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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!

To learn even more about French culture, be sure to visit us at FrenchPod101.com. We offer several blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even host an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students. And if you prefer a one-on-one approach to learning, be sure to download our MyTeacher app so you can learn French with your own personal teacher.

Be sure to create your account soon to learn French efficiently, and have fun while doing it!

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational French well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real French conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple French greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational French as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak French faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real French people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more French conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational French. In fact, with just a couple hundred French words you could have a very basic French conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in French, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

FrenchPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational French

Learning French

For more than 10 years, FrenchPod101 has been helping students learn to speak French by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational French fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real French Instructors: FrenchPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you French vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak French and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common French Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational French. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real French conversations or lessons is all it really takes. FrenchPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak French and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like French. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn French in just a few short months! FrenchPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master French or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways FrenchPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

FrenchPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master French in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by FrenchPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, FrenchPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of French.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of French. So every single day, FrenchPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering French? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn French during your daily commute. At FrenchPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, FrenchPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, FrenchPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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How to Say “Hello” in French: Break the Ice Like a Pro!

How to Say Hello in French

We all know the importance of first impressions, but do you know how long it really takes for a person to make a judgement and put you in a mental box from which you might never get out? According to psychologists and communication experts, it’s around five seconds, just enough time to walk down the hall and say “Hello” or “Good morning.” Hence, choosing the proper greeting is the best way to make you sound fun and engaging to your friends, or professional and trustworthy to your business partners.

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It’s even more important with French, as we can be pretty intense about manners and social “etiquette.” No wonder, we even invented the word. So, if you want to learn how to say hello in French as naturally as native speakers would and learn everything about greetings in French, buckle up and follow this French greetings guide!

1. “Bonjour” and “Salut,” Your French Bread-and-Butter

Wish there was a magic word to get you through 95% of your social encounters when it comes to saying “hello” or “good morning” in French? You’re in luck, there are two generic ways of how French greet!

  • Bonjour (“Hello”) is as fail-proof as it gets. Literally, “Good day” (Bon jour), it can be used all morning and afternoon, with anybody, in any kind of situation. The beauty of Bonjour is that it’s neither too formal nor too relaxed; you cannot go wrong with it.
  • Salut (“Hi”) is the casual bonjour that you use with friends and peers. It’s short, cheerful, easy to pronounce, and you can use it all day long. And the best part? You can also use it to say “Bye!”

French Greetings

2. Greeting Like a Boss!

Now that you have the basics, let’s get to the juicy part and learn some specific greetings.

  • Coucou (“Hey”) is an odd bird, quite literally. Coming from the “cuckoo” bird sound, it’s a way to attract attention in a naïve and childish manner. One cannot get less formal than using Coucou, and it’s common in use between romantic partners or with close friends or family. If you want to sound cute or playful, Coucou is right for you and is an excellent French greetings for between friends.

1- Time-dependent Greetings:

  • Bonsoir (“Good evening”) takes over when it’s too late to say Bonjour. Literally “Good evening” (Bon soir), you can use this French greeting after sundown. Don’t worry, nobody will ever get offended if you get you bonjour and bonsoir mixed up!
  • How to say “Good morning” in French? We don’t! Unless you’re in Quebec, where French speakers use Bon matin. Better not use it in France, though, as it may sound quite awkward to an unprepared French audience.

/!\ Bonne matinée, Bonne journée, and Bonne soirée (Literally: “Good morning,” “Good day,” and “Good evening”) may sound like greetings, but they are only used to say goodbye!

2- Phone and Online Greetings:

  • Allo? (“Hello?”) is only used for answering the phone in French, as a question, to make sure your interlocutor can hear you. Use it either at the start of the conversation or if you suspect the call might have dropped.

    If someone ever greets you in the street with a Allo, check your GPS: you’re most likely in Quebec where Allo is used for Bonjour while Bonjour? starts a phone conversation. Yeah, it’s slightly confusing.

  • Cc, yop, and plop (“Hi”) can be used in online games and chat. Cc is short for Coucou (“Hey”), while yop and plop are just sounds.

3- The Magic of “Nice to Meet You”

Once you’ve met someone for the first time, you might want to add a polite or charming “Nice to meet you.” It can take many forms, but the most common and simple is:

  • Enchanté (“Delighted”), which can be used for anybody, anytime, anywhere.

If you want to sound fancier or display your French knowledge, you can choose to use one of these:

  • Ravi de vous rencontrer or Heureux de vous rencontrer. (“Happy to meet you.”)
  • C’est un plaisir de faire votre connaissance. (“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”)
  • C’est un plaisir de vous rencontrer. (“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”)
    It can be cut down to Un plaisir de vous rencontrer (“Pleased to meet you”) or even Un plaisir (“A pleasure”). Sprinkle it with a charming smile and it can take you a long way!

3. How to Say “How are You?” in French

Now that you’ve said “Hello,” it’s time to break the ice and give some honey to whoever you’re talking to. With a simple “How are you doing?” or “What’s up?” you can be polite, show your interest, or even spark a conversation.

  • Comment allez-vous ? [Formal] / Comment vas-tu ? [Casual] (“How are you doing ?”)

Literally “How are you going?” this is the easiest way to inquire about someone’s well-being. Other popular casual forms are Comment ça va ? (“How is it going?”) or Tu vas bien ? (“Are you good?”).

The typical follow-up is Ça va (“It goes”), a foolproof noncommittal answer. But you can make it a bit more personal with Ça va bien (“It’s going well”) or with the world-famous Comme ci comme ça (“So-so”) which literally means “Like this, like that.”

  • Quoi de neuf ? [Casual] (“What’s new?”)

There are no standard follow-ups for this one, so you’ll have to come up with a genuine answer and curse your interlocutor for making your life so hard!

4. Tu or Vous: A Lesson in French Etiquette

Formal or casual? You have to choose it wisely, as French can be slightly more demanding with manners than in other aspects of the language.

1- Choose a “You”

The French have two distinct pronouns for “You”: Vous and Tu (formal and casual “You”), and each new encounter gets a bit trickier when you have to choose one. We can imagine how horrible it seems to English speakers, but it’s easier than it seems and even has some perks!

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  • Friends, peers, family, kids, or teens, someone younger than you, and animals: Tu
  • Anybody else: Vous (until decided otherwise by both parties)
  • Whenever in doubt: Vous

See? Not so much of a headache!

When you feel comfortable enough, you can use Tu with strangers in informal situations (in a bar, club, or hostel), and anyone using Tu with you allows you to do the same. It’s also an interesting way to gauge your level of intimacy with someone.

