lundi 30 avril 2012

Customised Pâtisserie and Design Guide Google Maps for Paris

Imagine my excitement when I found whilst researching for my 3 month stay in France two customised maps for Paris in Google Maps from two of my favourite blogs! I intend putting these to good use over the next few weeks. I have Google Maps loaded on my Android phone so I will be able to follow them without carrying around reams of paper or heavy guide books. I will use the free WiFi that is available in Paris wherever possible. (see Aussie in France '3 iPhone Apps for Paris and WiFi')

Note: To access these maps click on the link below each map.


Paris Pâtisseries' Best Pastry Shops in Paris
A map of the 12 best pastry shops in Paris, as endorsed by Paris Pâtisseries. I am not intending to limit myself to 12 pâtisseries but it is helpful to have a starting point.


Paris Design Guide
The Paris Design Guide map was compiled by Anne Ditmeyer and recently updated (January 2012). Additional information about the various stop off points can be found on the Design Sponge 'Paris Design Guide (Update)' page. I highly recommend referring to this page in conjunction with the map.

View Paris Design Guide in a larger map

Note: Design Sponge has Design Guides for cities all over the world - Design Sponge City Guides

Creating custom Google Maps
If you find these maps useful you may like to create one of your own. I haven't tried it yet but intend to map out some of my favourite spots in France following my trip so that I can refer back to it later. I have recently bought a new camera with GPS so this should help not only identify the points in my photos but also allow me to map my travels. 

For detailed information see: Custom Maps

dimanche 29 avril 2012

Sunshine Coast, Australia - Photos

These photos were taken during our 8 days on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. If you haven't ever visited this area, I strongly recommend adding it to your list of places to visit.
Foote Sanctuary, Buderim
Unknown flower at Montville (let me know in the comments if you can identify it)
View towards the Glasshouse Mountains

Noosa Beach

Pub at Eumundi 
Eumundi Markets
Coolum

Coolum

Main street at Montville
Staghorn at Montville
Streetside vegetation at Montville

Vegetation at Montville looking back towards the coast
Camphor Cottage, Montville

Beautiful neighbourhood  where we stayed in Buderim

jeudi 26 avril 2012

Australian Gifts for Overseas Friends and Hosts


Gift-giving for friends and hosts is always slightly tricky. It is even more difficult when travelling from Australia to France and staying with or meeting new people. I therefore asked some friends who came up with some great suggestions.

Sue from Adelaide had some suggestions especially for our Adelaide friends:
It is so hard to find things 'Made in Australia or South Australia' or that aren't big, bulky, or heavy!
  • The little shop in Burnside Village on the corner near the rear carpark has some good quality souvenir type things, although they seem to have cut back and now have more clothes.
  • Eamonn Vereker makes the glassware at his workshop in Norwood. I know glass could be breakable but he has small glass animals including koalas. 
  • China plates/mugs of Aussie animals, birds, etc...available at some department stores and shops; also the Maxwell Williams brand. The smaller plates travel quite well as they are boxed. Good value.
  • Not too familiar with the city, but the South Australian Museum shop is good. 
  • 2 good shops in Adelaide Arcade (one with souvenirs, Essence of Australia, and one a card/newsagent that has the St Alban wool scarves & throws, good quality coasters, toys etc). 
  • There's also an upmarket shop in Adelade Arcade, Tarts Collective , the little side arcade (Gay's Arcade) with local makers. But a bit pricy....
  • There's always silk scarves, but I guess that's kind of personal unless you know the people. 
  • CDs but hard to know people's taste... we've taken Tina Arena doing her French album.
  • Toiletries: lotions, etc...Trelivings brand from department stores (good value), also Jurlique.
  • Food: Kangaroo Island products - honey or other, Beerenburg, both have mini gift packs. Maggie Beer, Haigh's Chocolates, Baylies of Strathalbyn. Have a look in your supermarket in the gourmet section (or David Jones) for these. You may find some other surprises too!
  • Picture/coffee table books on South Australia, one good one is Peter Dobre's 'South Australia's Natural Landscapes'.
  • I usually take a few pens, pencils, bookmarks, keyrings, etc (from any keycutter-shoemaker) to give away to people we meet there, teachers, etc...
  • I wish a clever person would make some good quality linens, not the gastly garish stuff that's been around since the Ark...
I also asked Fraussie from Aussie in France for her suggestions
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Beauty care products made of emu oil etc.
  • French are pretty big into cosmetics and bath stuff and food
  • If the person likes reading, you could get a book by an Australian author such as Alex Miller
  • Australian animal hand puppet
  • Children might like an Australian T-shirt. We always took the kids back T-shirts and they loved them. Australian Aboriginal T-shirts are very unusual.
  • Small wall hangings of Aboriginal art. The ones with the X-ray animal paintings are always popular here (France).
  • Shell jewellery: earrings or a little necklace. There's so much nice stuff that's not expensive at all and that you don't find here.
  • Mugs for hot chocolate
  • Fridge magnets
  • Cute little koalas that you pinch to open
  • Board games: Australian Monopoly or Scrabble
My Spanish friend, Isa, has requested that I bring material with Aboriginal artwork on it when I visit her in July. Her mother has previously made dresses out of material she bought from Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.


