Feed your foodie in holiday heaven – A food lover’s paradise

Ready to indulge yourself with some of the finest food Europe has to offer? It has to be Destination Dordogne!

Think of fine cuisine, mouthwatering dishes and Michelin star creations, and it’s hard to imagine a menu thatdoesn’t include a taste of France. French cuisine is famed the world over. But it’s one particular area of France – Dordogne – which is at the heart of the finest food on the planet. A food lovers’ paradise, it’s the home of the rich, dark, musky Perigord truffle. That alone puts Dordogne at the top of the food chain. From foie gras to morel mushrooms, dozens of local cheeses, the finest wines and traditional rustic duck cheeseand goose dishes washed down with local walnut laced liquour – plus romantic Michelin star restaurants – Dordogne is a food lovers’ heaven. And its stunning scenery means there are plenty of opportunities to work it off, with a cycle ride or romantic stroll alongside chateaux that look like they’ve come straight from a child’s storybook. Feeling tempted?

Here’s our foodie guide to enjoying one of the world’s most mouthwatering destinations.

Head to marketfood stand

Usually in the middle of town, among cobbled lanes and pretty plazas, Dordogne’s markets are a sensory delight. Visit Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the busiest markets in Dordogne or the pretty medieval village of Issigeac. Head undercover to the market hall at the historic fortified village of Monpazier, voted one of France’s most beautiful village. Buy some Cabecou de Rocamadour – a small local goat’s cheese – a freshly baked loaf and find a spot to sit back and watch.

Dine at the top tables

All that wonderful produce means Dordogne has some of the world’s best and most romantic restaurants. There’s the finest Michelin star dining, to quaint corner bistros and chefs who are pushing the foodie boundaries. Indulge at the beautiful chateau at the Michelin starred Chateau des Vigiers which also boasts a golf course and a spa, or nip into Les Petit Paris in Daglan which specialises in seasonal local produce. The choices are endless.

Top up your glass

Some areas of France might be better known, but there’s no mistaking the quality of wine produced in

wine with rainbow

Dordogne. The Bergerac area has more than 1200 wine-growers, producing excellent reds, whites and rosés to wash down all that gourmet food. Visiting a vineyard is a ‘must’. Head to Château de Tiregand and explore its Pécharmant wines. Or visit Château Montdoyen, where the art of winemaking has been passed through generations.

Tuck into truffles

Dordogne is famed for its black Périgord truffle, or black diamond. You’ll discover truffles on the menus and even special truffle markets in Périgueux, Brantôme and Sarlat-la-Canéda. Or hunt for your own – join a truffle hunting tour and at Truffière de Péchalifour.

Take it outside

A picnic amid stunning scenery is hard to beat. Just stock up at the market and head to La Roque Gageac, one of exteriorthe country’s prettiest villages or in the grounds of the Walnut Museum near Castlenaud. The chateau there is a national monument.

Take a boat trip on the river Dordogne at La Roque-Gageac, picnic by the banks and round it off with a walk to Chateau de la Malartie. Wherever your tastebuds take you, a break in Dordogne is bound to leave you hungry for more. Discover delightful Dordogne for yourself.

Source/Credit: written by Sandra Dick for The Scotsman

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Where to Invade Next & Crazy French Laws

French school dinners hailed, as restaurant quality Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore haswhere-to-invade-next
heaped praise on French school dinners in his most recent film, “Where to Invade Next”. In the documentary, which came out in September, Moore visits countries around the world to investigate aspects of life and culture and to see where America can learn to do things better.
In the light-hearted film, Moore sits down with children at a primary school in northern France to enjoy a meal of scallops, followed by lamb and a cheese course, a menu he says would not be out of place at an upmarket American restaurant. “I entered a small village in rural Normandy and went to one of the finest kitchens in the country,” explained the film-maker during the documentary. “By my standards, it was a 3, maybe a 4-star kitchen. It was definitely the bestplace to eat in town… it was the school cafeteria!”
Watch trailer HERE
A Few Crazy French Laws: 
  • It’s illegal to name your pig Napoleon
  • Drinking alcohol at work is forbidden – unless it’s wine, cider or beer
  • Unlimited self-service ketchup is banned in school cafeterias
  • It’s illegal to kiss through the window of a train while it’s on a platform
  • You “can” marry a dead person, but you first need to get the president’s permission