2- Choose a Title

If you go for a formal greeting, you can add a title, but it’s not mandatory. It might come as a shock after the previous section, but there’s nothing complicated about titles. Hurray!

  • Monsieur (“Mister”)
  • Madame (“Madam”)
  • Mademoiselle (“Miss”)

3- Formal and Casual Greetings

So, if we put everything together, what does it look like? Here are two examples of greeting conversations in French to help you figure it out:

[Formal] Julien meets Sebastien Laroche in a business meeting.

  • Julien: Bonjour Monsieur Laroche. (“Hello Mr Laroche.”)
  • Sebastien: Bonjour ! (“Hello!”)
  • Julien: Comment allez-vous ? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Sebastien: Ca va bien, merci. (“I’m good, thank you.”)

In this formal setting, Julien opens with the universal Bonjour, followed by the title Monsieur to show his respect. Then, he continues with a polite Vous. Maybe when they get comfortable enough, they will switch to the Tu.

[Casual] Julien meets his friend Cédric.

  • Julien: Salut ! (“Hi!”)
  • Cédric: Salut Julien ! (“Hi Julien!”)
  • Julien: Tu vas bien ? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Cédric: Ça va. (“All good.”)

Julien addresses his friend with a friendly Salut (“Hi”) and uses the casual Tu throughout the conversation.

5. Spice it Up with a Pinch of Slang!

Now that you know how to casually say “hello” in French, what about sounding even cooler with some slang? Here are some fun ways to say “hi” and impress your French friends with your laid-back fluency!

  • Yo! (“Hi”)
  • Wesh? (“Hi”)

This one comes from the Algerian Wesh rak (“How are you doing?”) and became increasingly popular in recent years, even though it’s frequently frowned upon.

  • Ça fait un bail ! (“Long time no see!”)
  • La forme ? (“How are you doing?”) — Literally “the shape?” from “Are you in good shape?”
  • Bien ? (“Are you doing well?”) — Literally “Good?”
  • Ça roule?, Ça gaze?, and Ça biche? are tough to explain, but all mean the same as Bien ?

Hugging

6. The Secret Art of French Kissing

No more vocabulary here, it’s time to get physical and learn about kissing. But despite this deceiving chapter’s name, there won’t be any tongue involved! French greetings body language is one of the most vital aspects of the language as a whole, so without further ado, let’s talk about the most typical, infamous, and confusing feature of French etiquette: La bise.

1- Shaking Hands

Hold on! Before the kissing part, let’s get the classic and manly handshakes out of the way. Yes, we shake hands in France. We do it vigorously, with a firm hand while looking straight into each other’s eyes. You can shake hands with your friends, your father-in-law, every day with your co-workers, your boss, a friendly bartender, or really anybody you meet for the first or hundredth time. Shaking hands is still the most popular French greeting, by far.

2- Do We Hug in France?

Not really. Some people do, but many also tend to become uncomfortable, stiff, and clumsy when hugging is involved. We actually don’t have a word for friendly hugging and it’s usually kept for close family and romantic partners.

3- Fake-kissing with “La Bise”

In French, the word Bise refers to a kiss on the cheek. Applied to our typical daily greeting, it can be a weird, confusing, or even stressful moment for unsuspecting foreigners. Any gender combination can practice La bise, no matter their age, beliefs, or sexual orientation: this is a friendly greeting. La bise isn’t really a kiss, it’s just a way to say “hello” in French.

Its origins are unclear, but it’s believed to have become prominent sometime after the Social Revolution and Moral Emancipations of May 1968, even though many similar greetings can be found throughout the country’s history. Nowadays, kids start doing and receiving la bise from a young age, and it’s practiced among all social circles. You may have seen photos of our Presidents voraciously kissing German Chancellors or First Ladies alike!

4- How-to Faire la Bise

To do la bise (Faire la bise), you lean forward and touch cheeks with the other person while mimicking a kiss (with the sound and lips gesture). There’s no actual lips-to-cheek contact during the typical bise, just a slight brush of the cheeks. Then, switch cheeks and repeat the same process on the other side.

Pro-tips:

  • Some people tend to exaggerate the kissing sound, producing a loud “Mwuaah” on each side, but there’s a good chance you’d be made fun of, if you do so.
  • Make sure you don’t “air-kiss” by doing la bise without any cheek contact. Even though your lips are kissing the air, the cheeks should touch.

What Side? How Many?

Brace yourself and don’t panic. Although somewhat codified, la bise is a friendly greeting that shouldn’t be tainted with distress!

  • Should you start with the left or right side? Doesn’t matter! If you’re not sure, just follow the other person’s lead and go with the flow.
  • How many kisses? Well…it depends. Most French make two, southeasterners make three, while some regions are governed with the rule of four. If it escalates up to five or further, I’d get suspicious!

    Yeah, it can get confusing when you’re mentally prepared for two while the other person keeps going up to four, but nothing one cannot handle. Just adapt to whatever comes and always accept that more bises could be hiding around the corner!

You can even find some statistic maps for la bise, but don’t take them too seriously!

To Bise or not to Bise?

Now for the most important question: Should you do la bise or not?

Let us break it down for you:

  • If you’re a woman, you can do la bise with friends, family, or peers, no matter their gender, and vice-versa.
  • As a man, you can do la bise with female friends, family, or peers, or female strangers met in an informal context.
  • As a man, you can also do la bise with your male friends and family, but it usually takes a higher level of intimacy and some people just don’t do it.

It might seem easier for women, but it’s not! When joining a big group of male and female co-workers, for instance, men can just do la bise to women and shake hands with men. Women, on the other hand, are somehow expected to do la bise to everyone. In my experience, however, it’s perfectly fine to just wave or shake hands. If anybody gets offended, they’re just not worth your time.

When joining a group of friends, you may have to do la bise to every single one of them and repeat the same social ritual when you leave. It might sound tedious, but with practice you’ll become fluent with la bise and greet everyone in no time!

Oh, and never be pushy! If you go for la bise and the other person doesn’t mirror your leaning movement or give you their hand to shake, just pack up your bise and don’t get bitter! While in France, you can just let your French hosts take the initiative and follow their bise habits.

7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

You’ve learned how to say “Hello” in French and to rival with native speakers using fancy greetings and cool slangs. Together, we’ve unraveled the mysteries of la bise and you’re now ready for any casual or formal French encounter at any time of the day!

Next time you bump into a French person, offer them your most graceful Salut ! or Bonjour and see what happens next. Or why not prepare short dialogues to practice, and get comfortable with the Tu and the Vous?