Eamonn Vereker, 67 Sydenham Rd, NORWOOD SA 5067
Essence of Australia, Shop 39, Ground Floor, Adelaide Arcade, ADELAIDE SA 5000 
South Australian Museum Shop, North Terrace, ADELAIDE SA 5000
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, 235 Grenfell St, ADELAIDE SA 5000
Tarts Collective, Gay's Arcade, ADELAIDE SA 5000 

mercredi 25 avril 2012

Aussie in France Blog and Blogging Buddy

When I started blogging earlier this year little did I know that I would make friends across the world. I have been especially fortunate to find in Fraussie Grouet of Aussie in France a blogging buddy and friend. She has critiqued my posts and constantly provides encouragement and support. She even managed to persuade me to give Twitter another try.  We frequently chat on Skype and this has provided lots of inspirations for posts. I can't highly enough recommend to bloggers the benefits of finding a kindred soul in the blogging world.


I have been motivated to restart my own weightloss venture after following Fraussie's 'How I lost 20 kilos after 50, for good' inspirational series of posts. It is wonderful to read about someone's personal journey with food and weightloss which in so many ways mirrors my own. If I, or others have questions, we know we can ask them and Fraussie will help us out with her guidance, wisdom and reality check.

With my fascination with food and all things French it is not so surprising that my other favourite posts are about eating and drinking. I am so looking forward to when I arrive in Paris next week to working through Fraussie's Five Places to Lunch near the Louvre in Paris along with her 3 Places for an Apéritif in Paris.  Interesting how I have embraced these posts but have not yet to be motivated to take up Fraussie's passion for cycling. That said, Fraussie has invited me to stay with her at her new Renaissance home in Blois and to go cycling with her. I laughed when she asked me if I cycled. I confirmed that I knew that bikes are the things with two wheels. She tells me that these days they come with gears and hand brakes. Personally, I am more interested in visiting the restaurants and cafés that she mentions but I will give cycling in the Loire Valley a try with my mentor and friend. I will have to get her to promise not to blog about my inevitable cycling mishaps and lack of prowess and stamina.

If you have enjoyed the Aussie in France blog as I have, please consider voting for it in the Sydney Writers' Centre Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition.

vendredi 20 avril 2012

Noosa - Autumn in Queensland

View towards Noosaville on the Noosa River
In spite of being autumn the forecast for Adelaide is in the high 20s (celsius) every day this week. Unfortunately the weather gods for the Sunshine Coast have not been so favorable. The Sunshine Coast is not promising to live up to its name with rain forecast everyday. Fortunately the meteorologists have been wrong and we have had several beautiful sunny days.

Noosa Beach
Noosa Beach
I had never visited Noosa so it was high on my list of things to do during our week on the Sunshine Coast. We were fortunate to be able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day at Noosa. It is situated on the mouth of the Noosa River as it enters the Pacific Ocean. It has very much thrown off its old-fashioned beachside town shackles and now exhibits the work of property developers. Medium density luxurious apartment complexes sit alongside ‘McMansions’. The Sheraton and Sebel Hotels back on to the main street which is predominantly dotted with clothing shops, cafés and restaurants and is only one street away from the pristine Noosa Beach. The waves were very small but they still provided amusement for the bathers who were making the most of a warm autumn day on the Sunshine Coast. It was after 5pm but people were still swimming and sunbathing. Masseurs were still plying their trade with massage tables set up on the beach. Not a bad autumn day at all!!
Masseuse on Noosa Beach
Hastings St (main street), Noosa

For more information on visiting Noosa: http://www.visitnoosa.com.au/

jeudi 19 avril 2012

Living on the Edge on the Sunshine Coast


This post has been written with the assistance of our kind host, Ron.

