LIZ HARROD

Posts Tagged ‘France’

An Unexpected Visit from an Old Pastime

In Au Pair, France on September 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ah – wednesday….

For most of the working world, Wednesday means hump day – halfway through the week, over the hump, and well on your way to the weekend.  Though it most certainly still means that for me, Wednesday has another important significance to au pairs in france, especially those with kids in primary school.  Wednesday is their day off.

Now, I love kids, but a full day of activity can be daunting – especially with a language barrier involved.  Even if I could explain some of the games I know how to play, many of them don’t make sense in French.

So it was with a little reservation this morning, that I started my day.  We did a bit of homework, which finally seems to be moving along swimmingly (Thanks google translate for teaching me geography in French) and had a bit of reading time.

Then came the lull.

One of my main obstacles at this point is getting them off the Wii.  I mean, I love Mario Kart as much as the next 90s child, but spending an entire day in front of the Wii is simply not acceptable.  So I set out in search of alternatives.

First of all, lunch was a smash hit with what was, apparently, the debut of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Seriously, you’d think a country so obsessed with cheese would be all over this, but no, it was their first, and they had me make them seconds. So I’m taking that as a good sign.

After lunch we had a little review of homework, and then came the moment of truth.  I was prepared for protests.  I was prepared for arguments.  So I said it carefully.  “No Wii until 3:30pm.” Read the rest of this entry »

Football, More Football and French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Well, it’s a good thing I love my rugby, because it’s headed toward the final for the Top 14 in France, which means semi-finals were this weekend. Stéphane and I watched one match on Friday, and the second match we watched on Saturday.

Firstly, and I’m sorry Oz, but French rugby is actually a bit more fun to watch than Aussie rugby. I was pretty impressed by Toulouse, and figure they are going to win the final next weekend.

We also had a little peak at the Barcelona v Manchester U Champions League final. I’m not even a football fan, but I’ll admit that it was a pretty awesome game, and if I have to pick a football team one day, Barcelona is looking like a pretty good option. Read the rest of this entry »

La Fête des Mères

In France, Travel 2011 on May 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

The month of May is certainly a month of holidays in my family. We’ve got Mothers’ day, my dad’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary – which now also doubles as my sister and her fiancé’s engagement – and just to shake it up, since I’m in France, we also have La Fête de Mères, French Mothers’ Day.

So, to celebrate, in addition to wishing my own mother a bonne Fête de Mères, I was invited to join Stéphane and his family in Versailles to eat lunch with my family. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun with French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

So, as I sort of half mentioned in my previous post, in an effort to see what life might be like living here, and working as an au pair, I enrolled in a oral French workshop this week: two classes with about 12 other people for three hours each. Part of the au pair visa requirement is to participate in ten hours of French language study each week. So I thought this would be a nice start to refreshing what I already know while also letting me see what it’s like to be formally studying a language once again.

First, I will admit that Alliance Française is absolutely not the cheapest option. However, it is probably the best, and they do have educational centers all over the world. So if you can afford them, which as an au pair I know I won’t be able to, they’re most certainly worth a shot.

For just the week, I decided to fork out the registration and class fees and take an placement exam. I ended up sort of splitting the difference between beginner and intermediate beginner (A1 and A2) on account of the fact that my written French is much better than my verbal and listening. So the oral workshop was a perfect fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Life in Paris and Close to What May be Next

In France, Travel 2011 on May 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Oh Paris, how I missed you…. And only a couple weeks gone.

I must admit, I’m right at home here, enjoying a bit of an attempt at what normal life in Paris could be like. Sure there’s the language barrier, and sure I’m not paying any rent (thanks Stéph and Stéph’s flatmates!), but I’m not spending my time touring about. I’m trying to do things I would normally do. Read the rest of this entry »

A Glimpse at the Glitz and a Day in Nice

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on May 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Well, the French riviera most certainly has a bit of a reputation to live up to, and live up to it, it did.

I pulled into Nice with Fern, who was headed back home to see some friends, and immediately saw a bit of the overflowing Festival de Cannes: linen suits, gold sandals, high end shopping bags, and that was just the train station.

I checked into my hostel without any trouble and primped myself as much as I could for a trip farther along the coast to Cannes – hopes of sunshine, celebrity sightings and perhaps even and inside look. . .if I could just get my hands on some accreditation! Read the rest of this entry »

A Weekend in Normandy

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on May 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm

One of my favorite parts of my travels so far has most certainly been the people I’ve been meeting and the hospitality they’ve shown to me.

Stéphane, my lovely new friend in Paris, has been absolutely fabulous, playing host to me for the last week, and taking me to Normandy this weekend

We had a fabulous time, kicking off the weekend with a little Friday driving lesson in Paris from his very trusting mother (thanks!). Stéphane’s still finishing up his hours to get his full license (you have to do extra in Paris because traffic is so crazy). So, I did the driving.

We stayed in Cabourg, which is a beautiful little town, exactly as you’d picture it, with cute houses, a beautiful hotel on the beach, and those lovely steely gray northern beach waters. His family has a house there. So we had a simple home base for our little weekend adventures. Read the rest of this entry »

Day Trips from Paris

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on April 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Okay, a bit more tourist time in Paris, but this time, day trip style.

I think it’s important when visiting a city to have a good look at the surrounding areas, and in Pars, this couldn’t be more true.

So, when in the city of lights, be sure to hop on the train to some surrounding areas and at least check out two of my favorites. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris in a Museum

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on April 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

As predicted, Paris has once again won my favor as the crown jewel of destinations for museums. . . Specifically, art museums.

If you have kept up with my blog at all, you should already know that am a bit of an art museum freak. Here, I successfully hit my three favorites, with a little assistance from a fellow, though much more seasoned, traveller: Rick Steves.

I hit the Orangerie first, taking in some of my favorite impressionist works including Renoir’s girls with the piano, and more importantly for me, Monet’s massive water lily masterpieces. I stuck with the traditional audio tour here knowing I could enjoy the entire museum in less than a couple hours. If you are a fan of Impressionism, it’s worth paying for the set of headphones as the tour gives lots of interesting background details about works you have probably seen before and may already know a bit about.

The Louvre and the Orsay are a different story. Read the rest of this entry »