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Celebrating Assumption Day in France

On Assumption Day, France celebrates the rising of Mary, the mother of Jesus, into Heaven. For this reason, it’s often called Assumption of Mary Day.

The Assumption Holy Day reflects the strong Catholic nature of France, being one of the most popular and heavily celebrated holidays in the country. Even non-Catholics like to participate in the fun, often as a final party before the end of summer.

Learn all about The Assumption of Mary Feast Day with FrenchPod101.com, and become more familiar with French culture as a whole. We hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Assumption Day?

Assumption celebrates Jesus’s mother, Mary, rising up to Heaven.

As such, the French also recognize Assumption Day as the name day for those named Mary (the most-given name of the twentieth century in France). Since 1946, this name has been given more than two-million times to little French girls!

But is the Assumption a holy day of obligation? Yes, it is; but if the date happens to fall on a Monday or Saturday of a given year, people are not expected to attend the mass.

2. When is Assumption Day?

Man Holding Bible

The date of Assumption in France holds much historical significance.

In the sixth century, the Byzantine emperor Maurice established the Feast Day of the Virgin Mary in his empire every day on August 15. The holiday was introduced to the West by Pope Theodore in the seventh century, and took the name of Assumption starting the following century.

In 1637, King Louis XIII wanted an heir, so he asked his subjects to make a procession every August 15 in every parish, so that his prayer would be granted. Because King Louis XIII’s request was granted the following year, the holiday on August 15 took on special importance.

3. French Assumption Day Traditions

A Church Building

Every year, religious processions have taken place in certain cities in France. For example, after mass, pilgrims carry a statue of the Virgin Mary in the streets and around the neighborhood. On Assumption Day, Paris hosts a procession that has taken place for a few years, on a boat in the Seine, where the silver statue of the Virgin kept in Notre-Dame is taken out.

Though Assumption is a Catholic holiday, even the non-religious in France celebrate. The most common secular celebrations include fireworks in popular cities and neighborhood dances, most of which are free to attend.

During Assumption, the city of Lourdes experiences its busiest day of the year!

4. The End of Summer…

Assumption Day is often associated with the end of summer and the coming of autumn and winter.

As such, there are many sayings about Assumption Day, such as À la mi-août, adieu les beaux jours (meaning “In mid-August, say goodbye to good weather,” in English) and à la mi-août, l’hiver est en route (meaning “In mid-August, winter is on the way,” in English). Indeed, August 15 also symbolizes a summer well-spent, and the approaching autumn.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Assumption Day in France

Virgin Mary in Stained Glass

Here’s the most important vocabulary you should know to celebrate Assumption Day in France!

  • Église — “Church”
  • Assomption — “Assumption Day”
  • Chrétien — “Christian”
  • Assomption — “Assumption”
  • Croyance — “Belief”
  • Dogme — “Dogma”
  • Célébrer — “Celebrate”
  • Festin — “Feast”
  • Jour férié — “Public holiday”
  • Paradis — “Heaven”
  • Vierge Marie — “Virgin Mary”
  • Mort — “Death”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our French Assumption Day vocabulary list! You’ll also find a relevant image with each word to help you remember more effectively!

Conclusion: How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Master French

We hope you enjoyed learning about Assumption Day in France with us! Does your country have an Assumption Day celebration, too? If so, are traditions similar or very different from those in France? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about French culture and the language, explore FrenchPod101.com and take advantage of our fun and effective learning tools! There are many, designed for every type of learner:

If you prefer a one-on-one approach, complete with a personal learning plan tailored to your needs and goals, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus and begin learning with your own French teacher. Let FrenchPod101 be your constant companion for each step of your language-learning journey!

You can do this. :)

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End of the French Revolution: Bastille Day in France

Each year, the French commemorate the end of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille fortress. Called Bastille Day everywhere but France itself, this holiday is France’s national day and possibly the most significant public holiday in the country.

By learning about Bastille Day, France’s history and culture will become more clear to you. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, studying culture is a step you can’t miss if you hope to master the beautiful French language.

At FrenchPod101.com, we hope to make this learning experience both fun and effective!

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1. What is Bastille Day?

The nation remembers the storming of the Bastille (otherwise known as the Bastille Day attack) on this holiday, which took place in 1789 during the French Revolution. For this reason, the word Bastille is often associated with our national day, though French people never actually call it “Bastille Day.”

1- The Bastille

Bastille was a fortress and an arsenal destined to defend the East of Paris, which later became a prison by the Cardinal Richelieu.

The storming of this structure on July 14, 1789, symbolizes the French Revolution as a major event of the people’s revolt, the initiation of today’s nation. The first edition of the national day in 1790 was named “the federation party” during this era. It represented the reconciliation of the French by the monarchy constitution under Louis XVI.

The federation party was considered a happy ending to the French Revolution, which lasted ten years with the proclamation of the First Republic under Louis XVI.

Napoléon Bonaparte succeeded him with the establishment of the First Empire at the beginning of the 19th century.

2- Bastille Day History

The true origin of the current national holiday is found in the historic facts of the Republic. It took root with two events at the end of the 19th century.

The first one was the official national day on June 30, 1878, to celebrate the Republic. A painting of Monet exposed in the Museum of Orsay redraws this event in the Montorgueil street situated in the second district. The second celebration unfolded itself July 14, 1879; this one was more popular and semi-official to celebrate the revolution of the French people.

These two marking days resulted in a law proposition in 1880 to establish July 14 as the national day. The senate accepted July 14 to represent the storming of the Bastille Fortress, instead of August 4 to honor the end of the feudal system from the Roman Empire and promoting the strength of the lords by their land.

2. When is Bastille Day?

A Cockade

Bastille Day is celebrated in France each year on July 14.

3. Reading Practice: Bastille Day Celebrations

Decorations for Bastille Day

Do you know how France celebrates its national day? Read the French text below to learn about the Bastille Day parades and other traditions. Check your French reading skills with the English translation directly below it!

Chaque année depuis 1880, a lieu un défilé militaire à Paris, en présence du Président de la République. Les militaires sont à pieds, à cheval, en voiture ou dans des avions. Ils descendent l’avenue des Champs Élysées, la place de l’Étoile et vont jusqu’à la place de la Concorde, où ils saluent le président et son gouvernement. Ce défilé attire des milliers de Français. Ceux qui ne peuvent venir le voir à Paris le regardent à la TV. Les deux chaînes françaises qui diffusent cet évènement attirent des millions de téléspectateurs chaque année.

Le soir, les Français peuvent faire la fête puisque des bals sont organisés dans la plupart des villes. Ils ont le choix car différents styles de bals et de musiques sont proposés au sein même d’une seule ville. A Paris, le bal le plus populaire est le bal des Pompiers. Il est organisé dans la caserne même des pompiers et réunit des personnes de tous les âges, toutes les professions.

Le saviez-vous ? La plupart des Français ignorent que le 14 Juillet célèbre deux évènements. En général, ils pensent que c’est en la mémoire de la prise de la Bastille uniquement ! La Fête de la Fédération reste méconnue, même en France.

Every year since 1880, a military parade has taken place in Paris in front of the President of the Republic. The soldiers are on foot, on horseback, in vehicles, or flying in planes. They go down the Champs Élysées boulevard, the Place de l’Étoile, and all the way to Place de la Concorde, where they salute the President and his government. This parade attracts thousands of French people. Those who cannot come to see it in Paris watch it on TV. The two French channels that broadcast this event draw millions of viewers each year.

At night, the French have an opportunity to party, since dances are organized in most cities. They have a choice, as many different styles of dances and music are offered in each city. In Paris, the most popular dance is the Bal des Pompiers. It is organized in the firefighters’ actual firehouse, and brings people together of all ages and professions.

Did you know? Most French people don’t know that July 14 celebrates two events. In general, they think that it only celebrates the taking of the Bastille. The Fête de la Fédération remains little-known, even in France.

4. Fireworks in France!

On the evening of July 14, French people can see fireworks being set off in most cities. This is a tradition that has existed since the creation of this national holiday in 1880. In Paris, the Trocadéro fireworks alone bring together thousands of visitors.

