Travel with me to the Pyramids and the Sphinx

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Welcome to my blog which incorporates my two passions: French and travel!  Today, we will travel to the mysterious land of Egypt where I was born. I went back many years after I had left it and took a coach tour to revisit the Sphinx and the Pyramids  of Giza which I remembered visiting when I was very young.   The pyramids were built on a rocky plateau in northern Egypt. Tourism is Egypt’s second largest source of revenue and the pyramids are a great attraction.

 

There are three pyramids at Giza: the  Great Pyramid built by Khufu which is the largest, the one built by his son, Khafre and the smallest one which was built by Khafre’s son and which is half the size of Khufu’s. The Great Pyramid is the only one left of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. They are now part of UNESCO’s world Heritage sites. Robbers have stripped the pyramids of their burial goods and their limestone casing.   The Sphinx is an enigmatic sculpture – it has the body of a lion and the head of a man. It is not clear whether it was commissioned by Khufu or his son, Khafre, but it remains a symbol of Egypt. It has recently undergone a large renovation to stop it from degrading further. Sand storms can be quite deadly in Egypt and they erode stone sculptures. Between the paws of the Sphinx lies a stele (a stone slab used for recording important information). The stele tells the story of a young prince who fell asleep near the Sphinx. He dreamed that the Sphnx told him he would become king of Egypt if he cleared the sand covering the Sphinx up to its neck away.

 

After you visit to these great wonders, take a trip up to the Citadel and see the Mosque of Muhammed Ali or take a trip down the river Nile, eat delicious food and be entertained by belly dancing.

French vocabulary:

la pyramide = the pyramidpyramide

mystérieux = mysterious mysterieux

le pays = land pays

nous allons voyager = we are going to travel nousallons

énigmatique = enigmatic enigmatic

l’Egypte = Egypt egypte

une tempête de sable = a sand storm tempete de sable

la sculpture = the sculpture sculpture

le corps = the body corps

le lion = the lion lion

le prince  = the prince prince

le sable = sand sable

le cou = the neck cou

bâti par = built by bati par

Travel with me to Barcelona

 

 

Welcome to my blog that unites  both my passions : travel and French.

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Barcelona is a beautiful city situated in the north-east coast of Spain. It has two official languages : Spanish and Catalan, although Catalan is the dominant language in offices and schools.

 

Visit the Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s architectural gems (although some people disagree about the beauty of his architecture). However, I was disappointed to see that the church is unfinished. But it’s still impressive.Across the road from the Sagrada Familia, which means Sacred Family, you will find a street market (we did but it was close to Christmas) selling figurines and ornaments. The Barcelona Zoo covers a vast area and is home to many different species. You can walk around or hire a small buggy if you don’t want to walk or just for fun. The zoo is home to lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas and chimpanzees. There are also dolphin shows that you may attend.

 

Stroll along Las Ramblas, a boulevard that cuts through the heart of the city centre. Go into the indoor markets on either side, admire the human statues, or go shopping. However, there is also a seedy side to Las Ramblas -when the one part (the southern) becomes a kind of red-light district.  Eat at restaurants – those at the marina are usually reasonably priced and are good value for money. The restaurants situated on Las Ramblas are usually pricey because of the influx of tourists. For those that like it, there is the Barcelona nightlife to experience. If you want to get a superb view of the city take the cable car to Mont Juic. The CosmoCaixa Science Museum is one of the most renowned museums in the world and offers a hands-on experience with things to try out in every corner.

French Vocabulary:

la passion = passion passion

voyager = to travel voyager

une langue officielle = an official language langue officielle

situated = situé(e) situé

déçu(e) = disappointed deçu

impressionnant = impressive impressionnant

louer = to hire louer

le centre ville = the city centre centre ville

admirer = to admire admirer

le coin = the corner coin

le musée = the museum musée

 

 

Travel with me to the Island of La Reunion

Welcome to my blog that mixes French and travel.  You may hear the pronunciation of the French vocabulary added to this post. Today, I would like you to come with me as we visit the French island of La Réunion off the coast of Africa. It is a volcanic isle in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.  It has a population of about 800,000. It is one of the French overseas departments and as such considers itself to be France. As I was told: Madame, ici c’est l’Hexagone! (Madame, here we are the Hexagone – another name for France because of its shape)

 

La Réunion has beautiful beaches to offer tourists but it also has mountains and  an active volcano. The Piton des Neiges is the highest peak in the Indian Ocean, towering over the island at 3071 m. Its capital is Saint- Dennis and it has French as its official language followed closely by Creole. Creole is a fully fledged language which developed from the mixture of two or more languages. The island has a varied ethnic mix consisting of Europeans, Africans, Chinese, Indians and Malays. It has a tropical climate.