FrenchPod101 has many resources, such as vocabulary lists, to help you improve your French in no time. You can download them for free from our website! Check out our list of Common ways to say “Hello” with audio recordings to practice your accent.

Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning French with us! Now take your knowledge from this French greetings guide, get out there, and make the most of your new French language skills!

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How to use the French verb Monter

How To Use The French Verb Monter

Table of Contents

  1. Definition of the verb ‘Monter’
  2. Which auxiliary verb to use with the verb ‘Monter’?
  3. ÊTRE and AVOIR Conjugation in Indicative
  4. When it has a Direct Object Complement (DOC), the verb Monter necessarily conjugates with the auxiliary AVOIR.
  5. When the subject is a person
  6. To talk about a level or a price
  7. The verb ‘Monter’ conjugated
  8. 10 French expressions with ‘Monter’
  9. When ‘Monter’ is a noun

Hi everyone, in this article I share with you How to use the verb Monter.

1. Definition of the Verb Monter

1- Move up

  • Example :
    • Nous montons au sommet de la montagne. ? We climb to the top of the mountain.

2- Increase, grow

  • Example :
    • Le niveau du fleuve a monté. ? The level of the river has risen.

3- Put yourself on an animal or in a vehicle

  • Example :
    • Il monte à cheval. ? He rides horseback.
    • Elle monte dans la voiture. ? She gets in the car.

Verb

2. Which auxiliary verb to use with the verb Monter ?

Depending on the context, the verb Monter is conjugated with

  • the auxiliary verb AVOIR
  • or

  • the auxiliary verb ÊTRE

Verb

3. ÊTRE and AVOIR conjugation in indicative

ÊTRE
Present tense Past tense
je suis j’étais
tu es tu étais
il est il était
nous sommes nous étions
vous êtes vous étiez
ils sont ils étaient

AVOIR
Present tense Past tense
j’ai j’avais
tu as tu avais
il a il avait
nous avons nous avions
vous avez vous aviez
ils ont ils avaient

4. When it has a Direct Object Complement (DOC), the verb Monter necessarily conjugates with the auxiliary AVOIR.

To find out if the sentence contains a DOC, we ask the question QUOI (WHAT) or QUI (WHO) after the verb.

The verb + QUOI (WHAT) ? / QUI (WHO) ?

Examples :

  • J’ai mangé une pomme. ? I ate an apple.
  • J’ai mangé QUOI ? – une pomme. ? I ate WHAT ? – an apple.
  • Guillaume a attendu sa mère. ? Guillaume waited for his mother.
  • Guillaume a attendu QUI ? – Sa mère. ? Guillaume waited for WHO ? – his mother.
  • Julien a monté l’escalier rapidement. ? Julien climbed the stairs quickly.
  • Elle lui avait monté dans sa chambre quelques livres et un verre d’eau. ? She had brought him some books and a glass of water in his room.
  • J’ai même monté les valises dans sa chambre moi-même. ? I even bring the suitcases to his room myself.
  • Ses amis lui ont monté un bateau pour son anniversaire. ? His friends built him a boat for his birthday.

5. When the subject is a person

When the verb has no direct object complement, the two auxiliaries verbs (ÊTRE and AVOIR) are in competition. In fact, the auxiliary verb ÊTRE is used more often than the auxiliary verb AVOIR when the subject of the verb is a person. Note that AVOIR is sometimes possible in some contexts.

Examples :

ÊTRE

  • Simone n’est jamais montée dans un avion. ? Simone never got on a plane.
  • Harold est monté se reposer quelques minutes. ? Harold went up to rest a few minutes.
  • Jeanne est montée à cheval pour la première fois la semaine dernière. ? Jeanne rode for the first time last week.
  • Ils sont montés sur le toit pour enlever la neige. ? They climbed onto the roof to remove the snow.
  • Philippe est immédiatement monté sur ses grands chevaux. ? Philippe is immediately mounted on his big horses.

AVOIR

  • Sylvie a monté les valises dans sa chambre. ? Sylvie packed the suitcases in her room.

Price Level

6. To talk about a level or a price

When Monter is used when speaking of a level or a price, the auxiliary verb AVOIR is used more often than the auxiliary ÊTRE.

Examples :

  • Le thermomètre a monté à vingt-six degrés dans l’après-midi. ? The thermometer rose to twenty-six degrees in the afternoon. (or Le thermomètre est monté à vingt-six degrés).
  • Le prix de l’essence a monté en flèche hier. ? The price of gasoline skyrocketed yesterday.
  • L’eau du lac a monté encore aujourd’hui. ? The lake’s water has risen again today.
  • Les enchères ont monté particulièrement haut pour cet article. ? Auctions rose particularly high for this article.

7. The verb Monter conjugated

Indicative
With the auxiliary ÊTRE
The indicative mode is used wherever the real can be expressed.
The indicative is the time that makes it possible to grasp the facts, the acts, the opinions or the thoughts in their realization.
Present tense Past tense
je monte je suis monté(e)
tu montes tu es monté(e)
il monte il/elle est monté(e)
nous montons nous sommes monté(e)s
vous montez vous êtes monté(e)s
ils montent ils/elles sont monté(e)s
Present tense Past tense
je montais j’étais monté(e)
tu montais tu étais monté(e)
il montait il/elle était monté(e)
nous montions nous étions monté(e)s
vous montiez vous étiez monté(e)s
ils montaient ils/elles étaient monté(e)s
Future
je monterai
je monterai
tu monteras
il montera
nous monterons
vous monterez
ils monteront

Conditional
We use the conditional to mark:
Politeness
An advice
A suggestion
A reproach
Almost confirmed information
A wish
An imaginary fact
Present tense
je monterais
tu monterais
il monterait
nous monterions
vous monteriez
ils monteraient

Subjunctive
With the auxiliary ÊTRE
The subjunctive is the time of doubt, of uncertainty
Present tense Past tense
que je monte que je sois monté(e)
que tu montes que tu sois monté(e)
qu’il monte qu’il/elle soit monté(e)
que nous montions que nous soyons monté(e)s
que vous montiez que vous soyez monté(e)s
qu’ils montent qu’ils/elles soient monté(e)s

Imperative
The imperative is the mode to express an order to the positive form or a defense to the negative form
Present tense
monte
montons
montez

Indicative
With the auxiliary AVOIR
Present tense Past tense
je monte j’ai monté
tu montes tu as monté
il monte il a monté
nous montons nous avons monté
vous montez vous avez monté
ils montent ils ont monté
Present tense Past tense
je montais j’avais monté
tu montais tu avais monté
il montait il avait monté
nous montions nous avions monté
vous montiez vous aviez monté
ils montaient ils avaient monté
Future
je monterai
tu monteras
il montera
nous monterons
vous monterez
ils monteront