Source/ Credit:  The Bugle

The health benefits of a bilingual brain

 

bilingual-brain

 

There are many good reasons to learn a second language, whatever your age. If you are young, studying more than one language can create job opportunities in an increasingly globalised world; if you are older and move abroad, then speaking the local tongue will enhance your experience on a social and cultural level. But there is also one added benefit that more and more studies are highlighting: speaking more than one language can stave off the effects of dementia. The brain is a complex organ and the causes of dementia are still not fully understood, but there is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that polyglots will develop the disease later in life than those who only speak one language. “Being bilingual has certain cognitive benefits and boosts the performance of the brain, especially one of the most important areas known as the executive control system,” explained Ellen Bialystok, a psychologist at York University in Toronto. “We know that this system deteriorates with age but we have found that at every stage of life it functions better in bilinguals. They perform at a higher level. It won’t stop them getting Alzheimer’s disease, but they can cope with the disease for longer.”

In her research, which was originally published the journal Neurology, Bialystok looked at 211 people with probable Alzheimer’s disease, 102 of whom were bilingual and 109 monolingual. She noted the age at which the patients’ cognitive impairment had started and her results showed that bilingual patients had been diagnosed an average of 4.3 years later and had reported the onset of symptoms 5.1 years later than monolingual patients. Whilst even school level language showed some benefits, the effect was greatest for people who had to use the language every day and continually choose between two sets of words. “It works best for people who speak two languages every day, like immigrants moving to a new country who speak their own language at home… but every little bit helps.” The scientist believes that the act of switching between different languages and inhibiting those that are not needed, stimulates the brain, creating a cognitive reserve. “It is rather like a reserve tank in a car. When you run out of fuel, you can keep going for longer because there is a bit more in the safety tank.” This last analogy is crucial, as repeated studies have shown that keeping your brain active is not a silver bullet against dementia, it will simply allow you to cope with the disease for longer, something that has been highlighted by a subsequent study by Bialystok of the brains of dementia sufferers.

A group of monolingual and bilingual dementia patients, who were the same age and functioned at the same cognitive level, were scanned using a CT machine. The results showed that the physical effects of the disease were more advanced in the bilinguals’ brains, even though their mental ability was approximately the same. “Apparently, the bilinguals’ brains are somehow compensating,” explained Bialystok. “Even though the ‘machine’ is more broken, they can function at the same level as a monolingual with less disease.” It is not just later in life that the benefits of speaking multiple languages manifest themselves. It has long been known that bilingual children will outperform their monolingual peers in certain tasks controlled by the executive control system, such as editing out irrelevant information, focusing on important details and prioritising. “We would probably refer to most of these cognitive advantages as multi-tasking,” explained Judith Kroll, a psychologist at Penn State University in the US. “Bilinguals seem to be better at this type of perspective-taking.” It had previously been assumed that speaking multiple languages “confused” the brain, but the opposite has now been shown to be the case. “The received wisdom was that bilingualism created confusion, especially in children. The belief was that people who could speak two or more languages had difficulty using either. The bottom line is that bilingualism is good for you.”

For those of us who were not lucky enough to have picked up a second language at school, there are still plenty of health benefits to learning another tongue later in life… and it is never too late to try. “Being bilingual is one way to keep your brain active – it’s part of the cognitive-reserve approach to brain fitness. The more the better and every little bit helps!” Bialystok concludes. So next time you set yourself health goals – be they losing weight, getting fit, or cutting down on your alcohol consumption – why not add a few hours of French study into the equation… it’s a lot less tiring than jogging.

Article Source/Credit: The Bugle, Sept 2016

Technology Vocab: 50+ French Words You Need to Know if You Own a Smartphone or Use the Internet

Are you way more into snail mail than email?

Or are you a techie till the end, your heart racing and your palms sweaty when you find yourself without a solid Wi-Fi connection?

Regardless of which camp you’re in, technology is here to stay.

But hey, in many cases it makes life—French-learning life included—simpler.

So can you talk about all of this technology en français?

Whether you love it or hate it, now is the time to update your French vocabulary for life in the 21st century. We live in the ère numérique (digital age), so to express opinions about new technology, you’re definitely going to need some tech-related vocab.

Why Learn Technology-related French Vocabulary?

Even the l’Académie française (The French Academy, a national institution which is the authority on things related to the French language) has been forced to accept the fact that haute technologie (high technology) isn’t going away anytime soon.