Our first day on the Sunshine Coast we toured the iconic Queensland Scenic Rim. This geographical treasure is world reknowned. The Glass House Mountains were the target of our journey. They were readily observed from the multiple vantage points offered by the high elevation of the sinuous narrow road along the rim. The visitor could not fail to be impressed by the many historic restored buildings that ranged in size from modest to mammoth and now housing restaurants, tearooms, bed and breakfasts and museums. 

Sunshine Coast Hinterland
We began our visits with the charming olde worlde village of Montville with its typical Queensland styled timbered buildings and eco friendly colours. The local park was studded with colourful trees and generously endowed with walking tracks and surrounded by cute restaurants with their uniquely tantalising menus. Perhaps even more memorable for the many visitors are the magnificent views visible from these establishments. En route we saw plantations with their impressively large, healthy macadamia trees. Our attention drawn by the grandeur of the Glass House Mountains we lost ourselves and travelled primitive tracks that wound around their base. Losing ourselves on the track and lost in the wilderness of the Sunshine Coast hinterland we were prevented from finding a coffee oasis to feed our caffeine cravings. By this time, with weather closing in on the not so sunny Sunshine Coast, our enthusiasm for a closer inspection of the mountains had waned. The fuel gauge provided an additional imperative to cutting short our outing. We returned home to our beach house tired but elated from our wonderful day. A glass of wine helped restore the sapped energy levels.
Montville

samedi 14 avril 2012

Learning French: Immersion Programme Homestay

I am a mature aged person and like my independence but I strongly believe that the homestay is a key, integral part of any linguistic stay or immersion programme experience.
Homestay in Rouen
No matter how interactive and effective the learning you do prior to commencing your immersion programme, the enormous benefits of the everyday incidental conversation around the dinner table should not be underestimated. Whether it be asking where things go when you are helping putting things away, when you can do your washing or use the bathroom, or discussing the culture. You will be exposed to everyday language that may be different to the textbook language you are familiar with. Listen and observe how the language is used. Look for patterns, idioms. Try to understand the gist of what is being said. Don't let it overwhelm you. Participate and enjoy it. I had studied  French for many years but still did not recall the word for tea towel! 
Rouen homestay family, fellow student and moi
If circumstances do not allow you to do a homestay then you will need to actively maximise your regular contacts with the locals rather than hiding away in your studio, dorm or hotel room. Spending every afternoon in a French museum, café or supermarket will help improve your language but it will do so in a  different and possibly more limited way. Varying your activities will increase the breadth of exposure to the language but you also need to consider the depth of interactions as well.
My Rouen bedroom
When choosing a language school and deciding to do a homestay, ensure that there is one person who has overall responsibility for homestays, including placements, visits and inspections plus dealing with any concerns. I did a homestay with a school where lots of the administration staff dealt with homestays but there was no one person to whom concerns or questions could be directed. You need to know in advance if you are obligated to stay with the family if either you or they decide it is not working out. At the Alliance française de Rouen, there is a kind of ‘no blame/fault’ option for both the family and the student. If things are not working out, either party may choose to cease the arrangement. The Alliance will assist, in the rare occasion of a change being required, with alternative accommodation. I am aware of one eighteen year old who was terrified of large dogs. She didn’t realise in advance that her family had a large dog. Neither she nor the family wanted her to move as they got along very well but she was too scared to go out into the backyard. It was preferable that she be placed in another situation where she would feel totally comfortable.
Rouen homestay family and moi
If you decide on doing a homestay, I recommend being specific about any preconceived ideas that you are expecting from the homestay. How important is cleanliness, fun and laughter, outings, private facilities etc to you? These things are not necessarily mutually exclusive but what is one person's ideal homestay is not necessarily the same as another person's. Make no assumptions. I incorrectly assumed with my first homestay that there would be more than one member in the host family. I found myself in an accommodation which was more like a boarding house with 3 other students. Lovely bedroom and bathroom but we were not encouraged to be in the kitchen apart from meal times. No other communal area was available to us inside. The lady went straight to her bedroom after clearing the kitchen so we did not get to chat. The next time I asked for a 'traditional' family explaining that I wanted more exposure to people speaking French between themselves as well as directly to me. I was allocated a retired couple and grandmother whom I adored. However, two of my friends who also did homestays at the same time stayed with women who were divorced or widowed. They thoroughly enjoyed it and these ladies organised visits with my two friends. There is no perfect foolproof formula. A family with parents and some children may allow the possibility to observe more interactions with people coming and going but it may be that with just one person in the family that there will be more chance and focus on your interaction. 
Rouen homestay garden
I also suggest checking the school's homestay placement policy for students. How many students are placed within the family? Do they place more than one student with the same native language in the same family? For some students meals are a priority. They want beautifully prepared meals with all the trimmings. Others want to be near the town centre so they can go out at night, others want the countryside. Some families may have fancy, beautiful homes but are very strict about things such as meal times. 
Prawns al fresco
Think carefully about what is important to you and what you are prepared to compromise on. It probably will not be possible to have a 100% match but schools will aim for the best possible. Usually the greater the period of  advanced warning you can give, the better you chances of a match. The important thing is to communicate as clearly and precisely as possible what you would prefer when requesting a homestay through a language school.
Homestay families get together for meal in Noumea, New Caledonia
I have done homestays in Toulouse, Noumea and 3 in Rouen. Each of these have been coordinated by the language school where I have been studying. To get the most out of the wonderful opportunity that a homestay presents, communicate as much as possible, at every occasion with the family and actively involve yourself in family life. Be open to new experiences that extend beyond the realm of learning the language and remain positive and I am confident that you will benefit and enjoy your homestays as much as I have.

