so many questions! hahaha

He also asked me what vaccinations I had and when. I said I can't remember the exact dates but I'm pretty sure they were all up to date. He said if you had your last vaccinations (Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus, Polio, Measles/Mumps/Rubella) around the age of 25 then you don't need to get the done again until you are 45 so I don't need to worry about it now.

4. Finally, that was done. He brought me back to the front desk, gave my paper to the lady who then had the récépissé sticker (which was already ready before the day) and put it in my passport! Woohoo! And of course they put in the wrong address (my friend's) even though I wrote them a letter over a month ago telling them I had moved.

She also asked me for one passport photo, rent contract (or an attestation de domicile if you are staying with someone else), and the timbre for OFII (58 euros, which I bought online and was quick and painless. I had to print it out myself). I made sure I came prepared with all these things, and copies and more! hahaha

But it's all done! I'm so happy and now I'm a legal EU resident. :)

(OFII = Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration)

mercredi 8 avril 2015

Back in France!

Big news. I've moved back to France and oh my gosh what a big job that was. After getting my visa (which thankfully only took a week) I basically only had about 10 days to pack up my stuff and move to a new country and start my new life. Sure, I just moved over the border but I had noone to help me and so many things to do and (re) set up. I'm slowly getting there and only just remembering the bureaucratic nightmares :( and it's even worse than the first time because last time (back in 2010) the school I worked at handled a lot of things for me (ie giving me cheap, furnished accommodation at the school) whereas this time I had to look for my own accommodation.

I have sooooo many posts but I have to figure out a way to make them useful for you, my readers, instead of just compiling a big long list of complaints because this country that I love so much also frustrates me so much!!

How babies learn languages: TED talk

Just came across this fascinating video. I like the last point where she mentions that human interaction is the most important thing for babies to learn a new language and to learn to speak, and tv is pointless. I don't watch tv and really believe that instead of stimulating the brain it numbs it, that's why people fall asleep in front of it, and not in front of a computer/internet.

Whilst the video is really interesting I disagree with anyone who says that 1) babies/kids learn languages faster, or that 2) you can't learn a foreign language after age 7 or age 15 ?!!

and why does the graph drop off at age 39? Are they saying that aged 40 and over it's impossible to learn a foreign language? What a load of crap.  Sure your accent may be crappy but I think something is only impossible if you believe it's impossible and likewise if you believe it's possible, it will be possible.

Watch the video here:

Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies (TED talk)

mardi 10 mars 2015

Jerome Jarre and Liter of Light

A while ago, I found Jérôme Jarre via this link that I posted in this blogpost. He is a 24 year old French social media sensation. He doesn't really have much on his YouTube (despite having almost a million subscribers!) but I felt compelled to find out more about him. He's apparently very active on Vine but I didn't want to have to install yet another app on my phone (you can watch his Vines online though but he hasn't updated it since Nov since he's now more active on Snapchat).

The first video of his that I watched (on YouTube) was this one.

Sorry for the spoiler but I was so humbled by the fact that he turned down a million dollar deal. Why? Because he didn't believe in them and their project. In this video he also talks candidly about his childhood and early life and how he used to be so insecure... and then, how a trip to China changed his life and how he found fame on Vine.

The second video I watched is this one where he appears on the Ellen Show and features some of his hilarious 6 second Vine videos.

I love watching video blogs (vlogs) on YouTube. It's like my (almost) daily dose of 'reality tv' and I prefer that they are real people and not b-list celebrities.

So anyway, meanwhile... When I first heard of Snapchat I thought it was the dumbest app ever and couldn't believe it was so popular. I guess most people know it as a sexting app and since I don't sext, I didn't install it let alone use it.

However, some people that I follow have started posting vlogs on Snapchat which made me try it out. I still haven't uploaded a single thing (and probably never will) but I enjoy watching the vlogs on it. They come out much faster than the YouTube ones so they are practically shown in 'real time'.

So anyway, I started following a few people and then remembered Jerome, wondering if he was on it. I searched for his name 'jeromejarre' and was pleasantly surprised that he has an account on there too.

I've really really enjoyed his videos and photos. It's actually quite a shame you can only view them once before they are gone :(

He went to the Philippines to support one of his fan's projects "Liter of Light", providing light to rural areas without electricity. I was fascinated and moved by Jerome's kind gesture to fly all the way there to help these people.

You can read a bit more about him and Snapchat here and about the "Liter of Light" project here.