5. Essential Vocabulary for Bastille Day

Depiction of a Noble

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Bastille Day in France!

  • Roi — “King”
  • Fête nationale — “Bastille Day”
  • Révolution française — “French Revolution”
  • Cocarde — “Cockade”
  • Bourgeoisie — “Bourgeoisie”
  • Sans-culottes — “Sans-culottes
  • Révolutionnaire — “Revolutionary”
  • Noblesse — “Nobility”
  • Noble — “Noble”
  • Monarchie — “Monarchy”
  • Guillotine — “Guillotine”
  • Prise de la Bastille — “Storming of the Bastille”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our French Bastille Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Bastille Day and its history with us! Did you learn anything new about France’s national day? What does your country’s national holiday look like? Let us know in the comments! We always look forward to hearing from you.

To continue in your French studies, explore FrenchPod101.com and take advantage of our fun and practical learning tools! Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study free French vocabulary lists on a range of topics, and chat with fellow French learners on our community forums! By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also start using our MyTeacher program and learn French one-on-one with a French teacher and more personalized plan.

Learning French is a bold endeavor, and one that you’ll never regret. Know that your hard work and determination will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, writing, and reading French like a native before you know it! FrenchPod101 will be here with you each step of your way there.

Happy Bastille Day!

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Fête de la Musique: Celebrating World Music Day in France

In France, ninety-seven percent of French people know about Fête de la musique (”World Music Day”)!

On World Make Music Day (or simply Make Music Day), France celebrates music and encourages anyone and everyone to create music, along with many other countries.

This is the most characteristic aspect of World Music Day: It encourages absolutely everyone to do some music; anyone can sing or play an instrument, alone or in a band, in public spaces. Hence the wide range of styles and talents during the Fête de la musique French festivals.

World Music Day in France is a prime example of how a country’s holidays can reveal what its people hold near to their hearts. And any successful language learner can tell you that comprehending a country’s culture is a necessary step in mastering its language. At FrenchPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Music Day in France?

Though sometimes referred to as the biggest music festival in France, World Music Day is completely different from a music festival. La fête de la musique, also known as “World Music Day,” is the celebration of music and life through free concerts and presentations, mainly outdoors, on the summer solstice each year. This popular manifestation encourages professional and amateurs alike to play instruments on the streets.

The idea of Music Day first appeared in 1976. It was conceived by the American musician Joel Cohen, who worked at the time for the radio station “Radio France” (France Musique). Back then, Cohen was proposing “Musical Saturnalians” for the two solstices, the winter one on December twenty-first and the summer one on June twenty-first.

After the presidential elections of 1981, Maurice Fleuret adopted the idea, which Jack Lang (then Minister of Culture) put in place. It took place for the first time on June 21, 1982, and was officially declared the following year. Music Day immediately met an increasing success, which has spread to this day well beyond the French borders.

2. When is World Music Day?

Musical Notes on a Page

On June 21, France celebrates World Music Day. This is usually on the date of the summer solstice, the perfect time of year for outdoor music fun! As mentioned earlier, the 21 June France celebration date for this holiday was chosen in 1982.

3. World Music Festival: France’s Celebrations

La fête de la musique (meaning “World Music Day̶ ;) is such a fun day. Anywhere you go, music is present. On Music Day, France is home to all types of music styles that are represented by young, talented musicians—from newly created bands to professionals making it their way of life. Concerts are organized with elaborate production, and musicians on their own or in small groups play with their instruments on street corners. Everyone performs for free, just for the pleasure of sharing their art.

People who appreciate the music, but aren’t actually playing, enjoy the day by walking through the yards of castles, schools, and town squares to enjoy the performances. The mature public usually appreciate orchestras, choruses, and operas which take place in scheduled places and times in large towns. The younger generations prefer to dance and party till dawn at programmed concerts offered by the city.

Bars and restaurants take on bands and musicians to attract people inside or on their patio. People can also find music playing in prisons, hospitals, airports, and subways.

French bars and restaurants usually have to close a little after midnight. But on Music Day, they’re allowed to stay open much later to welcome the public. Furthermore, the date of the twenty-first most often corresponds with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Night falls very late, so French people often use this as an excuse to continue celebrations late into the night!

4. Most Common Musical Instruments in France

A Music Festival

Do you know which musical instrument is played the most by French people?

In France, the most played musical instrument is the guitar, closely followed by the piano. But the piano is the instrument that is most taught in music schools, whereas many people play the guitar as amateurs, without a teacher.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for World Music Day

Woman Playing an Instrument

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Music Day in France!

  • Jazz — “Jazz
  • Rue — “Street”
  • Guitare — “Guitar”
  • Violon — “Violin”
  • Concert — “Concert”
  • Musique rock — “Rock music
  • Batterie — “Drums”
  • Festival — “Festival”
  • Fête de la musique — “Music Day”
  • Groupe — “Band”
  • Jouer — “Play”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our French Music Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Did you know about World Music Day before reading this article? Does your country have elaborate celebrations for Music Day like France does? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture in France and the French language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com. We provide practical learning tools for every learner to ensure that anyone can master French! Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study up with our free French vocabulary lists, and chat with fellow French students on our community forums! By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also begin learning French one-on-one with your own personal teacher through our MyTeacher program.

Learning a new language, and absorbing the culture around it, is no easy task. But it’s well worth the effort and determination you put into it! And FrenchPod101 will be here with you for each step of your journey to mastery.

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Fête de Voisins: Celebrating National Neighbor Day in France

National Neighbor Day in France (or Fête de Voisins as voisin is “neighbor” in French) is a day for people to spend time with their neighbors, usually in the form of a party. This is a significant concept in a world that’s becoming more and more adapted to life on the screen, and where people are spending less face time with each other. It can be difficult to even muster a “hello” to fellow neighbors these days!

On Neighbor’s Day, France encourages its people to get together, socialize, and just appreciate each other. It’s such a revolutionary type of holiday that other places around the world are beginning to celebrate it too (resulting in a European Neighbor’s Day).

At FrenchPod101, we hope to clue you in on what to expect should you receive a Fête de Voisins invitation, and teach you all about the origins of Neighbor’s Day in France. We hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Neighbor’s Day (Europe)?

Neighbor’s Day, also called Immeubles en fête (”Building Festival”), is an originally French holiday. Its goal is to let neighbors meet each other in a friendly way, and is the initiative of a Parisian non-profit association.

This idea was born in 1990 when a group of friends created the association Paris d’amis (”Paris of Friends̶ ;) in the seventeenth district of the French capital. They wanted to strengthen the ties of proximity between inhabitants in the neighborhood and thereby fight isolation.

The association then carried out numerous projects with this goal, such as a sponsorship service for neighbors with hardships.

In 1999, the association launched Neighbor’s Day in the seventeenth district of Paris. And its success was immediate because 800 buildings participated, mobilizing more than 10,000 inhabitants!

2. When is Neighbor’s Day in France?

Flat Apartment

The date of Neighbor’s Day varies each year, though it is always the last Friday of May or the first Friday in June. In 2019, it will take place on May 31.

3. Reading Practice: How Does France Celebrate Neighbor’s Day?

Neighbor's Getting Together For a Meal

Learn how Neighbor’s Day is celebrated in France by reading the French text below! You can find the English translation directly below it.

Le principe est simple—une fête est organisée dans un immeuble, une maison, un jardin…Tout le monde est libre d’organiser cette fête et d’ y participer ! Chaque participant peut amener à boire ou à manger.

Cette initiative permet de rencontrer ses voisins et de mieux connaître les personnes qui habitent le quartier.

Cet évènement français a maintenant dépassé les frontières de son pays d’origine, d’abord avec l’extension de la fête à la Belgique et 10 autres villes européennes en 2003, puis avec l’organisation de la Journée européenne des voisins en 2004, qui se déroule dans plus de 150 villes d’Europe, et au-delà avec le Canada, la Turquie et l’Azerbaïdjan.

Il existe un film français à propos de la fête des voisins ! Réalisé en 2010 par David Haddad, ce film narre l’histoire de Pierrot, gardien qui organise cette fête dans son immeuble. Il s’intitule “La Fête des voisins.”