 

I attended a course at the CIEP (acronym for Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques) which was established to support French language teaching. I found the island charming – it’s easy to get around by public transport. I travelled to the town of Saint-Pierre to visit a local market which was very colourful and very cheap. If you want to hear French but are too far from France, La Réunion is your next best bet.

French vocabulary:

le touriste = the tourist tourist

la plage = the beach plage

la montagne = the mountain montagne

le sommet = the summit (of the mountain) sommet

le climat = climate climat

le volcan = the volcano volcan

le marché = the market marché

la langue = language langue

l’ile = the island ile

la mer = the sea mer

la capital = the capitalcapitale

Travel with me to Orlando (Part 2)

 

Welcome to my blog on travel and French!  Today you will be able to learn the pronunciation of various animals among other things.

After visiting Walt Disney World and Universal, you might want a change in pace. Sea World  or its sister park Busch Gardens is the perfect place to go in this case. There are still rides but the emphasis is on shows featuring animals (usually rescued from shelters or endangered) such as Pets Ahoy, Blue Horizons (dolphin show), One Ocean (Orca show) or on feeding animals such as sting rays, sharks, sea lions and seals. At Busch Gardens, you can feed kangaroos and birds.

 

A fantastic place to visit is Discovery Cove. It is also owned by Sea World and offers you a day in paradise – you arrive at 9 a.m., check in and have a buffet breakfast. You then choose your spot on the beach. It is an artificially created beach but it’s just like a tropical island beach with palm trees, golden sand and clear waters. You put on life vests and then you can explore the reef or any of the other pools or you may go into the aviary and feed the myriads of birds that flock there. Then you can have a buffet lunch and if you have booked it, you can swim with a dolphin which is an incredible experience. After that, you have the rest of the time to swim, sunbathe or eat snacks. A truly worthwhile experience!

 

As mentioned in my previous post, there are many other things to do in Orlando – you can play mini golf (there are many themed courses), you can walk along the Disney Boardwalk or go Downtown Disney and visit the immense Disney store with its incredible selection of Disney merchandise. You may go to character breakfasts, lunches or dinners such as breakfast at Chef Mickey’s or at Donald’s Safari at Tusker House or lunch at the Crystal Palace or dinner at the Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus. 

 

Or you can visit LEGOLAND, which is a 45 minutes from Orlando. There aren’t many rides in this theme park but it’s amazing to see how detailed their lego exhibitions are.

 

French Vocabulary:

le mini-golf = mini golf golf

le billet = ticket billet

le billet d’entrée = admission ticket billetentree

faire une promenade = to take a walk promenade

marcher = to walk marcher

la marchandise = merchandise marchandise

un oiseau = a bird oiseau

le kangourou = kangaroo kangourou

une orque = Orca whale orque

un galuchat = stingray galuchat

un dauphin = a dolphin dauphin

une phoque = a seal phoque

une otaire = a sea lion otaire

un requin = a shark requin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel with me to Orlando (Part 1)

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my blog on French and travel.  New feature: you will be able to listen to the pronunciation of the French vocabulary.

Today, explore Orlando, Florida with me and enter a fairy-tale world where dreams come true. Orlando is home to Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios.

 

Walt Disney World or WDW is actually in Lake Buena Vista, Kissimmee just outside Orlando. It is comprised of 4 theme parks: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, the Magic Kingdom,  and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and two water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each one has a special charm and needs time to be discovered . The Magic Kingdom was the first original park to be opened followed by the other three in the 1980s and 1990s. It is difficult to describe the magical feel if you haven’t experienced it – I know I was won over straight away although I had never had an inclination to visit a theme park. There are so many things to see and do that it’s impossible to list them – there are shows and rides, meetings with characters, themed restaurants and shops, parades and music. 

 

Epcot is perhaps my favourite since it is more relaxing.It is built around a huge lake surrounded by  11 different countries: Italy, France, China, Mexico, Britain, the USA, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway and Morocco.  Each land has its own restaurants and cafés, activities and shops.  Each evening, Epcot stages a firework and laser display called ‘Illuminations: Reflections of Earth’.You can also go inside the huge globe (which can be seen from outer space) and  watch Ellen’s Energy Adventure or take a ride in Spaceship Earth. There are hundreds of other things to see and do  (such as the simulated ride called Soarin’ which is incredible)- and of course, eat!