I really really like this guy. He seems humble and down to earth despite his huge popularity and enormous success (8 million followers on Vine) and really wants to use his fame for good and to help others and not just to make huge amounts of money. He seems friendly, likeable, overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic and of course being super cute and having a killer smile helps! ;)

I don't know what he'll do in the future but I'm sure he's got a great future ahead of him if he keeps doing what he's doing.

Check out his snapchats. They are funny and entertaining and they really put a smile on my dial every time I watch them :)

vendredi 27 février 2015

Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes - Gaetan Roussel Song Lyrics

I've been having this playlist on replay over rand over again. It's French hits from the years 2010-2011. I liked those years because that's when I really got into listening to French pop music. I like almost all the songs in this playlist. The first one is this one which is cute and catchy (although the lyrics are quite sad :( )

Paroles officielles (official lyrics)

Dis-Moi Encore Que Tu M'Aimes
Gaëtan Roussel

Courir à perdre haleine

Sous les étoiles, on nous voit à peine
La nuit chasse les dilemnes
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes
Des amours, des questions me reviennent
As-tu retrouvé les tiennes?
Et si l'on rejouait toutes les scènes
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes
Le soleil, les fleurs, les persiennesLes pluies vont être diluviennes
Sens-tu le parfum que le vent ramène
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes

Entends-tu la mécanique?

Quand se déroule le générique?
Et si l'on rejouait toutes les scènes?
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes
Et si on modifiait les thèmes?
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes
Et si l'on rejouait toutes les scènes?
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes

La vie reste fragile tout de même

Et ce trafic qui nous amène
Et si l'on rejouait toutes les scènes?
Dis-moi encore que tu m'aimes
Et si l'on modifiait les thèmes?


Running breathlessly
Under the stars, we barely see ourselves
The night chases away our problems
Tell me again that you love me
Loves, the questions come back to me
Have you found yours?
And if we played back all the scenes
Tell me again that you love me
The sun, the flowers, the shutters
The rain will be heavy
Do you smell the scent the wind brings back
Tell me again that you love me

Do you hear the mechanics?
When the credits roll?
And if we played back all the scenes?
Tell me again that you love me
And if we were to change the subjects?
Tell me again that you love me
And if we played back all the scenes?
Tell me again that you love me

Life stays fragile anyway
And this traffic which brings us 
And if we played back all the scenes?
Tell me again that you love me
And if we changed the subjects?

vendredi 13 février 2015

Into the Woods / Promenons-nous dans les bois

Into the Woods / Promenons-nous dans les bois

In France you can watch films in VO (version originale) ie in the original language or VF (version française) ie dubbed in French. I always choose to watch films in VO no matter what the original language is, so I watch French films in French, English films in English, German films in German, etc etc.

and when I watch them in English I like to read the subtitles in French as it helps me learn new vocabulary. These days I don't learn that many new words except slang or colloquial words (words that they don't teach you in class or in textbooks) or words that are technical eg related to a particular job (words that you don't often use in every day life).

So anyway I was watching this new Disney film "Into the woods", called "Promenons-nous dans les bois" in French (Let's walk in the woods) and while reading the subtitles I was like.. Gee... I only know half these words!!!   (I mean the lyrics sung during certain songs).

Then I remembered... that reading kids books can actually be harder than reading adult books (in a foreign language). The reason (IMHO) is that if you are reading an adult fiction or non-fiction book, a magazine, a newspaper or a website you are more than likely somewhat already familiar with the subject matter (and more than likely already read something similar in English or your own language). However, you (ie adults) are not familar with "fairytale language", the language used in this film.

Here you have all sorts of characters, creatures, and a heck of a lot of verbs that I have never learnt and will probably never use.... I was astounded by how few words I knew and yet if you ask a native speaker 8 or 10 year old they probably know all of them.

So if you want to dramatically increase your vocabulary go read some kids' story books! ;)

(sorry this wasn't a movie review but if you want a quick one... I think the first half is quite good but the second half isn't so great IMHO and many reviewers online seem to agree!). I was expecting something like "Oz the great and powerful" or "Maleficent" (also by Disney) but it wasn't up to that calibre, and unlike Frozen the songs aren't that memorable or catchy. My main complaint is that there are too many characters so not enough character development or depth and you can't feel any emotion or sympathy for any of them really).

Speaking of vocabulary, not sure if I've posted this before (I don't think so) but this Youtube video came up while I was searching for something and then I remembered I had seen it before, years ago (when I first started this blog).

I don't know how old this girl is... 2? 3? 4? but she has an incredible vocabulary and listen to all her perfect grammatical structures.. I don't even think I can use that many different tenses in one short story. Incredible.