Subjunctive
With the auxiliary AVOIR
Presente Past
que je monte que j’aie monté
que tu montes que tu aies monté
qu’il monte qu’il ait monté
que nous montions que nous ayons monté
que vous montiez que vous ayez monté
qu’ils montent qu’ils aient monté

Translation

8. 10 French expressions with Monter

The French expression / the literal translation into English = what does it mean

  1. La génération qui monte / The rising generation = the generation that comes to adulthood
  2. Le ton monte / Tone up = a situation of tension is created between people. The tone is the way a person says or writes something
  3. La moutarde lui monte au nez / Mustard goes to his nose = he starts to get angry
  4. Monter à cheval / Ride a horse = to practice riding
  5. Monter le son / mount the sound (of a sound device) = to make the sound lower
  6. Monter une couleur = give it more intensity
  7. Monter la gamme = pass from the lowest sounds to the highest sounds
  8. Monter une pièce de théâtre = put a play on stage
  9. Monter au filet / Climb to the net = engage vigorously in an action
  10. Monter à la tête de quelqu’un = obsessed, troubled, stunned by something

Noun

9. When Monter is a noun

1 - Action to go up

  • Example :
    • Il est en train de faire une montée. ? He is doing a climb.

2 - Place where we go up.

  • Example :
    • Prenez par la montée, c’est le chemin le plus court. ? Take the climb, it is the shortest way.

3 - A little slope in front of a building

  • Example :
    • La montée du Capitole, à Rome, est grande. ? The slope of the Capitol, in Rome, is great.

4 - All that goes up

  • Example :
    • La montée de la sève dans les plantes. ? The rise of sap in plants.

Thank you for reading this article. Hope you enjoyed it and leave a comment if you have any question.

Thomas Ricomard
Fast French Learning

France in August: What’s it Really Like?

There’s something so delightfully romantic about France—or at least the idea we have of it. Golden fields, beautiful Riviera, foods that enlighten the mind, wines of endless variety, farniente… But summer and August—in terms of France holidays, especially—make for a very different vibe in many aspects of life, and it’s important for people planning to visit France in August to know what the place is really like.

In this article we’ll explain how Paris becomes a ghost town, see what types of weather you can expect in different parts of the country, and help you find the best destination according to what you like to do. In other terms, we’ll answer the question, of what France in August is really like.

Nice

1. The French During Holidays

August for French people is the month when everybody complains about how everyone takes their holidays at the same time. Thus in August, you’ll have both tourists and locals going to the best destinations in France.

Indeed, the French don’t hesitate to take long holidays, even if they own a shop or a restaurant that would highly benefit from the touristy seasons, and some places close for the entire month, especially the farther North you go. Some refer to Paris in August as a “ghost town,” or the “France August shutdown,” only peopled by tourists wandering around, trying to find a restaurant or anything that’s open.

If you don’t like crowds, avoid traveling in the South during the first two weeks of August, because that’s where you’ll find the biggest concentration of those on holiday, both foreign and domestic.

Check out our list of French words for traveling in France!

Traveling

2. The Weather in France

France reaches from the North of Europe (kind of), to the South. There are three types of climate: oceanic, continental, and Mediterranean. Thus there’s no “best” place to visit in France during August. You have varied options and can choose your ideal temperature! Check out our French vocabulary list about summer!

1- Temperature in France in August:

  • Temperature in Normandy: Between 12 C (54 F) and 20 C (68 F), 19 days of rain on average.
  • Weather in Brittany: Between 14 C (57 F) and 22 C (72 F) on average.
  • Weather in Paris: Between 15 C (59 F) and 24 C (75 F), 13 rainy days on average. Weather in Paris in August can be unpredictable; it can be very warm and nice, or be a downpour. If you’re aiming for good weather, don’t risk it.
  • Weather in Lyon: Between 13 C (56 F) and 26 C (79 F) on average, 11 days of rain on average.
  • Weather in Nice: Between 18 C (64 F) and 27 C (81 F) on average, 7 days of rain on average.

Clothes

2- What to Wear in France in August:

The etiquette is pretty loose in France; you’re free to wear what you wish. To visit churches, you should have appropriate clothing, but it’s nothing too strict.

France

3. Markets

This isn’t particular to the month of August, but is a local phenomenon to enjoy every month of the year: the food and goods markets. It’s said that France counts no less than one-hundred exceptional markets. In August, there are more stalls, more artisan choices for tourists, and more vintage fairs.

In terms of seasonal products on the market in August in France, you’ll find courgettes, beautiful tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and lots of yummy fruits. Here are some of France’s best markets:

Paris

1- Le Marché des Enfants Rouges: Paris, 3e Arrondissement

  • Open everyday except Mondays from 8:30am to 1pm, and from 4pm to 7:30pm (2:30pm on Sundays).

This is Paris’ oldest covert market as it dates back to 1629! Owing its name to an old orphanage, it’s situated in the Marais and people often come at eleven o’clock in the morning to see what’s cooking, as it offers mostly food. You can find oysters or a tagine, for instance.

Toulouse

2- Le Marché Victor Hugo: Toulouse

  • Open everyday except Mondays, from 7am to 1pm.

You’ll find about one-hundred stands in this market. Go to the Halle, where you’ll find restaurants on the first floor, and wonderful local products on the ground floor.

3- Carpentras

  • Open every Friday, from 8am to 12:30pm.

There are many markets full of local products in the region since so much produce grows, but the Carpentras is one of the biggest—and where the connoisseurs go for great produce at great prices. In November, it’s the first market for truffles, but in August you’ll find the best seasonal fruits, among them melons. What’s good about this market is that it’s not only dedicated to food, so you can have a nice stroll around to find clothes, artisan products, and even plants.

Lyon

4- Halles Bocuse: Lyon

  • Open everyday except Mondays from 7am to 10:30pm, and from 7am to 4:30pm on Sundays.

It would be a shame to go to Lyon and miss this wonderful market. There are so many stalls that it’s difficult not to get swamped off your feet. You’ll find local produce such as the famous fish quenelles, but also seafood, sausages, and cheeses…

Lyon

4. Things to Do in France in August

1- Museums

Museums in France in August often have longer open hours for tourists to enjoy beautiful art at their times of choice. There are so many wonderful museums open all year that it’s difficult to give you the best ones; it’s so subjective. However, an incredible experience to have in August, and something that’s truly unique, is the Carrières des Lumières. The site is an old query, reconvened in an exhibition space where nicely curated artwork is projected onto the huge walls, and animated and accompanied with music. What’s so great about visiting in August is that it’s very cool inside, a great rest from the daunting Provençal heat. The village next door is also a must, one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages.