jeudi 12 avril 2012

Le Petit Prince Animation

I have found some wonderful resources for studying French since joining Twitter. People everwhere are very generous about creating and sharing resources. 

For a number of years I have been very fortunate accessing a wealth of information on the french.ac.nz provided by the New Zealand French Teachers Association and the French Embassy in New Zealand. More recently I have discovered another very generous French teacher: Sylvia Duckworth, from Toronto, Canada. Whilst the resources are primarily aimed for use in the classroom, many of them are also very useful for independent learners.

This week both Froggieflo (from NZ) and Sylvia kindly shared a YouTube playlist of Le Petit Prince read in French with animations. Like many others I suspect, I studied this beautiful book at school. I am now looking forward to setting aside some time to revisit it in a new and innovative manner.


YouTube playlist (broken down into chapters): Le Petit Prince


Complete video:

mercredi 11 avril 2012

To Hammam, or Not To Hammam? That is the Question

Last year we had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week in Marrakech, Morocco. I knew very little about Morocco so relied on good friends and Trip Advisor to locate our accommodation at the Riad Sekkat. 

Khalid and his wife, Najah, looked after us at the riad, taking care of all of our needs and preparing our meals. Khalid, I am sure, knows everyone in Marrakech. We couldn't go for a walk or a trip on the back of his motorbike without lots of friendly waves.  It was obvious that if I was to venture to a hammam that it was best to seek his advice. He clarified if I wanted a 'tourist' or 'local' hammam.  I was adamant that I wanted the authentic 'local' one.  

Price list and hours at Bain d'or 

The next day Khalid led me the short distance along the winding streets of the medina to the local hammam. I was relieved to find out that the hammam had set times for men and women. I stood behind Khalid's large frame as a heated discussion in Arabic was conducted at the doorway. The elderly lady kept looking me up and down, not seeming to be too thrilled about this foreigner entering her hammam. Khalid's sweet-talking worked and I was allowed to enter with my towel tucked under my arm and cardigan under the other one. Khalid was insistent that I would need the cardigan afterwards for the walk back so that I didn't catch a chill.



I entered the first room which was a gathering area. Women of all ages and shapes were undressing or dressing. No anglo-saxon self-consciousness evident here (apart from myself). Thankfully Khalid had explained to the lady what I required and details regarding payment. I passed over my money to the attendant who was charged with taking care of me. Unfortunately I was unable to establish her name. Like most of the women in the hammam she spoke no French and I of course spoke no Arabic. She went to great lengths to show me that part of my money was paid to the lady in charge for the entrance, another portion was for the black Moroccan soap wrapped in a piece of torn paper and some shampoo. The balance was for her services.  She gestured to undress and to place my clothes and towel on a shelf. This gave me time to survey the room. There were a number of other rooms leading off from this main area. I was passed a plastic bucket and led through the sea of naked bodies to the furthest room. This room was full of women chatting, laughing and washing each other. 


