Les Faux Amis / False Friends

15 French ‘false friends’ you need to watch out for

When struggling for the right word in French, it can be tempting just to use an English word said in a French accent. Unfortunately, French is littered with pesky “false friends” that have very different meanings. Here’s 15 to avoid.

Some of these false freinds  can be relatively harmless, if a little inconvenient.

Ask for the “librairie” in France and you’ll be directed to a bookshop rather than a library (bibliothèque), for example. But others can result in ridicule or embarrassment. Anyone who has been in France for any amount of time will be familiar with the most famous of these: “a préservatif” not being something you would add to food to make it keep longer (conservateur in French), but in fact a condom.

But there are plenty more of these false friends you’ll want to avoid so you don’t embarrass yourself or your French guests.

1. Excited / Excité

You want to tell your French friend you’re very excited to come visit them in Paris this summer. “Excité” sounds like the word you should use, right? Unfortunately not. You just told your friend you were “aroused”, probably not what you were going for. Enthusiaste is better.

2. Trainee / Traînée

A particular one to be aware of for anyone working in France. If you’re just starting a new job, don’t try introducing yourself as a “trainee” said in a French-sounding sort of way and hope your new colleagues understand, it sounds very similar to the French word “traînée”, which can mean a smear or trail or, much worse still, a woman  of an extremely promiscuous nature. “Stagiaire” is the right word.

3. Chat / Chatte

A pitfall for anyone who knows ‘ch’ in French is pronounced the way and English speaker would say ‘sh’, but is still lacking in vocabulary. The verb to chat – ie, have a light conversation with someone – in French is bavarder. But chat pronounced with an ‘sh’ sound in the beginning can mean ‘cat’ or, if you pronounce it with a hard T at the end, slang for a woman’s private parts (chatte in French).

4. Apology / Apologie

So you’ve accidentally let out a loud burp at a French dinner party. Cringing of embarrassment, you quickly let out an “apologie”. The only trouble is that in French, you’ve just told them that you “condone” or “justify” such table manners. “Pardon” and “excusez-moi” are both polite apologies to use.

5. Bless / Blesser

The verbs have quite opposite meaning. While a well-meaning English-speaker might feel the temptation to throw out a “blessez-vous” when someone sneezes, try not to. In French, the verb “blesser” translates into “injure”. The expression to use here is: “à vos souhaits”.

6. Chair/ Chair

Looking for a chair at a party? Use the term “chaise”. “Chair” in French means flesh and you might get some weird looks if you tell the party hosts that you’re looking for some.

7. Slip/ Slip

This one could easily get your knickers in a knot. Especially since “slip” in French translates into “men’s briefs”. If you’ve had a slip and you want to tell your French friends about it, better to use the verb “glisser”.

8. Pill/ piles

You have a brutal headache and you head to the local pharmacy in search for pills to cure you. To the French, it will sound as if you’re asking for “piles”, or batteries. To avoid confusion (and to make sure you get rid of your headache), better to ask for brands like Aspirine or Doliprane.

9. Air Con/ l’air con

No, no matter how much of a French accent you put on in pronouncing this one, it is a deceitful ‘false friend’ that could land you in hot water. It would be hard to offend a French person more than telling them they have “l’air con”. In the ears of a French person, you’ve just told him or her that they’re “stupid”.

10. Sensible/Sensible

Identical, right? Not so. “Sensible” means “sensitive” in French and it’s probably not the best word to use when describing yourself in a job interview. Try “raisonnable” instead.

11. Blanket/Blanquette

Don’t be surprised if, after asking your neighbour to lend you a “blanquette”, he or she turns up on your doorstep with a ready-cooked meal. “Blanquette” is a much-loved veal stew ( Blanquette de veau) which has little to do with keeping you warm at night. But “une couverture” will help you cover up.

12. Terrible/Terrible

This is a tough one, because although the word can have the same meaning in French as it has in English, it is often used to express just the opposite, i.e. that something is “great”. And it all depends on your tone of voice. You safest bet to convey that something is terrible in the Anglo-saxon sense of the word is to use the word “horrible”.

13. Tongue/ Tong(s)

This false friend will hardly get you into any trouble, but it sure could cause some confusion with almost any French listener who might wonder where exactly this conversation is going. Tongue will most likely sound like “tongs” (pronounced with a silent s) which means thongs, or flip-flops. If you want to stick to discussing your tongue, say “langue”.