The principle is simple—a party is organized in a building, house, garden, and so on. Everyone is free to organize the party and to participate in it! Each participant can bring something to drink or eat.

This initiative lets neighbors meet and to get to know people who live in the neighborhood better.

This French event has now crossed the borders of its home country, first with the extension of the holiday into Belgium and ten other European cities in 2003. Then, with the organization of European Neighbor’s Day in 2004, which takes place in more than 150 cities in Europe and beyond in Canada, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

There is a French film about Neighbor’s Day! Released in 2010 and directed by David Haddad, the film tells the story of Pierrot, a security guard who organizes a party in his building. It’s called “La Fête des voisins.”

4. Three Largest Cities in France

Do you know which are the three biggest cities in France?

The three biggest cities in France are Paris, Marseille, and Lyon. Just these three cities alone house more than three-million people. That’s a lot of neighbors to invite over!

5. Useful Vocabulary for National Neighbor Day in France

Real Estate Sign

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Neighbor’s Day in France!

  • Maison — “House
  • Rue — “Street”
  • Étage — “Floor”
  • Voisine — “Neighbor”
  • Fête des voisins — “Neighbor’s Day”
  • Appartement — “Flat”
  • Digicode — “Digital lock”
  • Immobilier — “Real estate”
  • Quartier — “Neighborhood”
  • Lotissement — “Housing estate”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Neighbor’s Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think of the idea behind France’s Neighbors’ Day? Does your country have a similar holiday (such as National Good Neighbor Day)? And if not, do you wish it did? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about France’s history, culture, and language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We have something here for every learner, making it possible for anyone to master French! Find insightful blog posts like this one, free vocabulary lists, and an online forum where you can chat with fellow French students. You can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program by creating a Premium Plus account, to learn French one-on-one with your own personal French teacher.

Until next time, hang in there, keep your determination fueled, and say hi to your neighbors for us!

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The Best Series and TV Shows for French Learners

Many non-native English-speakers learned the language while watching popular TV shows such as Friends or Game of Thrones.

This tip works just as well for other languages! Luckily, the French TV scene is bustling with great series and programs in every genre. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced French learner, you’ll find popular shows perfect for your level. All you need is access to YouTube, Netflix, and/or Amazon Prime.

Here at FrenchPod101, we just love binging on quality shows. We proudly consider ourselves to be expert reviewers when it comes to French television! Here’s our top list of the best French series for learners of all levels. Pick your favorite and clear your schedule!

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Table of Contents

  1. For the Glamour Lovers
  2. For the Drama Queens
  3. For the Foodies
  4. For the Fun Learners
  5. For the Aspiring Detectives
  6. For Our Younger Students
  7. Bonus: What NOT to Watch
  8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

1. For the Glamour Lovers

Who doesn’t fantasize about living in Paris, the “City of Love?”

Producers are obviously well aware of our fascination with the French glamour. Here are some shows that will acquaint you with the most famous French singers and actors!

1- Dix pour Cent

This is a fiction/reality show, and is ongoing with two seasons to date. Dix pour Cent is perfect the intermediate French learner, and is available on Netflix and FranceTV.fr.

If you love French cinema and wish you could sneak behind the scenes, Dix pour Cent might just be your dream come true!

Delve into the daily life of fictional artist A.S.K., where three agents struggle to accommodate their prestigious clients. In each episode, a famous French actor plays his or her own role with talent and self-deprecation. The exceptional casting unites many of the most prestigious and talented French stars in a unique show!

Here’s a sneak peek at the cast:

  • Cécile de France
  • Joey Starr
  • Nathalie Baye
  • Gilles Lelouche
  • Laura Smet
  • Ramzy Bédia
  • Michel Druker
  • Virgine Effira
  • Fabrice Luchini
  • Christophe Lambert
  • Julien Doré
  • Isabelle Adjani
  • Juliette Binoche

Further, Jean Dujardin, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Lanvin, and Béatrice Dalle are announced as part of season three’s casting!

Call My Agent

2- Danse Avec les Stars

This is a reality show, ongoing with eight seasons to date. We consider Danse Avec les Stars to be a fantastic French show for those just beginning to learn the language. It’s available on YouTube and TF1.fr.

Danse Avec les Stars is the French version of the British show Strictly Come Dancing. Every season, three famous French dancers judge the dance performances of French artists (singers, actors, comedians, and models). Luckily for them, the candidates are coached by their partners, who are also famous French dancers. Who will be the most stylish couple?

Starring in this fab series are:

  • Matt Pokora
  • Shy’m
  • Amel Bent
  • Alizée
  • Lorie
  • Fauve Hautot

Danse Stars

2. For the Drama Queens

Who doesn’t love a bit of drama to spice up a casual TV binge?

1- Plus Belle la Vie

This Drama is ongoing with a whopping fourteen seasons to date, and we recommend it for intermediate French learners. Find Plus Belle la Vie on francetv.fr and tv-replay.fr.

Plus Belle la Vie

We could hardly list France’s most popular shows without mentioning Plus Belle la Vie. It has been on air for more than 10 years! Apparently, the French cannot get enough of the inhabitants of Le Mistral, a fictitious district of Marseille. With more than 3500 episodes, you’ll be bilingual by the time you’re done with the show!

2- Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is a reality show, with twenty-two—yes, you read that correctly! —seasons to date. This one is great entertainment for both beginners and more advanced learners! It’s available on tf1.fr.

Koh Lanta

Stranded on a desert island, two teams of candidates must overcome various challenges to survive. Become a master of the French language while sitting on the edge of your seat to find out who has the gumption to make it!

3. For the Foodies

Food probably accounts for at least a quarter of the reasons you wanted to learn French in the first place. The French love their blanquette de veau, confit de canard, sole meunière, Paris-Brest, macarons, and 1200 kinds of cheese…and so does French TV. Watching these shows at dinnertime is a pretty typical French experience!

1- Un Dîner Presque Parfait

This reality show finished up after nine seasons, and is available on YouTube and 6play.fr. We think that beginners will reap the most benefits from watching this show—and enjoy it all the way through!

Un Dîner Presque Parfait

Based on the British reality show Come Dine with Me, this program has become a staple of French pop culture. Un Dîner Presque Parfait pits four couples against each other in a friendly competition. The French hospitality and gastronomy is at stake. Which couple will throw the most lavish, refined, delicious dinner party for the three others?

2- Top Chef

Top Chef, as you likely guessed, is a reality show and is great for the beginner in French. Available on YouTube and 6play.fr, this series is ongoing with nine seasons to date.

Here’s a snapshot of the top-notch cast:

  • Cyril Lignac
  • Jean-François Piège
  • Michel Etchebest
  • Hélène Darroze

Top Chef

Do you want to up your culinary level a bit? The French always do! Top Chef focuses on exceptionally talented amateurs. Every season, up to fourteen talented candidates try to impress four of France’s best chefs. They may or may not have professional training, but many of them aspire to open their own restaurant. Unfortunately, one candidate is eliminated in each episode… Fingers crossed that your favorite will make it!

3- Le Meilleur Pâtissier

With six seasons so far, this French cooking show is excellent for beginners. You can watch it on YouTube and 6play.fr.

The cast of Le Meilleur Pâtissier includes:

  • Cyril Lignac
  • Jacqueline Mercorelli
  • Pierre Hermé

Le Meilleur Pâtissier

It’s time for dessert! Indulge your sweet tooth with this version of Top Chef that focuses on the French’s favorite: la pâtisserie. Up to eleven aspiring pastry chefs will compete for the judges’ favor through several demanding challenges. And many of them own their own pastry shop, so you may hope to taste their wonderful creations someday!

4. For the Fun Learners

Somewhat less famous than Belgian or English humor, French humor has given us some great shows over the years. These series are a perfect introduction!

1- Un Gars Une Fille

Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy star in this comedy, which is over after five seasons. This show is lighthearted and perfect for beginners and advanced learners alike. Check out YouTube to see for yourself!

