Home Sweet Maison

As my Instagram followers already know, I’ve been devouring a new book, Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home by Danielle Postel-Vinay. It is amazing!

Postel-Vinay walks the reader room by room (beginning with l’entree) to single out the little touches in each room that help give it that French mystique.  Note this isn’t “French Farmhouse” or “Shabby Chic” or “Parisian Modern” or any particular style at all. Instead it focuses on the purpose of the room and how the French tend to make it their own.

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Learning the Language: Part Trois

I’ve written about a couple different approaches to learning French: French in 10 Minutes a Day audio CDs and DuoLingo.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but neither will suffice if you want to become truly comfortable with the language. I decided to go to the best source available: Alliance Francaise.  From their website:

The Alliance Française is the place to learn and immerse yourself in all things French.

I looked up my city and sure enough there was a local chapter.

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Learning the Language: Part Deux

I wrote last week about my initial foray into learning French, via the impressive and useful audiobook French in 10 Minutes a Day.  Despite its excellent introduction to the language, there are some limitations.  The series is designed for the casual traveler and thus focuses on words that tend to relate to travel.  More importantly, though, the series is strictly in present-tense.  This makes sense for travel — you are, after all, more concerned with ensuring you can understand simple instructions and make your own needs known — but it would be very difficult to have an actual conversation.

Thus after completing the series, I began using the free smart-phone app DuoLingo.

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Learning the Language: Part Un

As mentioned in my About page, The Mister and I are toying with the idea of spending a year in France. Even if that doesn’t materialize, however, we will certainly be vacationing there frequently — our next trip to Paris comes up in June as a matter of fact. Therefore it only makes sense to learn the language to whatever degree possible for me.

I qualify this statement because I truly suck at languages (e.g. I’ve lived in the American Southwest for decades and only know the slightest bit of written Spanish, forget spoken). Having always been a quick learner in every other aspect of my life, it pains me to the core to feel so … well, stupid. Unsurprisingly, I tend to give up quickly.  Knowing this, I’ve resigned myself to accepting my limitations and continuing to learn despite the inevitable frustrations.

That said, I began my journey with an audio CD series that I LOVELOVELOVE:  French in 10 Minutes a Day.

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Top Francophile Books

Over the past several years Francophilia has become all the rage with scores of books written about how to eat, dress and act like a French woman.  Bearing in mind that these books tend to use an archetype as the basis for their advice, following are my favorites of the lot thus far:

Readers will undoubtedly note that I have not included the classic that arguably launched the genre, French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.  I have not picked it up yet but I did read her book French Women Don’t Get Facelifts. To be honest, it wasn’t particularly life-changing to me so I’m in no hurry to get the original.

What are your favorite Francophile-inspired books and other media?