Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ou est le bibliotech?

Get this, you guys, get this. Next month I could very well be using my passport for the very first time, in... France.

I might have an opportunity to go to Nice, which I hear is very... nice. I can't wait to have my very own international incident. Remind me to update my Loud Camera-Carrying American membership card.

Like a good dork, I did not immediately shop for shoes or scour my closets for a striped beret-- I went to the Internet to dig up some history. Turns out Nice is right next to Italy and everybody in Europe kept punching each other over it, and it wasn't even firmly in French hands until 1860. Imagine that-- they were still fighting over sovereignty when we here in the United States, our act very firmly together, were just warming up to shoot at each other for four years straight. Ha! France.

Nice is on the French Riviera, which means I need to maximize the next several weeks as an opportunity to say "Yes, well... I'll be in the south of France in a few days, so I'm afraid I don't care."

There is, of course, a language barrier. But not to fear! I took four whole semesters of French in high school just fifteen years ago, when I was taught a number of useful phrases. I'm so excited to go and ask everybody directions to the library. Also where I might find a farmer.


HelloBettyLou said...

You will have an amazing time. France is beautiful. All you need to get around is the phrase Ou est (where is). Also don't trust anyone.

red pill junkie said...

I'm equally jealous and happy for you.

Hopefully, by next month the scorching temperatures the french are suffering over there will have diminished, so you won't spend all your money on water bottles.

One eeny bitty little piece of advise though: Do NOT attempt to mention ANYTHING concerning Zinedine Zidane... or your stomach might regret it ;-)

Jules said...

Well, I took 4 whole years + 1 semester of French when I was in high school/college......twenty-plus years ago. :-) Ask me something, I just might remember.

And, just so you know, it's "la bibliotheque".

Just so you know.

And also, just so you know, I am INSANELY jealous, but I certainly hope you have an awesome trip!!

SusannahS said...

Joke all you want over international incidents, but should you buy ANYTHING from the cute little gift shops along the coast, get a receipt.
I didn't. I was 17, and I almost went to French jail. Well, maybe not really but there was a shoplifting accusation even though I CLEARLY had the items in the boutique's logo'ed baggie.
Even though my French was pretty much limited to the Voulez-vous coucher avec moi", I did understand the word gendarme...followed by polizia in case I didn't catch it the first time.
Thank the gods for tour guides and eyewitnesses who vouched for me. Otherwise I may have followed in Marie Antoinette's footsteps!

Anonymous said...

all you need to know how to say is do you speak english....as long as you try to speak french, they will be nice to you. i was in nice 10 years ago and i loved it. went to paris for my honeymoon earlier this year and we got by fine with "parlez-vous englais?" and bonjour, merci, au revoir, and pardon et moi....that's all you'll need...have fun!
there is this fabulous park on the water on top of these old castle ruins....gorgous views of the med and a great little place to walk through

Julie said...

I always belived, as annonymous said above, that "as long as you try to speak French, they will be nice to you." But my daughter and I were in Paris last summer, and whenever we'd attempt to speak French everyone would act like they had no idea what we were saying... it was like we had suddenly turned invisible, or as if they had stuck their fingers in their ears and started going "Blah, blah, blah..." so as not to have to hear the silly Americans butchering the lingo. If we spoke English they responded immediately and were very kind. I was very confused.

mike, who shares a first name with nostradamus said...

Bon voyage, uh, omelette du fromage, and all that merde.

Carrie said...

I took 2 years of French from that same high school and went to Paris with them - LOVED it, but couldn't actually speak a word. You have to go to momartra (spelling? sound it out - it's the place that looks like the zoo's elephant house) and the catacombs.

Anonymous said...


Exactly ;)

But thanks for the "correction."

Josh The Pilot said...

The problem is you had an American accent trying to speak French. French is all about the accent. Even if you don't know much of the language, if your accent is good, they'll respond positively. They would much rather you stick to English than mangle their beloved accent.
I used to, emphasize used to, be pretty decent at French, and my accent was excellent, so during my visits to Paris in years past I was able to get around without anyone looking down their nose at me.

Anonymous said...

I think Paris is a bit different than other parts of the country-- tends to be a bit more snooty, more anti-everybody-else. We were in Burgandy last year and didn't have any problem (in spite of our poor French and obvious American origins); everyone was very friendly and willing to help us.

ShannJ said...

Hey! Three years of French from the same high school and the same trip as Carrie, and not too much French spoken here either. Well, none really, but I can pick out a few words if I have to. Montmartre is the area Carrie is talking about, and the place that looks like the elephant house at the zoo is a church, Sacre Coeur. Montmartre is the "neighborhood" that it's in. If I remember correctly, our hotel was very near there, directly adjacent to the red light district. A wonderful place to take a bunch of 16 and 17 year old girls. The catacombs were pretty cool too. I also loved the castles we went to. Was that the Loire Valley? How close is Nice to Paris? And did I mention how jealous I am MB? I would love to go back someday! Have a wonderful time! As a side note from a field trip that I remember to the Maisonette - you may not want to tell the people in France that the French Onion Soup "looks like hurl!" ;-) They may not take that as constructive criticism. Love ya MB!!!

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