Un Gars Une Fille

Catch some hilarious glimpses into the life of the “couple next door!” Also discover the debut of Jean Dujardin, star of award-winning movie The Actor.

2- H

This show concluded after four seasons, and starred Jamel Debbouze, and Eric & Ramzy. This one is best suited for intermediate French learners, and is available on francetv.fr.

H

“H” is for Hôpital! A parody of famous hospital series, H follows the inner life of a (quite dysfunctional) hospital. It also stars some of the most famous French comedians, including Jamel Debbouze and Eric & Ramzy.

3- Bref

This hilarious comedy aired over eighty-two episodes, starring Kyan Khojandi and Bérengère Krief.
We recommend this one especially for beginners. Find it on YouTube and get ready to laugh.

Bref

Bref is one of the most recent series on this list, but is already a common French pop reference. It depicts the life of an average French millennial in a series of very short—well, brief—scenes. Warning: It will, in turn, make you laugh and move you to tears.

4- Kaamelott

Kaamelott is unique in its own right, as a historical comedy. This show ended after six seasons and is currently available on 6play.fr. If you’re an intermediate or expert French student and are looking for something to bring you genuine laughter, give this one a shot.

Kaamelott

This caustic take on King Arthur’s court will remind you just how much the French love to make fun of the English.

5- Au Service de la France

Another historical comedy—and a new one at that—Au Service de la France is ongoing with one season to date. We’ll mention that this one is more for advanced learners, and is available on Netflix and arte.tv.

Au Service de la France

Self-deprecation is the basis of French humor, and this new show is a perfect illustration. Just like the OSS 117 movies, it makes a mockery of the French secret services during the sixties.

5. For Those Fascinated with France’s Rich History

Thankfully, French TV can also take history seriously! These shows will teach you more than all of your high school social studies classes put together.

1- Versailles

This historical drama ended after three seasons, and is currently available on mycanal.fr. We recommend this show for intermediate learners in particular.

Versailles

The court of the Roi Soleil is everyone’s favorite period of France’s history. This series brings you behind the scenes; discover the glorious decors, flamboyant costumes, and mysterious intrigues of this time period.

2- Un Village Français

Over after seven seasons, Un Village Français is available on francetv.fr. This is another excellent option for those more advanced in their French language learning.

Un Village Français

WWII’s Occupation remains a touchy subject in France. This made it all the more surprising when Un Village Français delivered an intelligent yet popular take on it. Collaboration, resistance, communism, loss, and courage make up the lives of the inhabitants of a fictitious French village, from 1939 to 1945.

6. For the Aspiring Detectives

The French thriller series have gotten better and better these last few years. Check out the latest mystery shows!

1- Les Revenants

This wonderful mystery series is now over after two seasons. Best for more advanced learners, this show is available on mycanal.fr.

Les Revenants

A thriller with a supernatural twist! In a small mountain town, a few individuals come back from the dead. But why?

2- Engrenages

This intense thriller is ongoing with seven seasons to date; we recommend that only more advanced learners try watching this one. It’s available on mycanal.fr.

Engrenages

Engrenages is one of the best cop shows you can view these days, and not just in France! Inspired by real affairs, this realistic show will soon be on air in the UK and the US.

3- Malaterra

This one is already over after one season, but is still available on both Netflix and francetv.fr for advanced French learners.

Malaterra

This French adaptation of Broadchurch is set in the gorgeous landscapes of Corsica. As a boy’s corpse is discovered on the beach, the nearby village’s secrets are unraveled.

4- La Forêt

Another thriller over after one season, La Forêt is currently available to watch on Netflix. It’s a perfect show for the advanced French student in terms of both learning opportunity and entertainment.

La Forêt

When a teenager’s body is discovered in a forest, the inquiry unearths the past of an orphan and a wild man. (Sounds pretty intense, right?)

5- La Mante

If you’ve got your footing pretty well secure in the French language and want to dig into some suspense, watch La Mante. Over after one season, it’s available on Netflix and tf1.fr.

La Mante

A serial killer’s son, now a cop, is forced to face his past when a copycat mimics his mother’s crimes. Actress Carole Bouquet is amazing in the titular role.

7. For Our Younger Students

Did you know that there are many French artists among the staff of Disney and Pixar Studios? The French love a good animation show! Here are a few productions that will motivate our younger learners:

1- Les Aventures de Tintin

This animated mystery, over after twelve episodes, is a fantastic television option for your youngster—you’ll love it too. This neat cartoon is available on Netflix, francetv.fr, and YouTube.

Les Aventures de Tintin

Did you love to read young reporter Tintin’s adventures as a child? The younger generations can also enjoy this animated French adaptation!

2- Code Lyoko

If you or your young French learner is into action, give Code Lyoko a try. Over after four seasons, you can still find this cartoon on YouTube. It’s ideal for the beginner French student.

Code Lyoko

In this incredible series, a tech-savvy band of teenagers fight a demonic entity that tries to take control of their school.

3- Totally Spies

Here’s another action cartoon that will help you or your kiddos enjoy learning French even more. This show for beginners is composed of six seasons, and is available on tf1.fr and YouTube.

Totally Spies

In this modern, kid-friendly version of Charlie’s Angels, three teenage girls live a double-life as spies.

4- Miraculous

This action cartoon, ongoing with two seasons to date, is perfect for beginners and more advanced students alike. You can find it on Netflix.

Miraculous

Set in Paris, Miraculous depicts the adventures (and flirting) of Marinette and Adrian…or should we say, super-heroes Ladybug and le Chat Noir.

5- Avatar the Last Airbender

A little more action never hurt anyone, right? Over after three seasons, this beginner-level cartoon is conveniently available to watch on Netflix.

Avatar the Last Airbender

Young avatar Aang must learn to master the four elements to put an end to the war. The French version of this fantastic show is now available on Netflix—check it out!

8. Bonus: What NOT to Watch

Sadly, television is not always the best teacher. French learners should stay away from some programs to avoid becoming bored to death, or worse: catching an annoying accent.

  • Les Marseillais - This is low-quality and trashy. You don’t want your French to sound like any of the people in this show.
  • Marseille - As much as we love Gérard Depardieu, his acting is terrible in this show.
  • Le Chalet - Its actors speak too quickly and sound a little bit odd, for no apparent reason.

9. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

Luckily, many of the great shows we covered are due for new seasons! Don’t miss out on the next developments of Top Chef, Engrenages, and Plus Belle La Vie. We at FrenchPod101 will be sure to remind you!

In the meantime—when you’re done binging—we’re working on other ways to help you improve your French. Coming up next: The best French novels to read on the beach this summer!

Don’t miss out on your next adventure into the French culture. Sign up today!

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Lundi de Pâques: Easter Monday in France

If you know our history, you should know that France is a secular country. In 1905, a law was created to separate the Church from the State. Still, many public holidays and traditions in France have Catholic origins. And one of the most important Catholic holidays is Easter.

Is Easter Monday a bank holiday in France? Yes! Easter in France, for kids especially, is a great joy!

In this lesson, we’re going to teach you how French people celebrate Easter. At FrenchPod101.com, we hope to make learning about French culture both fun and informative!

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1. What is Easter Monday in France?

Originally, Easter commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ and marked the end of Lent for Catholics. Lent is a period of fasting that lasts forty days, referencing the forty-day fast that Jesus Christ did in the desert. The Monday following this Sunday is a public holiday called Lundi de Pâques. Many French people celebrate this holiday, even if they’re not Catholic or religious.

2. When is Easter Celebrated in France?

Someone Marking Calendar

The date of Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter) in France varies from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: April 22
  • 2020: April 13
  • 2021: April 5
  • 2022: April 18
  • 2023: April 10
  • 2024: April 1
  • 2025: April 21
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: March 29
  • 2028: April 17

3. Reading Practice: Easter Celebrations in France

Someone with Candle Praying

How is Easter Monday celebrated in France? Read the French text below to find out (and find the English translation directly below it).

