Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Comment ça s’écrit 2

It is really important to know the alphabet so I hope you know it already. If you don’t then these notes might help.

There are some difficult letters to remember in French. Think of E as your last breath after you have been stabbed. Do the action of being stabbed and it will help you to remember. It is really important to get to grips with the vowels as they are so common.

There are some easy letters. You always have to try to sound a little French but the letters that are very close to English are F L M N O S Z. You might think that seven letters that sound like the English equivalents must make life very easy, or at least 7/26 easy. However you still have to learn every letter otherwise you might forget which are the English sounding letters.

A bientôt

Monday, 30 March 2009

Comment ça s’écrit

You never know when you may need to spell something. Even in English there are times when you need to spell your name. So here is l’alphabet and I will give you la pronunciation with English words unless I tell you they are French.

A (ah rhymes with car) B (bay) C (say) D (day) E (eu rhymes with the French word peu) F (eff) G (sounds like the French words j’ai) H (ash) I (ee rhymes with me) J (jee think of gigi then halve it) K (car) L (ell) M (em) N (en) O (oh) P (pay) Q (coo) R (air) S (ess) T (tay) U (oo as in typhoo) V (vay) W (dooble vay) X (eexs) Y (eegrec) Z (zed).

You might think that is difficult but there are a lot of languages with alphabets that you would not recognise. If you think like that then the French alphabet is really easy.

A bientôt

Sunday, 29 March 2009

At the restaurant 2

So the waiter knows how many there are of you. There is a table free and you are nearly eating. One of the main differences between French and English food is how steak is prepared. You can ask for steak that is saignant, this means the steak has hardly seen the kitchen. Literally it means bleeding. If you ask for your steak à point this may translate as just right for eating, or just at the right moment, but in terms of steak it is medium. However if your tastes are at all English then ask for bien cuit, and the steak may be partly cooked. Don’t get me wrong I love steak in France, it is just a case of getting the translation correct.

After the meal you can say le repas était bon (or mauvais) or it may even have been délicieux. And finally after the meal you ask for l’addition s’il vous plait.

A bientôt.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

At the restaurant

The French are well known for their gastronomy, the art or science of good eating. We even use the French word gastronomy (OK the French word is actually gastronomie but you get my point.

If you go to a restaurant (there’s that French influence again) you can start with the usual bonjour but you may then have to ask est-ce que vous avez une table libre? I always encourage guess work and in this sentence let’s say that you don’t know the word libre. It’s not from the star sign libra meaning the balance or the scales but is associated with words like liberation or freedom. So now no translation is needed for this sentence and you have your table.

I like the expression, nous sommes quatre or any other number, because it is so simple. The waiter may be able to see that there are four of you but you have to learn this simple sentence because we don’t say we are four. In English it would be there are four of us.

A bientôt

Friday, 27 March 2009

The irregular passé composé

Just when you thought you had the hang of the perfect tense along come quite a few exceptions. If you want to say that you drunk something you would have to say j’ai bu quelque chose, even though the verb is boire and ends with –re. If it were regular it would be j’ai boiru but once you have heard j’ai bu or nous avons bu or ils ont bu a few times then you wouldn’t think about boiru. It would sound really strange to hear boiru but I suppose it is the sort of mistake that could be made by a ‘novice’. You soon get used to bu.

Two irregular verbs that you have to know are the very common verbs être et avoir. Ja’ai été means that I have been... J’ai eu means I had... Learn these participles because they open other French language doors.

I’ll mention two other irregular participles because they are useful and easily confused. Plaire means to please, and pleuvoir means to rain, so ça m’a plu means it pleased me (or more usually I enjoyed it) and il a plu means it rained.

A bientôt

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The passé composé 2

I have described the perfect tense in a previous blog but I want to go on today to give some examples. I’ll remind you that the perfect tense is composed of the auxiliary verb which can be être but is usually avoir. The past participles fall into three main groups. Those verbs ending in –er have particples ending –é, -ir verbs have participles ending –i, and the participles of –re verbs end in –u.

It is perhaps easier just to see examples of the perfect tense. The verb to hear is écouter. I heard is j’ai écouté. It can take some time to get used to French pronunciation but you know where you stand with é because it always sounds like the English letter A. Even though the pronunciation is constant and fairly easy for English speakers, do try to make it sound a little French.