  • How much? 13,50 euros, full price.
  • Where? Baux-de-Provence.

Rafting

2- Activities

France’s nature scene and countryside are beautiful, and there are a lot of great summer sports you can indulge in while spending your August in France for the holidays. Canoe in the Gorges du Verdon (The French « Grand Canyon »), or go rafting, hiking, cycling… Don’t close yourself off to these wonderful sporting adventures just because it’s not what you think of when you think of France.

3- Beaches

Ask the locals for directions to the nicest beaches! There are always the tourist ones, and the ones for locals. So learn French to make friends with the locals and get juicy tips!! Also, check out our article on what to do and not to do on a beach in France! Final piece of advice: Don’t think the only nice beaches are on the Mediterranean coast; the Atlantic coast in August has some wonderful beaches!

Cafe

4- Cafes

If you’re feeling lonely, remember that it’s pretty chill to ask somebody out for a coffee or a drink in France, and people are quite spontaneous. Learn here about the top French words to say on a date! Note that you can also apply the French dating knowledge to other countries. ;)

Music Festival

5. Festivals

1- La Feria de Dax

  • When in 2018? August 11th to 15th
  • Where? Nouvelle-Aquitaine
  • Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feria_(festival)

This takes place in the South-Western town, not far from the Spanish border. You’ll hear folk music, see fireworks, and enjoy many other activities such as Corrida or bullfighting.

2- Rock en Seine

  • When in 2018? August 24th to 26th
  • Where? Ile-de-France
  • Website: https://www.rockenseine.com/en/

One of the music festivals France has in August, this all-day rock festival typically takes place at the end of the month, in the west of Paris. There’s usually a great line-up!

3- La Nuit des Etoiles

  • When in 2018? August 3rd to 5th
  • Where? Multiple locations
  • For instance: https://www.sortiraparis.com/arts-culture/walks/articles/42164-star-gazing-night-2018-at-the-montparnasse-tower/lang/en

This is the “Night of the Stars” festival that takes place at about four-hundred events all over the country, where people can meet and observe the night sky together. These events often provide certified astronomers to help you make the most of it!

4- Festival du Comminges

  • When in 2018? July 21st to September 1st
  • Where? Occitanie
  • Website: http://www.festival-du-comminges.com/en/

This is the August music festival in France for classical music and choirs. In the South of France, it takes place all through August in the charming town that’s also on the way of the Camino de Santiago.

Music Festival

6. Can You Get Away with Speaking English?

It’s not for nothing that French people have a bad reputation when it comes to their English speaking. At FrenchPod101, we provide you with easy-to-use French PDF lessons, so you can learn the French you want at your own pace! And if you want to cut to the chase and learn the key phrases in French, well, we’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the subject, Useful French Phrases and Expressions, if you want to read more about it! By the way, the one thing that you must learn to say, even if you learn nothing else, is ‘thank you’ in French.

Trip to France

7. Conclusion

There’s something for everyone in France during the month of August. And even if you experience either rain (in the North) or scorching heat (in the South), come prepared and it won’t hinder your adventure too much. The last advice we can give you is to learn French with our classes at FrenchPod101 to enjoy your French trip in August to the maximum!

Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Know to Survive

Top 10 French Phrases

Learning a new language can be increasingly challenging—especially if you’re learning a language that dates all the way back to the Roman Empire and has multiple variations all over the world.

According to About-France.com, French is an official or second language in 55 countries worldwide and almost 300 million people speak French as their native or second language.

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My childhood friend’s grandfather was the French teacher at my high school, so instead of taking Spanish—which would have been a tad more useful in the United States—I chose French. (Not to mention my birthday is also Bastille Day, some would call it a sign.)

I started taking French when I was 14 years old. From there, I took French 1, French 2 and Honors French 3 in high school; I was French Club president my senior year of high school; and in college, I took Intensive Elementary French 121 and 221 (the difference is the courses counted for six credit hours instead of three, meaning two semesters were jammed into one).

I was very fortunate to get to travel to multiple European cities with my high school French teacher and some classmates the summer before my high school senior year, including Paris. And let me just say, without knowing some useful French phrases, I’m not sure how I would have made it.

Contrary to (the not-so) popular belief, showing up to Paris only knowing bonjour, merci, and oui will not get you very far à La Ville Lumière (“in the City of Lights”).

However, since not everyone has the ability to take three years of French before traveling to France, here are some tips to get you going with the French basics, or at least teach you some useful French phrases.

Table of Contents

  1. 4 Ways to Learn Useful French Phrases
  2. Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Learn to Survive
  3. Bonus: Other Useful French Words

1. 4 Ways to Learn Useful French Phrases

Memorise

a. Create Flashcards on Memrise

One of the most traditional (and for many, most effective) studying tricks is creating flashcards. However, trying to create and organize hundreds of flashcards to help you learn a whole new language can be extremely frustrating. You have to subcategorize each word or phrase, make sure your handwriting is legible and also not break the bank with how many index cards you’ll need to buy.

This is why I recommend using Memrise. Memrise is a virtual flashcard website specifically designed to help you learn a new language! Just go to the website and select which language you want to learn!

For example, to help you learn useful French words or phrases, you would need to select “French” and then “Beginner.” From there it will let you either create a Memrise account or sign in through your Facebook or Google account, and you’re ready to start learning!

Instead of you deciding what useful French words and phrases you need to know, Memrise has already done that for you! This will save you a lot of time and effort, and will give you more time to study.

Online Lesson

b. Book a One-on-One Online Lesson

For those who need a little more help than what flashcards can offer, booking an interactive online lesson with a native-speaking teacher (or a teacher who is completely fluent) would prove to be extremely beneficial!

Especially with French, pronunciation is really important. Practicing the pronunciation of any useful French phrases you have memorized with someone completely fluent will serve as a stronger learning tool than you can imagine.

There are words in French that are pretty similar sounding if you don’t know the proper pronunciation, so you could spend all this time memorizing the phrase, but when you try saying it to a francophone (French-speaking) person they won’t have a clue what you’re trying to say.

While online translators (especially Google Translate) have stepped up their game in the past few years, they are certainly not as trustworthy as coaching from someone who is fluent in French.

Watching Movies

c. Watch French movies or television shows and listen to French music

Familiarizing yourself with French entertainment is another great way to help you master pronunciation. Plus with the amazing inventions of Netflix and Hulu, or Spotify and Pandora, this is even easier to do!

