mardi 28 février 2012

Learning French: Starting over again (Part 2)

In Learning French: Starting over again (Part 1) I discussed the beginning of my second attempt at learning French. I didn't know when I started again that journey would be still going some 12 years later. The difference is that it is even more fun now than before.

Upon returning from France it was back to my classes at the Alliance. Teachers would ask the class if they had learnt the subjunctive before and there would be a collective sigh. I embarrassedly would admit yes, many times, and equally as many, had forgotten it. 
Dámasa - studying

As my thirst for learning French grew, I realised that I needed to put in more effort. If you are young, you may be able to just turn up for your weekly lesson with no practice or study between but I found that this did not work for me. Perhaps it doesn't work for young people either. On the other hand age is no excuse for failing to learn a new language according to a report in New Scientist.

I look back now and realise what a scattergun approach I had taken to learning the language. I have tried everything that I can. I sought out opportunities to immerse myself in the French language in spite of living in an English speaking country.

In addition to classes at the Alliance and later at University of the Third Age there are a number of things that I have tried. Some of these I will cover in more detail in future posts:
  • Buying extra grammar books to help understand grammatical principles and for additional practice. I found that you have to also open and use them to have any chance of effectiveness. 
  • Private lessons with 1 or 2 others as well as a regular coffee and chat with friends in French (including one who is French).
  • Participating in online French chats and forums: These have since been replaced as technology changes, my confidence and skills improve and I develop friendships with people whom I have met through the internet. I tend to use Skype more often now. 
  • Changing my PC and smartphone to operate in French and setting the keyboard to French. Wherever possible the language in all applications, software and social media is set to French. Amazingly, I don't even notice anymore that it is in French. I have no hesitation in choosing the 'Enregistrer', 'Supprimer' or 'Envoyer' buttons or 'J'aime' on Facebook. Coming across terminology in French frequently has implanted it into my sub-conscious so that I am no longer aware that the word is in another language. They are no different to other  words in my vocabulary; they just happen to be in French. 
  • Subscribed to French magazines: I took out a 6 month discounted subscription for 'L'Express'. I paid only 1 € per magazine but the postage was quite high.  
  • Online resources: Online French lessons, exercises, magazines, radio, podcasts, videos, films - the options are almost infinite. I will detail more information in future posts.
  • French language Meetup group: Meetup is an online facility to help groups of people with shared interests plan meetups and form offline clubs in local communities around the world. There are French language meetup groups internationally. If there is not one near you, you could start up one.
  • Seek out French speakers socially and in my work environment whether they be colleagues or customers.
  • Telling stories and chatting in French to my grandchildren in spite of them not knowing any French. Pets could easily be substituted for children. I have also talked aloud to myself in French when driving. Even if no-one responds it is good practice for articulating words in French and gaining confidence. I found it helped my tongue and mouth get around words where I would otherwise falter.
  • French immersion stay: I have done 5 linguistic stays with various Alliance françaises in France and one with CREIPAC in New Caledonia (Learning French: New Caledonia - August 2012). I will discuss this in more detail in a future post and will also include how to make the most of it.
  • Studying French by distance at an Australian university.
  • Volunteering: I volunteered with the Alliance française de Rouen for more than 3 years. I 'worked' for them both when I was in France and remotely from home in Australia. 
  • Books with spoken CDs: There are some wonderful spoken CDs available in French. I particularly enjoyed Philippe Delerm's La Première Gorgée de Bière. It is a collection of magical short descriptions which are full of vivid imagery. I found the length ideal for being able to replay over and over. The vocabulary is quite rich so sometimes can be challenging but I enjoyed the change from the simplistic storylines in the Mills and Boon type books I was reading.  The stories can also be followed in the book if required. (Note: Not suitable for beginners. I would suggest at least intermediate level of French required.)