The room was hot and steamy and light poured in from a hole in the roof and high openings. The women were gathered at the opposite end of the room to where I was seated on the floor. I realised later that this was the low end of the room and the direction the water flowed. My lady lathered me up with the black soap and then scrubbed me and scrubbed me some more. And then some more again. My skin was tingling all over. She lifted my arms, my legs, had me lie on my tummy on the floor, all the time scrubbing me. I was scrubbed all over!! The plastic bucket was filled and emptied over me. Another lady joined in scrubbing me ... some heated words were exchanged between the two. Eventually the second lady stopped scrubbing me and slunk away. I watched as the lady next to me washed her two small children and cleaned their teeth. Community bathing at its most intimate. My hair was washed with the sachet of men's shampoo that I was given at the counter. Hot and cold water was dumped over me leaving me gasping for breath. My lady left me alone for a short period of time and of course I had no idea what her instructions were. I think usually you go from one room to another, alternating between various temperatures. I was not sure about the process so I just stayed on my little corner of the floor. She returned, beckoning me to return to the changing area. I went to follow, but was confronted by a large derrière blocking the doorway. Its owner was leaning over. I tried a couple of excuse me's but all to no avail. Unsure if I should gently tap the protruding derrière I remained immobile whilst the ladies around me, sensing my predicament, started to giggle. Eventually someone on the other side of the door screamed out to the derrière propriétaire to move. We all had a great laugh. 

Khalid returned to escort me back to Riad Sekkat, in case I was unsure of my way.  He asked me if I knew why the women go to the hammam. He assured me that the bathing side of it is almost incidental. It is about socialising, gossiping and checking each other out.

Although the Bain d'Or may not suit everyone, I would thoroughly recommend the experience of going to a hammam and having your skin scrubbed and buffed. I have never felt so cleansed. Your skin feels even softer than that of a baby. I, on the other hand, will definitely go back to Bain d'Or the next time I am fortunate enough to return to Marrakech.

mardi 10 avril 2012

Cleland - Parc animalier près d'Adélaïde

Le grand avantage d'une organisation d'échanges de maison (voir Home Exchange - Benefits and Getting Started), c'est qu'on y rencontre des gens formidables. Grâce à Homelink, il y a deux mois, nous avons eu le plaisir d'accueillir une oenologue française du Luberon, Julia, chez nous pendant une quinzaine de jours. C'est une jeune femme très sympa et décontractée.

Vendredi, avec Julia qui habite encore à Adélaïde, nous avons eu l'occasion de rencontrer les charmants Hélène et Alain du Champagne. Ils sont aussi les membres de Homelink. Nous les avons contactés quand je cherchais un échange de maison en France pour 2012 et 2013. Ils en avaient organisé déjà un avec une famille d'Adélaïde. D'abord nous avons déjeuné au café au Mount Lofty, le plus haut sommet autour d'Adélaïde à 710m au-dessus du niveau de la mer. Normalement du sommet, on peut voir l'autre côté du golfe Saint Vincent mais pas ce-jour là. C'était très brumeux. Nous ne pouvions guère distinguer le contour de la ville d'Adélaïde. Quel dommage!

Potorous
Du Mount Lofty nous sommes descendus jusqu'au Cleland Wildlife Park, un parc animalier de 35 hectares de bush où nous avons vu des kangarous, des koalas, des emeus, des wallabies, des wombats et des potorous. On peut même caresser les animaux qui sont très habitués aux gens.

C'était une journée formidable avec nos amis français.

Kangarou

lundi 9 avril 2012

L'Archi-bus de Paris


Normalement je ne reste pas longtemps à Paris, mais cette année je logerai dans une banlieue très proche de Paris chez la propriétaire du Riad Sekkat (Marrakech). Nous sommes devenues amies grâce à l'internet. Etant donné que je serai pendant 3 mois en France avec une base à Paris, je fais beaucoup de recherche sur les activités de Paris.

Je connaissais déjà l'OpenTour, le bus touristique où l'on peut monter et descendre librement pour visiter les musées et monuments principaux de Paris. J'avoue de ne jamais avoir pris ce bus. Pour la plupart du temps, je me promène à pied à Paris. C'est une ville pour flâner. Quand je suis épuisée, je prends les bus normaux et le métro me conviennent plus. En revanche, je ne connaissais pas l'Archi-bus. Je viens de le découvrir grâce à 'Is it possible to be a flâneur in Paris without walking?' d'Invisible Paris.

Le site de la RATP parle de l'Archi-bus:
À la découverte de l'Architecture Contemporaine à Paris. Destinés à tous les usagers des transports en commun, aux amoureux de Paris et amateurs d'architecture, la collection ARCHI-BUS à pour vocation de valoriser le patrimoine contemporain parisien et d'inciter à l'utilisation des transports en commun comme un 'moyen de transport plaisir'.
Les guides gratuits (en français) présentent une quinzaine de bâtiments et leurs architectures. Ils couvrent 9 lignes de bus, la traverse Ney Flandre, le tramway T3 et la ligne 6 du métro parisien.

