A Charlie Brown Christmas (video in French)


(25 minutes in length)




“How would you really enjoy spending your life?”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you
can only connect them looking backwards. So you
have to trust that the dots will somehow connect
in your future. You have to trust in something –
your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because
believing that the dots will connect down the road
will give you the confidence to follow your heart
even when it leads you off the well worn path;
and that will make all the difference.” – Steve Jobs

“How would you really enjoy spending your life?”


How one woman followed her dream:

Parlez-vous anglais?

Provence & Côte d’Azur: France falls to last place in Europe:

Europe as whole may be moving towards better English language proficiency, but France is on an entirely different trajectory, says Education First. The latest figures from the international education organisation have revealed a trend of steadily declining skills in English among the French, with countries such as China, Russia and neighbour Italy moving ahead of the population when it comes to the anglophone mother tongue.

Education First’s 2013 report blamed cultural and educational factors for France’s poor rating

Over the last 12 months, Education First has complied information on 60 countries worldwide. Interviewing some 750,000 adults and matching the data with statistics from the previous five years, the study highlights the evolution of English language proficiency through balancing up the impact of English among national workforces and economic outlook.

France has come a lowly 35th place, with neighbouring nations Belgium (13th), Germany (14th), Switzerland (16th), Spain (23rd) and Italy (32nd) surpassing the country in terms of English language abilities.

The French nation was given a ‘low proficiency’ marker and a 50.53 score, dropping 2.63 points on the figures from 2012. Education First says, “While the rest of Europe is already proficient in English or steadily working towards that goal, France is on an entirely different trajectory. France currently has the weakest English skills in Europe.”

The study, released on 5th November, has pointed the finger at a range cultural and education related factors, saying, “In France, English is still often seen as a threat to French.” Low exposure to English in the media and the school system were both blamed by the study and its respondents.

Elsewhere in the report, eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Slovenia have witnessed a surge in English language proficiency over the last year, with all three making it into the top 10.

Turkey saw the biggest improvement, but remained in the lower echelons of territories included in the study (41th). An additional seven nations joined the ranking table in the 2013 report: Estonia (4th), Slovenia (10th), Latvia (15th), Ukraine (27th), Sri Lanka (30th), Jordan (50th), and Iraq (60th).

Source/Credit: Elsa Carpenter for The Riviera Times


4 Things to Consider When Planning Your Trip to France

The following article is a guest post:

Have you been dreaming of climbing the Eiffel Tower and seeing the breath-taking view of Paris with your own eyes? Maybe you just want to soak up the culture and enjoy the delicious wine and cheese, while sunbathing in lavender fields in Provence. Whatever your reason for wanting to travel to France, there are a few things to consider to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

1. Buy your Euros before you arrive

If you can, avoid buying your Euros last minute at the Airport Bureau de Change as once you are there, you will be constrained to extortionate exchange rates with mark-ups of around 10% added to the ‘real rate’. Likewise, 0% Commission advertised in High Street Banks should largely be ignored, as they also tend to add high mark-ups, leaving with you less spending money. Buying your travel money in advance is the best way to get a cheap and fair deal. Currency comparison sites such as MyTravelMoney.co.uk allow you to compare live Euro rates and will even deliver your travel money to your door the next day.

2. Learn some basic French

As with any travel destination, it is polite and courteous to attempt at least a please and thank you in the local language. That’s ‘s’il vous plaît’ and ‘merci’ to you in French. With so many tourist attractions and famous landmarks to visit, you don’t want to spend half your time staring at a map trying to navigate your way round on your own. The French will be more than happy to help and give you directions so it generally helps to be able to differentiate left from right before you ask. Not only will you be able to get around quicker, but the French love and appreciate tourists that make an effort.

3. Plan an itinerary

With an abundance of tourist attractions, museums and galleries to see, there are sufficiently steep entry fees that come with it. If you have a general idea of places you would like to visit, then there are a couple of things you can do to save a few Euros here and there. Try visiting a gallery’s site or giving them a call to find out if they have a free entry night or any concessions. You will often find that there will be one day a week with reduced entry that often only the locals know about. That way, you can plan your trip, maximising your Euros along the way.