In response to an onslaught of neologisms and anglicisms, l’Académie française has adapted, allowing for the French language to keep up with the times. By learning technology vocabulary, you’ll not only come acrossa fair amount of English loan words, you’ll also come across quintessentially French ones as well.

The building blocks of the French language are grammar and vocabulary. This means that even if your grammar game is on point, you’ll need a broad vocabulary to be able to communicate effectively about a wide range of subjects. Once you’ve got the basics down, you should move on to more domain-specific vocabulary.

The tech domain, like the business world, is a subculture with its own lingo. No need to be intimidated, though! Learn the lingo and you’ll find that your reading and listening comprehension will also improve. Besides that, you’ll wow native speakers as you wax poetic on Wi-Fi.

Get Geeky: French Resources for Technology Lovers

Reading blogs and listening to podcasts is a great way to see and hear French technology vocabulary in action. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Begeek. Begeek is the one-stop shop for you gadget lovers out there. Begeek contains a variety of articles pertaining to the tech world, product reviews and promotional codes.
  • Presse-Citron. Think of Presse-Citron, founded by Eric Dupin, as an online lifestyle magazine for the startup-launching set. On this site you’ll find posts on subjects ranging from e-books and environmentalism to smartphones and startups.
  • Soft Power: Le magazine des InternetsThis one-hour France Culture podcast hosted by Frédéric Martel revolves around the creative industry, with a special emphasis on mass media and the Internet. Each week Martel interviews journalists and researchers who discuss the stakes of living in “The Information Age.”
  • Ubergizmo. Ubergizmo is a frequently updated website containing no-nonsense reviews of “the electronics you love and the ones that you love to hate.”

50+ French Technology Vocab Words to Navigate Life in the 21st Century

Basic French Technology Vocabulary

Here are some French vocabulary words for computer hardware and some terms that harken back to Web 1.0.

Nouns

Arobase (f, although the gender hasn’t quite been settled yet) — @.

This is the name for the commercial “at” symbol: @.  Since the advent of the Internet, countries have come up with different names for this curious character. According to some, the French term arobaseapproved by l’Académie française—is a derivative of a rond bas (a surrounded [letter] “a”). Neat, right? So instead of saying “at” when you’re telling someone your email address, you say arobase (at).

Mon adresse courriel est Frenchy arobase mail point com.[Frenchy@mail.com] (My email is Frenchy at mail dot com.)

Base de données (f) — Database.

La base de données aide la société à trouver les meilleurs clients.
(The database helps the company find the best clients.)

Bureau (m) — [Computer] desktop.

In the non-tech world, bureau refers to either a desk or an office.

Il y a trop de fichiers sur mon bureau.
(There are too many files on my desktop.)

Clavier (m) — Keyboard.

Computers made in the United States have QWERTY keyboards (QWERTY being the first six letters on the top left letter row of the keyboard), but did you know computers made in France have AZERTY ones?

Les ordinateurs fabriqués en France ont des claviers AZERTY.
(Computers made in France have AZERTY keyboards.)

Clé USB (f) — USB stick.

USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus,” which in French translates to Bus universel en série. Because the Anglophone world seems to dictate tech-lingo, we say clé USB (USB stick) instead of the “more French” clé BUS.

J’ai toujours une clé USB sur moi.
(I always have a USB stick with me.)

Courriel (m) — Email.

The word courriel is an abbreviation of courrier éléctronique (literally: electronic mail). (Courrier refers to a piece of mail delivered by post.) The anglicism un e-mail (an email) is often used, but courriel is preferred byl’Académie française. In Quebec, the term courriel is more popular than it is in Europe.

Un mél (an email) is another term for email. Think of it as a Frenchified version of the anglicism. The Académie française accepts Mél. as an abbreviation for message éléctronique (electronic message), much likeTél. is used as an abbreviation for (numéro de) téléphone (telephone [number]).

J’ai envoyé un courriel à Charlotte.
(I sent an email to Charlotte.)

Curseur (m) — Cursor.

Je déplace le curseur avec la souris.
(I move the cursor with the mouse.)

Disque dur (m) — Hard drive.

If you want to be more specific you can refer to either un disque dur interne (internal hard drive) or un disque dur externe (external hard drive).

Mon disque dur externe a beaucoup de stockage.
(My external hard drive has a lot of space.)