14. Introduce/ s’Introduire:

As if an introduction in France wasn’t a fraught experience already, one of the most two-faced of ‘false friends’ in French is the verb “s’introduire”. Naturally, you would think it means ‘to introduce’. It actually means to penetrate, insert or enter. So next time you meet a group of French people and you want to suggest you should all introduce each other”, the verb you’re looking for is “se présenter”.

15. Luxurious/luxurieux

This one is particularly nasty because even though “de luxe” means luxury, as you would imagine, if you want to say “luxurious” don’t try to say it with a French accent, because it will probably come out as “luxurieux” which means “lustful”. If you want to say “you went to a luxurious hotel at the weekend” your French guests might start thinking you spent the last few days in the company of DSK.

 

Source/Credit: The Local

Work on Nice’s second tramway to gather pace in 2015 – The Riviera Times Online

Construction of Nice’s second tramway will pick up speed in 2015 as the preparatory work for underground stations has now been completed….

Work on Nice’s second tramway to gather pace in 2015 – The Riviera Times Online.

View conceptual video of tramway HERE

 

In Support of Total Immersion

Originally posted on A French American Life:

I grew up during the old-school era of second-language learning. We filled in the blanks, conjugated verbs, and memorized vocabulary lists. Entry level classes, and sometimes even intermediate and advanced classes, were taught in English. Speaking in the second language was a part of those classes, but not a huge part, and when we did speak, it was awkwardly and amidst classmates making fun of each other’s accents.

Today, language learning is (thankfully) progressing toward total immersion. In my college classes, and in the high school and junior high classes that I’ve observed, instructors use the target language to teach. Students are expected to participate by speaking, and by writing and reading in the foreign language. Oh, how far we’ve come! It seems so obvious that to learn a language, the best method is to be immersed in that language. After all, that’s how we learn our first language, right? Hearing it…

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IGP Vineyards of the Alpes Maritimes

Re-blogged from 

Did you know that you can enjoy wines from Menton, Mougins and Mandelieu?

As well as Saint-Jeannet, Saint-Paul de Vence, Tourettes-sur-Loup and even theLes Îles de Lérins off Cannes?

There really are vineyards in places least expected along our azure coast!

The aforementioned local vineyards are all classified as IGP, which stands for indication géographique protégée (or vin de pays).

So what’s the difference between an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and an IGP? It’s not so much a comparison of quality as you could easily think.

The AOC label is in place to protect historic wine areas of France. Each appellation is tightly regulated and the rules control such aspects as what grapes can be planted and where to achieve this. AOC wines must also show “tipicity”. In other words a Bellet wine should taste like a Bellet wine, not like a Côtes du Rhône.

Whereas wines which are categorised as IGP are not bound by such strict regulations and winemakers have much more freedom, especially when it comes to grape varieties. IGP wines can be some of the most interesting (and best value) wines to discover.

Here’s The Riviera Grapevine’s introduction to the eight vineyards of the Alpes-Maritimes!

Vineyards Alpes Maritimes

Mandelieu

Name: Domaine de Barbossi
Address: 3300 avenue de Fréjus, Mandelieu-La Napoule
Phone (hotel switchboard):+ 33 (0)4 93 49 42 41
Varieties grown: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Rolle, Chardonnay & Muscat Petit Grain
Wines produced: White, Red & Rosé
A bit more info: The vineyard at Domaine de Barbossi comprises just one part of a mini-empire in the hills of Mandelieu-La Napoule. A luxury hotel and sporting complex, it’s a rather professional wine outfit which is responsible for between 16 to 18,000 bottles a year. If I was wondering why this was the one IGP wine I rarely see on the shelves around here, the answer lies on the website. It’s safe to say that a fair amount of the total production doesn’t even leave the hotel complex, happily guzzled by the hotel guests.
Visitors welcome: They are not yet set up for wine tourism as such, but if you’re in Nice you can find their wine at La Part des Anges.

