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.
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.
There are lots of ways to learn French, like taking classes, using language learning software and watching movies. But once you get past the basics, what you really need to do is talk. And there’s nothing like talking to a native French speaker. So why not find yourself a language partner?
Find out how at My French Life.
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 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.
Imagine a chic Française sitting at a Paris café with her chic chien. Now imagine yourself there with your own dog. Impossible? Non!
As the world’s most dog-friendly country, France is full of dogs in restaurants, hotels, boulangeries, on hiking trails, the Métro — you name it. So how American dog-friendly are they?
Learn the secret of taking your dog to France at Frenchly.
The French road system is excellent. The country is covered by a comprehensive network of autoroutes – similar to our Interstate Highway System – along with plenty of secondary roads. They are in uniformly good condition and are well-marked so you can find your way. If there is any downside to the French road system it would have to be…French drivers.
Find out why French drivers are NOT one of the glories of France at My French Life.
Everyone wants to go to Paris when they go to France. It’s one of the world’s great cities, with the Eiffel Tower, romantic cafés, great museums… what’s not to like? (Okay, the Parisians not so much, but the rest is great.) But you’d be wrong to put Paris at the top of the list. Instead, you should follow the insiders who know better and head south to Provence. Here’s why.
Read the rest of the story at Frenchly.
Patricia Sands is a wonderful author and an inspiration to all of us who write about Provence. She liked my book (I’m thrilled!) and I had the honor of being interviewed by her recently. You can read the interview on Patricia’s blog here.
Val and I are lucky–some of our best friends are French, people we’ve met while living in Provence.
We are sometimes asked, “How did you do it? Aren’t the French kind of standoffish?”
The answer is Non! There are wonderful people in France just like everywhere.
Having lived abroad twice now, we’ve learned a few things about making friends in a new country. Anyone can do it! If you’d like to know how, check out my article at The Planet D.