 

The Magic Kingdom is magical in a different way (Disneyland Paris also has a Magic Kingdom): meet the characters once more (this is a hit with younger visitors who get the characters to sign their autograph books), go on rides such as ‘It’s a Small World After All’, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo the flying elephant, Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and lots more. Don’t miss out on seeing Mickey’s PhilharMagic which is a 3D show and is excellent. Watch the parades, visit Cinderella’s Castle or take a ride around the park in the Walt Disney World Railroad. Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are smaller but still exciting with many rides and shows.

 

Universal is in Orlando. It consists of two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Although it is smaller in area, it still draws many visitors and has its own fans. In Islands of Adventure you can meet the Marvel Heroes and go on rides such as the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk Coaster, and the Jurassic Park River Adventure. This park is divided into different lands, each with its own rides, restaurants and shops: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Marvel Hero Super Island, Toon Lagoon, Dr.Seuss Landing and the Lost Continent. In Universal Studios, you can go on many rides such Men in Black Alien Attack, the E.T. adventure (one of my favourites!) or watch shows such as Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue  among many others. 

 

These are just some of the things you can do in Orlando – I haven’t had time to mention Downtown Disney or the Disney Boardwalk or even shows outside the parks such Cirque du Soleil, the Hoop Dee Doo Revue or Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue. Wherever you go, there is entertainment to be had – at a price, of course!

French Vocabulary

le cirque = circus cirque

le soleil = sun soleil

des choses à faire = things to do choses

un divertissement = entertainment divertissement

le spectacle = show spectacle

la parade = parade parade

les feux d’artifice = fireworks feux

explorer = to explore explore

un pays = a country pays

le monde = world pays

le conte de fées = fairy tale conte

 

 

Travel with me to Stratford-upon-Avon

Welcome to my blog that combines French and travel! Today we are going to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the most renowned dramatist in the world. The town of Stratford lies on the river Avon and became popular in the 1700s after Shakespeare’s death when many events were organised to honour the bard. Now people go on a pilgrimage to Stratford especially in April when he was born (it is not known on which day he was born exactly but his birthday is celebrated on the 23rd Aril.   It is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company which performs in several theatres in Stratford. Take a leisurely stroll down the cobblestoned streets ( if it’s not raining!) and explore areas that were known to Shakespeare. Visit Anne Hathaway’s (Shakespeare’s wife) charming cottage, go to Mary Arden’s (Shakespeare’s mother) farm and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Everywhere you go, you can see signs linking the town to William Shakespeare – even the rowboats have names taken from his plays : Cymbeline, Othello, Antonio, etc.  Another fun thing to do is to feed the many swans, duck and geese that are to be found on the Avon or you can take a short cruise down the Avon and see the beautiful houses that line the banks of the river. You can also visit the church where Shakespeare and his family are buried.

French Vocabulary 

le lieu de naissance = the birthplace

l’anniversaire = birthday

la chaloupe = rowboat

le cygne = swan

une croisière = a cruise

le canard = the duck

une oie = a goose

une église = church

Travel with me to Honolulu

 

 

Welcome to my blog which combines travel and French!  I add French vocabulary at the end of each post so you can start learning French. I will also be giving links to useful sites if you wish to improve your French or learn more about France and its culture.

Today, we are going to visit Honolulu, Hawaii which is situated on the island of Oahu.  It is the  State capital of Hawaii which is one of the USA’s states.  It is the most densely populated city in Hawaii and is a paradise for surfers.

 

It has balmy weather all year round and thus attracts countless tourists. Visit the many attractions such as Waikiki, the main tourist destination with its beautiful beaches and crystal clear water, take a walk around the Honolulu Zoo and then drive out to Pearl Harbour, site of the 1941 attack by the Japanese during World War II. The best experience for me was visiting the Polynesian Cultural Centre, a theme park in Laie on the north shore of Oahu. Here you can explore the island nations of Polynesia (Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa and Aotearoa/Maori New Zealand), take part in activities ( it’s great fun – for example, you can learn how to do the hula dance), visit Polynesian villages and attend shows, and watch a water procession featuring all the Polynesian nations. You can also attend a luau (a traditional

Hawaiian feast) at night but there are many different options for luaus.

