French People Are Like Coconuts

Imagine this: The PTSA meeting hasn’t started yet and two parents in the audience are chatting away—about their kids, their vacations, the hot new movie in theatres. After a few minutes, one puts out her hand and says, “Oh, by the way, my name’s Jessica.”

In the US, a scene like this—two strangers talking like old friends—wouldn’t be surprising. But would it happen in France? Pas du tout! In France, it’s considered weird to just start talking with someone you don’t know. And if a stranger tried to chat with them, a French person’s first thought would be a suspicious “What do they want from me?”

Learn how to bridge the cultural gap between French and Americans at Frenchly.

You Speak French and You Don’t Even Know It!

“Let’s get a table in the front part of the restaurant. We can watch television and look at the menu while we wait for my cousin.”

Table, part, restaurant, television, menu, and cousin — those are all French words, even spelled the same way as in French. And if you order salad and onion soup, that’s three more (salade, oignon, soupe). You’re speaking French!

As much as half of the English language comes from French. Even Queen Elizabeth’s royal coat of arms is in French! Read all about it at Frenchly.

The Art of Being French–Living Like a Local

The French Waiting Room Protocol

France is a country with a lot of social rules. You say “bonjourwhen you enter a store. You have salad at the end of a meal rather than the beginning. You kiss your friends rather than hugging them. And then, there’s French waiting room protocol; it’s very serious business in France.

Learn all about it at My French Life.

Top 100 French Blogs and Websites for Francophiles

I’m thrilled to announce that this website, Life in Provence, has been named by Feedspot as one of the Top 100 French Blogs and Websites for Francophiles. Many thanks to all of you who read and share my stories.

The Top 100 list includes plenty of terrific sites and I encourage you to check it out. Here are a few of my favorites.

 

Perfectly Provence. If you want news and stories about Provence, don’t miss this one! Food, travel, sights to see, recipes, current happenings–it’s all here.

My French Life – Ma Vie Francaise. Lots of interesting stories about French culture, lifestyle, language, history and more. Check out the French book club, an online group that reads and discusses a different French book each month.

Frenchly. News, art, style, culture and all things French, including plenty of funny stories.

The Good Life France. This is one of the best websites out there for things to do and see in France. Plus it’s entertaining as Janine Marsh tells us about life in her little corner of France, along with her dozens of ducks, geese, chickens, cats and dogs.

The Provence Post. Another great site about Provence, with lots of information for those planning to travel to this beautiful area.

France Travel Tips. Janice Chung has been to France dozens of times, tracking down fascinating but lesser-known places to see. Here she shares her tips with us.

Oui in France. Diane moved to France with her French husband and shares stories of life as an American expat in France.

French Word-A-Day. Follow the adventures of an American expat in France and learn French while you do!

The French Village Diaries. Entertaining stories about life in a small French town, plus frequent reviews of books set in France.

A French Collection. Funny stories of a family that somehow splits its time between France and Australia.

 

French Baby Names: Chloé oui, Nutella non

Americans can call their children practically anything they want. Beyoncé’s daughter is named Blue Ivy. Frank Zappa’s kids are Moon Unit and Dweezil. And unusual names are not just for the offspring of celebrities—people have actually named their kids Cheese, Fairy, and Jag.

This is not the case in France, where courts can reject a name if it is not in the best interest of the child. So can a French couple call their child Manhattan? How about Mini Cooper? Or Nutella? Non, non, and non. French courts have rejected those names and more.

Read all about the long history of French baby-naming laws at Frenchly.

Ask the French: Sex, Food and Conspiracy Theories

Which politician would you like to have a beer with? It’s a typical survey question. And as you would expect, a recent French poll named president Emmanuel Macron the winner.

Less typical was when French pollsters asked, Which politician would you like to have a summer fling with? French women responded with enthusiasm. (If they asked that same question here, American women would take one look at our politicians and immediately book a flight to France.)

The French love their polls and they cover every subject imaginable. Sure, there are the usual questions about political parties, potential legislation, and the state of the economy. But then there are the fun ones…

Read all about it at Frenchly.

A Great Website About France

This past spring I had the pleasure of meeting Janice Chung in Provence. Jan runs the great website France Travel Tips, with information about things to see and do all over the country. I love reading her stories about hidden corners of France that most tourists never see. An example is this story about sculptured seaside rocks in Brittany.

If you aren’t already a subscriber to Jan’s website, you should be!

San Francisco, the Paris of the Pacific

San Francisco was known in its early days as the Paris of the Pacific. You might think this was because it was beautiful and sophisticated, like the City of Light, and you would be right. But it was more than that. It was also due to the city’s large French community.

Read about France’s outsized influence on early San Francisco at My French Life.