To finish is finir. I have finished is j’ai fini. They have finished is ils ont fini. To sell is vendre. I sold is j’ai vendu, and we sold is nous avons vendu. As long as you know the conjugation of avoir then the perfect tense is fairly easy, apart from the exceptions, but I’ll save those for the next blog.

Maintenant j’ai fini.

A bientôt.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Mont Saint-Michel

I have been to France many times and I usually take the ferry from Portsmouth. Whether I go to Caen or Cherbourg, I tend to see Mont Saint-Michel in the distance. I have only been to the island twice. The first time was in January and it was worth visiting. It is such a distinctive landmass and it has a long history. If you want a quick summary of the island’s story then you could do worse than see the free film in the Mont Saint-Michel service station.

I have been twice, once in January and once in August. Don’t go in August. As soon as you enter through the main gate you will meet a crowd. The crowd, the heat and the narrow steep path with its kiss-me-quick type shops were enough to put me off. I might go again but it would have to be January.

A bientôt

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Take your opportunities to learn French

I was staying in a small village in the south-west of France and I went to the local shop. It was, and still is the only shop in the village. As I was leaving I noticed a leaflet for a cinema. I asked 'il y a un cinéma près d’ici?’ The reply was ‘oui, un très beau cinéma’. Five miles is not far away when you are in the south-west of France, but the important point is to take all opportunities for speaking French. It is much better to learn adjectival agreements by chatting to a friendly shopkeeper than it is to look up words in dictionaries. If you know it is a beau cinéma then you know that cinéma is masculine, otherwise it would have been belle cinéma. You would be forgiven if you misheard un and une, but you can’t mishear beau and belle.

I went on one trip to France with a group of three friends. We were in the Mont Saint-Michel area of Normandy and one friend in particular took every opportunity of speaking French. If anyone wanted the toilet he would ask. Even if there was no reason to speak to anyone he would find a reason. He had been learning French for many years and this was his first visit. If we could keep this enthusiasm and take these opportunities then I am sure that we would learn a lot more.

A bientôt

Monday, 23 March 2009

Un Appareil Numerique.

I am interested in photography. I know that there are some photographers who still use film but digital is taking over. Just look at an advert and you will see that cameras are digital. So what is the French for a digital camera? I have a French desk diary and sometimes the French phrase is relevant to the date but usually it isn't. One day last week the word of the day was numérique which means digital. I am also interested in maths, and I have a maths blog. In it I have written about the origins of maths, and maths started when we used our digits to count. It is easy to see the link between numérique and digital, but it is one step further to get a translation for a digital camera.

Le numérique means digital technology, so don’t be caught out if you just hear one word when we would use two in English, but the phrase on desk calendar is ‘est-ce qu’un appareil numérique?’ This sentence is rapidly losing its meaning as tous les appareils sont numériques. The important message from the desk diary is to keep learning a little French each day. If you are like me then you need to be told things three times, so don’t forget un appareil numerique.

A bientôt

Sunday, 22 March 2009


I like to use correct grammatical terms. The pluperfect in English is plus-que-parfait in French. Some people prefer to say joining words rather than conjunctions. They prefer describing words to adjectives. I don’t know what they would say for the pluperfect tense, but I think it would take a couple of sentences.

The pluperfect tense is easy in French if you know the perfect tense. I should describe it just in case you have forgotten the meaning of pluperfect, so here are my two sentences (but I will stick to calling it the pluperfect tense). It means 'had' done something as opposed to 'have' done something. It is one step further back in time than the perfect tense. If you know the perfect tense which is formed with the present tense of the auxiliary and a past participle, je suis allé, then for the pluperfect all you do is use the imperfect tense of the auxiliary with the past participle, j’étais alleé.

This means that you do have to know how to conjugate the present and the imperfect tenses of être and avoir but all you need to know after that is the past participle. J’ai lu le livre, or if you are describing a book that you had read, j’avais lu le livre.

A bientôt

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Robert Doisneau

I write blogs on French because I find it interesting, I like to speak French and the way to improve is by using French.Even if most of the blog is in English, I hope that you get some ideas on how to improve your French because the theme of the blog motivates you to learn a little bit more. I also write a German blog as well as other interests of mine, maths and photography. Today I thought I would combine the first and the last blogs and write about French photographers.