Les guides sont disponibles: 
  • dans les bus concernés, 
  • à l'Office de tourisme de Paris,
  • au Pavillon de l'Arsenal, 
  • au site de la RATP, et
  • au site de la Pavillon de l'Arsenal.

vendredi 6 avril 2012

Learning French: Accent Isn't the Most Important Thing

Thanks to Sonia Gil's Facebook page, I came across this TIME Ideas article, How to Speak Like A Native

As usual with reports in the popular media it is hard for the layman to know the truth. Journalists quote studies and academics and yet they seem to be able to present opposing viewpoints. I am not in a position to confirm the validity of the studies quoted in this article but never the less it is very interesting, and as a language learner, rather reassuring and encouraging.

The article says:
...new research suggests that we would make better progress, and be understood more easily by our conversational partners, if we abandoned a perfect accent as our goal in the language learning process.
It goes on:
...traditional language instruction held up native-like pronunciation as the ideal, enforced by doses of “fear, embarrassment and conformity,”
In essence the article suggests that we should be focussing on comprehensibility rather than the 'unrealistic' ideal of native-like pronunciation which can create stress and be discouraging to language learners. 

What a relief! Whilst I have long held the belief that the primary reason for learning a language is about communication this article gives me permission to not beat myself up so much regarding my pronunciation. My pronunciation is not particularly good and yet I have found  that I can adequately communicate with native French speakers across a broad range of situations. It is no longer primarily problems of communication that drive me to want to improve my pronunciation, but rather pride. There are a however few notable exceptions. I don't think that I will ever be able to ask for a train ticket to Rouen without SNCF staff staring at me blankly. I definitely have to learn to pronunciate 'Rouen' in a manner that is more comprehensible to native speakers. 

mardi 3 avril 2012

Films That Make You Want to Move to Paris

Thanks to @Thebestinparis of The Best Places in Paris I discovered Top Ten Films That Make You Want to Move to Paris. Worth a look if you feel in need of a Paris fix. Be warned though that the listing is slanted towards American movies. 

There is something extra special about the black and white classic Sabrina from 1954 with the adorable Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Those dresses! Magnifique! 

lundi 2 avril 2012

Plant your Language Garden with Memrise


During the more than 10 years that I have been learning French I have tried many online applications in my quest to improve my French vocabulary. I have found Memrise particularly effective with its scientific basis and combination of learning with fun. The competitive aspects as you climb leader boards can become addictive. I have even lost track of time sometimes when learning vocabulary (playing). If you love using mnemonics and find them helpful you will love Memrise. 

Memrise has been designed to help you connect with the new words that you choose to add to your sets. It does this with mems.
Mems is our natty word for the morsels of interesting and relevant information you see beneath every word on Memrise. Mems can be mnemonics, etymologies, amusing videos, photos, example sentences: anything which helps connect what you’re learning and bring it to life. (www.memrise.com/about)
In addition to the videos showing people using the word or acting the word out, many of the words also have audio files. When you start, a few words (known as seeds) are presented at a time and then you are tested. Once you have learnt them, they are placed in your garden. The garden requires watering and this is done by scientifically calculated repetitions and timeframes to maximise learning. 

The other feature of Memrise is its community. It is an invaluable resource. I can tap in to what someone else has found useful to help them learn or I can create a new mem. 

Development of an iOS application is currently being undertaken. 

Memrise is a great tool for independent language learners who want to improve their vocabulary.

If you haven't tried Memrise before, have a look and leave your comments below.

dimanche 1 avril 2012

Podcast: One Thing in a French Day

One Thing in a French Day is described as a "A small slice of a Frenchwoman's day - in France and in French". Since 2006 Laetitia has been sharing snippets of her day through podcasts each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

You can listen to the podcasts by:

These entertaining podcasts are very useful as they use both interesting and common scenarios with everyday language. The pace is suitable for both intermediate and advanced French language learners. The podcasts are accompanied by a full transcript of the podcast so if you miss something it is easy to look them up.

If you are a lover of French pastries and want to learn how to pronounce some of your favorites, you will enjoy her slide show of both homemade and artisan prepared pastries.


For other ideas for learning French: Learning French: Starting over again (Part 2)

Thank you to Andrew from the Adelaide University of the Third Age for reminding me about this great resource for French language learners. 


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!
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