  • Novels in French: I initially found it easier to read books that tend to use repetitive vocabulary  and familiar story lines such as Mills and Boon type novels and those by Agatha Christie. I quickly got the gist of fluttering eyelids and pounding hearts without stopping to look words up in dictionaries. 
  • Frequenting French cafés, patisseries, boulangeries and restaurants in Australia and ordering and making small talk in French.
  • Participate in social events run by my local Alliance française. As well as the Alliance française French Film Festival they offer a wide variety of social events including regular lunchtime gatherings, plays, social evenings, wine tastings etc. My Alliance even has regular bridge evenings for francophones.  If only I knew how to play bridge!
  • French satellite television at home. An annual subscription was my gift to myself when I changed from working full-time to part-time. Not only are there benefits linguistically but culturally as well.  
I am eager to do a visit to Melbourne with a free tour in French through the Melbourne Greeter service.  The possibilities are almost endless.  It takes some effort to find the opportunities and also to make the most of them.

The listing above contains things that I have used to supplement formal classes. For a comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of some of the different learning methods I thoroughly recommend Judy MacMahon's article 'Continuing to Learn French'. In it Camille Chevalier-Karfis of French Today provides her advice.  What was effective for me may not be effective for others. Hopefully this list provides a prompt to consider alternatives when learning French.

My 'secret' if you like for 'perservering' with learning French has been my group of francophile and francophone friends. I have no idea how many coffees have been drunk in my pursuit to learn French. They have been there to support and encourage me throughout the journey. Un grand merci à toutes et à tous!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d share it with your friends by email, Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!

Further reading with Femme Francophile:

lundi 27 février 2012

Paris in 2000 images - Le Flâneur

This video is a collection of high quality photos by American Luke Shepard.  It started out as a project for his studies at the American University of Paris.

The photos were taken after 1.00am to try and capture Paris in a different light free of tourists. Luke didn't use timelapse photography to film the sequence as he moved around the monuments. He would focus on a particular point for the entire sequence keeping that spot in the same place the entire time. He then manually timed the photos.  I am sure that you will agree that the results are stunning. I find the whole effect mesmerizing. 

For background information on this impressive project see Anne Ditmeyer's interview of Luke: Behind the Scenes of Luke Shepard's Le Flâneur.

vendredi 24 février 2012

Renaissance accommodation in the Loire Valley

Being a semi-regular traveller to France, I am frequently asked for recommendations for accommodation. Last year we were lucky enough to have two weeks of free accommodation in the Loire Valley. This provided a wonderful base to explore the scenic Loire Valley. One of our favourite locations is Blois. A picturesque town on the banks of the Loire River. The town itself had lots of interesting shops and beautiful squares with cafés, restaurants, crêperies and bars. With 50,000 inhabitants, Blois is the perfect size town with plenty to see and do and yet people had time to stop and chat. It also provides a great starting point for visits to other towns and châteaux in the Loire Valley such as Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise and Chenonceaux.

What could be better than staying in a Renaissance house in the Loire Valley built in 1584 and soaking up the atmosphere! Closerie Falaiseau is described as 'a dream for two in Blois, just 5 km from the centre in a quiet neighbourhood a stone’s throw from the Loire River.' It has one bedroom with an en-suite bathroom (shower, toilet, washing machine), a living/dining room and large fully-equipped kitchen. You may want to make use of the bikes that are available to work off any extra calories from the organic bread from the bakery 5 minutes walk away.

The ground floor is for rental. A separate entrance leads to the upstairs rooms where the French/Australian owners, who live in Paris, sometimes come to stay. Enquiries can be made in French or English and you have the advantage of knowing that the owners are a phone call away. Closerie Falaiseau makes the ideal base for your holiday in the Loire Valley. 