I have already written about probably the most French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) in my photography blog. This time I will write about a contempory of his, Robert Doisneau (1912-1994). We know photographers by their photos and Doisneau photographed Parisian streets. In particular he photographed children in the street. He said 'the marvels of daily life are exciting'. Isn't it great to have an exciting job but even better than that to be able to convey some of that excitement to others?

Probably his most famous photograph is ‘le baiser de l’hôtel de ville’. This is the same hôtel de ville that I referred to in ‘enjoy a trip to Paris’. The photograph caused controversy in the 1990s when it was discovered that the main subjects had been posed. Do an internet search and have a look at it. It is probably the first thing that comes up if you search on Doisneau. There are many photographers who look to capture a ‘moment’ but a bit of direction can save a lot of time. Now that you recognise the background, you too can walk along that pavement and try to discover the exact café where it was taken. Now there is a good excuse to go to France.

A bientôt

Friday, 20 March 2009

Learning French from television

There is now so much on the internet that can help you get used to French. In the e-mail that I received yesterday from TF1 I am able to read about ‘Les frères Scott : du nouveau dans la série’ Even if you don’t know all the words you can guess the meaning. The e-mail goes on to say ‘la saison 5 vient de s'achever sur TF1’ You know that venir means to come and you may also know that venir de is translated as ‘just’. It is a fairly easy construction because you just use the infinitive after it. Je viens de me reveiller – I have just woken up. Je viens de manger – I have just eaten. You just need to know the infinitve.

There is another advert in the e-mail for ‘Qui veut gagner des millions?’ You don’t need to know much French to guess the rest, and you would be right. So if you don’t know all the words then vous venez de les apprendre!

One other title in the e-mail is ‘vous avez un secret ? Secret Story revient!’ This tells you that you know more French than you thought, you know that secret is a French word even if you have to pronounce it differently, and you know that the French can understand the franglais ‘story’.

A bientôt

Thursday, 19 March 2009


I have just received an e-mail from TF1 the French television channel. I have watched programmes on TF1 on my computer and I must have subscribed to their e-mails. Do a search and there may be something to interest you. There are many clips that you could watch on your computer. In my e-mail there are words like 'Secret Story - le casting!' and 'life' and 'les week-ends'. It is a French e-mail, honestly.

How much of the English language comes from French? Read different reports and you will get different answers. I have heard that 60% of English comes from French, but other references put it at 30%. That's quite a difference, so you can't go wrong if you realise that 'a lot' of words come from the French. You can quote me on that. Historically the English language developed its French connection because France is our neighbour, and William the Conqueror had something to do with it as well.

In recent times English has become the dominant world language. Go to France and it appears that everyone listens to English music, speaks English and writes e-mails with lots of English words. English has become commonplace in France, and le week-end is a popular example. There are many other examples like le parking. There is opposition to the dominance of English when new words arrive like e-mail, but in my experience words like this are accepted and used, even if the French talk about mail rather than e-mail. They may also use the French word le courriel.

The expression 'franglais' was coined by Miles Kington in the 1970s for words that have no French equivalent. Franglais does refer to words that have no French equivalent and it is also a term used for words that sound French but are English and used in comedy programmes like 'Allo Allo'. French people who do not speak English would not understand these words so be aware that there are two explanations for franglais and it can be perfectly acceptable to use an English word in a French conversation.

A bientôt

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Théâtre sans Frontières

The musket was a gun that was replaced by the rifle. So now that you have been reminded of what a musket looks like you will be able to relate this to Alexandre Dumas story about three musketeers. How do you translate the title? You know musket is an English word. Is it a French word as well? The boring answer is to go to a dictionary and look up the word musket. The much more exciting answer is to go to a play performed by a company called Théâtre sans Frontières and watch their performance of Les Trois Mousquetaires. This may not be an easy option but if they are performing near you, then it is well worth doing.

I live in Morecambe and I have seen this company twice, in Kendal and in Lancaster, and by going it allows you to do what I asked you to do in my very first blog – learn peu à peu. Children learn by listening to simple phrases and having them repeated. How do you say in French ‘on the top, on the bottom, on the left, on the right? Well this is how you call the genie in ‘Aladin et sa lampe enchantée’. All the children in the audience were chanting ‘en haut, en bas, à gauche, à droite’, and I don’t think that any of them will forget these words.