Les Français fêtent Pâques en famille. Le dimanche, les adultes cachent des œufs dans le jardin ou la maison, et les enfants doivent les chercher. Ce sont de vrais œufs de poule, vidés et décorés, ou alors ils sont en chocolat. Traditionnellement, on offrait des œufs à Pâques car, durant le Carême, on ne pouvait en manger. Mais les poules continuaient à pondre des œufs ! Une fois le Carême passé, on offrait alors ses œufs en trop à ses amis, ses voisins… Aujourd’hui, on n’offre pas uniquement des œufs. En effet, les chocolatiers proposent, par exemple, des chocolats en forme de lapin, de cloche, de poisson… le choix est varié !

En France, on raconte aux jeunes enfants que ce sont les cloches qui apportent les œufs de Pâques. Car la tradition veut que les cloches des églises sonnent chaque jour de l’année, mais au moment de Pâques, elles sont silencieuses du jeudi au samedi. Elles résonnent le dimanche de Pâques et apportent aux enfants des chocolats. Par contre en Alsace, on dit aux enfants que c’est le lapin de Pâques qui délivre les chocolats.

Connaissez-vous le 1er avril ? C’est un jour où l’on fait des farces aux autres. On colle un poisson en papier dans le dos d’une personne. C’est pour cela qu’à Pâques, on peut déguster des poissons en chocolat, en référence au “poisson d’avril.”

French people celebrate Easter as a family. On Sunday, adults hide eggs in the garden or in the house, and the children have to look for them. These can be real hen eggs that have been hollowed out and decorated, or they’re made of chocolate. Traditionally, eggs were offered at Easter, because during Lent, you couldn’t eat them. But hens would continue laying eggs! Once Lent was over, these extra eggs were given to friends, neighbors, and so on. Today, not only eggs are given. Indeed, chocolate makers make chocolates in the shape of rabbits, bells, fish…the choice is great!

In France, young children are told that bells bring the Easter eggs because traditionally, church bells would ring every day of the year, but at Easter time, they would be silent from Thursday to Saturday. They would ring again on Easter Sunday and bring children chocolates. However, in Alsace, children are told that the Easter Rabbit brings the chocolates.

Do you know about April 1? It’s a day when we play jokes on each other. We stick a paper fish on someone’s back. This is why at Easter we have chocolate fish, in reference to the poisson d’avril (”April fish”).

4. Easter Symbols in France: Symbol of the Lamb

Do you know what French people generally eat at Easter? And be careful, we’re not talking about chocolate eggs!

At Easter, French people traditionally roast a lamb. The recipe is called agneau de Pâques (”Easter lamb”). This is because, for Christians, the lamb symbolizes Christ resurrected. During this time, butchers and supermarkets advertise lamb.

5. Must-know Vocab

Man Remembering Something

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Easter in France!

  • Messe — “Mass”
  • Prière — “Prayer”
  • Rappeler — “Remind”
  • Deuxième jour — “Second day”
  • Semaine Radieuse — “Bright Week”
  • Octave de Pâques — “Octave of Easter
  • Huit jours — “Eight days”
  • Tous les jours — “Every day”
  • Temps Pascal — “Eastertide
  • Chant — “Chant”
  • Résurrection — “Resurrection”

To hear each word pronounced, check our our French Easter Monday vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Easter in France? Are Easter celebrations similar in your country (or different?). Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about French culture and the language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists to increase your word bank, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with other French learners. You can also learn French one-on-one with your own personal French teacher by upgrading to Premium Plus and taking advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Your determination and hard work will pay off, and FrenchPod101.com will be here to help you as you master the French language! Best wishes, and happy Easter!

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How to Find Jobs in France — The Best Work Guide

So, you’re ready to move to France! Will you live and breathe the amazing culture of the City of Love or stroll on the sandy wonders of the Côte-d’Azur? Maybe you prefer the lush countryside of the Alsace region and long to taste the elixir of its world-famous vineyards. Or waking up in Annecy with the smell of wildflowers and breathtaking views on the Alps mountains? Whatever you seek, there’s a beautiful corner waiting for you in France. But if you want to live there, let’s put it bluntly: You’ll have to make French money!

Start with a bonus, and download the Business Words & Phrases PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Table of Contents

  1. Get Your Paperwork Ready
  2. Find the Right Job for You
  3. Job-hunting in France from A to Z
  4. Here’s Why You’ll Love Working in France
  5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Get a Job in France

Moving to a new country is equally exciting and challenging, but finding a job abroad is mostly just a headache. However, no matter your skills or your level of French, if you know where to look and how to deal with the French working culture, you’ll always be one step ahead of your competitors.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the whole adventure of finding jobs in France, from work ideas to foreigners’ favorites, up to the best places for your job-hunting. Take it from a local: It’s not easy to find jobs in France, especially English-speaking ones, but it’s definitely rewarding!

If you’re reading to start working and living in France, we truly hope this guide will provide you with all the information you need on finding employment in this beautiful place.

1. Get Your Paperwork Ready

Before we go job-hunting, let’s get the bureaucratic burden out of the way and make sure you have everything you need when you find your dream job. Obviously, this only applies if you intend to work within the limits of the Law, something we strongly encourage for many reasons, ranging from your personal safety to the penalties you’d be exposed to otherwise.

Visa

1- Working Permit & Visa

If you’re from the EU-EEA (European Union - European Economic Area), you can live and work in France with very few formalities and restrictions.

For most other people, it’s significantly tougher, as France has tightened its immigration rules in recent years in an attempt to lower the unemployment rate. Priority is given to the native workforce or to European nationals, but there are still many sectors where foreign workers are welcome!

Do I need a Visa?
Find out by filling out a quick form from the official government website.

How do I apply for a Visa?
Once again, check the official website. It will guide you step-by-step and allow you to track your application.

Work and residence permits in France are a wide topic and the specifics depend on your home country, the kind of job you seek, and the set of skills you have to offer. So checking out the official website may be the best way to learn more about Visa requirements for foreigners to work in France.

In a nutshell, most employees looking for a job in France will need to apply for a Residence Permit or a Talent Passport Permit a few months before entering the country and will need to be sponsored by a French employer. It’s generally much easier to get the permit when applying for a highly qualified job than for entry-level work. You can read more about this on Expatica.com or Welcome to France.

2. Find the Right Job for You

As in any country, there’s a galaxy of different career fields or positions you could undertake in France. It first comes down to your personal tastes, but then also to your level of French because let’s face it: speaking French will always be a HUGE advantage.

Do I sound like “Captain Obvious” here? Believe me, this simple truth is much truer in France than in most other countries, because English isn’t yet so widely spread in the French monde du travail (“world of work”).

Four People Talking

1- If You are Fluent in French

If French holds no secrets for you, you can afford being picky when finding a job in France! Depending on your skills and degrees, you’ll find a wide variety of jobs and can apply freely, just as you would in your home country.

Throughout your job-hunting, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked for proof of your fluency. DELF and DALF are French proficiency certificates and are a reasonably cheap option. They’re valid for life and widely recognized.

2- If You are Intermediate in French

You’ll have to be more flexible, but there will still be many more open doors than without any French in your arsenal! Don’t be shy about using it in your professional interactions and in advertising about your interest in learning more. Potential employers will appreciate it and it will greatly facilitate your job search.

You could also consider getting a certificate, such as DELF or DALF diplomas, but many employers simply test your level during the job interview. So, there are options when it comes to intermediate French jobs for foreigners.

3- If You are a Beginner in French

You’ll have to be open-minded and more creative, as many options won’t be available for you, like most jobs involving customer service or collaborative work. In that case, I recommend that you take a closer look at the Foreigners-friendly jobs listed in the next section.

I would also recommend that you work hard and smart to get at least the survival basics to get you through your working days in France. FrenchPod101 offers a wide variety of free resources and lessons, starting from absolute beginner. You can speed up the process with MyTeacher to get private one-on-one help and guidance from your personal teacher.

4- Foreigners-Friendly Jobs

Citizens of France are usually not really into foreign languages and their average English level leaves a lot to be desired. For you, this can be an amazing opportunity to fill all kinds of unsuspected vacancies! There are many types of jobs you can perform just by being a native speaker from your home country, or with an intermediate level of English and an open mind. Here are a few examples:

Language Teaching

This is always the first one that comes to mind, and for good reason! Teaching English is in high demand, but you could also find a job teaching another language.