4. Consider how you’ll get around

With some of the most beautiful sights and quaint villages being in the middle of nowhere, the best option is to rent a car to allow you to explore the country to your heart’s content. However, France’s rail system is extremely advanced, linking over 50 cities and serving over 3,000 stations allowing you to get anywhere within just a few hours. Single tickets can work out to be quite expensive, so consider how much you will be travelling within the country before you go; TGV rail passes are available for given periods, allowing you unlimited travel at a good price.

Hopefully these tips have set you up, ready for an enjoyable trip to France and knowing you might even save some Euros along the way.


Daniel Abrahams is a passionate travel blogger & start-up entrepreneur. Daniel has Co-Founded the award winning travel money comparison website, MyTravel Money.co.uk & MyCurrencyTransfer. He passionately writes about his experiences across Israel, Europe & Australia & recently launched the Travel Blogger University – hoping to inspire the next wave of travel bloggers.

French Conjugation Exercise

Sabine aime dormir.  Elle est très affairée mais elle (prendre)   le temps de faire un petit dodo chaque après-midi.  Elle   (descendre)   trente minutes après, les cheveux en bataille et une joue rosée, mais rafraîchie après sa petite détente.  (faire)   la preuve vous-même ! dit-elle toujours.  Elle le conseille à tout le monde.  (essayer)    -le une fois et vous   (voir)   combien  (se sentir)   mieux.




1 – prend

2 –  descend

3 – Faites

4 – Essayez

5 – verrez

6 – vous vous sentirez


Source: AP French

Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve….

I believe having regrets is a waste of time and energy, and that it’s best to learn from our past in order to move on.  However, in everyday language we use the expressions, “should’ve/would’ve/could’ve” often to justify, reason, and explain a given situation, especially by adding the word “if.”

In French, “should have, would have, could have” is expressed by the past conditional tense:  formed by using the conditional of the helping verbs “avoir” or être” + the past participle of the verb.  It takes practice, so here’s some sentences to translate (and a beautiful song):

(See answers below, and enjoy a video song called  “shoulda, woulda, coulda”)

1.  I would have gone to France, but I didn’t have enough money.

2. I would have liked to see her.

3. We would have returned to see the movie.

4. I would never have done that.

5. You could have done it yourself.

6. He should have been there.

7. She ought to have saved some money.

8. They could’ve driven to Monaco tomorrow.

9. We should have left early.

10. We would have arrived on time, if he had not come late.


1-Je serais allé(e) en France, mais je n’avais pas assez d’argent.; 2-J’aurais aimé la voir.; 3- Nous serions revenu(e)s voir le film.; 4-Je n’aurais jamais fait cela.; 5-Tu aurais pu le faire toi-meme.; 6-Il aurait été là.; 7-Elle aurait dû économiser de l’argent.; 8-Ils auraient pu conduire à Monaco demain.; 9-Nous aurions dû partir plus tôt.; 10-Nous serions arrivés à temps, si il n’était pas venu en retard.

Adverbs in French: A Verbal Exercise

Try your hand (or should I say, mouth?) at saying the following phrases with adverbs (answers below):

1. Did you eat too much?

2. I saw him yesterday.

3. I got up early.

4. We have already eaten.

5. I misunderstood.

6. He always orders (has) dessert.

7. She speaks too fast.

8. He already knows.

9. I completely forgot.

10. I like to sleep late.

1.  Est-ce que tu as trop mangé? or As-tu trop mangé? 2.  Je l’ai vu hier.  3.  Je me suis levé(e) tôt.  4. Nous avons déjà mangé.  5. J’ai mal compris. 6. Il commande toujours du dessert. or Il prend …  7. Elle parle trop vite. 8. Il le sait déjà. 9. J’ai complètement oublié. 10. J’aime dormir tard.

