Posts tagged ‘French ‘

Podcasts for French language

The functionality of my ipod has changed the way I engage with the internet and my life. The mobility and easy accessability of software applications via wireless internet is revolutionary. No longer are we tied to our pc’s and laptops in order to learn and discover new things. And the perfect application for this is learning a language.

The Radio Lingua Network is a fantastic resource where many languages are available to learn in many different formats. I like to download the Coffee Break French to my ipod then listen to the lessons while driving my car to work.

I don’t mind that the people providing the lessons are Scottish and have Scottish accented French. It just adds to the charm I think. And probably better Scottish-accented French than Australian-accented French!

There are others though: Daily French Pod is one. And I’m sure there are others out there too.

No excuses now is there?


Add a comment October 2, 2011


Driving in my car to work I listened to the audio book of Buying a piece of Paris by Ellie Nielsen. While my mind imagined Paris streets, buildings, traffic and people, my vision was filled with green pastures stretching to meet the blue sky at the horizon. As I dodged dead koalas and potholes from winter rain, my mind swam in French conversations.

The book tells the story of an Australian couple who decide to buy an apartment in Paris and the ensuing dramas that unfold. Ellie Nielsen is a little-known Australian actress and her description of this experience is filled with humour, as she tries to communicate in French. As her comprehension and courage with the French language builds so too do the paragraphs of conversation in the book. So whilst it is a delightful book about Paris it is also a lesson in Franglais.

Listening to the audio book is a far more enriching experience because the accents and pronunciation fill the gaps that my own level of understanding and competence could not.

Once finished I prolonged the “French feeling” by listening to the soundtrack from the movie Amelie. So I drove along unhindered by traffic or buildings smiling and humming along to the music.

1 comment November 5, 2010

Understanding French chic

What is it about French women that make them so stylish? How can other women attain that certain something? Is it inherited beauty? Attitude? The ability to choose the right fashion? In her book Two lipsticks and a lover, Helena Frith Powell studies and tries to pinpoint just how French women achieve that feminine charm. two_lipsticks_and_a_lover_powell


Helena Frith Powell is an English woman who moved to France with her young family. She was immediately struck by the way French women behaved and dressed and this book, published in 2005, is the result of her studies. This book is informative and funny and well worth reading if you also wish to enlist some Frenchness into your life.


These are some of the observations she made:

  • French women never drink to excess.
  • French women only wear running shoes when they are exercising and never anywhere else.
  • French women don’t believe in exercising. They don’t like to sweat. But they do a lot of walking, running around, cycling, etc. as part of their daily activities.
  • French style means to make an effort at all times and not to skimp on the details.
  • French women always wear good quality well-fitted matching underwear. “If your underwear isn’t right, nothing else works.” ~ Chantal Thomass
  • French women control their eating and meal portion sizes and never snack.
  • French women look after their skin by twice daily facials at home with good quality skin care products. “To erase the passage of time is a mistake. The most beautiful thing in a face is expressions. It’s better to have a few wrinkles than a face with no emotions.” ~ Elisabeth Bourgine
  • French women believe they are beautiful and this attitude is apparent in their expression, movement and posture.
  • French women try to retain their mystery when it comes to sex and are never blatant.
  • French women read well and widely as intelligence is seen as a mark of beauty. “The French are persuaded that the enjoyment of beauty and the exercise of critical intelligence are two of the best things worth living for.” ~ Edith Wharton


Helena says, “French women don’t believe in sweating so they don’t exercise. But they do a lot of running around. Just walking around one of the French department stores is the equivalent of a three-mile hike. And then there’s the effort of taking your clothes off and putting them on again to try others on. Exhausting. I reckon it’s possible to burn at least 200 calories an hour, as well as £200.”


On the strength of this I purchased some new matching well-fitted underwear, and some good skin care products, and did not renew my gym membership. I have been either walking or cycling to work. I am wearing dresses more often and I am amazed at the improvement in the service I receive when shopping just because I am a little better dressed.

1 comment November 20, 2008

France at last

Me on ferry on The Channel 2008

 As an Australian with only one vague family connection with France this growing “homesickness” that I had been feeling for years was inexplicable. My only words of French were as a high school student. My only visit to a French community was to New Caledonia for 8 days in 1974 with my French class. And yet the older I got the stronger this yearning to go to France became. I know of others who feel this same strange pull towards France.

So we landed at Calais then immediately drove to Amsterdam and out of France. Our bus tour was to take us to Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy before we were scheduled to visit France. A fantastic trip for sure but too fast to soak in the atmosphere. I was merely a tourist; one of thousands; following the tourist trail like mindless sheep in a production line. Nevertheless it was still fantastic.


We arrive in France via Nice and stay on the Cote d”Azur for 2 nights; then to Lyon and Paris. We stopped at the medieval hilltop town of Saint Paul de Vence and I begin to fall in love. By the time I am in Beaune I am cocooned in a veil of bliss; I feel like I have fallen in love. The yearning is fulfilled and the Frenchness has penetrated my soul leaving me smiling with joy. What is this? How can it be? C’est quoi exactement? In Nice I see the modern library building modeled to represent a human head and understand and appreciate the design immediately. Other cultures would think of the idea but only the French would build it. In Paris I go to the cabaret and laugh until I cry at the antics of a comedian acrobat. I have not laughed like this for perhaps 30 years. I get their humour. I agree with their reluctance to speak English because French is a beautiful language so why should they be expected to speak English in their own land? I attempt my high school French wholeheartedly and make no apologies for my halting mistakes. At least I try and realise I would quickly pick it up were I to stay longer. If only I could stay longer!


Me at Le Louvre in Paris 2008

Me at Le Louvre in Paris 2008

We visit Le Louvre, Versailles, and Le Tour Eiffel but too soon we leave France and return to London and then Australia. Was it a dream? I have not experienced Paris at all. I will have to return. But I realise I won’t be back there again for a long time; if ever. So my plan is to bring something of France, however small, into my life here in Australia. This blog and my accociated wiki are to be the vehicles for that quest.




Add a comment October 30, 2008






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