zeldathemes
Real insight on French culture from a French native point of view.
Mostly run by Em, 26, living in Paris.
Welcome to AwesomeFrench !
Liberté, Egalité, Croque au Comté
Do you know anything about the city of Grenoble? I might spend my summer there working as an au pair for a family and don't know anything about it. I don't know if it's lively, if there's nightlife, etc. etc.

Anonymous

Anyone?

Anon said :To the anon going to Grenoble : I live close from there and I’ve been there quite a lot. It’s a very young town, there are many students so yes it lives at night and there are many cool places to hang out. It’s definitely not the prettiest city in the world and it’s either super cold in winter or super hot in summer bc there’s no air 8D I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go there but quite frankly, it is not that bad.

Robedepourpre said : I’ve lived in Grenoble for three years, being a student there. The center of the city (around the train station and place grenette) is pretty nice and lively, quite a lot of bars and restaurants to go to. There’s a big park in the center of the town that is quite nice too, and you can go to the Bastille (the ruins of a castle above the town) : the walk is nice, the view up there too. 

However, I don’t know quite well the rest of the city so it depends where you’ll live exactly. Also, most of the nighttime life is due to the many students living in Grenoble, and they’re not usually around in the summer. I suppose it must be less fun during those months.
Anyway you can ask me anything and I’ll try to answer the best way I can.

Bien que je sois d’accord avec le fait que les logements vides ne devraient pas l’être -c’est moralement indécent qu’ils soient vides compte tenu du contexte actuel-, je me pose quand même la question de la logistique du truc…

Comment convaincre un particulier ou investisseur qui brade déjà son bien cause crise, d’accepter qu’il soit réquisitionné à titre quasi-gracieux pour du logement social ? Car :
1- aucun gouvernement n’a les moyens de racheter comptant tous les logements vacants,
2- aucun proprio n’acceptera de “prêter” son bien, même momentanément, même si remboursement des charges par l’état, car un logement loué est par définition hors-marché,
3- même si on considère les occupants comme des locataires “fantômes”, donc biens récupérables par le proprio sans préavis, comment justifier l’expulsion des locataires/comment les reloger? Est-ce que c’est légalement - et moralement- acceptable de créer un circuit fermé de relogement où ces locataires-fantômes seront expulsables hic et nunc ?
4- qui paye pour les dégradations? Déjà que ça vend mal, le bien doit être remis à l’état neuf pour avoir la moindre petite chance d’être vendu, or un logement utilisé est usé de fait et on sait tous que l’état ne paiera pas pour refaire les peintures. Donc à la charge du SDF sans ressource de les refaire ?(!!!)
C’est quand même un sacré casse-tête..

hey i was wondering if you knew anything about gender neutrality in french? i'm in ap french at my school so we do a lot of talking, but i'm genderqueer and binary pronouns trigger my dysphoria. do you guys know any way around that, or should i resign myself to starting each day with an hour of major dysphoria?

Anonymous

Someone told me that Belgian LBGTQ associations use “iel” as a gender neutral pronoun, which I think is indeed a great “compromise” of both gendered pronouns and simple to understand. However, it is definitely not mainstream in France so you’ll probably have to explain. I personally wasn’t aware of it until a few days ago, even though I pretty much read every French content I could on the subject. Also, second problem with adjectives, is that they are gendered by nature (masculine by default if not specifically made feminine). The most common way to do, since you can’t have neutrality in grammar, is to actually mention both separated with dots so everyone’s represented. That works this way : 

Il est joli. 
Elle est jolie. 
Iel est joli.e. 

Ils sont jolis. 
Elles sont jolies. 
Iels sont joli.e.s. 

Even if it is quite simple for adjectives which are pronounced the same regardless of their ending (Joli.e.s will always be pronounced “jo - lee” no matter how many e and s you all), it gets more complicated with adjectives which endings change with gender. Example: 

Il est mignon. 
Elle est mignonne. 
Iel est mignon.ne. 

For this example, the “neutral” pronunciation will still sound like the feminine form. It’s sort of fixed when written, but it still is an issue for speech. And for that, I have no solution to provide :(

A gender neutral pronoun is a great first step, but if we truly want a gender neutral way to speak, that respect people as human beings, technically, we have to invent a complete new set of pronouns, adjectives, agreements… We still could, but as we mostly refer to objects in a gendered way, a non-gendered way would feel (at least to me) as if “neutral” human beings’ existence mattered less than objects’. For example, we have the neutral pronoun “ça” that we could still use, however put in context, it sounds like this : 

C’est qui, lui ?  > Who is he?  
C’est qui, elle ? > Who is she ?
C’est qui, ça ? > Who/What is that ? > offensive. 