For English teaching jobs, head to the following portals:

For this kind of job, a TEFL certificate will often be asked for (although not many employers actually check if you really have it) and experience is usually requested.

There are countless academies and private schools in France, with more than 300 in Paris alone, and you should thoroughly research their reputation before applying. Chains of language schools can be a quick road to employment, but keep in mind that it’s often the least stimulating and financially rewarding.

Also, outside of the realm of famous academies, you might want to expand your search to primary and secondary private language schools as well as universities.

Lady in Red Holding a Chalk

Tourism Industry

There’s a wide range of jobs in the tourism business where you can thrive just by being a foreigner or thanks to your skills in any language in high demand (English, Spanish, or Mandarin, to name a few).

Jobs range from Guide touristique (“Tour guide”) to working in an Agence de voyage (“Travel agency”). Working as a receptionist for hotels or Auberges de jeunesse (“Youth hostels”) is another popular option, but you could go off the beaten path and attend passengers on a luxury cruise or guide mountain hikers. Your imagination is the limit!

Check out the Pages Jaunes (“Yellow pages”), the French official business directory where you can find extensive lists of businesses by category and location.

NGOs and Think Tanks

Paris, especially, is the best place to start if you want to work for one of its many NGOs, Think Tanks, and institutions that are posting job offers on a regular basis.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is a good place to start, with a frequently updated joblist on their official website.

You can also check the career section of UNESCO, as well as SOFRECO, or really any “Human Rights” association based in France, such as the FIDH.

Check out websites specialized in NGO jobs such as IndevJobs as well as general job directories like Indeed.

If you do check out some French job-hunting websites while looking for work in France, you’re likely to find success, followed by a fruitful career start.

Assisting Other Foreigners

Another way to use your unique position and expertise is to help other foreigners make it to France!

  • As a Relocation consultant, you’ll help other foreigners move to France. You can find a list of Relocation companies to check out.
  • Working as a French Red Tape Expert is another way to put your unique knowledge to work. If you’ve been in France for a couple of years or more, you should have learned a lot about the ropes and knots of French bureaucracy, as well as all of its overly complicated and soul-consuming rules and regulations!
  • As long as France remains the top destination for British and US citizens wanting to buy a new home, either for vacations or relocation, there will be a high demand for Estate Agents. Check out Leggett Immobilier for an example of successful businesses hiring agents.

5- Volunteering in France

Now what if you want to get your first experience in France without going through the trouble of getting a work permit? Or to simply enjoy the local lifestyle for a short time on a tourist visa?

Then, being a Volontaire (“Volunteer”) in France might be for you, and although it’s not gonna make you any wealthier, it will lift your spirit with wonderful experiences and unique job opportunities!

Harvesting

Volunteering usually consists of offering your time and energy in exchange for lodging and, in the best case scenario, food. The workload is usually not overwhelming and it’s a great way to meet people and experience various jobs as well as the local lifestyle, without the commitment of an actual work contract.

You can find a wide variety of jobs from walking dogs (or horses!) to renovating houses or even helping on movie sets, but you’ll find that 90% of these opportunities are given by farms and hostels.

  • Workaway and HelpX are two similar volunteering services. I personally find Helpx messy in its presentation (the job directory is quite terrible to look at) and Workaway has a significantly larger catalog. Both have a Premium membership for anything above just browsing the job listing. This means that you’ll have to pay a yearly fee to be able to contact the hosts (employers).
  • WWOOFing is the most popular option for nature lovers. It specializes in organic farming and may help you indulge in your French wine-tasting fantasy! (As if you needed more reasons to relocate to France for a while!)

3. Job-hunting in France from A to Z

Now that you (hopefully!) have a better idea of what kind of work you’re aiming at, let’s see what the best ways to find ANY kind of job are!

1- General Job Search Engine

Official Websites

  • Pole-emploi is the national agency for employment and as the biggest resource for French jobs, it’s your logical first stop. It has offices all over the country, but you can simply browse it online and lose yourself in its staggering number of job offers (688,535, at the time of writing!). Over time, it has partnered with more than 100 other job portals such as APEC or Monster.fr and is aggregating all of their results.
  • APEC (Agence pour l’Emploi de Cadres) is another national agency specialized in the employment of executives, and it also has a very well-stocked job directory.

Job Listing

French Favorites

Forget about Craigslist and jump right in these born and bred French job-finding websites!

  • Leboncoin - Emploi: If you’re looking for the French Craigslist, look no further. Leboncoin (“The good corner”) has a massive collection of ads and will keep you busy for weeks to come!
  • MeteoJob: Although “only” ten years old (compared to its antique competitors), MeteoJob is now a force to be reckoned with.
  • RegionsJob: Even if you’re into French job-hunting, you may not have heard of RegionsJob as it doesn’t fare very well in “Top Tens.” This is because its directory is divided into regions with different domain names such as NordJob or ParisJob. But all in all, it’s also a major player!

Here are a few more, in no particular order, that are still going strong:

Still not burned-out with job directories? Here are some more resources you can check out:

  • Indeed, although not French, is the second-biggest job-hunting directory in France, with more than six-million visitors every month.
  • Craigslist is also available in France. Remember when I told you to forget about it? Really, you should, unless you’re desperate enough to dig through its job section: a mass grave of creepy half-disguised prostitution ads of questionable legality.

2- Specialized Job Directories

If you’re looking for a job in a specific field and you’ve come out empty using the general search engines, try some more specific directories. I cannot list them all, but here are a few examples:

3- Getting Help Finding a Job

Temporary Jobs

The Agences d’Intérim (“Temporary job agencies”) are increasingly popular in France. They offer your resume to potential employers in exchange for a fee (paid by the employer).

The good thing is that you’re technically working for the agency and usually for a higher paycheck than what you’d get while on a normal work contract.

The icing on the cake is that the French working laws will shower you with financial bonuses such as the Prime de précarité (“Precarity bonus”) and the Indemnités de congés (“Paid leaves allowance”), to make up for the temporary nature of the contract.

Most Interim agencies have physical offices where you can directly meet someone and drop off your resume without arranging an appointment beforehand, but you can also register online.

Here’s a list of some of the major players in the Interim business:

Shaking Hands

Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters

Similar, but not confined to temporary jobs, the Agences de recrutement (“Recruitment Agencies”) and Chasseurs de têtes (“Headhunters”) can be a decent way to get help finding a job in France. But unless you have some skills that are in high demand or a couple of fancy degrees, they’re likely to politely thank you for your resume before burying it at the bottom of a huge pile of forgotten talents.

4- Expat Portals and Communities

There’s a number of Expats work directories, listing various kinds of jobs, often related but not limited to English and teaching.

Some of these portals are:

Another possible place for finding employment in France are Expats communities on social networks and message boards, such as American Expats in Paris or Expats in France.

Obviously, I cannot list them all here, but a simple search on Facebook or Reddit will take you a long way.

5- Job Fairs

Find where you can attend the Salons de l’emploi (“Job fairs”) and get out there! You can have several interviews in one day, which is an amazing shortcut. But keep in mind that you’ll have to be well-prepared and very convincing to win them over in the few minutes they usually allow.

You can find more information about the dates and places of these events on nSalons or recrut.com.

6- Spontaneous Applications

With the rise of the internet, it has fallen out of grace, but I strongly believe in the power of the Candidature spontanée (“Spontaneous application”) and the Porte à porte (“Door-to-door”) as a way to differentiate yourself and catch an employer’s attention.

  • Spontaneous applications can work anywhere. Get the email address of the company and send them some love in an emotional cover letter and an expertly crafted resume.

    Most French companies’ website will have a link called Contactez-nous, Nous contacter (“Contact us”) or Carrières (“careers”).
  • Door-to-door is even bolder and will probably work best for small- to medium-sized businesses. It will do wonders at your local bakery, but the receptionist at the office of a multinational corporation such as Renault or Dassault-Aviation might be confused about what to do with your resume.

7- NETWORKING, The Power of People!