A bientôt

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sur Mes Lèvres

You may wish to say ‘read my lips’ in French. It is the sort of thing that George Bush Snr would like to say if he had to speak French. He thought that these words meant that everyone would believe him when he said no new taxes. You can use the words sur mes lèvres for emphasis but you can use them for people with hearing impairments who need to watch lips.

Sur mes lèvres is also the title of a film from 2001 in which Emanuelle Devos plays the part of a partially deaf office worker. Her impairment has led to a skill in lip reading which is used as part of the plot in this film à suspense. If you have been following this blog then you will know that it is about finding the motivation to learn French. If you watch the film then I hope you enjoy it. You will hear l’accent français and if you don’t learn anything else then at least you know that read my lips is nothing to do with lire.

A bientôt

Monday, 16 March 2009

Les Ponts de Paris

You may well know the song 'Sur le pont d'Avignon' in which case you probably know that le pont is the bridge. Il y a beaucoup de ponts à Paris. Take a ride on a bateau mouche and you will see the famous bridges as well as many Parisien sites.

Perhaps the bridge to look out for in Paris is the Pont Alexandre III, the most ornate of all the bridges. When I was last in Paris I walked across this bridge and there was a television crew filming there. The bridge is a fine set and although it is not in my photo, you can easily have the Eiffel tower in the background.

Ironically le pont neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, and if you really want to get to know this bridge then watch the film ‘les amants du pont neuf’. At the time that it was made this film was the most expensive French film to produce because of many factors including the fact that they had to construct a model bridge. I mentioned The Bourne Identity in my German blog because I was talking about the German actress Franka Potente. Well you also see the pont neuf in this film because Matt Damon has a meeting on the bridge.

Le pont de l’Alma is next to the underpasss where Diana died. There is a statue nearby called ‘The Liberty Flame’ which commemorates French resistance fighters but has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.

There is so much to write about, even with a title as simple as les ponts de Paris, but so much has gone on at each of those bridges. Walk across any bridges and you may be inspired in your French studies.

A bientôt

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Jacques Brel

In the last blog I mentioned Jacques Brel. Let me tell you a little more about him. He was a very well known singer in France who died in 1978, and although he is not very well known in this country, he has had a big influence in France and some English singers have sung his songs.

His songs are full of emotion and for a prime example take a look at him singing Amsterdam. You can find some videos that give you translations of his lyrics as well as allowing you to see him on stage, but the thing to notice is the passion in his singing. If a tiny fraction of his émotion is passed on to you then you are well on your way to finding the motivation to learn French. This song influenced David Bowie to sing an English version. Ne me quitte pas may be his most famous song which was translated into English, not as 'don't leave me' but as 'if you go away'.

Les bouquinistes are the stalls along the banks of the Seine where you can buy books or souvenirs. You will also find plenty of posters and many of them are Jacques Brel posters. Brel was a really influential French singer and it is well worth listening to his songs.

A bientôt

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Six degrees of separation

"Six degrees of separation" means that any person is connected to any other person in the world by five relationships with other people. You can see the way my mind works by following these connections.

I have just watched an advert for Honda and Andy Williams is singing 'the impossible dream' which comes from 'The Man of La Mancha' which was translated into French and starred Jacques Brel who sang ‘La Quête’. How many steps was that? La Quête is the translation of ‘the quest’ and if you listen to the advert you will hear the line 'this is my quest'.

The advert looks a bit continental, but it isn't. It was filmed in New Zealand and Japan but not France. However if you have heard Brel's version of the song then you would be forgiven for thinking that there could be a French influence.

A bientôt

Friday, 13 March 2009

Written French

After 51 blogs I have not yet mentioned written French. If you are a novice then you may not want to pick up a book in French, but you may understand some of the articles in the French newspapers or magazines. Don’t be confused by the word for a shop. Un magasin is a shop and un magazine is a magazine. Even if you don’t have access to French newspapers you can have a look at them online. So if you have found this blog you should be able to find French newspapers.

I have read quite a few books in French and if you find this daunting at the moment then you may want to look at simplified versions. You can search the internet or look in bookshops but where do you start? Which book should you choose? You could watch the film first and then read the book afterwards. This is often what people do in English and I think it is better to do it this way round. Sometimes I have read the book first and then watched the film and for me it makes the film less exciting.