5 km from the centre of Blois 26 km from Chambord
GPS N 47.546155 E 1.2820101

If you would like to see more photos and stories about the Loire Valley you will also enjoy the following posts by Fraussie, the owner of Closerie Falaiseau:

jeudi 23 février 2012

Local Way Paris—Baguettes & Boulangeries

Local Way has launched their online travel video series of Paris - The Local Way Paris. Their Facebook page advises:
Through our Local Way website and iPhone App, you will be able to plan your trips and adventures abroad based on your interests through the eyes of local experts.
The first Local Way Paris episode is about my favourite topic - FOOD!  Bryan and Anna visit a number of well known Parisian boulangeries. Maps and address details are provided on the The Local Way Paris website. We also get to see how the famous baguette is made.  

The video is professionally produced and interesting.  I am looking forward to their upcoming episodes:

  • Promenade along the Canal Saint-Martin
  • La Sorbonne 
  • Literary Paris
  • Cinematic Paris
  • Getting Around

Writing the unwritten rules of travel

Fairfax media's Ben Groundwater has published his Ten unwritten rules of travel. My personal favourite on his list is about not reclining your seat on planes during meals. His article started me thinking as to what are my rules for travel. In no particular order here is my list.

Attitude: Smile, keep a sense of humour and be open to new things. Smiling comes from Ben's list and along with keeping a sense of humour and being open to new things are probably my most important 'rules'. Travelling is about broadening horizons and learning but it is also about enjoyment and fun. If you are not prepared to make the most of things - stay at home. Expect the unexpected and you will not be disappointed.

Don't overplan:  My first extended trip to France was a 6 week car trip starting from Paris. I had a spreadsheet which showed not only every nights accommodation but the restaurant or café for almost every meal. Museums and monuments were included as were details of any day excursions. Ratings were shown from each of the guide books I had consulted. I even had a column with the nearest automatic teller machine for every village and town. Our maps had plastic flags (post-its) of different colours to differentiate accommodation, must sees etc.  I am so embarrassed when I look back at this obsessive behaviour. I didn't want to miss out on anything and I thought this was the best way to do it.  Last year, we had 3 months in France, 2 months in the one location. Most of the time was unplanned. We talked to locals and did what they suggested. There is no doubt that there are benefits to some planning but some of our favourite times were definitely from impromptu encounters and discoveries. 

Pack light: I usually travel by myself but even if I travel with my husband I need to be able to lift luggage in and out of trains, cars and buses. There may be escalators and lifts in some metros and railway stations in France but in my experience there is a direct relationship between the size and weight of my bag and the likelihood of any lift of escalator being out of order. If visiting a place for the first time, I leave space in my bag for any items that I buy at my destination. I fill this space with bubble-wrap which stops items moving around and then can be used for any fragile items on the return trip. 

Change of clothes in hand luggage: I tend to take two changes of clothes with me when travelling between Australia and France. This then allows for luggage being lost and spilling food or drink on myself.  When returning from Europe I usually have a 17 hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore so I also carry my bathers with me so that I can make use of the swimming pool.

Packing of clothes: If my husband and I are both taking luggage we split our clothing over the 2 suitcases. If one goes missing then we both have a reasonable amount of clothing to get by when arriving at our destination.  (I haven't completely passed the obsessive phase of travel.) 

Keep a journal: This is wonderful not only for reminiscing but also for sharing information when friends ask for a recommendation for a favourite restaurant in some way out place. These days this information can just as easily be captured online on a blog or in a smartphone application. With the blog, your friends and family can be kept updated at the same time. It is important though that this not become a burden or a chore.

Zip lock bags: I place all my toiletries and cosmetics in zip lock bags. This limits the mess from leakages of liquid and cream toiletries from containers that are otherwise considered leakproof but behave rather differently with the pressures in the luggage hold. Once at my destination it also allows me to group products by usage and easily identify them without needing to search through various bags.

Basic language knowledge: I believe it is only courteous to be able to at least greet and thank people when visiting their country. My very bare basics include:  hello, please, thank you, goodbye, yes and no.