In this case, we’d need a completely new pronoun, as “luel” maybe, to replace “ça”. But that just an example to see how delicate it is and why it is so complicated for a gender neutral way to speak to truly break through here. Hope it helps anyway. 

The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.
The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ( “To the great men, the grateful homeland”). By burying its great men in the Panthéon, the Nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for “National Heroes”. Similar high honours exist in Les Invalides for historical military leaders such as Napoléon, Turenne and Vauban.
Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect. Marie Curie is the only woman interred based on her own merits.

The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.

The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ( “To the great men, the grateful homeland”). By burying its great men in the Panthéon, the Nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for “National Heroes”. Similar high honours exist in Les Invalides for historical military leaders such as Napoléon, Turenne and Vauban.

Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect. Marie Curie is the only woman interred based on her own merits.

En faire des tonnes

"To make 3 tonnes of it."
To exaggerate, to obviously make a big fuss 

"Il en fait toujours des tonnes avec elle car il veut la séduire." 
He always exaggerates when she’s around because he wants to seduce her.

Also possible : En faire des caisses, en faire trois tonnes. 

Can you please help me and fill this survey (in French)? This is for a very dear friend of mine who needs help for her thesis. It just takes 2-3 minutes and it would be really appreciated!
We need 400 opinions, so pleaaasseee share, reblog!

Thank you very very beaucoup !

My Trip to France : La Réunion

Hiiiii, I’m Tobi Ruth :) a 21 year old final year student of French & Int Media/Comms living in Nottingham.

Last year was my year abroad and I decided to spend a semester on the Erasmus programme at the University of Réunion Island. I had been to metropolitan France many times before but I had no idea what to expect from a tiny little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. 

First thing I noticed was that despite it’s geographical location, it is most definitely French. I lived in the CROUS, used the euro, got lost in an almighty Carrefour, and you could buy a baguette on every corner haha! At the same time it was nothing like Europe: sunny 98% of the time, and the rare occasion it did rain, it was dry 3 minutes after! There was incredible natural beauty like beaches and waterfalls. We got to go whale and dolphin watching as well as hikes in the mountains.

But what made me fall in love with the island is the overwhelming mix of culture and how welcoming the people were. Everywhere we went people were curious about where we came from and why we chose to come to ‘their island’. They were so proud and freely shared and included us in their culture whether it was the traditional holidays or parties or meals. I spent the rest of my year abroad in all over France and I never felt as at home as I did in Réunion. I made amazing friends, learnt so much French (and a tiny bit of Créole) saw unforgettable sights, got to visit Mauritius, did a skydive, and drank a ridiculous amount of rum (in true Erasmus fashion!)

So that’s a summary of my trip to France! La Réunion tu me manques, vraiment :’)

My Trip to France : Paris, Quessoy, Bretagne

Last year I visited Paris and stayed there a cumulative total of two weeks (I visited France three times), and stayed in Quessoy, a small village near Rennes, Bretagne for about 2 weeks working at a music camp. 

In terms of Paris, I really loved the atmosphere; I’m from New York so I was very much used to the craziness of city-life, but Paris seemed a bit more relaxed. People walk generally slower; meals take much longer; people don’t seem to be in a rush all the time; women wear less makeup and guys wear more fitted clothing; the metro is much much cleaner than the nyc subway; things were different but not too different. I still felt like a city chick. The three big things that I did not like however was customer service, the amount of smoking especially among young people, and how everything closes on Sundays. 

In terms of working in Quessoy, Bretagne; that was an interesting experience because my french wasn’t so great (I could understand about 75% when spoken to but had trouble responding), so dealing with semi-bilingual kids (some spoke ok english some didn’t) and adults on a daily basis for 2 weeks really pushed me, but it was a good experience. In terms of the people that I’ve interacted with at the camp, people are similar no matter where you go so I didn’t really assume that there was going to be a great difference between the french and americans, but I noticed a few small things. People smile less but touch more; they are a bit quieter; jokes are a bit darker and sarcastic; people express emotions more freely; there’s more uniformity in attire; there’s less political correctness; but overall I didn’t notice any huge differences. Quessoy was very quiet, lots of cows, the people were nice, it was very relaxing, and there was lots of fog in the morning, but nothing was surprising. 