A bientôt

Thursday, 12 March 2009

French art

I have been looking at the many ways that you could learn French. You could learn French by attending a class, by going on holiday, by living in France, by watching a French film, listening to French music, or by eating French food. I am sure that you could add many other methods of learning French but today I am going to consider French art.

I mentioned Manet’s déjeuner sur l’herbe when I was talking about le pique-nique. You will find the la toile in le Musée d’Orsay. This gallery alone is a good reason to visit Paris, but perhaps the first gallery on your list is le Musée du Louvre. The museum is famous enough but it has a central part in the Da Vinci Code. In fact you can go on the Da Vinci Code trail in the museum. You get a set of headphones (you can listen in English as well as French) and you can follow the footsteps of the murdered Jacques Saunière. I can recommend the book and the film with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou (Amélie). You get to read or see a lot of the Louvre and it may inspire a visit.

A bientôt

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Le pique-nique 2

So you have managed to say the French words for cheese and bread and you might have a drink, but how do you progress from this? Well the words passez-moi will come in handy. In France you will learn the words for food simply by going to the shops. Even in le supermarché you will see the words for what you have bought on the wrapping. If you eat ham you will know that it is jambon. If you eat an egg then you will know un oeuf is un oeuf.

The verb needed if you want to say that you have had a picnic is faire. J’ai fait un pique-nique is what you would say. You could say ‘voulez-vous faire un pique-nique?' Don’t forget your panier (nothing to do with a bike but it is a basket) and you will also need une nappe, and if you are posh then you may need un couteau, une fourchette and perhaps une cuillère. Don’t forget the most important phrase – bon apétit.

A bientôt

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Le pique-nique

One English word that comes from the French is picnic. In French it is le pique-nique. La pique is a word for an old weapon, the pike (and it is also spades when you play cards), and if you want to piquer des petits pois avec une fourchette then you get the idea of picking some food. The ‘nique’ was probably added as a fun rhyme. A theme of these blogs is to get you to learn French by using the language, and what better way to practice by having your own pique-nique.

You could have a very basic vocabulary and you would still manage to eat. Le fromage s'il vous plait. You could also ask for le pain and you will soon learn that this is not a perfect cognate but is indeed bread. You may also know the words vin rouge or vin blanc, Orangina and you can also have un verre d’eau. Have you seen the picture by Manet le déjeuner sur l’herbe, well that is one way of describing un pique-nique. La pelouse is another word that you could use for l’herbe.

A bientôt

Monday, 9 March 2009

Expressions idiomatiques 3

My favourite expression idiomatique is 'ce n'est pas la mer à boire’, partly because you can work it out. If you were drinking the sea then that would be very difficult, so if you are not drinking it then it is not very difficult. To make it even easier miss out the ‘n’, ‘c’est pas la mer à boire’. Ce n’est pas très difficile.

At first glance appeler un chat un chat is obvious. The only difficulty is to remember the English expression . As long as you can think of a spade all you have to do is think of ways of dropping the cats into a conversation.

Finally for now, for this idiom you have to think of a pain in the neck. Why should it be the neck? In French it isn’t the neck it is the feet, and it isn’t a pain it is to break. So il me casse les pieds means il est ennuyeux.

A bientôt

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Expressions idiomatiques 2

I want to talk about French idioms but before I do I want to give them their full title, idiomatic expressions. We know that the words that end in ion are almost certainly French so we can translate expressions. In French the adjective generally comes after the noun and it does with idiomatiques. So I am going to talk about les expressions idiomatiques.

Jeter des fleurs à quelqu’un means that you are throwing flowers at someone, but as it is an idiom it must mean something else. No flowers are involved but it does involve a person and you are saying c’est une personne pleine de qualities. If you say il n’y a pas le feu you might be telling someone there is no fire but really you are saying to them calme toi.

A bientôt

Friday, 6 March 2009

Le fromage

What do you think of when you think of things that are typically French? Cheese must come high up on that list. How many cheeses are made in France? De Gaulle is famous for saying 'Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays où il existe 246 variétés de fromage?' So is it 246? Another quote from de Gaulle puts this at 258, but you get the idea about independent French thought.