For films or television shows, I highly encourage watching with subtitles turned on. This way, you’re not only hearing the pronunciation but you could also pick up on even more helpful phrases!

Since the film industry was historically heavily influenced by France, the United States Netflix honors that with a subcategory called “French films.” If the idea of looking over an entire subcategory of French films overwhelms you, here is a list of the top 20 French films on Netflix.

Likewise, for music I would search for famous French musicians, look up their music and then look up the lyrics while listening. That way you can hear it as you read along!

Two of my favorite French musicians are Stromae, a Belgian-French singer-songwriter-composer; and Carla Bruni, a French-Italian singer-songwriter who also happens to be married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Especially if you’re as big into music as I am, being able to listen to music to help you learn a foreign language is way more exciting than textbooks!

Trip to France

d. Take a Trip to France

If your ultimate goal is to become fully fluent in French, I would highly suggest taking a trip to France! I know for me, one thing that really helped was asking for help from French natives while in Paris.

It’s important to acknowledge at first that you aren’t fluent in French. For example, I would start out any conversation with, Bonjour! Je ne sais pas beaucoup de français, mais… (“Hello! I don’t know a lot of French, but (…)”). Instead of just directly asking if the other person speaks English, I attempted to speak their language first, and if I failed miserably at least they knew why.

While it might sound scary to just pick up and head to a country where you aren’t fluent in the language, you don’t understand the culture and you don’t know anyone there, it’s a great way to make yourself vulnerable enough to adapt.

Of course, this isn’t always the easiest (or most financially painless) choice, but if the opportunity ever arises you should consider taking it!

2. Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Learn to Survive

I mentioned earlier one phrase that definitely saved me while I was in France. Below is a list of 30 other useful French phrases I believe will help you out:

Traveling to France

1.Bonjour, ça va?
“Hello, how’s it going?” This is a friendly, informal way to greet someone. If you’re meeting this person for the first time, it might be helpful to include your name before asking “how’s it going?” Further, if someone says this to you, kindly respond with, Très bien, merci! (“Very well, thank you!”)

2. Comment allez-vous?
“How are you?” If you’re looking to be more formal with someone, you can simply ask them how they’re doing. You can also respond to this question with Très bien, merci! or Pas mal, merci. (“Not bad, thank you.”)

3. Je m’appelle (name).
“My name is (name).” This is extremely important to know when greeting someone for the first time. Especially if you’re asking someone for help, you should at least let them know who you are!

4. Comment t’appelles-tu ?
“What is your name?” If you happen to recall a name, but are not absolutely sure that name belongs to that person, you could even say, Tu es (name), n’est-ce pas? (“You are (name), aren’t you?”)

5. Enchanté(e)!
“Nice to meet you!” After asking someone who they are and what their name is, it is polite to let them know that it is nice to meet them! If you are a woman, it’s important to include that second “e,” or the feminine form.

6. Je vais bien.
“I am fine.” Here is another phrase you can use if someone has asked you how you are or how’s it going, but there are plenty of other situations where letting someone know you’re fine will prove to be important.

7. Très bien, merci. Et vous?
“Very well, thank you. And you?” As I demonstrated earlier, this is a happy, upbeat response when someone asks how you are. However, if someone else asks you first, make sure to always counter with how they are doing! Saying et vous is the easiest way to do that!

8. A bientôt/demain!
“See you soon/tomorrow!” This is a friendlier way to say goodbye to someone.

9. Au revoir!
“Goodbye!” Hello and goodbye are always core phrases someone should know. Instead of saying goodbye, one might even say, Bonne journée! (“Have a nice day!”) or even, Bonne chance! (“Good luck!”)

10. Quelle heure est-il?
“What time is it?” This phrase will always come in handy, especially because most businesses close for a couple hours during lunch time. If you know what the time is, you’ll know when a store will open back up, for example.

11. Est-ce que vous pourriez m’indiquer le chemin pour aller à (…)?
“Could you show me the way to (…)?” If you can at least say this, you can simply follow with the name of the street, business, tourist attraction or restaurant you are trying to get to. Knowing how to ask for directions is very important.

12. Je ne sais pas.
“I don’t know.” This is what I used in my previous example, saying “I don’t know a lot of French.” Below I’ve also included other negatives that could come in handy!

  • ne … pas du tout (“not at all”)
  • ne … pas encore (“not yet”)
  • ne … plus (“not anymore”)
  • ne … jamais (“never”)

13. Je ne crois pas que je connais l’adresse.
“I don’t believe I know the address.” In today’s world, we are a lot luckier and can plug addresses into our smartphones. One useful French phrase to know how to ask is what that address is!

14. Je ne sais pas quoi faire.
“I don’t know what to do.” If you’re just completely unsure about where you are, where you’re going or what you need to do, this could prove to be an incredibly useful French phrase.

15. Que voulez-vous dire?
“What do you mean?” This is a great French phrase to know when you’re trying to keep up with the dialogue but somewhere along the way got lost.

16. De quoi parlez-vous?
“What are you talking about?” This is another great French phrase to know if you’re finding yourself completely confused in a conversation!

17. Que fais-tu?
“What are you doing?” If you’re trying to have more of a friendly conversation with someone, or you see someone doing something you’ve never seen before, this is a useful phrase to ask someone!

18. Quel temps fait-il?
“How’s the weather?” If you’re about to go outside but you’re not sure what the weather currently is, or even how it’s going to be, this is a great phrase to know. Below I’ve also included how to say “It is (…)” in case someone asks you!

  • Il fait (…)
  • chaud (“hot”)
  • beau (“beautiful”)
  • doux (“mild”)
  • du soleil (“sunny”)
  • mauvais (“bad”)
  • Il + pleut (“raining”)
  • il y a du vent (“windy”)

There, of course, are other weather related responses out there, but these phrases are going to be the most useful for you to start with.

19. Où se trouve (…)?
“Where is (…) located?” There’s no better way to ask someone for directions than with this phrase. A person might even respond with, Voilà! which means “Here/There is/are” when pointing something out; they could also responds with (…) dans la rue (street name) (“(…) on (street name.)”)

20. Avez-vous de l’argent/l’eau?
“Do you have some money/water?” While I would hope you would never be in a situation where you need to ask somebody for money or water, I included this phrase just in case you have an emergency. Further, I included this phrase so you will know in case someone asks you.

21. J’ai un peu d’argent.
“I have a little money.” You just never know when this phrase will come in handy. Again, hopefully you’re never in a situation where you have to know this, but it’s one of those I find smart to hold onto.

22. Répondez à ma question!
“Answer my question!” You don’t have to say this in a yelling manner, it’s just how you’d phrase a command. You could follow the phrase with “please,” or s’il vous plait. Similarly, one might say Réponds-moi! (“Answer me!”)