Walking: It is not always possible or wise, but where it is, use walking as a way to discover your new surroundings. It gives you the chance to really see, hear, smell and feel your new surroundings. You may just happen to meet some of the locals at the same time. A true bonus!

Copies of important documents: I keep photocopies of passport, drivers licence and bank cards separate from the items themselves. I have been known to also have electronic copies of these in secured online accounts but I am not sure if this is still considered advisable these days. I do however take precautionary measures such as 2 step verification for my Google account.

I no doubt have missed some key travel rules. What are yours?

lundi 20 février 2012

Beware Madame la Guillotine / Gare à la guillotine - Bilingual iPhone/iPod Touch StoryApp

Thanks to the Teachers with Apps site I have just discovered Beware Madame la Guillotine, an interactive bilingual StoryApp which tells the story the French Revolution through the eyes of a young murderess as she awaits being sent to the guillotine. The journey takes you through Paris from the Palais Royal to the Conciergerie.  

The following video provides a demonstration of the application:

iTunes description
In addition to Charlotte’s compelling audio narration, Beware Madame la Guillotine also features:
  • Travel Tips
  • Text-read Options
  • Dedicated Maps
  • Map Challenges
  • Trivia Challenges
  • Optional “More Info” Historical Explanations
  • And more than Two Dozen Treasure Hunts!

Beware Madame la Guillotine offers adults, youth, families and school groups -- whether residents or visitors to Paris, alike -- a vivid and engaging way to explore and really get to know the museums, monuments, parks, boulevards, cafés and other locations of relevance to the French Revolution.
The application was created for those over 12 but reading the reviews it sounds like it will have wide appeal to those looking for something a little different when visiting Paris. I would love to try the application but unfortunately I don't own an iPhone or iTouch. I see the app can be downloaded on to a PC but I really want to be able to walk the tour. Perhaps they will release an Android application (fingers crossed). If you decide to try the app I would love to hear your thoughts. I am hoping that my favourite Paris blogger, Fraussie from Aussie in France, will provide some feedback on the app. Living in the Palais Royal she won't have far to go to start the tour.

The French take on Kangaroo Island

Eliane and Catherine, friends from New Caledonia, arrived for their 4 day quick visit to South Australia. Top of their list was Kangaroo Island (KI) which according to our guide is Australia's third largest island with a length of 160km. Even though it is one of South Australia's top tourist destinations and mapped by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin I had never made the 1 1/2 hour trip south from Adelaide to Cape Jervis to take the 45 minute ferry trip to KI. I admit that if it wasn't for the chance to spend time with my friends and the lure of a full day of chatting in French I may still never have gotten to the Island. 

View towards Admiral's Arch
Our bus left Adelaide at 6.45am and we returned at 10.30pm. It was a very long and tiring day. My friends were surprised to meet so many young French people doing the tour. The working holiday visa system has provided the opportunity for many young French people to spend 1-2 years in Australia.

The walk down to Seal Bay with the guide was not far but for some older people they found climbing back up the sand quite difficult. I smiled to myself when I noticed that the seals and I have similar walk. Not a pretty site.

Eliane at the Remarkable Rocks
The Remarkable Rocks looked from a short distance just like every photo I have ever seen. They were interesting but probably not much more than that. I was tempted not to bother with the walk to reach them but in hindsight am glad that I did overcome my initial reluctance. Up close, it was a completely different sensation. I am not sure if it was their size, their grandeur or their majesty but I certainly found them awe-inspiring. 

Raptor's Domain birds of prey free-flight show
The tour also included seeing a birds of prey free-flight show, Admiral's Arch, Flinders Chase National Park and a chance to see koalas and kangaroos. Eliane and Catherine were surprised I think by the distances that we needed to travel on the island. They commented too on the fact that here was this large island and yet we didn't see any towns or many other people. It was as if there was just the us, the heard of tourists in our bus. Would I do it again?  Probably not. I don't think that KI has enough differences from mainland Australia to bother with specifically going there. I have friends though that rave about the place and really love it so I am sure that there will be many others who will disagree with me.