Winston Churchill is also famous for saying 'un pays qui compte près de 360 fromages ne peut pas mourir'. So has the answer gone up to 360? Winston did say this in 1940. Today there are more than 1000 cheeses but you would probably guess that the numbers have gone up. Even in this country there are very many cheeses in our local supermarket including many from France. Perhaps this is simply a reflection of today's affluent society but it may be that French independent thought has also increased.

A bientôt

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Even more gestures

I like gestures because they tell you about character and they tell you about culture. I have already mentioned the most famous French gesture, the Gallic shrug, how to silently tell people you are fed up, and how to ask for silence. Have a look at the 29th and 30th January.

Today I want to describe the gesture if you want to suggest someone may be drunk. Make a loose fist and act as if you were trying to grab an imaginary extension to your nose and then twist it. There you have it. You can now describe drunkards in French without saying a word.

One more gesture is to tell someone that they are lying. Take your index finger and pull down the skin under your eye. You can say mon oeil to mean that the person is lying. I understand that 'my eye' is also an English expression that means the same thing, but the only time I have heard it was to explain the French gesture. Still I am sure that some people use it. Perhaps I have lived a very sheltered life and nobody has ever lied to me!

A bientôt

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Are you anglais or anglaise?

So you have said hello, and you have said your name. What do you say next? You could say that you are English. Je suis anglais, but if you are a woman you have to say je suis anglaise. It is only one extra letter 'e' but it changes the pronunciation. The general rule is don't pronounce the final consonant unless it is followed by a vowel.

The next sentence may be to describe exactly where you come from. The question may be d’où venez vous and the answer is je viens de... Notice that you can listen to questions in French and you get clues as to the answer. Where do you come from...I come from. It is the same verb in English and it is the same verb in French. The only thing you have to learn is the different forms of the verb venir and you have started your conversation. Je viens, tu viens, il vient, nous venons, vous venez, ils viennent. The pronunciation is the same for the je, tu and the il. Nous and vous are easy. The ils sounds like the French for Vienna.

A bientôt

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

No apples in je m'appelle

After you have said hello, probably the next thing to say is your name. The way the French say this is with a reflexive verb. A reflexive verb is one in which the person or thing doing the action directs that action against themselves. I scratched myself, you washed yourself, and he shaved himself are all examples of reflexive verbs. In French they don't say I am called... but I call myself...

The verb to call oneself is s'appeler and you have to be careful with this because it is slightly different from the usual regular verbs. When you say I call myself you add an extra 'l', je m'appelle. It's the same with tu t'appelles and with il s'appelle. When you get to nous nous appelons you are back to one 'l' and it's the same with vous vous appelez, but you return to the extra 'l' for ils s'appellent.

It is a lot easier to say je m'appelle because nobody is checking your spelling. If you are writing it then it may help to remember that there is no apple in je m'appelle.

A bientôt

Monday, 2 March 2009

Répétez s’il vous plaît

Very often you can repeat words that are spoken to you in French. The French do this and we also do this in English. Qu'est-ce que tu as fait le week-end dernier? Le week-end dernier j'ai...

This gives you chance to think about what you are going to say, it allows you to repeat some words that you have just heard, and it allows that peron to hear that you have understood the question and that you can say something in French.

You can repeat the question entirely. Il y a ...près d’ici? It still gives you time to think and if there are lots of them you can say il y en a beaucoup. Don’t use repetition too much just as you wouldn’t in English. It is nice to have an answer.

A bientôt

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Reims sounds like rance not reems

The Champagne region is most famous its sparkling wine. The main reason I am writing about Champagne is not because it is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. I am not writing about Champagne because the region struggles to produce a good still wine. I am writing so that you know how to pronounce Reims. I am sure that you know that the name champagne is protected by law, so that only the sparkling wine produced in this region can take that name. Well you may not know that some producers in America have managed to get round the law and produce their own champagne.

I want to mention Reims which is the centre of the champagne industry. The city is full of history and has a stunning Gothic cathedral. Coronations have traditionally taken place in Reims from the time of Clovis I's baptism to 1825. The main reason that I am writing this blog is to get you to pronounce the word Reims. I have a friend from this city who taught me hpw to say it correctly otherwise I would never know. Google Reims and you still will not know because there are so many variations. It is pronounced quite nasally, and sounds like rance, and rhymes with the French way of saying prince, though the English have traditionally spelt it Rheims and pronounce it reems.

A bientôt