 

Mougins

Name: La Vigne de Pibonson
Address: 303 chemin du Miracle, Mougins
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 75 33 63
Varieties grown: Rolle & Grenache
Wines produced: White, Rose and a late-harvest sweet wine (vin doux)
A bit more info: A little over one hectare of precious land on the border of Cannes and Mougins has been salvaged from real estate developers by a Norwegian man and his wife who have a clear passion for wine. Together with the help of some of the regions finest oenologists, they make around 6000 bottles of their three wines. A grape miracle onchemin du Miracle!
Visitors welcome: As it stands, they are not (yet) set up for wine tourism either.

 

Îles de Lérins

Name: Abbaye de Lérins
Address: 
Île St Honorat
Email: planariaadmin@abbayedelerins.com
Varieties grown: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Clairette, Chardonnay & Viognier.
Wines produced: Red & White, as well as assorted liqueurs.
A bit more info: This really is holy wine! Less than 15 minutes from Cannes and its glamorous Croisette are les Îles de Lérins. The two islands are Île St Marguerite and Île St Honorat. The former was reputedly home to the famous Man in the Iron Mask and the latter has housed a continual monastic community since the 5th century. Who make wine. All the wines are named for a different saint, and the vineyards, set by the ocean with the glittering coastline of Cannes as a backdrop, are undoubtedly some of the most spectacularly located vines in the world! A definite French Riviera wine highlight.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment. A selection of (paying) tastings and tours are available, including summer wine cruises on select dates.

For more information: Excellence de Lérins website

Tourettes-sur-Loup

Name: Domaine Saint Joseph
Address: 160 chemin des Vignes, Tourettes-sur-Loup
Telephone: +33 (0) 4 93 58 81 31/ +33 (0)6 09 28 26 59
Varieties grown: Marselan, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Folle Noire, Braquet, Cinsault, Clairette, Rolle & Sémillon.
Wines produced: Red, White, Rosé, Sparkling & a sweet, aperitif wine
A bit more info: With one hectare of vines in the village of Tourettes-sur-Loup, and a slightly larger holding beneath the ramparts of Saint-Paul de Vence, Domaine Saint Joseph boasts two of the prettiest locations for vines on the Riviera! Certified biodynamic, just over 10,000 bottles are produced a year by this family run operation. A visit to the tasting room in Tourettes is highly recommended.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment.

 

Saint-Paul de Vence

Name: Le Petit Vigneau
Address: 1466 Route des Serres, Saint-Paul de Vence
Telephone: +33 (0)6 62 51 92 08
Varieties grown: Rolle, Sémillon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Clairette, Braquet, Mourvèdre, Folle Noire and Grassenc (phew!)
Wines produced: Red,  White & Rosé
A bit more info:  The last thing you’d expect in this quiet, residential street in Saint-Paul de Vence is to come across a vineyard, but that’s exactly the surprise at number 1466. Raphael Vigneau is a busy man, running a very successful Provence wine tours company (Azur Wine Tours) as well as this boutique vineyard with a view of the old village in the background. One of the rare (if not the only) winemakers to grow the little-known, indigenous grape Grassenc. Another must visit for any local wine lovers.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment. Tour and tasting costs €5.

 

Saint-Jeannet

Name: Vignoble des Hautes Collines de la Côte d’Azur
Address: 800 chemin des Sausses, Saint-Jeannet
Telephone: +33 (0)4 93 24 96 01
Varieties grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Braquet, Mourvèdre, Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay & Muscat of Alexandria
Wines produced: White, Red, Rosé, Sparkling, & Vin Doux (sweet white and red)
A bit more info: Somewhat of an icon in these parts, the ‘vineyard of Saint-Jeannet’ (as it is more commonly known) is famous for their rather unique glassbonbonnieres (bottles) which age the wine, as well as the whimsical labels which reflect the vintage. Warm colours stand for a hot year, whilst colder colours can be interpreted as a cooler vintage. The last vineyard standing under the baou of Saint-Jeannet, a visit is strongly recommended to discover their interesting and varied styles of wine.
Visitors welcome: Yes, but an appointment is strongly recommended. Prices for a tasting start at €8 per person.