23. Bien sûr!
“Of course!” This is also one of those staple phrases you should always have under your belt. It’s a more polite way to say “no problem,” which makes you look friendlier. If you wanted to show more excitement, you could even say Bien sûr que oui! (“Yes, of course!”)

24. C’est vrai/faux
“That is true/false.” You just never know when you’re going to need to know how to say this. C’est alone is how you would say “this/that is,” you’re welcome to follow with almost any useful French vocabulary word.

25. Je voudrais (…)
“I would like (…)” Use this French phrase when making a request. When ordering food, you can use this or you could simply say, Je veux (…) (“I want …”).

26. Oui, j’en veux.
“Yes, I’d like some.” Especially when it comes to restaurant etiquette, this is a very useful French phrase.

27. C’était dèlicieux!
“It was delicious!” While customers don’t leave tips for waiters and waitresses in most European countries, it is extremely polite to let the employee or chef know that what they prepared for you was delicious!

28. Restes-y.
“Stay there.” This is a useful phrase to say to someone if you’re asking for help with your group of friends. If you have to step away for a second, letting them know to stay will help not confuse the other person!

29. Combien est-ce que ça coûte?
“How much does it cost?” If you’re struggling to understand what the price of something is, and you only have a certain amount of money, this is a very useful French phrase to know!

30. Voulez-vous venir?
“Do you want to come?” Hopefully by using these useful French phrases you’ll be able to make a couple new French friends! Using this phrase could help expand the friendship by inviting them to hang out with you!

3. Bonus: Other Useful French Words

Similar to the useful French phrases, I have compiled a list of useful French words that everyone should know before traveling to France:

Useful French Words

1. Aujourd’hui - “Today.”

2. Maintenant - “Now.”

3. Régardez! - “Look (at)!”

4. Ceux-là! - “Those!”

5. Les langues (étrangères) - “(Foreign) languages.” From here, you might need to know how to say some of the languages in French:

  • Allemand(e): “German”
  • Anglais(e): “English”
  • Espagnol(e): “Spanish”

6. D’accord - “Okay!”

7. Il y a - “There is/are.”

8. C’est ça? - “Right, is that so?”

9. Alors - “So/Therefore.”

10. Quand - “When?”

11. Comment - “How?”

12. Combien de - “How much/many?”

13. Parce que. - “Because.”

14. Pourquoi? - “Why?”

15. Où est (…)? - “Where is (…)?”

16. Oui - “Yes.”

17. Non - “No.”

18. Pas mal - “Not bad.”

19. Francophone - “French-speaking.” (I mentioned this earlier but I wanted to reiterate.)

20. Américain(e) - “American.”

Inevitably, one of the best ways to start learning a foreign language is by learning useful phrases.

While it’s not necessarily learning the basics, learning useful French phrases allows you to learn some pronunciation, along with verb structure and sentence structure.

If you take the time to use these helpful tips, you’ll be ready for a trip to France in no time.

There you’ll find yourself surrounded in French culture, getting to see the country and experience their completely different lifestyle can also help you master the language!

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Now there’s an even more effective way…

Believe it or not, at FrenchPod101, you can find more than 1,370 free audio and video lessons covering almost every day-to-day conversation and topic you might think of.

And that’s not all!

You’ll get personalized help from top native French teachers who correct your assignments and answer your questions.

Join the hundreds of thousands of people already learning French the 21st century way.

Bonne chance !

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in French

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in French!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. French Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can FrenchPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in French - Testing New Technology

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1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in French? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million French words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. funny - drôle
  2. joke - plaisanter
  3. surprise - surprendre
  4. sneaky - sournois
  5. prankster - farceur
  6. prank - farce
  7. lie - mentir
  8. humor - humour
  9. fool - idiot
  10. deceptive - trompeur
  11. April 1st - premier avril
  12. play a joke - faire une blague

2. French Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

French Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in French to prank your favorite French friend or colleague!

  1. I learned French in 1 month.
    • J’ai appris le français en un mois.
  2. All classes for today got canceled.
    • Tous les cours d’aujourd’hui ont été annulés.
  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • Je suis désolé, mais je viens de casser votre paire de lunettes préférée.
  4. Someone has just hit your car.
    • Quelqu’un vient de heurter votre voiture.
  5. I’m getting married.
    • Je vais me marier.
  6. You won a free ticket.
    • Vous avez gagné un billet gratuit.
  7. I saw your car being towed.
    • J’ai vu votre voiture se faire remorquer.
  8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • Ils sont en train de donner des cartes-cadeaux gratuites devant l’immeuble.
  9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • Un beau mec vous attend dehors.
  10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • Une jolie femme m’a demandé de vous donner ce numéro de téléphone.
  11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • Pouvez-vous descendre? J’ai quelque chose de spécial pour vous.
  12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • Merci pour votre lettre d’amour de ce matin. Je n’aurais jamais deviné vos sentiments.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in French, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can FrenchPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit France, or if you work for any French company, knowing the above French prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core French words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in French - bone up your French language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, FrenchPod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in French below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at FrenchPod101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in French - testing new technology

Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

  • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
  • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

Thank you for helping FrenchPod101! We’re serious about making learning French fun.

3 Practical Ways to Improve Your French Listening Skills

3 Practical Ways to Improve Your French Listening Skills

So, you’ve been studying French for a year or two. You feel like you have a pretty good handle on the most romantic of the Romantic languages. So you buy a ticket to a French speaking country. You’re confident about your skills and expect to woo the natives with everything you’ve learned. Then you step off your flight and suddenly reality hits you right between the eyes…

You’ve studied French but you can barely understand native speakers. If they were to write down what they said or simply said it slower you’d probably be fine. You know the vocabulary and grammar they’re using. For some reason when they speak at a faster speed you can’t keep track of what’s going on. You pick out the first word, a few in the middle, and a phrase at the end; but you’re still halfway trying to guess what they’re talking about.

What’s going on? Have you spent all this time learning French in vain?…

This is a common issue that all language learners face at some point or another. The truth is it’s a really good problem to have, because only students with a higher level of French will experience it. When you know a ton of French but have trouble understanding native speakers the problem is almost always with your listening skills.

Learning what French words mean and practicing how to use them in a sentence are both invaluable skills to develop, but people often forget that in addition to speaking, writing, and reading we have to develop our listening skills in a foreign language as well.

In this post we’ll look a 3 practical ways to improve your French listening skills, so you don’t have to show up to a place like Paris French-struck and dumbfounded. You’ve made it this far in your learning, now it’s time to add that tiny missing piece that will take your conversation skills to the next level.