French Fable by Jean de la Fontaine

Most French children learn (and can recite) this classic, French fable (written in 1668) around the tender age of 6-8 years old. The author, Jean da la Fontaine, applied human-like qualities to the animals/principale characters in his poems; the morale of this one is to not trust fake flattery, meant only to deceive.  His work was recognized and appreciated by Louis XIV and his court.

LE CORBEAU ET LE RENARD   (English version below)

Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché

Tenait en son bec un fromage.

Maître Renard, par l’odeur alléché,

Lui tint à peu près ce language:

“Hé ! Bonour, Monsieur du Corbeau.

Que vous êtes joli ! Que vous me semblez beau !

Sans mentir, si votre ramage

Se rapporte à votre plumage,

Vous êtes le Phénix de ces bois.”

A ces mots le Corbeau ne se sent pas de joie ;

Et pour montrer sa belle voix,

Il ouvre un large bec, laisse tomber sa proie.

Le Renard s’en saisit, et dit: “Mon bon Monsieur,

Apprenez que tout flatteur Vit aux dépens de celui qui l’écoute :

Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage, sans doute. “

Le Corbeau, honteux et confus,

Jura, mais un peu tard, qu’on ne l’y prendrait plus.

The Crow and the Fox

At the top of a tree perched Master Crow;
In his beak he was holding a cheese.
Drawn by the smell, Master Fox spoke, below.
The words, more or less, were these:
“Hey, now, Sir Crow! Good day, good day!
How very handsome you do look, how grandly distingué!
No lie, if those songs you sing
Match the plumage of your wing,
You’re the phoenix of these woods, our choice.”
Hearing this, the Crow was all rapture and wonder.
To show off his handsome voice,
He opened beak wide and let go of his plunder.
The Fox snapped it up and then said, “My Good Sir,
Learn that each flatterer
Lives at the cost of those who heed.
This lesson is well worth the cheese, indeed.”
The Crow, ashamed and sick,
Swore, a bit late, not to fall again for that trick.

(Translation Source: http://lafontaine.mmlc.northwestern.edu/fables/corbeau_renard_en.html)

Subjunctive tense in French – une bête noire !

I KNOW, I KNOW – no one enjoys learning the subjunctive tense in French; however, it is necessary/used, shows that you are knowledgeable, and that you can speak at a certain level of proficiency.  So, here are some phrases to practice.

HINT: One of these does NOT take the subjunctive — Bon courage!

1. Il est important que vous _____ mon colis avant lundi. (ouvrir)

2. Nous irons où qu’il _____ . (falloir)

3.  Il se peut que nous _____ le bus. (prendre)

4. J’espère que mon cadeau vous _____ .(plaire)

5.  Je souhaite que vous _____ content. (être)

6.  Est-il certain que tu _____ venir? (pouvoir)

7.  Elle veut qu’il nous _____. (attendre)

8.  Est-il vrai qu’il _____ trop vite? (conduire)

9.  C’est dommage qu’il ne _____ pas beau. (faire)

10. Tu peux prêter mon stylo pourvu que tu me la _____. (rendre)

Answers: 1-ouvriez; 2-faille; 3-prenions; 4-*plaît or plaira; 5-soyez; 6-puisses; 7-attende; 8-conduise; 9-fasse; 10-rendes

* Verbs espérer (like croire and penser) express certainty, so only use the subjunctive for negative or interrogative sentences with these verbs.

Check out this new language exchange concept, held on the French Riviera!

French Language Practice: Object Pronouns

Fill in the corresponding object pronoun (le, la, les, lui, leur, y, en):

1. Je ____ écris un SMS. (to them)

2. Je ne ____ vois pas. (them)

3. Veux-tu ___ manger? (some)

4. Donne-___ cette montre. (her)

5. Ils ___ vont cet été. (en Italie)

6. Je ___ parle. (to him)

7. Je parle d’ ___ (about them).

8. Il n’___ a qu’un. (of them)

9. N’___ pense pas! (about it)

10. Attends-___ ! (her)

How did you do? Pronouns can be tricky!

(Answers: 1-leur/2-les/3-en/4-lui/5-y/6-lui/7-eux/8-en/9-y/10-la)