French cute kid tells a story (Winnie the pooh)

mardi 3 février 2015

The Top French Youtubers

I am a huge huge fan of YouTube. I don't watch TV, in fact I don't even own a TV so YouTube is my go to place for entertainment. I don't know how I lived without YouTube and I hope it never dies. That's how much I love it :P

I have linked to tons of YouTube videos here on this blog. You can click on the 'youtube' tag below the post to find them all.

When I first started learning French I would watch things like Bob the builder (Bob Le Bricoleur) and Thomas the tank engine (Thomas le train) and Disney songs in French.

Now, since my French is at a fairly decent level I can understand pretty much everything (except when people speak super super fast or use tons of slang like most teenagers do)... and I've found that watching YouTube bloggers AKA vloggers really helps!

I stumbled upon this site and it lists all the Top French Youtube vloggers, by order of number of subscribers. I really enjoy the videos by the top 2, Cyprien and Norman. (I think they are friends now even though they are sort of competitors). However, now that they're both super super famous (with millions of subscribers and millions of views per video!) it seems like they don't have much time to make videos like they used to. Still, go through that list and you may find something (or someone rather) you like! :) It's interesting that all the top vloggers are male. I wonder why this is the case?

Technophobe - un court métrage de (a short film by) Cyprien

Ma vie en dessin (Draw my life) by Norman

I also came across this vlogger called Rachel Martino while I was searching for videos about foreigners learning French. She has an English YouTube channel and a French one and her French one is much more popular as her Frenchie fans seem to love her. She seems really sweet and looks like Kate Hudson (to me) and coincidentally, despite being American, she also appears on the list/site I mentioned above.

mercredi 28 janvier 2015

France forbids names like Nutella, Strawberry, Titeuf and MJ

This is a funny and interesting article. I don't think it's just France either but many European countries are pretty strict about what you can name your children. There's a debate about freedom of choice vs what's 'right' and good for the kid... anyway... that explains why every European I've met has a really 'normal' and most likely very common name and also with a common spelling.

I think I agree with this law. I'm tired of stupid names, funny names, names that you can't spell easily (even if they are common names).. I'm tired of parents trying to be cool or trendy and it's their kids that suffer.

I myself have an uncommon name but it's easy to spell and pronounce but yet I still have so many problems, esp. over the phone.. even when I try to spell it they get it wrong. And so I can imagine the annoyance kids of weird names must feel later on when they are adults..

Article from 'The Local' here


Nutella and Strawberry

This week saw news that both Nutella and Strawberry (Fraise) were given the red light in France. Why? Because judges thought both girls would be mocked as they grew up. To make matters worse for Fraise, the judge said that the bullies would no doubt pounce at the chance to use the expression "ramène ta fraise" - a slang phrase roughly meaning "get your ass over here".


Titeuf is a popular cartoon character in France. Photo: bgvjpe/Flickr
In 2009, a couple from the north of France chose to name their son after the famous French children's comic book hero 'Titeuf'. Unfortunately for them, a judge ruled that the name could prove detrimental to their son's life, especially during his teen years, and later in his professional life. Titeuf was an eight-year-old boy with blond hair. He even appeared in British comic book The Dandy, renamed as "TooTuff" for English-speaking audiences.

My related posts about babies names:

Top French baby's names year by year 1946-2011
Top French baby's names 2009
Top French baby's names 2011
Top French baby's names 2013
Top French baby's names 2015

(strange how I only seem to do this on odd-numbered years, that's not intentional!)

Top French babies' names / Top des prénoms français 2015

Some of the top French babies' names for 2015 :

Voici le top des prénoms (français) 2015 :


  • Emma, 
  • Chloé, 
  • Inès, 
  • Léa, 
  • Manon, 
  • Lola,  
  • Louise 


  • Lucas, 
  • Nathan, 
  • Gabriel, 
  • Léo, 
  • Louis,
  • Timéo,
  • Raphaël.

More... plus...

lundi 26 janvier 2015


I know, I know this is old news. I meant to write a post about this when it all happened but I had a lot going on...

I was quite saddened by the whole thing (to think that people could get killed for drawings) and moved by the big groups of people not just in France but everywhere, that gathered together in public spaces to mourn the loss of those innocent victims but also to come together for a fight against terrorism.

I really hope to God nothing like that ever happens again, in France or anywhere else :(


In other recent-ish news, the Swiss franc previously bought about 0.8 Euros and on 15 Jan the Swiss national bank (SNB) lifted the 3 year limit on the exchange rate and all of a sudden 1 Swiss franc buys 1 Euro! Crazy stuff...

I'm probably going to be out of action for a few weeks but when I come back I'll have more and better posts for you! Don't worry, I'll be back :)

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