Mais au fait, à quoi sert "en fait" ?

I am fascinated how we use different phrases and words in both English and French to fill out sentences. I recall a few years ago deciding I would sound more French if I used a few catch phrases and words. I am not sure why I decided that I could just magically sound more French (whatever that may mean).

I chose words and phrases that I believed I could reasonably pronounce (hence none with that pesky French 'r' that I will never master). Whenever I could, I would throw in an en fait, tout à fait, absolument, génial or a ça y est.  This of course was all prior to knowing that really all I needed was one single word to sound French. Le mot indispensable en français

I was quite upset when one day a French friend indicated that tout à fait and absolument were the signs of an uneducated person. Oh dear ! Had I chosen the wrong words to build my 'Frenchness'?  Was I just sounding more uneducated?  It was interesting to then read and listen to Pierre Bénard's article 'Mais au fait, à quoi sert "en fait" ?' in his regular 'Faut-il le dire' programme on Canal Académie. Unfortunately the full article and podcast is only available for a limited time to non-paying newsletter subscribers.  So that's it, I am just stalling for more time.

What words or phrases do you use as fillers or to sound more French?

mardi 14 février 2012

What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

I am basically a lazy person but I knew that my poor diet and sedentary lifestyle were catching up with me. In addition to discussing this with medical and allied health professionals I did what a large percentage of people do these days - I turned to the internet. I had been following Fraussie's Aussie in France blog so was thrilled when she started her 'How I lost 20 kilos after 50 for good' series of posts. If she could do it, then perhaps I could do it too. Just the inspiration I needed to get started. I am heading to France in a few months time and I want to be fit and well enough to make the most of my time there.

It all seemed overwhelming. Where should I start? What would have the biggest impact to improve my health? More internet searches and I came across the video from Dr Mike Evans on You Tube. He examines in a clear, succinct and entertaining manner 'What is the single best thing we can do for our health'. He is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital. There is mention that they may do Spanish and French versions in addition to the English and Italian ones currently offered.

What is the single best thing we can do for our health (English version):

I have started following guidelines given to me by a dietician, noting down what I am eating, walking and drinking water. I confess that I used to go for weeks on end without drinking any water. Diet cola drinks are my preference but not something that I recommend. They are not a healthy alternative and from what I can tell are full of chemicals. I am not expecting this journey to be an easy one but it is definitely one that I need to do.

What is the single best thing we can do for our health (Italian version):

Faire apprendre : vocation, profession, occupation ou passe-temps ? « Didactique professionnelle »

An interesting article from Henri Boudreault (in French) for those who are interested in the role of the teacher in learning: Faire apprendre : vocation, profession, occupation ou passe-temps ? « Didactique professionnelle »

I suggest reading it in conjunction with : 10 fundamentals of learning - Les 10 fondements de l'apprentissage

lundi 13 février 2012

Learning French: Starting over again (Part 1)

I had always wanted to travel to Paris, even as a young girl. When the opportunity was finally on the horizon it was time to start thinking about French lessons. I had studied French at high school twenty years earlier but in spite of receiving an undeserved high mark in my final exam I was never able to hold even a basic conversation. Real life is nothing like the scripted textbooks of yesteryear with Philippe and Claire talking on the telephone.

It was an easy decision as to where to study. My local Alliance Française. As a schoolgirl I had enjoyed their functions and they had fed my romantic notions of France. Additionally they met my requirements of native French-speaking teachers and the focus not only on the language but also on the culture. The social events that the Alliance offered was another significant factor in my choice. The combination of the 20 year hiatus and my dread of sitting an assessment test to determine my level led me to enrol in the class for complete beginners. I felt slightly smug on the first night when I remembered how to introduce myself. Naively I felt confident that I had allowed sufficient lead in time for my trip to be able to master basic conversations. I was sure that 30 two hour lessons would have me deciphering menus and responding to questions before our August departure. Progress was slow... very slow. As slow as the snails that I pictured myself eating in some small Parisian bistro. It was not a problem with the teaching. People half my age had no problems and would whizz ahead with responses whilst I was still thinking through what the question meant.