 

French Vocabulary:

un spectacle = a show

la danse = dance

la Polynésie = Polynesia

le port = harbour

une activité = an activity

un temps doux = balmy weather

le ravage = shore

nord = north

un paradis = paradise

un surfeur = surfer

 

A useful link if you want to learn French idioms is the FluentU site.

 

 

Travel with me to Québec city

 

 

 

 

Québec City is the capital of the French-speaking province of Québec in Canada. It is situated on the St.Lawrence River and is 400 years old. The historic part of Québec City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. The city has a rich colourful past and many architectural gems.  The Citadelle in the Upper Town is one of the largest fortifications in North America. A funicular joins the Upper Town (Haute- Ville) to the Lower Town (Basse- Ville). The explorer, Samuel de Champlain , founded the city for the French in 1608, calling it Kebec from the Algonquian word meaning ‘the river narrows here.’

Québec city is very picturesque and there many museums and historic sites to visit. I was there for a conference so had limited time to explore but I did go on a coach tour. I also visited the Université Laval, the first French-speaking university in the Americas.  It is interesting to note the slightly different French Canadian accent.

 

French Vocabulary:

la funiculaire = funicular

picturesque = picturesque

l’université = university

la capitale = capital

le musée = museum

le bijou = jewel/gem

fonder = to found

l’architecture = architecture

 

 

Travel with me to Disneyland Paris

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It is a magical place where children and adults enter a dream world. A small cousin to this theme park resort is Disneyland Paris (previously known as Euro Disney), situated close to Paris in the city of Marne-La-Vallée. It consists of two theme parks Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992 and Walt Disney Studio Park, which opened in 2002. Disneyland Paris has 60 attractions, among which ‘It’s a Small World’, Space Mountain, Le Vol (the flight) de Peter Pan and Phantom Manor. Walt Disney Studio Park celebrates the world of films and television. It reveals what lies behind special effects and other interesting titbits. Its attractions include The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Moteurs…Action Stunt Show Spectacular, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and Ratatouille among others.  The park has become even more popular than Walt Disney Land in Anaheim, California which was the original theme park, attracting 15.6 million visitors in 2013.

 

Disneyland Paris is a charming entertainment park and well worth the visit. It is quite strange and amusing to hear Mickey and all his friends speaking French if you are an English speaker. But a visit here can motivate you to learn some extra French vocabulary which can prove useful.  Watch the  parades, ride the train around the park, attend some of the shows and go on the many rides – whether you are a child or a grown-up, you will have fun.

 

You can stay in hotels on site or just go up for the day but if you love it, you will want to go more than once. Choose a day or week when the weather is not too cold – it was 3 degrees when we visited it the second time.

 

French vocabulary:

le parc d’attractions = theme park

le château de la Belle au Bois Dormant = Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

le costume = costume

le personnage Disney = Disney character

le visiteur = guest

le site = site

la princesse = princess

le prince = prince

le château = the castle

la magie = magic

le rêve = dream

le spectacle = show

Blanche Neige = Snow White

 

Travel with me to Mauritius

 

 

 

 

L’Ile Maurice or Mauritius is another beautiful tourist destination. It is a volcanic island situated off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It has a population of 1.2 million which includes many different ethnic groups – Hindus, Muslims, Creoles, Chinese and Europeans. Most Mauritians are bilingual and speak French and English.  English is the official language but French and Creole are widely spoken.

 

The island was discovered in the 1oth century by Arabs and was named Mauritius by the Dutch in honour of Prince Maurits Van Nassau. It was occupied by the Dutch, the French and the British before becoming independent in 1968. It is an island of fantastic beaches, nature reserves and botanical gardens. It is sad to see that half the population of the island lives in poverty.

 

Although it is a small island, it is easy to get lost – we hired a car and got lost many times. There are many interesting places to visit apart from the beaches.  For example, La  Vanille des Mascareignes, the Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens, the Chamarel Coloured Earth

(the 7 coloured sands) and Port Louis which is the capital.  There is a large mall at the Caudan Waterfront for those who love shopping. I loved the bookshop with a choice of every kind of French book.

 

French Vocabulary

l’ile = the island

la mer = the sea

le sable = the sand

la piscine = swimming pool

le jardin botanique = botanical garden

le volcan = volcano

la réserve naturelle = nature reserve

parler = to speak ( Je parle français = I speak French)

la population = population

la mer indienne = the Indian Ocean