I loved France and I definitely plan on going back, hopefully for a longer period of time though. 

*sorry that this is really long but I tried cutting it down as much as I could*

You went for school or for fun, you spent enough time here to get a decent insight on our culture… share your story to help people decide where to go! Tell us about the city(ies) you visited/you lived in, about the people you met, the food, the city life, the night life, the schools… Anything!
I’ll publish everything pertinent. 

Is homophobia much of a problem in France?

Anonymous

Oh dear, where do I begin… If you’d asked me that last year, I would have said that it was just fine, that you can’t avoid one or two jerks from time to time but that it was mostly fine. Now I don’t know. I don’t know if you heard but we legalized gay marriage in 2013, after months and months of street protesting. The religious people went nuts, literally. They suffered a massive faith crisis for years, people deserted church, the young weren’t interested in religion anymore etc… With that “new” cause, they sort of buff up. They organized very well thought protests, with a lot of merchandizing, you could feel the millions € they spent to throw them, and little by little, it gained all France, every city, even abroad. It’s not new to have homophobic jerks down the street, but they never used to be so organized. Now they had a real organization to speak loud, and they took their chances. It literally fed the homophobia because Church made it “cool” to be homophobic, while before it was considered bad and people just shut it up. Now, a good Catholic is an homophobic one, who takes part in those protests.


2013 has simply been a disaster to gay people. Ok we got that marriage thing, but the protests against had been so massively broadcasted on TV that even the people who were on our side got sick of hearing about this all the friggin time. They got sick because there was no room left or so few for their own problems (which are very legitimate ones, we’re being fiscally robbed by the goverment!) but they gave us up. They weren’t supporting us anymore. They simply asked for the goverment to cancel everything so everybody could calm down. They said our marriage was a good idea but considering how violent it was getting, it wasn’t that important. The end of the “battle” was a bloodbath. Once we lost people’s support, it leveled up and it got extremely violent. Many people got beaten up, gays, a feminist journalist, FEMEN activists, an antifa-pro kid got beaten up to death, a shooting happened in a gay bar too, and some religious people got arrested (poor babes..) I personally felt very insecure in Paris for the first time in my entire life, so I don’t even imagine how terrified the gays from regional cities must have been. For months, we thought that if someone overheard you on the phone for example and found out you were gay, you could be beaten up. How lovely. And I only speak about the physical violence. The deputees themselves said HORRORS about us, gay people. As a gay woman, I got called laboratory rat, “female gay” (which in French is extremely offensive, we don’t even call animals this way…) that all we need was a “good rape” to set our records straight, that we were harm to society, that we were child abusers, pedophiles, that they would agree to allow gay marriage if we got chemically castrated. I know we hear such things very often in USA because of their consideration of free speech and religion. Keep in mind that Scientology and most American churches are considered as sects here, are forbidden and you could go to jail for taking part in it. But here…  the country of the Human Rights… I… I simply have no words to describe how terrifying that sounds. I really felt like the country was spliting in two and I’m afraid it will take very long to bound again. It’s our tradition, our signature, to try to content everybody, to remain non-religious, to be the best at taking care of our people. Now we’re talking about reducing abortions rates, the religious party is getting stronger, and all homophobia, racism, any kind of fascism became “cool”. I’m really worried about the next 10 years.
It’s probably not the words of hope you’d expect to hear but I think our generation got traumatized by what just happened.

AWEEEEESSSOOOMMEEEEE french blog, omg it’s so good I’m shaking

(Se) la faire à l’envers

To do it reverse (to you)
To get conned, to dupe.

Literally:
(En comptant de l’argent) Je n’y crois pas, le serveur me l’a fait à l’envers ! Il m’a rendu une pièce de 1€ au lieu d’une de 2€ !
(When counting money) I can’t believe it, the waiter ripped me off! He gave me a 1€ coin instead of 2€!

Figuratively:
"Ne me la fais pas à l’envers ! Je sais que tu as passé la nuit chez elle et pas avec tes potes au match de foot comme tu le prétends, alors ne me dis pas que tu ne me caches rien."
"Don’t even try to fool me! I know you spent the night with her and not with your buddies at the soccer game like you’re pretending, so don’t tell me you’re not hiding anything from me."

France condemns Scientology for good.