Donnée (f) — [A point of] data.

You will most often see this in its plural form, données.

Les données sont sur le serveur.
(The data is on the server.)

Dossier (m) — Folder.

J’ai créé un dossier pour chaque matière sur mon ordinateur.
(I made a folder for each subject on my computer.)

Écran (m) — Screen.

L’écran est sale.
(The screen is dirty.)

Fichier (m) — File or document.

Toutes les informations sont dans ce fichier.
(All of the information is in this file.)

Internet (m) — The Internet. (You guessed it!)

The definite article le (the) is rarely used before the word Internet in French. It’s treated like a proper noun, hence its capitalization. La toile (the web) and le net (the ‘Net) are two other French terms for the Internet.

Elle passe beaucoup de temps sur Internet.
(She spends a lot of time on the Internet.)

Logiciel (m) — Computer program.

J’utilise trois logiciels au quotidien.
(I use three programs on a daily basis.)

Mémoire (f) — Memory.

Combien de mémoire a ton ordinateur ?
(How much memory does your computer have?)

Mot de passe (m) — Password.

J’ai oublié mon mot de passe.
(I forgot my password.)

Moteur de recherche (m) — Search engine.

Le moteur de recherche a remplacé l’encyclopédie.
(The search engine has replaced the encyclopedia.)

Ordinateur (m) — Computer.

In colloquial spoken French you’ll often hear the shortened ordiCute, right? The French for “laptop” is ordinateur portable, which translates literally to “carry-able computer.” You’re more likely to hear a person refer to their portable (laptop), which, incidentally, is also the word for cell phone. Context usually clues you in regarding the item in question.

L’ordinateur de Sarah a un grand écran.
(Sarah’s computer has a big screen.)

Site web (m) — Web site.

Easy peasy! It’s common for French speakers to refer to un site (a site), tout simplement (quite simply).

La société a un nouveau site web.
(The company has a new website.)

Souris (f) — Mouse.

Je navigue sur le site à l’aide de la souris.
(I explore the site with help of the mouse.)

Traitement de texte (m) — Word processing.

J’utilise un logiciel de traitement de texte pour prendre des notes.
(I use a word processing program to take notes.)

Verbs

Enregistrer To save.

In other contexts, enregistrer can also mean “to record.”

J’enregistre le fichier tout de suite.
(I am saving the file right away.)

Saisir  To enter or to input.

In other contexts, the verb saisir can also mean “to grasp,” both literally and figuratively, as in “to understand (a concept or idea).”

Je saisis les informations dans la base de données.
(I’m entering the information into the database.)

Sauvegarder — To backup.

Je sauvegarde mon travail toutes les deux heures.
(I backup my work every two hours.)

Supprimer — To delete.

J’ai supprimé quelques fichiers.
(I deleted some files.)

Web 2.0 and Beyond: French Vocabulary for the Digital Age

Although definitions may vary, the Web 2.0 generally is characterized by user-generated content and social media. Gone are the days where we passively consume information on websites. As modern-day internautes (Internet users—the noun can be either masculine or feminine depending on who it refers to), we actively engage with it, going so far as to create it.

Like I said earlier, with new technology comes new vocabulary. You’ll notice that many terms are loan words borrowed from the English. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Nouns

Abonné(e) (m or f) — Subscriber.

Le bulletin éléctronique a 2 000 abonnés.
(The newsletter has 2,000 subscribers.)

Application (f) — Application.

It’s not uncommon to hear appli (appl) for short.

L’application dictionnaire me facilite la vie.
(The dictionary application makes my life easier.)

Blog (or blogue) (m) — Blog.

Michel tient un blog de musique.
(Michel runs a music blog.)

Commentaire (m) — Comment.

J’ai laissé un commentaire sur le blog de Michel.
(I left a comment on Michel’s blog.)

Compte (m) — Account.

J’ai un compte Facebook.
(I have a Facebook account.)

Écran tactile (m) — Touch screen.

Mon téléphone portable a un écran tactile.
(My cell phone has a touch screen.)

Fil d’actualité (m) — Newsfeed.

Mon fil d’actualité contient des articles intéressants.
(My newsfeed contains interesting articles.)

Lecteur (m) — Reader.

Lectrice (reader) is the feminine form.

Le blog de Michel a beaucoup de lecteurs.
(Michel’s blog has a lot of readers.)