Why this enormous title? Because this is the most important way to find a job in France (and most likely anywhere in the world). To be honest, everything I’ve previously enumerated can give you some results, but it really counts for about 10% of the job opportunities out there. Where are the 90%, then? Networking, networking, NETWORKING.

Most jobs in France are found through relationships and contacts, and even the positions that you see listed on Pole-emploi often end up being filled by someone with contacts within the company.

My golden rules of successful networking are:

  • Make the best of every single contact that you have and stay in touch with as many friends, acquaintances, and coworkers as possible, for as long as you can. It can take a lot of energy, especially if you’re not on the extrovert side, but it will pay off.
  • Make sure everybody knows on social media that you’re looking for a job.
  • Get out there! Take every opportunity to meet people with similar interests and genuinely make new friends. Maybe you’ll just end up doing yoga together, but there’s always a chance they’ll eventually lead you to your dream job.

4. Here’s Why You’ll Love Working in France

Working in France comes with a list of benefits that are truly hard to believe for many foreigners, including lots of days off and a collection of goodies and vouchers on just about everything. So let’s take a look at France work benefits and perks, shall we?

Job Security

Working in France, you’re protected by a heavy set of laws making you hard to fire and leaving you with a hefty compensation if it happens. Lately, some of these laws are being targeted by President Macron to make the Code du travail (“Labor code”) more flexible in favor of higher employment rates, but at the moment, French workers are well taken care of.

Unemployment Allowance

If you happen to lose your job or are coming to the end of your temporary contract, you can benefit from the Allocation Chômage: the French unemployment allowance program. You will be compensated monthly for about two-thirds of your former salary to help you find another job!

Transport and Food Subsidies

If you come to work using public transports, your employer will pay for at least 50% of your monthly Pass. In some cases, they can also pay for your gas if you come with a car.

On top of that, most companies pay half of your Tickets restaurant: vouchers that can be used in any restaurants or bakeries, and many supermarkets.

35-Hour Weeks

Many workers in France are working more than the legal limit of 35 hours per week. But in that case, they get compensated with paid vacations called RTT. That’s a fair amount of additional days off if you work 38 hours per week! And overtime is strictly regulated—you don’t mess with French working hours!

Paid Holidays

On top of your RTT, you’ll get five weeks of paid vacation per year. Oh, and did I mention around 11 days of national holidays (when we’re lucky enough not to have them on Sundays!) and some more special time off if you get married?

Health Insurance

If our cheap health care system wasn’t a good enough reason to relocate to France, many employers offer cheap deals on a Mutuelle: a complementary private plan that takes care of whatever the general health care isn’t paying for you.

Your Best Friend: the Comité d’entreprise

If you’re working for a big company, it’ll most likely have what we call a Comité d’entreprise (“Work council”). These guys are working full-time on your happiness by providing all kinds of perks: from cheap tickets to discounted holidays and various kinds of vouchers for books and gifts.

5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Get a Job in France

And here we are! You’ve learned what kind of work you can find in France, how to search for it, and more importantly, how to land the job of your dreams. Are you excited to work in France? Do you think you can gracefully blend in with the French work culture?

FrenchPod101 has tons of free vocabulary lists with audio recordings that can help you prepare for your job search:

Learn more about the professional vocabulary that you’ll need to quickly go through job offers, using the most important keywords that we’ve seen in this guide.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher answer any of your language questions during your job search!

About the Author: Cyril Danon was born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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How to Celebrate Grandmother’s Day in France

For many, a grand-mère (“grandmother”) is a relative of unparalleled consideration and admiration. This is as true in France as it is in numerous countries around the world. Grandmother’s are so loved and respected that the French have dedicated a day just to celebrate them!

By learning about Grandmother’s Day in France, you’re also glimpsing a unique aspect of the country’s culture. From the commercial origin of this holiday to how it’s celebrated today, Grandmother’s Day in France is a reflection of both history and the present. And to think it all started with coffee

Let FrenchPod101.com guide you through the details of National Grandma Day!

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1. What is Grandmother’s Day in France?

In France, Grandmother’s Day is celebrated to honor grandmothers and show them the love they always shower us with. Grandma’s Day was first celebrated in France in 1987, and has grown since then into the holiday it is today.

2. When is Grandmother’s Day?

Grandmother's Day is on a Sunday

When is Grandmother’s Day? The date of Grandmother’s Day varies slightly each year in France, though it’s always on the first Sunday of March. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 3
  • 2020: March 1
  • 2021: March 7
  • 2022: March 6
  • 2023: March 5
  • 2024: March 3
  • 2025: March 2
  • 2026: March 1
  • 2027: March 7
  • 2028: March 5

3. How is Grandma’s Day Celebrated?

Granddaughter Kissing Grandmother's Cheek

National Grandmother Day celebrations in France are all done in honor of one’s grandmother. Find out how the French celebrate this heartwarming holiday by reading the French text below (you can find the English translation directly below it).
—–
Les enfants créent donc à l’école des cadeaux pour leurs mamies et ce, dès la maternelle. C’est l’occasion pour les familles françaises de se retrouver. Les petits-enfants offrent des cadeaux à leurs grands-mères. Les présents les plus populaires sont les bouquets de fleurs ou les plantes, comme les orchidées . Une étude réalisée par les fleuristes français a montré que cette fête avait un impact significatif sur la vente des végétaux d’intérieur.

Durant cette journée, des évènements commerciaux ou non, sont organisés dans toute la France.

Par exemple, une “mamif” a lieu place de la Bastille depuis quelques années. Une “mamif” est un mot-valise jouant avec les mots mamie et manifestation. Le but de cet évènement était de réunir les mamies et leur famille.
Les grands-pères sont les grands oubliés du calendrier ! Effectivement, la fête des papis n’existe pas, contrairement à celle des grand-mères… Peut-être faut-il attendre qu’une marque créée cette fête ?

—–

Children create gifts for their grannies at school starting in kindergarten. It’s an occasion for French families to gather. Grandchildren give gifts to their grandmothers. The most popular presents are bouquets of flowers and plants such as orchids. A study carried out by French florists showed that the holiday had a significant impact on the sale of indoor plants.

During this day, events, whether commercial or not, are organized all over France.

For example, a “mamif” has taken place at La Bastille for a few years now. A “mamif” is a portmanteau word that plays upon the words “mamie” (grandma) and “manifestation” (rally). The event is meant to unite grandmas with their family.

Grandfathers are completely forgotten from the calendar! Indeed, “Grandfather’s Day” doesn’t exist, as opposed to Grandmother’s Day… Perhaps we’ll have to wait until a brand creates this holiday?

4. Additional Information

A survey was made of French grandmothers, and do you know what the main motivation for 80% of them is?

In France, there are more than 6 million grandmothers. They are an average of 65 years old and have four grandchildren.

And for 80% of them, the most important thing is to indulge their grandchildren, according to a survey carried out on French grandmas.

This certainly explains why grandparents are often accused of spoiling their grandchildren!

5. Must-know Vocab

Offering Gifts to Grandmother

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for National Grandmother Day in France, including “Grandmother’s Day” in French:

  • Fête des Grands-Mères — “Grandmother’s Day”
  • Dimanche — “Sunday”
  • Mars — “March”
  • Cadeau — “Present”
  • Premier — “First”
  • Annuelle — “Annual”
  • Origine — “Origin”
  • Marque de café — “Coffee brand”
  • Fête commerciale — “Commercialized celebration”
  • Offrir — “Offer”
  • Grand-mère — “Grandmother”
  • Visite — “Visit”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our French Grandmother’s Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio with its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know more about Grandmother’s Day in France. Do you celebrate Grandmother’s Day in your own country, or a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about French culture and the language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We offer plenty of information through insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and fun podcasts! Further, you can use our online community to discuss lessons with fellow French learners and check out our MyTeacher program for a one-on-one learning experience.

We hope you enjoyed today’s holiday blog. Keep up the study and practice, and you’re sure to reap the benefits and speak like a French native before you know it!

In the meantime, we’ll just wish you a Happy Grandmother’s Day!