Listening Skills

1) Practice active French Listening

One of the best ways to practice listening to French is to well….listen to French (shocking right?). But this doesn’t mean putting on some French music and listening to it in the background as you bake baguettes or sip wine. You need to practice active listening.

Get your hands on a recording of spoken French. You can use a movie, news broadcast, or podcast. You can even try subscribing to a French Youtube channel Listen to a segment of the audio and do your best to write down what you hear. After a couple tries at this go back and double check what you wrote against the script of what was actually said. If you’re streaming a movie on Netflix or Youtube you can double check yourself by turning on the French subtitles. Just be aware that sometimes Youtube has auto generated subtitles which aren’t always correct.

FrenchPod101 is one of the best tools for developing your listening skills. You can listen to the French conversation in a lesson and then check back against the lesson transcripts. This is simple, easy, and you can be sure that the transcripts are correct.

There is also a free site called Lyrics training which lets you practice your listening skills by listening to a French song and typing in the missing lyrics as the song plays. It’s a bit more fast paced than using a podcast but it’s also effective and can be fun too.

2) Practice pronunciation

Any problems you have pronouncing French words correctly will be reflected back in your listening skills. It’s hard for your brain to decipher and remember a sound (be it a letter or a word), that you don’t know how to make yourself. A good French accent will give you the ability to hear and pick out the otherwise unnatural (to a native English speaker) French sounds.

To develop your accent focus on any sounds or letters that feel difficult or unnatural for you. In the French alphabet there are a total of 26 letters. Of those 26 there are 3 consonant sounds and 6 vowel sounds that each could pose difficulties for native English speakers. Once you get more comfortable with the basic sounds, start to combine them using words and whole sentences.

Listen to native French speakers as much as possible, and take note of how words and sounds can blend, morph, or get dropped in rapid speech. Do your best to listen to this phenomenon and imitate what you hear. Focus more on how the syllables are said together rather than simply saying the words “next to each other”. There is often a significant difference between how words are said individually and how they are said when spoken together in a rapid fire sentence. This is a big part of the reason French learners can know a lot of French but still not understand native speakers.

I should also point out that FrenchPod101’s playback feature is great for pronunciation practice. You can play back the podcast itself or listen to words individually. You can even listen back at a slower speed! I wish I had known about this tool when I first started learning a foreign language!

Listening

3) Make French listening part of your routine

Now that you’ve started practicing active listening and pronunciation, make it a part of of your regular French learning! I recommend that you allot a specific amount of time for each of your listening activities. For example: you might practice 10 minutes of active listening, followed by 10 minutes of practicing French vowels, and then 10 minutes of imitation practice with a French podcast.

Now, you don’t have to use this schedule exactly. Tailor it to your own needs and availability. The point is that you should make a conscious and decisive effort to practice your French listening skills on a regular basis. It could be 30 minutes a day or it might be 10. What matters most is that you practice consistently.

Final thoughts

These 3 tips will help you close any gap that might exist between your knowledge of the French language and your speaking abilities. Understand native speakers may seem daunting at first, but with a little time and perseverance you will see your abilities improve!

How to Say Happy New Year in French & New Year Wishes

Learn all the French New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join FrenchPod101 for a special French New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in French

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in French? Let a native teach you! At FrenchPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these French New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in France
  2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in French
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn French

But let’s start with some vocabulary for French New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in France

Like in many other countries, French people celebrate the New Year, or “Nouvel An” in French, on December 31. This celebration is also called “le réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre” or “le réveillon du Jour de l’an”. For French people, it’s a special time to be spent among friends, an opportunity to eat a good meal, a time to dance, and of course a time to party until the end of the night.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What do French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, as well as just after the stroke of midnight on New Years?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

In France, people celebrate the coming New year with friends. The celebration takes place at home, or in cafes and restaurants. The most popular places are those close to the Eiffel Tower, or in French, “Tour Eiffel”. Restaurants and homes are decorated with banners, or “banderoles”, displaying messages that say “Happy New Year.” As soon as night falls, people go and meet to share the last meal of the year, and to also spend the evening together. It’s a good opportunity to take some time and enjoy life.

As you may know, French people are foodies. In order to spend the evening well, they have to eat a sophisticated meal! Supper takes place over several courses. First, there is the “apéritif”, when French people drink champagne and give toasts to the health of friends and family. Then they begin to eat, starting with smoked salmon or foie gras on toast. People also eat oysters, meat, or fish. And of course, there has to be a cheese platter! For dessert, French people sometimes eat a log cake. Doesn’t all of this make you hungry?

After the meal, French people turn on the TV for the midnight countdown. The most watched show of the night is called “Le plus grand Cabaret du Monde”, which can be translated as “The Biggest Cabaret in the World.” It takes place at a theater and features magic, dance, and acrobatic performances. Once midnight has struck, the New Year is here! French people celebrate this moment by throwing paper cotillons. French people also wish a “Happy New Year,” or “Bonne Année”, to all of their close relations, so they call all their family members. Then they give each other New Year’s gifts, or “étrennes”. In general, these consist of envelopes with money in them.

Did you know? After the New Year, you should make some resolutions! In French, “New Year’s resolution” is “Bonnes résolutions”. You need to choose one or more ways in which you’re committed to improving your behavior in the coming year. Losing weight, quitting smoking, or playing more sports are the resolutions chosen most often by French people.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

Do you know what French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, and at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s?

Custom dictates that French people should kiss under a sprig of mistletoe. This plant is used as an ornament for the holiday season. It symbolizes prosperity and longevity. The legend states that couples who kiss under the mistletoe will be married within the year.

Happy New Year!
Bonne Année!

2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!

French Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

année

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in France could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

minuit

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

nouvel an

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

How to Celebrate New Year

4- Party

fête

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

danse

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

champagne

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

feu d’artifice

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

compte à rebours

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

vacances du nouvel an

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

confettis

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Réveillon

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

toast

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

résolution

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

parade

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At FrenchPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what French New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the French word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at FrenchPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your French friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

lire plus

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more French in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your French language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Passer plus de temps avec ma famille.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

perdre du poids

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

économiser de l’argent

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to FrenchPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Arrêter de fumer.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Apprendre quelque chose de nouveau.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

moins boire

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Faire du sport régulièrement.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

manger sainement

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study French with FrenchPod101

étudier le français avec FrenchPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning French, especially with us! Learning how to speak French can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. FrenchPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special French new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in French, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read French incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with FrenchPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in French could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in French - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with French - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with FrenchPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn French! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that FrenchPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning French at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with French that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning French with FrenchPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!