Like (m) — A (Facebook) like.

Alternatively (and more French-ly), you can say une mention j’aime (literally translates to an “I like” distinction).

La photo de Caroline a reçu beaucoup de likes.
(Caroline’s picture got a lot of likes.)

Mise à jour (f) — Update.

J’ai effectué une mise à jour de logiciel sur mon ordinateur.
(I did a program update on my computer.)

Mot-dièse (m) — Hashtag.

Dièse refers to what (American) English speakers know as the pound sign (#). It’s worth noting that un hashtag is much more commonly used than mot-dièse (hashtag).

Sur Twitter, les sujets de discussion sont classés grâce à des mots-dièse.
(On Twitter, discussion topics are organized by hashtags.)

Nom d’utilisateur (m) — Username.

J’ai choisi un nom d’utilisateur très simple.
(I chose a very simple username.)

Page d’accueil (f) — Home page.

La page d’accueil est très simple.
(The home page is very simple.)

Photo de profil (f) — Profile picture.

Marie change souvent sa photo de profil.
(Marie changes her profile picture often.)

Piratage (m) — (Illegal) downloading or hacking.

Le piratage des films est interdit.
([Illegally] downloading movies is forbidden.)

Profil (m) — Profile.

Le profil de Sarah est très détaillé.
(Sarah’s profile is very detailed.)

Réseau social (m) — Social network.

Les adolescents passent beaucoup de temps sur les réseaux sociaux.
(Teenagers spend a lot of time on social networks.)

Selfie (m, although the gender hasn’t been entirely settled yet) — Selfie.

Selfie is short for self-portrait, which is autoportrait (self-portrait) in non-virtual French.

Carole prend beaucoup de selfies.
(Carole takes a lot of selfies.)

Tweet (m) — A tweet.

Les tweets de Rémy sont drôles.
(Rémy’s tweets are funny.)

Utilisateur (m)  User.

Ce réseau social a beaucoup d’utilisateurs.
(This social network has a lot of users.)

Verbs

Bloquer  To block.

Sandrine a bloqué son ex sur Facebook.
(Sandrine blocked her ex on Facebook.)

Mettre à jour  To update.

J’ai mis à jour mon profil.
(I updated my profile.)

Partager — To share.

Carine a partagé un article intéressant sur Facebook.
(Carine shared an interesting article on Facebook.)

Publier — To publish.

Michel a publié un article intéressant sur son blog.
(Michel published an interesting article on his blog.)

S’abonner — To subscribe.

Je m’abonne au blog de Michel.
(I subscribe to Michel’s blog.)

Se connecter — To log in.

Je me connecte sur Facebook tous les jours.
(I log on to Facebook every day.)

S’inscrire — To register or to sign up.

Alexandre ne veut pas s’inscrire sur Facebook.
(Alexandre does not want to sign up for Facebook.)

Signaler  To report.

J’ai signalé le contenu offensant du site.
(I reported the site’s offensive content.)

Suivre — To follow.

Je suis Leonardo DiCaprio sur Tweeter.
(I follow Leonardo DiCaprio on Twitter.)

Surfer  To surf (the Internet).

Antoine surfe sur Internet pendant son cours d’anglais.
(Antoine surfs the Internet during his English class.)

Taguer — To tag, as in to identify someone in a picture.

Marc m’a tagué(e) dans une photo.
(Marc tagged me in a picture.)

Télécharger — To download/upload.

J’ai téléchargé le nouvel album de Christine and the Queens.
(I downloaded Christine and the Queens’ new album.)

Tweeter  To tweet.

Caroline tweete souvent.
(Caroline tweets often.)

Whew! I hope your memory’s not full! Once you pick a method that fits your fancy (I recommend the memory palace) and you learn these words, your journey through French cyberspace will be smooth sailing.

SOURCE/CREDIT:  Fluent U blog

 

The Results Are In! The 3 Best Online French Grammar Checkers

You’ve put a lot of sweat and tears into your French…

…but maybe you still flub your grammar sometimes.

Hey, that’s okay.

We all make mistakes.

The good news is, French grammar checkers can rescue you from at least some of those mistakes.

You may think the capabilities of automated checkers are so limited that there is simply no point in bothering.

However, the best ones can actually be really handy: These checkers will flag things like gender errors, failure to use the subjunctive or article issues (like using des instead of de).