Eventually off to France I headed ... disappointed I returned, at least in regards to my linguistic abilities. Nobody would speak to me in French! As soon as I uttered a few words in French, the waiter or receptionist would launch into perfect English. It was as if my feeble attempts were causing them physical pain. I was however absolutely enchanted with Paris so I was determined to work on my French and return  parler-ing en français.

In  Learning French: Starting over again (Part 2), I look at some of the thing that I have tried to improve my French skills. 

dimanche 12 février 2012

Use a pillowcase or plastic bag to dry lettuce

I know nothing about cooking. Even assembling a few ingredients to make a sandwich has no appeal to me. Food shopping is tedious unless I am in France. On the other hand, I am fascinated by others using their skills to make what I find boring and difficult look interesting and easy. I marvel at their expertise. Here however is a tip that I have never come across before. Thanks to Lifehacker Australia for alerting me.

If you don't have a salad spinner place the lettuce in a pillowcase or in a plastic bag with paper towel. Close up and then swing around to dry. The video from shows the technique. I am not sure that this method would work in a small Parisian apartment nor in a crowded commercial kitchen. The salad spinner option would be much less risky.

CHOW Tip: How to Dry Salad Without a Salad Spinner

samedi 11 février 2012

Mr 73 - available online until 26 February 2012

For those in Australia at least the film 'Mr 73' is available online via SBS on demand until 26 February 2012.  I am unable to confirm if available to view from France and New Zealand.

Film synopsis: The discredited and alcoholic Detective Schneider, a washed-up Marseilles cop, earns a chance at redemption by protecting a woman from the man who killed her parents. Directed by Olivier Marchal and stars Daniel Auteuil, Olivia Bonamy and Catherine Marchal.

You can view the film trailer before deciding if you would like to watch the entire film:

Mr 73 online via SBS on demandMr 73

mercredi 8 février 2012

Comment ouvrir une bouteille de vin avec une chaussure

Some practical advice for that emergency situation when you have wine but no corkscrew. Not sure that this situation would arise in France. What self-respecting French woman or man would be without a corkscrew?

Faites votre propre chemin dans la vie

The images in this slideshow have been created by Erik Johannson, a very talented Swedish photographer.  Citations have been added to them, making them even more memorable and special.  Amusez-vous !  

lundi 6 février 2012

10 fundamentals of learning - Les 10 fondements de l'apprentissage

Thanks to Ruth from New Zealand for having shared this informative slideshow.  Although general in nature, I found it useful to reflect on my own learning of French.

Merci à Ruth de la Nouvelle-Zélande d'avoir partagé ce diaporama riche en enseignements. Bien qu'il parle en termes généraux, je le trouve très utile pour m'aider à apprendre le français.

Merci à Fraussie (Aussie in France) d'avoir corrigé mon français.

dimanche 5 février 2012

Homographes et homophones français

Un grand merci à Ghislaine de Nouvelle-Calédonie d'avoir partagé ces exemples.

En français : deux mots composés des mêmes lettres se prononcent toujours de la même façon !
En êtes vous bien sûr ?