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How to Say I Love You in French - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in French could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your French partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At FrenchPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your French lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make French dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. French Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. French Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn French Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your French love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the French word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these French date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

French Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • Tu veux aller dîner avec moi?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in French is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • Tu es libre ce weekend?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • Tu veux traîner avec moi?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • On se voit à quelle heure demain?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • Où est-ce qu’on se retrouve?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • Tu es superbe.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • Tu es trop chou.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • Qu’est-ce que tu penses de cet endroit?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your French language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • Est-ce qu’on peut se revoir?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • On va ailleurs?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • Je connais un bon endroit.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • Je vais te raccompagner en voiture chez toi.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • C’était une soirée géniale.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • Quand est-ce qu’on se revoit?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • Je t’appellerai.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the French phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in French below!

Date Ideas in French

museum

  • musée

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • dîner aux chandelles

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • aller au zoo

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • faire une longue promenade

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • aller à l’opéra

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • aller à l’aquarium

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • marcher sur la plage

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • faire un pique-nique

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • cuisiner ensemble

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • dîner et voir un film

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in French

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in French - think how impressed your date will be!

4. French Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in French yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in French? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your French love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in French

I love you.

  • Je vous aime.

Saying ‘I love you’ in French carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • Tu comptes tant pour moi.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • Veux-tu sortir avec moi?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • Tu es si belle.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in French, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • Je vois en toi plus qu’un(e) ami(e).

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the French dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • Une centaine de coeurs seraient trop peu nombreux pour transporter tout mon amour pour toi.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • L’amour est simplement l’amour. Il ne pourra jamais être expliqué.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • Tu es si beau/belle.

Ladies, this phrase lets your French love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • J’ai le béguin pour toi.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • Tu me donnes envie d’être un homme meilleur.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your French girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Que tout ce que tu fais se fasse dans l’amour.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • Tu es mon soleil, mon amour.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • Les mots ne peuvent pas décrire mon amour pour toi.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • Nous sommes faits pour être ensemble.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • Si vous pensiez à quelqu’un en lisant ceci, vous êtes certainement amoureux/amoureuse.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. French Quotes about Love

French Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your French lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in French that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

French Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your French lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the French custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

French Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • Il faut qu’on parle.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • Ce n’est pas toi. C’est moi.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your French lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • Je ne suis simplement pas prêt(e) pour ce genre de relation.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • Soyons seulement amis.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in French, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • Je pense que nous avons besoin d’une pause.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • Tu mérites mieux.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • Nous devrions commencer à voir d’autres personnes.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • J’ai besoin de mon espace.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • Je pense que nous allons trop vite.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • J’ai besoin de me concentrer sur ma carrière.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • Je ne suis pas assez bien pour toi.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • Je ne t’aime plus tout simplement.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • Nous sommes tout simplement pas faits l’un pour l’autre.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • C’est mieux comme ça.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • Nous nous sommes éloignés.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn French faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. FrenchPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the French language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn French Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your French speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    FrenchPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you French, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn French even faster.

    2- Having your French romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced French language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive French lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your French partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why FrenchPod101 helps you learn French Even Faster when you’re In Love

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking French is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at FrenchPod101 is translated into both English and French. So, while your partner can help you learn French faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with French Culture
    At FrenchPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in France. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your French partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic French Phrases
    You now have access to FrenchPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your French soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    La Chandeleur: How to Celebrate Candlemas in France

    Learning about French holidays is an excellent way to gaze at the country’s culture from a viewpoint you otherwise wouldn’t. La Chandeleur is no different, providing you with a lot of great history to study and ponder.

    La Chandeleur or “Candlemas” is a French religious holiday, known for the delicious crepes the French make to celebrate. In fact, it’s often called Crêpe Day!

    As with many holidays in France and worldwide, La Chandeleur lost its religious meaning over time. Originally a day to worship the god Pan, and later Jesus Christ, most French today use Candlemas as a day of fun and good French food.

    While the religious meaning is pretty much looked over today, many Candlemas traditions in France remain.

    Find out more about Candlemas Day, from Candlemas traditions to information on its shifting meaning over the years.

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    1. What is Candlemas in France?

    La Chandeleur, or Candlemas in France, was once an important religious holiday to the French people. It began as a day dedicated to worshipping the god Pan, as this was a custom Roman tradition. However, this Candlemas tradition came to an end in 472 when Pope Gelasius I decided to Christianize the holiday. Religious people would worship Jesus instead by lighting candles. Chandeleur comes from the word chandelle meaning “candle,” hence the holiday’s name.

    Like most holidays, La Chandeleur eventually lost most of its religious meaning. But that doesn’t mean Candlemas traditions ended! Certainly not. This French holiday proves to remain largely celebrated and is held close to the French people’s heart.

    2. When is Candlemas Day?

    Clock

    The French celebrate Candlemas on February 2 each year, which is forty days after Christmas. This explains the similarities in the two holidays’ names.

    3. How is it Celebrated?

    Candle

    1- French Candlemas Traditions: Crepes

    Candlemas is a holiday that French people celebrate with their family if they have young children, or with their friends. And this is France we’re talking about, so of course Candlemas celebrations are going to involve crepes and crepe-making! But why do French people make crêpes on this day in particular?

    Well, at this time of the year, winter planting would begin. Peasants would use their excess flour to make crêpes. Also, with their round shape and golden color, they reminded people of the sun.

    In France, making the crepes is just as much fun as eating them! The French have a fascinating Candlemas tradition: If you use a “frying pan,” or poêle à frire, you need to flip the crêpe without letting it fall! If it falls, it brings bad luck. In French, “good luck” is called Bonne Chance and “bad luck” is called Malchance.

    In the past, an ancient coin was used while flipping your crêpe. Someone would hold the Louis coin in their hand, and if the crêpe fell properly they would be rich and have prosperity all year long. Nowadays no one does this, but you could still try it with your own currency if you want!

    2- Religious Traditions

    For those who still hold La Chandeuleur’s religious meaning close to heart, there are several religious traditions that take place.

    This day is also called by some as the day of “the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple” (présentation de Jésus au temple) or the day of “the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (purification de la vierge Marie). This is due to the fact that in times past, it was customary for a woman to present herself for purification about a month after a boy’s circumcision; in the Book of Luke, this occurs with Jesus.

    On Chandeleur in France, many people attend church with candles and have them blessed. It’s believed that the candles serve as a representation of Jesus’ claim to be Light.

    Further, many French people light their homes with candles and put away Christmas decorations.

    4. Additional Information

    A few weeks before the day, French people will start seeing advertisements for crêpe batter in magazines or on television. There are two types of batter. One is made with wheat for sweet fillings, and the other is made with buckwheat for savory fillings.

    Now, crepes are a kind of really thin, soft, pastry dough made with milk, eggs, flour, and a bit of butter to make it better. You put them in a pan, flip them, and fill them with whatever you like. Usually, it’s sweet with sugar, jam, or chocolate.

    Crepes called Crêpes Suzette are a great classic of French cuisine invented by Auguste Escoffier. They’re made with melted butter mixed with sugar, Grand Marnier, orange, and lemon. They can be flambéed with Grand Marnier.

    Crêpes from Brittany are also popular throughout France. If you go to Brittany, you simply must try this culinary specialty!

    5. Must-know Vocab

    Vocabulary

    Here’s some vocab you should know to celebrate Candlemas Day:

    • soleil — “sun”
    • farine — “flour”
    • hiver — “winter”
    • minuit — “midnight”
    • crêpe — “crepe”
    • chandelle — “candle”
    • lumière — “light”
    • présentation de Jésus au temple — “presentation of Jesus at the temple
    • fête religieuse chrétienne — “Christian religious festival”
    • prospérité — “prosperity”
    • proverbe — “proverb”
    • purification de la vierge Marie — “purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

    If you want to hear each of these words with its pronunciation, be sure to check out our French Candlemas Day vocabulary list. Here, you can read each word while listening to an audio pronunciation.

    Conclusion

    Now you know a little more about France’s La Chandeleur. What do you think about this holiday? Do you celebrate Candlemas or a similar holiday in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

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