And they’ll also check your spelling, of course.

Plus, if you can wait a little longer, there are sites where human beings are willing to graciously fill the role of online grammar checker.

For the purposes of this article, I put all of the major free online grammar checker options to the test, as well as one popular site where human native speakers correct each other’s texts.

My test text was a 450-word description of my apartment for Airbnb; I translated it into French, intentionally including mistakes that are common for beginning and for advanced students of the language, as well as some mistakes common for un-schooled speakers who “pick up” French by speaking it.

And who am I kidding, I also made some nice, fat grammatical errors of theunintentional sort.

For comparison, I submitted my text to a professional, native-speaking French writer and translator who happens to be a friend.

Each grammar checker had its merits as well as flaws. All of them have free options for French learners.

In this post, we’ll look at only the absolute best of the best checkers, whom they’re best for and how to use them.

Check My French! The 3 Best Online French Grammar Checkers

Scribens

This website is pretty plain and the tool is not as well-known as the others, so I was surprised that it won out overall in terms of thoroughness of corrections, ease of use of the interface and clarity of the grammar explanations.

Here’s what you should know about Scribens:

  • It flagged gender problems throughout the text, including where an adjective was not immediately adjacent to the noun it was modifying. For example, it corrected “le chambre principal est petit” to la chambre principale est petite” (the master bedroom is small); other checkers often failed to catch petit.
  • It did not erroneously flag too many proper nouns, like Barcelone(Barcelona), Picasso and Gaudí, which some checkers did.
  • It corrected some more complex issues, like use of the subjunctive, and even had a convenient drop-down box with the corrected subjunctive for you to click on to replace your own silly text. Most others didn’t offer features for such complex types of correction.
  • A great feature for learners and grammar nerds is that it not only provides that drop-down box with the corrected word that you can click on, but also a short grammar explanation within the box, and a link to therègle générale (general rule), a page that provides even more explanation and—important for learners—a few examples.
  • The free version allows you to paste quite a bit of text into a box and check it immediately on the page. There is a premium version for €39.90 that allows you unlimited text and has plugins for browser windows and desktop word processing programs.

This is the best choice for those who are starting out with French and want to have their grammar explanations and the interface in English. It allows you to check a smaller block of text in one go, and did not flag quite as many true mistakes as Scribens, but may still be more useful for you depending on your level and preferences.

Here’s what you should know about BonPatron:

  • It caught some subjunctive issues and other more complex grammar issues.
  • It does not have a drop-down menu that allows you to select the correction; you have to type it yourself. Some learners may find this beneficial, however.
  • The grammar explanations in English were somewhat generalized but quite clear. This is not going to tell you the exact correct answer necessarily, just that, for example, you need a feminine article of some sort.
  • There is a check box to indicate if you are writing in the first-person feminine, so that the tool will check the text accordingly. I tested this, and it seems to work fine.
  • At the bottom of the page, your errors are linked to pages with much longer grammar descriptions in English of French grammar rules that you have violated.

The Human Grammar Checkers at Lang-8

There are a lot of issues with French that no automatic grammar checker is going to catch and make clear to you, especially if you’re not a native speaker.

Written French can be a vast horror, and if you happen to need a lot of guidance with your writing, using any automatic grammar checker can be like putting a Band-Aid over a severed limb.

That’s why it’s great to know about Lang-8, a resource that lets you get your writing corrected by native speakers.

I submitted the same text for correction on Lang-8, and then for karma (and for the site’s point system) corrected some other users’ texts in English. About 24 hours later, I received my correction.

The writer who corrected my text on Lang-8 changed many of my phrasings; some because they were wrong, but also a lot just because she could come up with words that sounded better, or were more standard in a given context.

For example, I wanted to say that there were both “tripots et restaurants chics” (dive restaurants and fancy places) in my lively neighborhood.Tripots apparently sounds awful, though, so she reformulated my phrase to“restaurants du plus populaire à l’ultra-chic.”

There are also cultural issues to consider in cross-cultural writing that, for now, no grammar checker is likely to master. “You shouldn’t call the bedroompetite at all,” she said. “By Parisian standards it’s actually quite large! No French person will be disappointed.”

So you may not be lucky enough to have a French writer friend nearby to check your text, but you can get always get native speakers to correct it at Lang-8.

The Lang-8 correction was not quite as complete as my friend’s, but absolutely far more complete than any of the automatic grammar checkers.