Homographes non homophones
Voici quelques exemples d’homographes de prononciations différentes !
Sortant de l’abbaye où les poules du couvent couvent, je vis ces vis. Nous portions nos portions, lorsque mes fils ont cassé les fils. Je suis content qu'ils vous content cette histoire. Mon premier fils est de l’Est, il est fier et l’on peut s’y fier, ils n’ont pas un caractère violent et ne violent pas leurs promesses, leurs femmes se parent de fleurs pour leur parent. Elles ne se négligent pas, je suis plus négligent. Elles excellent à composer un excellent repas avec des poissons qui affluent de l’affluent. Il convient qu'elles convient leurs amis, elles expédient une lettre pour les inviter, c’est un bon expédient. Il serait bien que nous éditions cette histoire pour en réaliser de belles éditions.
Homographes homophones
Voyons aussi quelques exemples d’homographes de même prononciation !
Cette dame qui dame le sol. Je vais d'abord te dire qu'elle est d'abord agréable. A Calais, où je calais ma voiture, le mousse grattait la mousse de la coque. Le bruit dérangea une grue, elle alla se percher sur la grue. On ne badine pas avec une badine en mangeant des éclairs au chocolat à la lueur des éclairs. En découvrant le palais royal, il en eut le palais asséché, je ne pense pas qu'il faille relever la faille de mon raisonnement.
Voici le meilleur exemple d’homophone (mot de sens différent mais de prononciation identique) !
Le ver allait vers le verre vert

jeudi 2 février 2012

Opéra de Paris - Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier, which was constructed between 1861 and 1875, is arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris. If you can't get there in person then you can do a virtual visit. The link provides access to various spectacular views which I highly recommend exploring. In addition to these virtual visits this 360° view gives you some idea of the beauty within this building.

Opera de Paris in Paris

I have done a guided tour of Palais Garnier in French and can recommend it to advanced level French language learners. Tours are also conducted in English but I do suggest reserving ahead of time if you don't want to risk disappointment and miss out.  Reservations can be done online or or by dropping in to their ticket office in the foyer when you are there.    

The great staircase, foyers, museum and auditorium (for artistic or technical reasons, it may not always be accessible) can be visited unaccompanied every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with the exception of:
  • Sunday 4 March 2012
  • Friday 16 March 2012
  • Wednesday 21 March until 1 PM
  • Wednesday 11 April 2012
  • Tuesday 1 May 2012
  • Friday 25 May 2012
If you visit Palais Garnier your ticket entitles you to a reduction when visiting Musée d'Orsay, Musée Gustave Moreau and the Centre national du costume de scène. Conditions of course apply. SNCF (French train network) also has a number of deals which provide discounts on train tickets and event tickets.  Information on discounts

Opéra National de Paris - Palais Garnier
Place de l'Opéra,
75009 PARIS

mercredi 1 février 2012

Paris: The unexplicable lure

What is it about Paris that captures our imaginations and takes hold of our hearts?  It would be easy to say I wish I knew, but truthfully I don't care too much if I don't know.  I am more than content that Paris takes over my being.  Analysing it won't change how I feel.

I smiled when I read the post 'The Heart Rules the Head' by Susan Ross Donohue. She eloquently captures my feelings and emotions about Paris.  She and I share the same sensation on arriving at Charles de Gaulle.

ABCs of Travel  - Greatest feeling while travelling: Flying into Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.  I get very emotional. I feel that I am coming home in spite of never having lived in France although I am convinced that in another life I lived there. 

Mind you, n
othing very romantic or alluring about Aérogare 1.

Susan provides her list of 'comfort places' where she needs to get to as soon as she can upon arrival.  So it's not just me after all!  My list is not exactly the same as Susan's but it is interesting to see that there are quite a few common elements. I arrive at 6.00am after more than 22 hours of travelling but no rest for me. I need my Paris fix  and to reassure myself that everything is where it should be, and as it should be.  

Susan mentions thousands of others exhibiting this 'crazy behaviour'.  I am glad to know that I am not alone.  I have a circle of female friends who to varying degrees are under the Paris spell but I don't know of any men that have succumbed in the same way to the lure.  They must exist.  I am sure of it, even if they represent a small proportion of the Paris 'groupies'.

Whilst I am inextricably drawn to Paris, I still spend more of my time in France out of Paris than in Paris.  I am attracted not just by one region but by many.  So there it is.  I admit it.  I don't have just one French love, but many.  Each of them special.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...