(Read posted article by 24/7 in France HERE)

Nice

Name: Domaine Augier
Address: 680, St Roman de Bellet, Nice
Telephone: +33 (0)4 92 15 11 99
Wines produced: Red, White & Rosé
A bit more info: The address may look familiar – Domaine Auguier, producing wine since 1991, was once part of the AOC Bellet and has been bottling under the IGP Alpes-Maritimes label for three years now. Winemaking is in the Augier blood and it’s Elise Augier, the third generation, now responsible for an annual production of up to 4,000 bottles.
Visitors welcome: The vineyard welcomes visitors every Tuesday and Thursday between 4.30pm and 7pm by appointment.

 

Menton

Name: Domaine de l’Annonciade
Address: Near the Monastère de l’Annonciade, 2135 Corniche André Tardieu, Menton
Varieties grown: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Syrah, Malunvern.
Wines produced: Red (vin de table, a different classification to IGP in fact)
A bit more info: Situated on the same hill in Menton as the monastery which bears the same name, it was the monks who historically grew grapes on this site. Cut to the 1990′s, and a volunteer group going by the name of Confrérie de l’Etiquette du Mentonnais decided to restore the winemaking tradition here.If you’re a fan of obscure vineyards and grapes, it doesn’t get better than Domaine de l’Annonciade and their mysterious Malunvern. In fact, it’s difficult to find a single reference to it, even in my trusted grape bible, Wine Grapes.
Visitors welcome: Not as such, but keep an eye on their blog (below) for details of upcoming wine tastings they will be present at.

Honorary mention must go to Domaine de Toasc in Nice, who along with their AOC Bellet wines also bottle an IGP wine or two.

Wines of the Alpes Maritimes Labels

I would like to cite two very useful websites in helping my ‘forensics’ when it came to finding out the above information:

Asncap – Association of Sommeliers of Nice Côte d’Azur and Elizabeth Gabay, a Master of Wine living in the hinterland of Nice and actively promoting the wines of the area.

Source/Credit: The Riviera Grapevine

Cafés, Bistrots, Bars and Brasseries – 18 Useful Tips

The newly-landed Anglophone expat might find the following tips of help when it comes to having a drink or a bite to eat in a café, a bistrot, a brasserie or a bar:

Read more of this article HERE

 

Reblogged from:

François Théodore Thistlethwaite’s FRENGLISH THOUGHTS

Smoke Alarm Law

Just 2% of French homes were fitted with smoke alarms in 2013, compared to 89% in England and 98% in Norway. Yet between 600 and 800 deaths are caused by domestic fires every year in France.
It is now compulsory for all homes in France to have at least one fitted smoke alarm.1501 Smoke detector-4106bbe5

The new law comes into effect on March 8, 2015 and requires the owners and occupants of a property to ensure a properly functioning detector is fitted.

The French Ministry of Housing estimates that only 2% of houses in France are currently fitted with smoke alarms, compared to 98% in Norway and 89% in England.

Between 600 and 800 people die in house fires in France every year. Seven in 10 blazes start at night, after people have gone to bed. The ministry believes the number of fatalities would be halved if smoke detectors, which cost between €10 and €20 were fitted.

The ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, has published the following information to help people select and fit an appropriate detector.

The device should be installed in a corridor or hallway leading to rooms that are used regularly. The sensor should be fitted to the ceiling or at the top of a wall, away from a source of smoke.

The occupant, the owner or agency managing a property is obliged to check the sensor is working properly on a regular basis. CE-accredited detectors are fitted with a ‘test’ button for this purpose.

To avoid smoke detectors that do not meet EU standards the following requirements must be observed:

The unit should be marked with the CE notation

A power indicator must be included

The unit should be powered by batteries that will work for at least a year, or include an AC-power cable

The unit must emit a visual or audible signal, independent of a power source, indicating the absence of batteries or low batteries. The fault signal must be different to the alarm signal.

When it detects smoke, the unit must emit an alarm of at least 85 dB (A) audible at three metres.

The following information must be indelibly marked on the unit: the brand name, address of the manufacturer or supplier number, date of the standard that the detector complies with, manufacturing date or batch number and type of battery to use

The unit should be supplied with instructions for installation and maintenance. It must also have a model certificate that the occupant must provide to an insurer in case of a claim for damage caused by fire.

Source: The Connexion & The Riviera Times

 

Myths debunked: 11 things you (wrongly) presumed about France

Stereotype: to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. (wikipedia) The French are some of the most stereotyped people on the planet……french dog

Read more of this article HERE

  Credit: The Local

Photo source: Unknown