While you never know how well the native speakers on the site know their own language (French is a challenge even for the French), one advantage is that several people may eventually correct your text, so you get various perspectives on what is correct or the best phrasing (although this can be confusing, too).

Lang-8 has a social feature that allows you to friend other users and build a more personal connection, so that you can develop relationships and people to count on as you move forward with your writing. It’s not uncommon to make appointments with other users on Skype to talk through texts, for example.

 

The verdict? If you can understand a French interface and grammar explanations, use Scribens.fr for quick grammar checks. If not, useBonPatron.com, which has good explanations in English.

But, as discussed, all of the automatic options are limited in terms of what they can do to help you write correctly in French, so if you have the time you should make the effort to exchange corrections with someone on Lang-8.comor in real life.

With the tools above, you should be better able to tackle the correction of any French text that you might produce, whether it’s for the pleasure of writing, improving your language skills or more concrete tasks like convincing traveling Francophones to rent out your “normal”-sized room.

 Credit/Source: for FluentU by MOSEHAYWARD

A Female Perspective of Paris

Who doesn’t love Paris!?  I was lucky to have lived there for a short time years ago – read why/how in “Solitary Desire – One Woman’s Journey to France” (available on most Amazon sites)

As in any city, it is wise to be city smart and aware of your surroundings, but according to Adrian Leeds, Editor of newsletters “Parler Paris” and “Parler Nice,” her experience of living in the City of Light as a single woman is summarised below.  When I lived alone and worked in Paris, I felt safe as well and observed the obvious cultural differences that she highlights.

“Let’s start with Paris and why Paris is great for single women:

1. Paris is safe. Women can freely travel alone at any time of day or night in almost any district and feel totally safe. This is a very big difference! Do you get into your car and lock the doors fast, like I used to do? Or never go anywhere alone at night for fear of the car breaking down somewhere you wouldn’t want to be stranded? And even in New York City where the subway runs all night long and there are people on the streets at every hour, do you still feel safe wherever you are? I doubt it.

2. Being alone in Paris is never lonely. You can dine alone, have a drink at a café alone, go to a movie alone…and never feel lonely or really ‘alone.’ In fact, being ‘alone’ is the best way to meet someone! Most North American cities are such family and couples-oriented places that being alone makes you stand out, particularly as a woman…don’t you think? And so what do we women do? We hang out with our friends — and that’s a tough way to let a ‘someone’ into the space you had, but filled with ‘them.’ “N’est-ce pas?”

3. Parisian (and most European) men respect and adore older women. Women don’t have to be face-lifted or tummy-tucked to look younger than they are to attract younger men, who see them as wise, worldly and more experienced. And young women can happily and openly choose to be with older men. Age is much less of a stigma for both genders when it comes to love and sex. Remember the article in the Washington Post February 2008, “French Women Don’t Get Fat and Do Get Lucky” by Pamela Druckerman? She wrote, “Just 15 percent of Frenchwomen in their 50s and 27 percent in their 60s haven’t had any sex in the past year, according to a 2004 national survey by France’s Regional Health Observatory. Another national survey being released next month will report that cohabiting Frenchwomen over 50 are having more sex now than they did in the early 1990s.” So, women over the age of 40…go out and buy some sexy lingerie because here you’re likely going to actually get some use out of it!

4. “Parisiennes” dress! By that I mean they dress provocatively on a daily basis and love it, without anyone thinking they are…what’s that awful word?…”slutty?” Being “seduisante” simply means “attractive” and that’s exactly what they are. At 80 years old they’re still wearing fishnet stockings and high heeled shoes. You’ll see more skirts on their hips than pants so they can show off their shapely legs. And I’ll bet you’ll notice more older women braless than you’ll ever see on the other side of the Atlantic. “Quelle horreur!” Sure, they aren’t as ‘perky’ as they used to be, but who cares?…Not the men who are enjoying them!

5. Paris gives you self-confidence. With all these positive aspects on your side, you’re sure to feel more independent and more self-confident about who you are, both as a woman and as a person. And let me tell you something: that’s sexy as hell. Nothing is less attractive than neediness. So, even if you wanted to be ‘alone,’ you’re not likely going to be that way…at least for long! And you can live that way happily the rest of your life…single and happy to be that way.”

(Source/credit:  Adrian Leeds Group)